2010 Top Shelf Award Winners

Posted: 03/24/2010 2:10PM


Designers of closet and garage projects are recognized on the following pages as winners and honorable mentions in the fourth annual Top Shelf Awards competition. Winners were announced at an award ceremony during the 2010 Closets and Home Organization Conference and Expo in Long Beach, CA. This year, we had 53 entries and the competition included a new category — home office. Kudos to all, and look for information on how to enter our 2011 competition in the next issue.

CLOSETS also extends its deep appreciation to the three judges for their guidance and donation of time and effort in evaluating all entries. They are: Joyce Hardison, Closet Crafters, Ventura, CA; Angelia York, St. Louis Closet Co., St. Louis, MO; and Denise Butchko, Butchko & Co., Chicago, IL.

OVERALL WINNER: Michael Houghton; Custom Closets, Costa Mesa, CA

Category: Closet — Solid wood or veneer walk-in, more than 18 linear feet

PROJECT: A walk-in wardrobe, with glazed Lily White Lacquer and fully encased in glass, for a prestigious Newport Coast estate.

ENTRANT’S GOALS: The objective was to make the closet the most important space in the home. The homeowners wanted it to be spectacular.   

Working with a small space and no plans for expansion, the designer had the daunting challenge of containing the client's extensive wardrobe and fulfilling the “dream” vision at the same time.

Materials used in the project include:
• Solid select maple doors, drawer fronts and applied end panels;
• High-gloss lacquer, color-matched to the client’s elaborate sculptured mouldings throughout the house, then glazed with hand-rubbed highlights, color-matched to the taupe-ish wall color;
• Gloss white melamine for cabinet
• Doors fitted with 1/4-inch thick glass or mirror, which is luxuriously trimmed with 1-1/2-inch-wide bevels
• Drawers include Tandem glides with integrated Blumotion and Blumotion hinge closures; and
• High intensity, Zero-Heat LED lighting installed within all wardrobe interiors.
Because the closet space was narrow (7.3 feet by 16 feet overall), the designer maximized the space by placing the couples’ 250 pairs of shoes on shallow, glass-fronted shelves, which covered the front wall on each side of the entry.

Hanging apparel fills out the remaining three walls, except for the two highboy 7-drawer dressers, which flank a full-length mirror covered cabinet. The upper tier of that cabinet displays an extensive handbag collection.



Jane Van Almen; Closet Works, Elmhurst, IL

A 108-square-foot second bedroom in the customer’s 100-year-old home was converted into a custom master closet.

ENTRANT’S GOALS: The goal was to provide a dressing room environment featuring backed cabinetry with Windsor crown moulding, granite countertops and reeded glass doors.

The cabinets next to the window were suspended above the heating elements. This was accomplished with a rail and tabbed cleats behind the backer.

The challenge of the project was the phased installation of the drawer/shelf unit. The base drawers and side shelf units, were step one. Then the granite counter was installed and last the upper doored shelves and crown completed the project.



Jason Franz; Closet Creations, St. George, UT

PROJECT: Closet addition and remodel

ENTRANT’S GOALS: Additional closet space was added onto the home to give the customer the space they needed to organize their closet.

Materials used: Chocolate pear tree, wood grain melamine, with 3 millimeter edge banding. Accessories included three hampers, one shelf mount ironing board, shoe fences, two full length mirrors, two valet rods, granite tops, 96 millimeter nickel bar handles.

The closet was designed to include 23 drawers, slanted shoe shelves, washer and dryer storage and a hinged lid shoe bench. The crown moulding is thermofused melamine from Sun Mountain Doors, and the ironing board is a hidden behind a fold-down, false drawer front.

The most difficult obstacle about the project was how to design the closet to have the washer and dryer located in the island. The washer and dryer needed the proper electrical and plumbing hook ups. A wall-like cabinet was fabricated to house the hook ups and the full length mirrors helped to hide any unusual seams on the sides of the washer and dryer units.



Keith Thomas; CCI Home Services, Purchase, NY

PROJECT:  Mudroom closet

ENTRANT’S GOALS: The clients wanted a mud room closet that looked like a piece of furniture rather than a closet because it was at the front entry of their home. The customers wanted the closet to reflect the other elements of the furniture styles already in the home. The designer designed a unit that went to the ceiling with multiple levels and depths. The unit was built in rustic cherry, beaded inset style with fluted column details and crown moulding to match the
existing moulding.




Susan Trainor; Closet Works, Elmhurst, IL

PROJECT: Home office/entertainment area

ENTRANT’S GOALS: The client wanted the look of a painted cream color wood without spending the money that real wood would cost. She chose a bisque laminate with portabello glazed fronts on the doors, drawers, base and crown moulding. The top was made in Staron, a solid surface in a coffee bean color. The contrast made the glaze stand out and really complemented her room decor. The goal was to create an office area with enough room for all four people in the family to work at the same time if they wanted.

The client is an interior designer and often sees clients in her home. The work space allowed her enough room to house all of her samples as well as have a large work table. She likes to work on a lower space, so the desk is actually 28 inches high, rather than the normal 30 inches. Her husband recently went back to school and uses the office quite a bit. He wanted a space to be able to see the TV while working on the computer, which was achieved. His space on the left was large enough to hold the 24-inch IMAC computer, while the computer station on the right could accommodate a laptop.



Donna Siben; Closet Organizing Systems, East Dundee, IL

PROJECT: Hybrid home office with glazed ivory melamine and a birch countertop

ENTRANT’S GOALS: The goal of this project was to create a space that was cohesive while combining available industry melamine products and glazed wood products from the stain department. The table legs were only available in an unfinished wood product, so both the melamine departments and the stain finishing departments needed to coordinate their efforts for a consistent finished system. Glazing the beadboard backing as opposed to using the melamine product that was available allowed the designer to create this uniformity. Using the melamine/glazed six panel door faces, continuous base trim and crown moulding, in addition to the raised panel drawer faces, helped to keep the cost down and stay within the client’s budget.



Ric Canfield; Ric’s Custom Carpentry Inc., Tucson, AZ

PROJECT: Garage created for a custom home built in a gated community in the foothills of Tucson.

ENTRANT’S GOALS: Tucson is a part-time house for this customer. They spend their summers in Michigan and winter in Arizona. The oversized four-car garage was extra wide and extra deep. The designer built a large storage area for suitcases and holiday supplies, which allowed for large covered containers to fit side by side on shelves.

Also, the designer was able to give the customer a “man cave” work bench with pegboard tool storage and extra deep drawers. Her side has a sink and counter area for painting. Both have under counter lights and laminate tops. All of the garage storage is built with two-side melamine and PVC to eliminate off-gassing.



Michael Houghton; Custom Closets, Costa Mesa, CA

PROJECT: Single-car garage for a condominium with very limited storage.

ENTRANT’S GOALS: The fundamental objective for this garage was to provide the homeowners as much storage as possible — in limited space; without impacting their ability to park a full-size luxury vehicle; yet still permitting ample fore and aft walk-space for the driver. It also included a working bench area sufficient for hearty home-improvement chores and craft projects.

Features include:
• Cabinets are 3/4-inch melamine;
• Interior shelving is all 1-inch thick;
• Doors and drawer fronts are glazed/5-piece thermofoil;
• Drawers are pre-finished, 5/8-inch Baltic birch with dovetail corners;
• Tandem drawer glides with Blumotion; and a

• Solid Maple butcher-block bench top.



David Feld; Wood Whims Inc, Fountain Hills, AZ

PROJECT: His-and-Hers dream closets for a multi-million dollar Paradise  Valley home

ENTRANT’S GOALS: The Euro frameless custom  designed closets featured several unique features designed for the clients’ special needs.
• Two compartmentalized pull-out sunglass display units, complete  with Plexiglas lips to hold frames in place, were created to hold at least 24  pairs each.
• Roll out drawers were complemented with felt lining for delicate  jewelry and specially sized cubbies to avoid scratches from belt  buckles.
• The drawer trays were adapted with the Tandembox system by Blum, and included sturdy gallery rods with the function of keeping high  heels in place.
• The custom 72-inch TV cabinets were constructed to dually display the clients’ luxury Judith Leiber purse collection, which is  beautifully showcased on lighted glass shelves.
• A custom tie and belt rack, designed to hold 25-40 ties and at least 24 belts respectively, was built to accommodate the clients’ large accessory collection.
• To adorn the  focal island in the middle of the closet, a three-way-mirror and mirrored doors were

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