Debbie Cantrell, Closets By Design VA, is a finalist in the 2014 Top Shelf Design Awards competition with her project "Luxury Two-Story Master Closet" entered in the Closet: Laminate more than 18 linear feet category.
Project Description: This LUXURY TWO LEVEL CLOSET was part of a renovation of this couple's dream home. The style of the home is predominantly contemporary with eclectic touches. The "DARK PEAR" woodgrain melamine color chosen is in sharp contrast to the white marble of the heated floor and island top. (The adjacent master bath is done entirely in the same white marble.) Windows cover most of one wall, providing abundant natural light that is augmented by the LED lights added in the lower ceiling and motion detector LEDs placed behind the door units. Her side is on full display and is the main focus as you enter the space. HER MAIN REQUEST: The full height double cabinet for her designer bags and special shoe display where glass shelves and glass doors are lit from within with LED mini-lights. Her side also has five full length mirrored doors protecting her hanging clothes and creating a simplified look along the entire wall. Three of those doors open to form a triple mirror to provide front, back and side views. ON HIS SIDE of the first floor two center doors streamline the look while the three open areas give easy access and visual variety. The bottoms of these open areas leave the white marble flooring fully visible, adding additional light to that side.
HIS MAIN REQUEST: A customized luggage access area was created for him by utilizing a 54 inch deep, 20 inch wide space behind his drawers and shoe shelves. The area was clad with melamine, illuminated with LED lighting and a heavy duty rod installed on which several luggage bags are stored. The bags are out of sight but are easily pulled into the open on this rod for packing when needed. MATCHING areas of drawers with covered shelves above them and slanted shoe shelves for both him and her fill the third and final wall. A large square island of drawers finishes the main section of the first floor. ACCESSORIES include multiple double-tiered jewelry drawers, hidden folding ironing board, pull-out pants racks, tilt-out hampers, slide-out belt and tie rods, valet rods and drawer dividers. A circular-style staircase leads to the second story with an open stairwell fully clad in Dark Pear melamine.
THE UPPER LOFT AREA has a clear glass railing system chosen and installed by the homeowner which is also illuminated by LED lighting. Fascia between the first and second floors were clad in melamine to conceal the railing supports. One wall upstairs is entirely made up of additional shoe shelves. Opposite that wall are additional hanging behind doors and shelving. The third and final wall on the upper level had a height of only 51" with a slanted ceiling towards the center of the room and was used for additional drawers and additional hanging behind doors at 24" deep. Both the upper wood flooring and the steps of the circular stairwell were stained to match the melamine color. Dark Pear melamine was applied to the riser on the upper level raised wood flooring and the slanted ceilings above the cabinets. White marble is used for the upper loft walkway. A contemporary sculptural chandelier completes the look and adds warmth.
List materials used in the project, including wood, veneer, laminate, hinges, decorative accessories, etc.: DARK PEAR Woodgrain Melamine proved to be the best material to work with as the installation was an ever evolving process. Panels were 1.125" thick and all other items were .75". All had a soft, beveled edge to mimic natural wood edging. Covering all walls, columns, some ceilings and the stairwell was best done with a product that was consistent in nature and color throughout the entire room. Heated Marble floors and Marble island top were provided by others. Light fixture chosen by homeowner. Accessories include double-tiered jewelry drawers with locks, drawer dividers, lucite shelf dividers, folding ironing board, tilt-out hampers, slide-out pants hangers, slide-out valet, tie and belt racks, safety mirror inserts, LED lights. Full extension, soft-close, ball-bearing slides and soft close hinges are also included.
Describe any design challenges, i.e. obstructions, etc.: Design challenges 1. A variety of heights throughout both the upstairs and the downstairs due to existing structural requirements affected the positioning of the units and required customization of the top shelves within those units. 2. Two support columns that were required to remain, neither of which were positioned symmetrically or adjacent to other items were clad in melamine to reduce distraction. 3. The walkway on the second floor determined that the height of the first floor closet area was only 84" finished which is challenging for double hanging. 4. Although the overall feeling of the area was spacious due to the two story open structure, the foot print of the first floor was not huge and had to be maximized in order to provide the owners with adequate everyday function. 5. "Must have" for him: a heavy-duty, easy-access space for the frequent traveler to pack his very heavy hanging travel bags quickly and easily. Homeowner did not want a pull-out Valet rod for the task. 6. "Must have" for her: a fabulous display area for her Designer Bag collection.
7. A large island was requested to include as many drawers as possible so that the first floor could house all everyday needs, a tilt-out hamper and hidden ironing board. The top of the island mimicked the marble on the floor. The island utilized 4 sets of 24 wide x 24 deep drawers and Deco Panels were installed on the ends for a finished look. 8. As much as possible, all areas including the first floor ceiling were to be covered in the Dark Pear melamine to provide a clean, built-in, custom look to the entire area. Ultimately that included cladding the fascia, ceiling and columns on the first floor as well as the angled ceilings upstairs and all of the connecting walls between the two floors. In addition the heavy duty braces for the glass upper railing were covered by melamine for the simple clean look the client wanted. 9. One upper unit was designed to disguise the air intake vent which the owner did not want to see but which needed to be open for airflow. A door was placed in front of that unit with a top shelf that was notched and edged so air can flow yet remain outside of view. 10. The double-door unit on the top floor is 24" deep and holds evening wear. The back wall of that unit contains a double door that looks like backing yet provides disguised access to the attic behind it. The attic houses the lifting mechanism for the adjacent bathroom chandelier below so it can be lowered for cleaning.
11. The stairwell area was also completely covered in melamine to continue the overall custom look. 12. Multiple plan revisions were done prior to and during the installation process which lasted almost three weeks. The homeowner remained very involved in the process and once he became aware of the skills of both the designer and most importantly the installer, the requests for special items became more frequent. All of the special touches are impossible to note in detail and unfortunately limited photos don't do it justice.
Was the design created by hand or software program? If software program, which one did you use?: Both hand and software KCDW software
Describe the installation process and any challenges.: To say the installation process was challenging is an understatement! Only a few top installers could have handled it and we were lucky enough to have one of the best in David Ayush. The basic downstairs units were installed first, followed by the upstairs units. This was especially difficult because the stairs were not yet installed. Upstairs melamine was also applied to the slanted ceilings above the units. All other fascia and columns were covered in custom cut and edged melamine. Installation was done with minimal use of screws in sight by utilizing special glue and small nails. The complete cladding of the two story stairwell was a challenge in itself due to the significant size of the melamine pieces needed.
Winners will be announced April 9 during a gala awards reception at the 2014 Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo at the Hotel Somerset-Bridgewater. Visit cabinetsandclosetsexpo to register for the event. Voting for the People's Choice award is still open. Visit the Top Shelf Design Awards gallery to pick your favorite project.
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