Sophisticated and Cozy Closet Design
Designer Debbie Cantrell, Closets By Design, Manassas, VA.

Photo By Closets By Design, Manassas, VA

This long, narrow space with angled ceilings provided a bit of a challenge for award-winning senior designer Debbie Cantrell of Closets By Design located in Manassas, VA, but not one she couldn’t handle. After taking a look at the homeowner’s request, she designed a master closet offering sophisticated style while maintaining a cozy look and feel.

“The homeowner wanted a unique design for her dream closet that would function effortlessly but also be very welcoming,” Cantrell says. “The window at the far end provides one of her favorite views, but at over 26-feet long and almost 14-feet wide this space had the possibility of looking tunnel-like unless properly designed for a cozier feel. The angled side walls presented the next biggest challenge. Starting at only 61-inches high, they reach a final 108-inches center ceiling height.”

Using a soft palette of 1-1/8-inch-thick Antique White melamine and the right design, Cantrell says they were able to achieve the warm, boutique feel she desired. Shelves are 3/4-inches thick and they all have a soft, beveled edge for an added look of luxury.

The 24-inch deep panels on the side walls gives a measure of height that this long room needs, she adds, and the 82-inch tall panels were custom angle-cut and installed with a 3-inch top shelf for added support.
Crown moulding increases the vertical visual and mimics the ceiling slope without crowding it. Flat trim was installed where the angled panels meet the drywall to hide any drywall abnormalities and complete the finished look.

The side wall shelves are inset at 20-inches deep to enhance the boutique feel. The upper shelves create the perfect framework for displaying purses, boots and hats. The visual balance is also maintained by keeping the units adjacent to the door and those on the far end at this same height. The units on each side are equal in width so shelves can be interchanged if future needs dictate.

By enclosing the far end of the room with “wing walls/tall peninsulas,” a unique dressing room area is created near the window. The other side of these walls provides additional hanging for coats and jackets and shelves for winter scarves and hats. Ribbon lighting with diffusers on each side and across the top of the slanted shoe shelves on the closet side frame the window view and become a highlight of the design. The decorative panels on the ends of the island are repeated on the ends of these peninsulas to complete this sophisticated and stylish look.

A Place for Jewelry

The specialized jewelry cabinet, originally inspired by a colleague’s design, Cantrell notes, is ramped up with mirrored backing and motion sensor diffused ribbon lighting all around. Layered pullout jewelry trays are set back under the extended top shelf where that same diffused ribbon lighting highlights the contents as each tray is pulled out.

The beveled mirror is inset to extend all the way to the top of the unit. Black cloth inserts on the inside of the doors are trimmed with thin, flat molding to highlight the hanging necklaces.
Valet rods are used throughout the entire project to enable the client to stage her clothing choices for various events. Slideout pants racks are used for both pants and scarves on the walls adjacent to the entrance door.
Also, a folding ironing board fits in a drawer between the top and bottom racks on one side and a matching drawer holds small accessories on the other.

Lucite shelf dividers are used to display some of the client’s smaller purses. A tiltout hamper is included in the island along with 15 soft-close, full-extension drawers housing additional jewelry inserts and Lucite drawer dividers for lingerie.

To view more award-winning projects from the 2015 Top Shelf Design Awards contest, visit Look for details on the 2016 design awards contests in the upcoming months.


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About the author
Michaelle Bradford | Editor

Michaelle Bradford, CCI Media, is Editor of Closets & Organized Storage magazine and Woodworking Network editor. She has more than 20 years of experience covering the woodworking and design industry, including visits to custom cabinet shops, closet firms and design studios throughout North America. As Editor of Closets & Organized Storage magazine under the Woodworking Network brand, Michaelle’s responsibilities include writing, editing, and coordinating editorial content as well as managing annual design competitions like the Top Shelf Design Awards. She is also a contributor to FDMC and other Woodworking Network online and print media owned by CCI Media.