Skip LaBella of Closet America, Lanham, MD, is a finalist in the 2015 Top Shelf Design Awards competition with his project “Hidden Feline Passageway in a Luxury Closet” entered in the Closet: Wood more than 18 linear feet category.

Project Description: Hidden feline passageway in a luxury his-and-hers master closet.

This memorable project began, as all of our projects do, with an in-home consultation. This is when we learned that our customer wanted her custom master closet to include a hidden passageway that her cats could use to travel from the basement into the master bedroom. We got creative and designed a palatial feline-friendly space that included a steam shower and artful lighting.

Here’s how it works: The cat tunnel begins with a ladder on the basement level and climbs vertically two floors where it connects to the bottom of the master closet on the second floor. The tunnel is then partitioned off from all of the closet contents and allows the cats to exit out the back of a wardrobe unit through a cat door into the master bedroom.

Our design team built the closets from hand-selected plain sawn walnut flitches laid-up on ¾” MDF. We used a valence to conceal uplighting at the top of the units, and doors to conceal (and provide access to) the cat tunnel. We added tasteful motion-activated interior lighting under every shelf and built a removable back panel into the shallow tie unit to hide and provide convenient access to the steam shower. To top it all off, we stocked this luxury closet with jewelry trays, laundry hampers, tilted shoe shelving, tie racks, belt racks, mirrors, and valet rods.

This closet project was a beautiful and complex puzzle, hiding a cat tunnel, steam shower, and lighting while emphasizing and matching intricate wood grain patterns.

Project Construction Details: This unique custom his-and-hers closet was created for a contemporary new construction home. The closet is separated by a linen wardrobe and contains a cat tunnel that keeps the cats away from clothes. Every walnut veneer flitch was hand-selected and then book-matched for installation.

Materials Used: Walnut Veneer on MDF, Blum Tandem under mount slides, Blum soft close hinges, Tie Racks, Belt Racks, Laundry Hampers, Xenon Lighting

Equipment and/or Software Used: Beam Saw, Edge Bander, CNC

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