April 2, 2012

Organize Your Clothes With The Help Of A Professional

Today’s storage solutions offer space-saving drawers for everything, including belts.

BY PATRICK LANSTON

Does it look like a hurricane ripped through your bedroom closet, rampaged into the mud room and exited by the front door, turning the foyer closet into a jumble sale in the process? Professional help in the form of a custom closet company could be your salvation. Hiring one isn’t cheap, but there are ways to save money. Here’s what we discovered about costs, options and processes.

The bottom line

Companies that design, build and install systems based on your specific space and needs won’t cite exact prices without seeing your home. Understandable, since every case is unique: Do you want basic white melamine shelves or solid wood? Built-in drawers? LED lights? We Do Closets (wedoclosets.ca), an Ontario-based custom design closet company, says $100 to $200 a square foot is standard. “A master bedroom closet with bells and whistles, like good drawers and angled shoe systems, will cost $3,000 to $4,000,” says owner Dave Skinner. A foyer closet, he says, typically runs $800 to $1,500 while a mud room can be $2,000 or more.

Cheryl Adams, senior designer with the Ottawa branch of California Closets (californiaclosets.com), says you won’t get anything for less than $500 and the sky’s the limit. A walk-in closet usually starts at $2,500, though she’s done them for $1,500 to $30,000. She adds that designing mud room and foyer closets can be complicated because, unlike those in bedrooms, they have to meet the needs of all family members.

Controlling costs

The pros say to always insist on top quality — you want this thing to still look good and work well in 10 years, after all — but start to simply if cost is an issue. Features such as valet rods, an extendable device that temporarily holds a piece of clothing while you are packing or dressing, and swing-out mirrors are great, but can be added any time to a well-designed closet. If you do have endless cash and space, a closet designer can find a use for both.

How about a closet with a centre island and drawers, a built-in microwave, espresso machine and bar fridge because the kitchen’s just too far away. Extras that are more in keeping with the average budget include pull-down clothes rods. For around $300, including installation, they take advantage of the nine-foot ceilings that many condos and some homes now sport. They are especially useful for wheelchair users.

What to expect

Most custom cabinet companies offer a free in-home consultation to assess your space, expectations and budget and provide an estimate. As with any renovation, you should decide exactly how much money you want to spend ahead of time. Allow an extra five to 10 per cent in case you want to add features to the basic plan. Some companies custom-manufacture the system to fit your needs; others work with pre-built, customizable components.

The DIY option

Home Depot’s selection includes the John Louis Home system starting at $369. Designed for walk-in closets up to 10 feet wide, it includes wood shelves and hanging space. Ikea’s Stolmen line, starting at $346, features a steel clothes rod and painted fibreboard/ particleboard shelves and chests.

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