A Panel of Top Designers Gives the Scoop on All Things Luxury Closets
Learn about must-haves, current trends, and even a celebrity's custom project.
Having a luxury closet is as important as having a spa-like bathroom for those who want their most intimate environment to be organized and relaxing. While it may not be a place with tons of foot traffic, it’s somewhere you spend precious wellness moments each day. From getting ready in the morning to selecting just the right look for a special event to unwinding before bed.
That being said, there are nuances to creating showstopping closets that also bring high functionality. California Closets knows all about this as the number one closet company in the industry, specializing in everything custom.
Their client list counts discerning homeowners from coast to coast, including celebrity broker Ryan Serhant. Now, you can gain exclusive insight into the brand’s expertise as a panel of California Closets designers answers all our questions about luxury closet trends, unique requests, Serhant’s project, and more.
In your opinion, what are must-haves for a luxurious closet?
Jennifer Zuckerman: From a functional standpoint, a luxurious closet has room for a client’s current wardrobe and then some room to grow. I also love a dedicated space for jewelry and accessories. These items can often clutter an area, so being able to put them away in an organized manner is key to a luxurious experience. If you want to take your closet to the next level of luxury, I would add integrated LED lighting, and other aesthetic touches you don’t see in everyday spaces. For example, more substantial, richer-looking material, or bringing the closet to the ceiling for that custom built-in look.
Marie Zeek: Lighting, thicker material, and drawer organizer accessories are must-haves! Lighting creates a luxurious feel no matter how simple the space is. Also, choosing our thicker material makes your closet look more like custom millwork and packs a real punch aesthetically. Drawer divider accessories take jewelry drawers and overall storage to another level, with a variety of vegan leather and aluminum finishes to choose from.
Anytime you see a photo of our spaces on our website that catches your eye, at least one of these ‘must-haves’ will be in that photo. You often don’t know you need those details until you visualize them in your space, and then you realize it can’t be any other way.
How has luxury closet design changed in the last 10 years?
Jennifer Zuckerman: Having a custom closet, period, was a luxury in the past. You would see very functional, straightforward designs, all in one or two basic colors. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it was all very much the same from client to client and space to space; nothing extraordinarily innovative. Now, customizations and the way we think about each spatial design have changed exponentially.
We can now make 3D renderings with design software. The client doesn’t have to imagine what their space will look like, they can see it before anything goes into production. It’s pretty cool stuff. Regarding materials, the choices are plentiful these days–wood grains, a matte look, etc. We can also bring in elements of high gloss and glass that weren’t even dreamed of 10 years ago. Additionally, LED lighting has come so far. The light strips are subtle and elegant, it’s a much more modern approach than closets in the past.
Which closet design trends are growing in popularity right now and which trends are headed out?
Jennifer Zuckerman: People are investing in their space at home. I’m seeing a lot of people upgrading aesthetically, versus a function-forward approach. Also, natural wood grains are having a moment, where fewer people are using my gray tones. While we still use them quite often, I would consider them less popular than they have been in the last couple of years.
Marie Zeek: Color finishes and drawer placements are two big trends. Clients are really loving our lighter finishes. We used to see a lot of white or mahogany, but we now have so many different finish options. Clients are definitely gravitating to more natural, wood-grained looks that are primarily inspired by nature. For drawers, many clients are moving towards a more European style where they are at the bottom, giving it a very grounded feel with the hanging up high.
Danit Marabi: The biggest trend is organization! Organization and storage options for the separation of colors, clothing types, attire types, accessories, shoes, and more. That’s where California Closets and its talented designers come into the picture, making that all possible.
Many luxury homeowners gravitate towards custom. What are some unique or unexpected ways you have personalized a closet for a client?
Jennifer Zuckerman: Oh gosh, that would be a long list. To name a more mainstream ask, we’ve showcased a special piece of a client’s collection whether it be an article of clothing or an accessory. A special award or display item or even specific storage need. For a couple of the crazier ones I remember, I’ve customized secret hiding places for valuables. I’ve even customized areas for clients’ cats to hang out in the units.
Danit Marabi: This is what I love most about being a designer at California Closets. We work around you, your needs, and your challenges; everything and anything that is in your way of a dream closet. Existing molding, electrical panels, windows, heaters, and more, we find a way to make your dream come to life while making it a simple process.
What accessories and lighting do you recommend for a sleek, modern closet versus a more classic, traditional closet?
Jennifer Zuckerman: If we’re trying to go modern or sleek, we’re going with inset doors and drawers. Inset is when everything is flush and all on the same plane to give the closet a fresh, clean look. I also like to make sure the light strips are hidden, almost like the closet is “growing” light. Everything should be subtle and minimal. Whereas a traditional client likes things a bit more “designed” or clunkier. They would focus on hardware, and probably lean towards a darker finish.
Celebrity broker Ryan Serhant, who has seen tons of high-end homes throughout his career, tapped California Closets to create all the closets for his family’s six-story Brooklyn townhouse. What was it like working with Ryan and his wife Emilia Bechrakis Serhant on the project?
Debra Russo: Working with Ryan and Emilia was a seamless process from start to finish. We began the design process using the architect’s plans since the house was under heavy construction. I first visited their NYC home to take inventory of their belongings and go over what their needs were for all their closets.
For the primary walk-in, Ryan’s priority was for all of his suits to fit comfortably while leaving space for him to buy more. They also wanted the closet divided into “his” and “hers.” Ryan and Emilia trusted me to come up with designs that were not only gorgeous but maximized their closet spaces. I added luxurious elements to the primary bedroom to make the space feel like a store. I incorporated LED lighting, glass and mirrored doors, 1” thick material, crown moldings, and leather jewelry storage.
Which California Closets’ collections are most requested these days and why? Is there anything new you can tell us about?
Danit Marabi: We have a drawer divider collection called Everstyle that’s to die for! This is the modern glam you NEED in your closet. It consists of a suede leather finish with a transparent glass face. There are versatile drawer dividers for socks, pants, shirts, sunglasses, jewelry, laundry, and more. It is modern, it is sleek, and it is the most luxurious closet style we offer.
It’s a time of waiting for many working on their homes, whether they’re just ordering a new chair for a study or remodeling an entire room. What delays or inventory issues, if any, is California Closets facing and how does that impact your role as a designer?
Jennifer Zuckerman: We’re a bit lucky regarding supply chain issues. Once our purchasing dept. realized we were going to have issues with overseas suppliers, they started sourcing (as much as they could) domestically. While we still have some supply chain issues we’re dealing with every day, our delay is more demand. It’s a good problem to have, however, it’s still tough when having to tell someone they’ll need to wait longer than they usually would for closets. We try to get clients installed quicker if possible–we’re doing everything we can on our end to decrease lead time, but I am very upfront when we start working together so clients know what to expect. It has given my clients more time to perfect their ideal design and I am with them every step of the way, so hoping it has made the wait a bit less painful for them.
Danit Marabi: California Closets plans to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic stronger than ever. Let’s be honest, the lead times on products are affecting us on a global scale. We are increasing our fabrication facilities, hiring additional staff, and doing everything in our power to reduce the time our customers wait for their installation dates. We always suggest that our clients get on the calendar as we are committed to our first come, first serve procedures. As a designer, I am with the client from initial design through installation and am committed to being there through the wait, along with my client.
What are your top tips for designing a closet for optimal organization and beauty?
Marie Zeek: Have a designated place for shoes next to the door so it is a quick and easy grab on your way out. Maximize hanging so nothing looks messy, and you get to double your storage. Depending on if you are a neat folder or not, you can leverage high sections where many usually create shelving and use it for hanging. Hanging is a lot easier to grab in a high-up section than shelving. I find that when you have a well-organized closet to fit your specific needs, it is almost automatically beautiful.
- Know what you need to store–a designer can make the space more efficient, but each client is different, so some guidance on your specific needs is key to optimizing your space.
- Always design enough space for hanging clothes. Hanging clothing is going to be the bulkiest, deepest, and hardest part of your wardrobe to hide anywhere else in your home but the closet. Prioritize hanging.
- Most adults do not adjust their shelves and poles too often. If you want to make the closet look more custom, take some of the holes out of the partitions (drill pattern for adjustability). Of course, in a utility or linen closet where needs can change, this may not make sense. In a primary closet, most clients don’t switch things around too often, so removing these holes will elevate the overall look.
- If budget is a factor, sprinkle in a few upgrades along with the standard options. Just a couple can go a long way and at California Closets there are plenty of options.
- Have fun with the process! It will make the end result that much more exciting.
With the right designers in your corner, a primary closet has the potential to be a favorite refuge–your total “me” space. So, take your time to create exactly what you’re looking for. California Closets design consultants focus on what matters most to you and your everyday living routines to help create closets that are a perfect fit.
Once your design is in place, everything is done in-house, making the process smooth and efficient. To learn more and book a consultation, visit californiaclosets.com.