HARDWARE HUNTING

Creating the closet of your dreams comes with a lot of choices (well, you want it to be perfect, don’t you?!). One of the decisions I discuss with my clients is whether they want handles, knobs or even decorative hardware on dressers, drawers and cabinets. Several factors go into selecting which hardware is optimal. The decision usually comes down to the closet, drawer and door styles, as well as personal preference from a functionality standpoint. So how do you know what’s best for your closet?  


If you lean towards modern design, sleek pulls or knobs will bring you the most hardware happiness. Buster & Punch offers chic black knobs and pull bars, while Ochre’s wrapped leather handles blend modern with masculine. Klodea’s Ile collection of creatively curved handles and knobs are another cool, contemporary choice. 


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If you like traditional aesthetics, you might want to opt for a more decorative solution! Often, traditional closets will even incorporate two round knobs per drawer. Anthropologie has plentiful options, like these Eva Mother-of-Pearl knobs and these Simmered Glass knobs. For a modern take that still embraces tradition, Schoolhouse’s brass Hive knobs are ideal. Incorporate well-crafted materials that exhibit a real attention to detail, and your closet will come to life!


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If your sensibility skews a little more playful or feminine, a great way to bring a bit of whimsy into your space is via hardware. Nest Studio’s peacock pull, green glaze knob and red handle all add a fun style statement. 


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Some clients prefer minimal or no hardware at all (especially those with longer nails). Pull tabs, like these leather ones from Walnut Studio, blend with cabinetry. Another option is touch latch hardware, which makes the process of opening and closing a drawer discreet and as simple as a light push. Amazon and Home Depot have plentiful options, but custom pieces can be created with these pulls already incorporated.


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And, if you’re looking for a total overhaul, consider switching out the other hardware elements in your dressing room! Anything from clothing rods to valet hooks and door stoppers can be upgraded to give an instantly more custom appearance!


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SWEATER SEASON

It may feel like we’re in the heat of summer here in LA, but sweater weather is just around the corner! As we get ready to trade tank tops for turtlenecks, I thought I’d share a few tips to best store and preserve your most reliable cold-weather wardrobe staple.

I get asked a lot about hanging vs. folding sweaters and the answer is...it depends! Some fabrics like cashmere, wool, and angora can stretch when hung, so it’s best to fold any sweaters made from these materials if space permits. I also recommend sorting folded knits by weight. Always place the heavier items on the bottom and work up until the lightest knits are on the top. Another hack is to place lavender or eucalyptus sachets near sweaters to repel insects and keep the garments fresh (especially since sweaters should be washed or dry cleaned minimally). 

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If you’re going to hang knits, it’s best to use sweater hangers. They curve at at the ends, ensuring sweaters drape naturally and you don’t end up with dimpled or creased shoulders. Alternatively, you can fold a sweater in half lengthwise and drape it over a wide bamboo hanger or open, non-slip pant hanger (bonus points for putting tissue between the sweater and the hanger!). 

Sometimes hanging, folding on a shelf, or even stashing in a drawer isn’t an option. When you’re dealing with more delicate pieces, consider a leather storage box or sweater bags. The Container Store offers a few good options, including these natural cotton/PEVA storage bags (superior to plastic) and these convenient drop-front sweater boxes

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Now that you know some of my favorite sweater storage solutions, let’s explore a few of the season’s best knits. 

Leopard print knits are on the prowl this fall.  From classic black and brown combos to punchy pink variations to goes-with-everything gray options, feline is fall’s fiercest motif. 

Turtlenecks are in high demand this fall and that includes sweater styles. Whether chunky or tailored, neck-covering knits are a seasonal staple. Pro tip: When folding turtleneck sweaters be sure to tuck the collar into the fold to best preserve its shape. 

In this season’s sea of grungy and goth-inspired styles, the Fair Isle print, full of cheer and nostalgia, adds a feminine touch in a variety of colorways. 

If you’re looking for a more modern way to make the most of sweater season, check out some of my favorite fitted knit bodysuits! These are the perfect solution for creating a polished or professional look while keeping cozy.

CLOSET COLOR STORY

One of the first design decisions I work through with my clients is their closet color!

You’d think on the surface this would be fairly straightforward. But, the reality is, there are a bazillion colors to choose from! Though many naturally gravitate towards neutral tones like white, blush, champagne and grey in an effort to create a clean palette, there are so many slight variations, this process can take awhile! So, unless you have a very clear vision, selecting the perfect hue can be a headache.

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Perhaps that’s why I partnered with Portola Paints to develop a custom color, “Closet Cashmere,” for  my closet. I rely on Portola Paints, along with Valspar and Benjamin Moore to source the precise paint color that’s right for a project. Once we nail that down, a lot of the other design details fall into place. 

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Beyond paint, wallpaper continues to be a favorite medium in which to give closets depth, personality and whimsy through color. From a traditional Hermès print, like what I did on my dressing room ceiling, to beautiful butterfly motifs to feminine florals to ombré, there’s no limit to how wallpaper can give a closet a playful punch of color!

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Whitney Port was one of my first clients to integrate wallpaper into her closet with a banana leaf print inspired by the Beverly Hills Hotel and it still remains one of my favorite wallpaper executions! 

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With both the use of paint and wallpaper, as well as carpet, we’re seeing the trend of people going bolder and brighter with their dressing room, even if it’s just used in a small part of the space. At one point, using a pink shade was considered brazen or reserved for a girl’s closet; now, it’s pretty much a neutral and a consistent client favorite. We’ve used blue hues (in boys’ closets and beyond, including a blue carpet!), a purple-grey in Monique Lhuillier’s closet, deep red-brown in Jaime King’s dressing room and pops of yellow in Tyra Banks’ space.

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My next color goal? I would love to design more soft blue and green color closets and have it be seen as a “neutral.”

TREND SPOTLIGHT: ACRYLIC

I’ve gained a real appreciation for acrylic recently. It’s become increasingly clear that it’s one of, if not the most, versatile materials to work with. It feels light, doesn’t add any weight or clutter, and gives the feel of natural lighting all while creating the illusion of a larger space.  Because it’s transparent, it can be used in any style of the home or closet by mixing or layering it with other pieces and aesthetics. And, that’s just what I’ve been doing in a few recent projects. While I’ve incorporated acrylic accents over the years, I’ve been using the material more and more -- from hanging rods to lighting panels and seating to shelf dividers! So, what’s next? Who knows...maybe I’ll get to design an acrylic island one of these days! 

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Accessories -- If you’re not ready to commit to acrylic’s contemporary, colorless aesthetic in a large format, adding an acrylic accessory is a great way to test the look. Try a mirror, tray, hangers or shelf to satisfy your appetite for acrylic without a huge investment. 

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Dividers -- I love introducing clients to shelf dividers, and acrylic ones are especially useful since they’re see-through. These from the LA Closet Design shop are durable, long lasting, and easy to use.  Whether dividing purses or sweaters, these attractive and versatile dividers are the ultimate space-saver. 

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Hanging Rods and Hardware -- I’ve been incorporating acrylic hang rods -- like in Ali Fedotowsky’s baby’s closet -- and handles in more and more projects, and they add just the right amount of modernity. While hang rods are best handled by a professional, you can easily swap out your drawers’ hardware for acrylic handles and knobs

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Seating -- We created the chicest vanity area for Jessi Malay using an acrylic chair and I’ve been inspired to continue using acrylic seating when the project allows. I’m crrently obsessed with Weiman Home ottomans like the Asher and the Mira styles, as well as Hélène Aumont’s Arthur Bench with Mongolian fur for a little extra glam.

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STEP UP YOUR STEPLADDER GAME

Closets come in all shapes and sizes. So, when I’m designing closets that have a height advantage, I like to optimize the verticality of the space, especially if there are other capacity constraints.  That means pieces of a client’s wardrobe can be six, seven, eight or more feet high off the ground. To help clients reach their items that hover high above their heads, I bring in one of my favorite closet accessories -- a step stool! Traditionally, step stools are considered pedestrian and unexciting; but, but over the years I’ve found some pretty sexy stools in a variety of aesthetics that do their job and look good, too! Here are a few of my current favorites.


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Tom Dixon Screw Stool -- This clever stool features a cast iron tripod base with a wider footprint for optimal stability, making it great for grabbing a hard-to-reach handbag or sitting to put on shoes.  

UZIT Stepladder -- Chic chair meets elegant step stool, making this the ultimate statement-making accessory to accompany a well-designed dressing room. 

Ultraslim Aluminum Step Stool 2 Step -- Lightweight, compactable and portable, this stool works as well in the closet as it does in the kitchen.


Lucano 3 Step Ladder    --  This sleek stool has won numerous awards and it's easy to see why with its Japanese design, contemporary aluminum craftsmanship and hidden fasteners.

Lucano 3 Step Ladder -- This sleek stool has won numerous awards and it's easy to see why with its Japanese design, contemporary aluminum craftsmanship and hidden fasteners.


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Dragonette The Social Climber Lucite Step Stool -- Though this is on the pricier side, the stylish stool is as much a piece of art as it is a height-helper! 

Ikea BEKVÄM Step Stool -- A good step stool doesn’t need to be complicated and this one proves even a simple stool can fit effortlessly into a designer closet.

Kartell Upper Stool -- Available in a range of colors, and blending form and function, this modern stool elevates a closet (and you!).  

Schoolhouse Utility Step Stool -- A small but mighty stool, I appreciate its retro and industrial design, and versatility. 


Step stools aren’t the only way to gain elevation in a closet; built-in designs like a pull-out cabinet that you can stand on or concealed space for a stool offer a leg up on standard closet cabinetry!

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CLOSET TRANSFORMATION: BEFORE + AFTER

DRAB TO FAB

While we all love to drool over the fabulous finished product of a closet makeover, we rarely get to see the full transformation from drab to fab! As such, I decided to dip into the archives to pull together a full before-and-after breakdown of one of our favorite projects. Hopefully, by showing where the homeowner went wrong, and where we found potential to bring new life to the space, you’ll be inspired to see the endless possibilities for your own closet!


MAXIMUM EFFICIENCY

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No matter how large or small, it’s important for every client to get as much use of the space as possible! In the case of this project, clearly the closet was bursting at the seams… More than that, everything was visible - including the closet clutter no one needs to see. By creating a closed cabinet for these items above the clothing, we were able to tuck away many of these lesser used items, without sacrificing valuable storage space for clothes and accessories!


CUSTOM CORNERS

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Perhaps the most common closet mistake is not making use of corners. Before, the client had clothes stuffed in tiny corner compartments with insufficient lighting. After, we were able to transform the scale of the space with more substantial cabinetry and custom corner rods (contact us for more info!). This way, the client didn’t have to fumble around and reach into dark dreary corners for her clothes. Instead, everything is easily accessible. We even created a custom corner shoe display to make her stylish footwear a glamorous focal point!


BOUTIQUE DISPLAY

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Before the renovation, many of the client’s handbags and clutches were getting crammed into shallow shelves and suffering wrinkles and wear! By organizing her bags by size/type, and incorporating custom glass dividers, we were able to keep the bags protected against color transfer and scuffs, without sacrificing space to separate the bags! Storing these items sideways is always a major space-saver.


LET YOUR SHOES SHINE

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In the old closet, the client’s shoes were stored in standard adjustable shelves. The cabinet width wasn’t considered, and pairs were fighting for shelf space! Her heels were cluttered, no matter how high end, and her flats/sandals were stuffed into vertical hanging cubbies. As part of the redesign, we gave the flats a designated area, which gave us the room to spread out her shoes and show them off! A glamorous antiqued mirror backing helped to elevate this area as a major focal point of the design.


FOCUS ON THE POSITIVE

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Every space has its limitations… but with that, every space also has many opportunities! Step number one in any redesign is to really decide what you like about the space, and where you want to make the biggest statement. For this client, the window was a wonderful opportunity to ground the space and create a luxurious landing space. Her existing closet was falling very short, without enough surface area or storage to really make use of this feature!


NO DIRTY LITTLE SECRETS

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Creating a beautiful closet isn’t just about designing an elegant and enviable display of designer goods! It’s also about making every part of dressing more functional and enjoyable. Attention to detail should always extend to the areas of the closet you can’t see on the surface! Underwear drawers, swimwear, lingerie, and athleisure should all be given room to breathe — this will leave you looking and feeling your best no matter the occasion!


PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENTS

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Not all jewelry drawers are created equal! As part of designing for our discerning clients, we take a complete inventory of the items to be included. For this reason, one of the areas that requires the greatest attention to detail is the jewelry drawer. No one wants to untangle a necklace or search for an earring mate as they’re throwing on the finishing touch for an outfit. Instead, we like to create compartments that are tailored to the needs of each client — and always include at least one locked drawer for safekeeping!

DESIGNER'S DREAM CLOSET

Drum roll, please...I couldn’t be more excited to reveal one of my most exciting projects to date: MY OWN closet and dressing room! It’s taken me two years to create the master closet and dressing room of my dreams.  Just like a wedding planner’s own wedding, there’s a certain amount of pressure that comes with executing for yourself what you’ve spent years doing for others. 

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I approached the space with a strong design direction, but most importantly I wanted to ensure the end result felt like me, was a reflection of my personal taste and would be timeless. I drew inspiration from a number of places including past client projects, my favorite luxury boutiques and hotels, and, as crazy as it might sound, a Holly Hunt chair that I absolutely fell in love with and became central to the design! I also wanted to be the guinea pig for new ideas and design elements, while still embracing the history and heritage of a formal dressing room.

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Outside of the beautiful chair, I started with the color of the space; I wanted it to be special and also work in harmony with my home’s decidedly neutral palette. In order to achieve the exact hue -- a very soft blush with champagne tones -- I partnered with Portola Paints to develop a custom color, “Closet Cashmere.” The feminine, classic shade is stunning and, in fact, now available for sale! 

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In order to balance the feminine undertone of the paint color, I added some bold design elements like a geometric LED brass light fixture and retail-style hang rods, which collide to create interesting architectural and design moments that work in tandem. When the light fixture is lit, the light plays off the rods beautifully.  

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I also wanted to play with texture and mixing materials in the closet and dressing room, and I’m so in love with the shimmery wallpaper I incorporated. Wallpaper is an easy and economical way to dress up a space and add dimension. In the master closet, I opted for Hermès wallpaper on the ceiling! Even though it’s a subtle touch, every time I look at my walls (or ceiling), I smile.   

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A modern closet wouldn’t be exciting without a few clever hacks, right? I love incorporating mirror backs in my designs because it adds a transparent dimension that doesn’t feel “heavy” and makes the space feel bigger.  I used a bronze mirror behind my shoes to achieve this look that has been a reliable design staple for my clients. I also added boot trees to my boots to keep them standing vertical and looking organized. Rather than having a hamper be an eyesore and take up space, I created a hidden built-in hamper. And, I have a biometric locks (it’s very James Bond!). 

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There’s so much I truly love about my feminine, edgy, modern dressing room, but my favorite part is my shoe wall!  It’s no secret that my philosophy is to see everything at first glance and when I can see every shoe, it allows me to have fun getting dressed in the morning and I can really style to the best of my inventory.   I also love that the space is a “dressing room”— an actual space where I can sit and enjoy a cup of coffee while checking emails, stage outfits for a trip, and plan my look for the day.  

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GET THE LOOK

For those interested in achieving a similar closet design aesthetic, I’m spilling where I procured some of the key pieces used in my dressing room, along with a few similar styles. Happy closet designing! 


Hardware -- I liked the idea of bringing in a modular, Mid-Century sensibility to balance out some of the more modern elements and these bronze Nest Studio Collection handles worked perfectly! 

Lighting -- I knew I wanted a statement light fixture that was contemporary and worked stylistically with the gold hang rods. This floating LED box fixture with gold frame I purchased from Info Lighting added the perfect touch! 

Rug -- Rugs can add so much effortless style to a space, even if you have carpet. I gravitated toward the Marca from Restoration Hardware because it was understated, yet pulled together the entire space. 

Seating -- My minimal and modern Holly Hunt chair was a splurge (and so worth it!), but there are definitely similarly chic styles available at a more approachable price point. I love drinking my morning coffee and planning my look for the day while sitting in it. 

Wall Mirror -- An obvious closet essential is a great mirror and I fell in love with this oversized one with an antique brass border from West Elm. It really bridges the timeless and modern aesthetic seamlessly. 


BEHIND THE SCENES

Keep scrolling for a behind the scenes look at the makeover and installation!


WELL-DESIGNED WEEKEND GETAWAYS

Who else loves a well designed hotel room that invites you to luxuriate in style and feel right at home at the same time? I recently stayed at Rosewood Miramar in Montecito and was extremely impressed with the overall design, and specifically the room. I have stayed in thought-out rooms before, but Miramar incorporated all the creature comforts I personally would think of when designing a room that makes you feel welcome --  multiple electrical outlets and USB ports at each nightstand, a spacious closet with luggage stand and hamper, a hat shelf and a safe -- all while creating a space that feels stylish and sophisticated. The only items missing in my mind were pull-out valet hooks and custom inserts in at least one drawer for intimates. 

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My experience at Miramar got me thinking about some of the new Southern California hotels that are fusing high design with ultimate function. Here are a few standouts: 


1 West Hollywood -- The first West Coast outpost from 1 Hotels,  the newly opened West Hollywood hotspot is located on Los Angeles’ famous Sunset Strip. Designed by Starwood's in-house designer,  Tony Machado, natural materials and lots of light offer a sense of rustic nature set against an urban backdrop. With sustainable luxury as its differentiating design factor, the hotel has thought of everything to ensure quality design and wellness are at the forefront -- from the reclaimed wood hangers in the closets to carpets fabricated from repurposed plastics found in the ocean to chalk slates that replace notepads. The dog-friendly hotel even has Shinola dog beds!

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Hotel Figueroa -- First opened in 1926, the historic hotel recently underwent a restoration, reimagined by the talented team at Studio Collective. Embracing its original Spanish Colonial sensibility with wood beams, tiles and archways, yet modernized with bold wallpaper, updated furniture and decorative accents like art produced by local female artists, the hotel is a hip haven for locals and travelers alike.  

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The Hoxton -- Set to open in September, the burgeoning hotel chain is bringing its retro-inspired accommodations to the Los Angeles Railway Authority building in DTLA. Tiled ceilings will dangle above chevron-style timber flooring and rattan headboards, while copper and brass accents will punctuate the accommodations. With The Hoxton’s parent company, Ennismore, and SoHo House joining efforts, the full result is sure to be memorable.  

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Hotel Joaquin -- Just off the famous PCH across from the Pacific Ocean in Laguna Beach, Hotel Joaquin offers a refreshing take on laid-back coastal décor. Designed by Studio Robert McKinley (of Montauk's The Surf Lodge fame), the hotel’s timeless and playful aesthetic is inspired by St. Barths, 1950s Southern California beach culture, and the Mediterranean coast. Each guestroom boasts customized furniture, one-of-a-kind vintage pieces (including vinyl record players that replace TVs), and curated artwork, while the bathrooms feature monolithic imported stone adorned with solid brass fixtures. Just like its sister property in Palm Springs, Korakia Pensione, this is a slice of hotel heaven!

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The Proper -- Located in Santa Monica, the latest outpost for the chic boutique hotel chain marries modern with Art Deco. Designed by the inimitable Kelly Wearstler, the hotel’s aesthetic reflects the local coastline’s organic textures and tones in the most welcoming way.  Abundant sunlight? Check. Ocean breezes? Check. Specially designed furniture to fit the room's curves? Check! Not to mention, signature Proper beds wrapped with Bellino and Fili D’oro linens. Divine! 

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A couple other design-driven hotels I’m looking forward to checking out are the West Hollywood EDITION (opening September 2019) and The Pendry West Hollywood (opening 2020).

INVESTING IN YOUR CLOSET

Did you know closets are often deal breakers for buyers purchasing a home? Buyers will turn down their dream home if it doesn’t have a closet/closets that meets their needs, while a well-designed closet can persuade buyers to pull the trigger on a home that might not be what they were looking for. Today’s homebuyers want more than a master bedroom; they want a spacious suite where they can retreat. And, with that comes a well-executed walk-in closet. 

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A 2019 Kiplinger’s story says that walk-in closets are “quickly gaining in popularity among first- and second-time homebuyers, according to a 2018 NAHB survey that focused on new buyers. A walk-in closet in the master bedroom ranked among their top five features.” Also, according to Maria Zamora, a realtor associate with Realty Consultants Network quoted in the article: “Homes without a walk-in-closet in the master bedroom are more of a challenge to sell and will attract less buyers.” What it really comes down to is this - if a potential buyer is spending money on the items in their closet, they want to know those pieces will have a home with the same level of quality, where these pieces are protected and kept looking their best!

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While many of the closets I design are customized to the individual, I’m always thinking about resale value, too. Closets can have a significant impact on sellers scoring top dollar. To explore this, I spoke with a few friends who have a pulse on LA real estate about how important closets are in today’s housing market:  


How do closets create added value in a home?


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It seems like there is never enough storage space in homes. By maximizing as much space as possible, especially any customization, is sure to add value to any home. -- Todd Kraines (Compass) @tkraines


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 It is about selling a lifestyle in an Instagram world. With designer-done luxury closets…You are definitely selling a lifestyle and everything that goes along with it.  These new luxury closets come stocked with: TVs, home office, jewelry vaults, vanities, cosmetic refrigerators, coffee makers, jewelry drawers, living rooms, offices and of course dressing rooms. -- Rochelle Maize (Executive Director - Luxury Estates  at Nourmand & Associates) | @rochellemaizeluxuryestates


How much more interest do homes with quality closets generate?


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Definitely more. It would show to any prospective buyer that a well thought out space of their belongings will fit seamlessly. The look and feel of a non-cluttered environment gives a sense of pride of ownership. -- Todd Kraines (Compass) | @tkraines


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There are no statistics on this but I would say approximately 25%. Keep in mind it's usually the woman that makes the decision.  Her top 2 rooms are always the master closet and the kitchen! -- Rochelle Maize (Executive Director - Luxury Estates at Nourmand & Associates) | @rochellemaizeluxuryestates


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Whether you have a custom closet or one that's more conventional, getting it in tiptop shape for a home sale is essential. Here are a few easy ways to upgrade your closet if you’re gearing up to list your home:

  • De-clutter -- Nothing says “closet of my dreams” like an organized and clean space. Get rid of dry cleaning bags, color coordinate your wardrobe and put your best pieces on display. Show homebuyers they’ll have plenty of space.

  • Touch-up -- Whether it’s a fresh coat of paint or updated hardware, make your space feel fresh and welcoming.

  • Edit -- Some realtors recommend removing all personal items from a home when trying to sell it (clothes included) and others suggest leaving the wardrobe in tact. If you go with the latter, be sure to edit so the closet doesn’t seem overstuffed or disorganized. You clothes should have some breathing room.

  • Use Uniform Hangers -- One of the most distracting elements in a closet is mismatched hangers. I recommend ditching the dry cleaning and plastic hangers. Opt for slimline velvet hangers, which are a relatively economical investment that go a long way.

CREATIVE CLOSET RODS

Hanging rods may seem like one of those closet essentials that is strictly functional, and even uninspiring; but, I have news for you...hanging rods are one of the closet’s most dynamic elements! From the finish to the shape and beyond, hanging rods can be real closet heroes. 

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I’ve always thought the best closet rod inspiration comes from your favorite retailers. They often challenge the norm by using fabrics (I've seen leather!), striking colors and finishes, and various shapes that all create a unique shopping experience. Last year, Chanel created a pop-up in St. Tropez and designed a ceiling-suspended black hanging rod grid. The result was architectural and felt like an art exhibit. Balenciaga’s New York flagship store took an industrial take on rods, placing merchandise on aluminum foil-covered ceiling rods on warehouse conveyor rails. Dover Street Market, which opened last year in Los Angeles, has some of the most inventive hanging rods I’ve seen. Each designer is represented as an installation and store-in-store concept, so there’s a diverse range of rods -- from spherical shaped to cages to acrylic boxes. 

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Recreating hanging rods like these in a home closet may not always be possible; but, there are plenty of imaginative iterations. While some clients certainly want a traditional look when it comes to displaying their wardrobe (think built-in round chrome rods), more and more are willing to take risks and embrace design-driven rods. That often means playing with color -- bronze, rose gold, brass, matte black and acrylic rods give spaces a stylish pop and that reflect the owner's personal style. Beyond color, shape is another way to get creative with rods. U-shaped rods are popular with those who want to bring a boutique experience to their space. I implemented ceiling-suspended brass rods in my recently revealed closet, which adds a sophisticated sensibility to the space. Wall-mounted rods, like the ones I installed in Jessi Malay’s dressing room, are a great way to show off certain pieces or merchandise looks. 

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Hanging rods have really evolved over the years, beyond aesthetics.  LED rods are the ultimate high-tech rod, helping to illuminate your garments while also looking sleek. (You can now shop custom LED rods from us in the online boutique!) For closets with tricky corners, corner rods are a smart solution that can fit your mold to your closet's curves and add additional hanging space. Mobile rods that move up and down with the press of a button are a great option for smaller spaces that have height but not width expansion. Other options for hanging storage solutions are this innovative double hang closet rod, this contemporary clothing rack, and this clever spiral display.

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INFLUENCER CLOSETS

Ever wonder what the closets of your favorite influencers look like? I’m here to pull back the curtain to share a few projects I’ve worked on for some of the world’s top bloggers and show you a few of the elements that make them picture perfect! 

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Influencer closets, much like celebrity closets, represent what many of us dream of when we imagine the ultimate dressing room (hashtag blessed). They far exceed the basics of a traditional closet -- think gold hanging rods, spacious staging and “unboxing” areas, store-like shoe displays, and vanities. While no two influencer closets are alike (we are talking about tastemakers with strong design aesthetics, after all), they are crafted with a mission to capture the influencer’s lifestyle, embody their brand and be functional in a way that allows them to do tutorials, reveal products they’re sent, pack for trips, and, ultimately, show followers their personal style. I’m finding with influencers focusing more on their closets, people from all walks of life are being inspired and really stepping up their closet game! 

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Over the last few years I’ve worked with such influencers as: the Kardashians, Giuliana Rancic, Olivia Culpo, Brad Goreski, Chriselle Lim of The Chriselle Factor, Jessi Malay, Tania Sarin, Monica Rose, Ali Fedotowsky, and Katie LaFrance of KT the Blondie. And, I have an upcoming project with Jules Sariñana of Sincerely Jules that I can’t wait to share! 


My closet is where the magic happens, it’s my studio, the place where I organize my inspiration and bring my creative ideas to life. It is my personal archive of new, old and vintage! Each piece is a reflection of where I’ve been and there’s a story behind everything! It holds more than just clothes - it’s a trip into my world.
— Jules Sariñana - Sincerely Jules

One of the most prolific trends in influencer closets is the use of a neutral palette with glam, high-gloss touches. Chriselle, Jessi, Olivia, and Giuliana are a few influencers who opted for this aesthetic, which offers a clean and chic backdrop that allows clothes and accessories to really pop! And, it not only looks good in person, it translates well on camera. 

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Staging areas are another influencer must. Whether it’s a boutique-inspired changing room like what we created for Monica or a vignette to hang looks like Jessi’s mirrored staging space, influencers revel in having a place to play dress up -- no filter needed! 


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As a lifestyle/fashion/beauty influencer, my closet is literally part of my office where I go to piece together looks to shoot and share — looks that will inspire. So in order to do that, my closet must be inspiring and intuitive so I can quickly create cohesive looks when on the go!
— Jessi Malay

Many influencers, particularly those with a popular beauty or grooming following, like the idea of having a vanity or easy access to their products. In Jessi’s closet, I added a vanity with acrylic drawers so she can see all her skincare and makeup essentials, and she can create beauty and fashion looks in a single dressing room. Brad’s closet is part of his bathroom, so rather than try to separate the spaces, I created a seamless transition that incorporates the bathroom’s storage space and mirrors, making it feel like one large lifestyle space to get ready.

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Shoes and bags are the real showstoppers in many influencers’ wardrobes, so one of my goals is always to spotlight them and give them the attention they deserve! Monica, Olivia and Tania have enviable footwear and purse collections, and they wanted a way to properly display them, almost like artwork. To accomplish this, I designed builtin shelving, in some instances, at different heights in order to accommodate the varying bag and shoe heights. Now, they’re ready for their #shelfie! 

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My closet is an integral part of my life. It’s not only part of my job but it’s also a place where I find inspiration and confidence. I start my day in my closet and end my day there!
— Chriselle Lim - The Chriselle Factor

Final touches -- whether feminine, statement-making or original -- are what make influencer closets especially Instagramable (and double-tap worthy!). In Ali’s baby closet, the gold and Lucite hang bars took the space from ordinary to extraordinary! Similarly, Tania’s gold hang bars, coupled with the modern black and gold light fixture are truly style statements. Meanwhile, Monica’s multifaceted 1800-square-foot industrial-meets-minimal space that serves as a closet, studio and office is a sight to be seen, in large part because of its jaw-dropping size. 

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CLOSET CORNERS

Corners in any room can be a tricky design challenge…

…but they can seem especially complicated in closets. So how do you maximize the space in your closet when you’re dealing with annoying angles?

Here are five of my favorite hacks for how to handle closet corners!

Carousels  -- If you want to use that awkward closet corner to store more hanging garments, then a carousel is a good way to go. The stylish spiral storage solution rotates 360 degrees and allows for hanging items all the way around, making it not only functional, but eye-catching, too! You can purchase one like this or have it custom created.

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Lazy Susan -- We often think of lazy susans as a kitchen accessory, but they’re an excellent closet corner hack, too! Perfect for storing shoes or bags, a closet lazy susan operates in a similar fashion as a kitchen one where you can rotate it, revealing one side. In most cases a lazy susan needs to be custom built to fit the exact measurements of your space.

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Rods -- If your closet hanging rods stop short of the corner, it’s possible to find specially made corner rods, like this one from Home Depot, which curves and attaches between two impression towers to fit in a corner space.  Another option for added hanging space using rods is to customize them to fit precisely. We’re big fans of the LED hanging rods! This additional hanging space helps ensure your pieces aren't crammed and have some extra breathing room.

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Shelves -- If your closet corner is large enough, installing shelving might be the most efficient solution. Home Depot has plenty of options, but shelves can also be customized. Additional shelving can be used for holding folded garments like sweaters and jeans to housing shoes and handbags. They’re also great for showcasing framed photos, plants and memorabilia.

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Three-Way Mirror --  Mirrors have many uses beyond just giving yourself a once over before heading out the door; they can add instant style to a space and also make a room appear bigger. And, a three-way mirror in the closet corner checks all the boxes! Now, all you have to do is decide what style you prefer -- classic art deco,  contemporary with LED lighting,  hip and industrial or sleek and modern. You can also create a 3-way effect using mirrored doors in the closet, providing additional hidden storage behind!

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DESIGNER DIGS

CLOSET STYLING TIPS FROM TOP INTERIOR DESIGNERS

We all know the devil is in the details! This has never been more true than in the case of the closet - a space made up entirely of an attention to detail. Good styling can take any space from drab to fab and the closet is no exception. A beautiful closet relies on good styling to inject a client’s personality, and to tie the space into the rest of the home as an extension of the living space. I always promote the idea of treating the closet in the same way as you would any other room in the home! For that reason, I thought it would be fun to turn one of our projects over to a few top designers — to get their take on the endless possibilities for dressing up a dressing room!


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The designer lineup includes four of the industry’s top tastemakers! They were all given the same task — to translate the design language of the dressing room pictured here into a palette of accessories and materials that could take the closet up a notch.

See and shop their stylish picks below:


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Georgia Tapert Howe chose to inject her design sensibilities through a soft, yet luxurious palette of accessories. Georgia specializes in residential interiors that combine a classic elegance with a modern twist and a youthful practicality. Her palette includes a simply glamorous oval-shaped crystal fixture and an alpaca rug. At the vanity, she opts for a chic little pouf with a brass base, a silver accessory tray, and a colorful floral arrangement!

GEORGIA TAPERT HOWE

GEORGIA TAPERT HOWE



Bennett Leifer blends sophisticated color palettes, historical references and whimsical concepts to create uniquely tailored homes for his clients. The firm is known for its livable, elegant and artful interiors. This is clearly embodied by his colorfully eclectic palette — incorporating a playful wall covering, and a luxe blue velvet vanity chair. Accented by a bold brass light fixture and a glamorous green rug, Bennett’s palette injects instant personality and immediately elevates the space!


BENNETT LEIFER

BENNETT LEIFER



Adam Hunter is a force in the Los Angeles design community. After years of leading roles under the bright lights, Hunter shifted his passion for drama and spectacle beyond the stage to designing extraordinary interiors across the country. Adam’s palette takes a modern, subdued approach, incorporating a cool range of colors and an intriguing series of textures. He incorporates an ombré roman shade at the window, a patterned area rug, and a petite side chair at the vanity (which he would powder-coat to incorporate in the closet). Love the subtlety he sees for the space!


ADAM HUNTER

ADAM HUNTER



Kristine Kamenstein of Jackson Paige Interiors takes a characteristically refined, sculptural approach to the space. She opts for a satin brass finish throughout, which she accents with a simple side chair. She incorporates contrasting black accessories and a bold green rug (the same chosen by Bennett Leifer!) to bring a little life to the dressing room. The soft lines of a tufted pouf add a feminine touch to the room, while a markedly modern pendant hangs above the island!

KRISTINE KAMENSTEIN

KRISTINE KAMENSTEIN



Make sure you check out all the designers who participated, and show some love! Let us know some of your favorite ways to accessorize in the comments below!


TREND SPOTLIGHT: MAXIMALISM

If ‘over-the-top’ sums up your style, 2019 is your year!

One of this year’s top trends is maximalism (aka the opposite of minimalism). Maximalism is an explosion of textures, fabrics, colors, time periods and styles. Basically, an amalgamation of excess and emotion! Check out these Instagram accounts to acquaint yourself with the decadent design trend: Matthew Williamson, Sasha Bikoff Interior Design, Marcie Kobernus, Michelle Nussbaumer and Cabana Magazine.

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I’ve worked with clients who purposely want to downsize and prefer minimalistic design to simplify their lives, but more often than not, we celebrate maximalism (sorry, Marie Kondo)!  In a way, our closets are inherently based on maximalism because we are housing so many diverse items in one space. But, if you want to add an extra dose of decadence to your closet, here are a few ways to incorporate maximalism into your dressing room:

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Add artwork -- Artwork is a key element in maximalism and it’s a great opportunity to experiment with the trend. Gallery walls are one of the most popular ways to incorporate maximalism art, but you can also opt for a large bold piece like this Moglea print or elaborate frame like this baroque-inspired one to accompany a painting.

Design by Philip Nimmo (@philipnimmo) | Photo courtesy of Roger Davies Photography (@rogerdaviesphotography)

Design by Philip Nimmo (@philipnimmo) | Photo courtesy of Roger Davies Photography (@rogerdaviesphotography)

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Layer...a lot -- More is more with maximalism and what better way to achieve that than by mixing patterns, colors and textures? Rather than sticking to a specific color scheme or focusing on a single pattern, overlap them to create eclectic charm. Try layering two or three printed rugs, mix and match seating options or create unexpected color stories. While it’s important to keep scale and orgainzation in mind, the general rule is to keep adding and adding!

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Design by Philip Nimmo (@philipnimmo) | Photo courtesy of Roger Davies Photography (@rogerdaviesphotography)

Design by Philip Nimmo (@philipnimmo) | Photo courtesy of Roger Davies Photography (@rogerdaviesphotography)

Transcend time -- Nothing says maximalism like mixing pieces from various time periods. A little Victorian here, some Art Deco there, sprinkled with some modern elements. By bridging vintage with contemporary you create a unique design story that is personal and unique. 1stdibs is a great place to score rare antiques and artifacts, as are flea markets.

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Work in wallpaper -- Wallpapering a space is an easy and affordable way to create a bit of drama. If your aesthetic leans romantic, try the Ellie Cashman’s oversized floral print that’s trending right now. Prefer something more whimsical? Opt for a palm leaf print, similar to what I incorporated into Whitney Port’s closet.  Feeling bold? Black Crow Studios’ “Dystopian Opulence” collection is a collision of color, nature and texture that is sure to make a style statement!

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DESIGNING FOR DAD

Sorry ladies, today's post is for the guys. Happy Father’s Day to the dads! If you’re like many, your dad duties will be honored this weekend with a new wardrobe addition. After all, you’re not a regular dad, you’re a cool dad! Whether you unwrap a belt, hat, pair of sunglasses, tech toy, tie, or watch come Sunday, you’ll need to find the perfect place in your closet to proudly display and store your new Father’s Day fashion.

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Belts

Most men can get away with just a few belts in their wardrobe; but, if you find you’re running out of space to store them, it might be time to invest in a mounted belt rack, which can hold several. A belt rack allows you to easily see your inventory and also keeps belts in ideal waist-wearing shape. Another storage option is a drawer insert with designated dividers that create pockets to accommodate coiled belts. Placing belts in a drawer not only protects them and prevents scratches, it’s easy to organize them by color or occasion.


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Hats

With baseball season in full swing (go Dodgers!), perhaps you scored a new ball cap for Dad’s Day. The best way to store your favorite baseball hats is to fold them in half so the back tucks into the brim, and stack in a drawer or on a shelf, tightly pressed up against the one behind it. Alternatively, if your closet has empty wall space, you can hang hats on hooks like an art display!


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Sunglasses

Finally got those Ray-Bans you’ve been eyeing? Storing shades properly is critical for maximizing their longevity. Since they’re delicate, I recommend storing them in display boxes, pull-out glass displays, or acrylic vanity trays to avoid potential damage. Custom suede drawer inserts are another way to care for your favorite designer spectacles. LA Closet Design can create personalized inserts in a range of colors and fabrics. Other sunglass storage solutions include a L.E.D. optical display, a rotating chrome display rack, and a sunglass box organizer.


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Tech

Lucky enough to get some new tech this Father’s Day? Well, you'll be glad to know your closet can be enhanced to accommodate charging outlets built into cabinet drawers. Now, you won’t have to be too far from your new tech toy while getting ready for the day!


Ties

One of the most timeless go-to gifts for Dad is a new tie. So, if you’re adding to your tie collection this Father’s Day, it’s time to think about where (and how!) you’re storing your favorite neck accessory.  I’ve seen the good, the bad and the ugly (think sloppily shoved in a drawer or haphazardly draped over a hanger) of tie storage. But managing tie storage doesn’t have to be tricky. One of the simplest solutions is a mounted tie rack, which keeps ties untangled and makes them easy to grab and go. Another option I’ve often incorporated is a built-in display, almost like cubbies, where ties are folded the way you’d see them showcased in a store. It’s the ultimate retail experience within your own home!  

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Watches

If you’re the Pops who enjoys pricey wrist candy, there are some tricks to keeping those timepieces ticking like new. Don’t always have the time to wind your watches? Invest in automatic watch winders, which not only carefully holds your watch, but also helps keep the day and time function running properly. Custom pull-outs with pads to wrap your watches around can fit in a drawer or, for more expensive timepieces, sized for a safe. Lastly, if you’re a devoted collector, I suggest investing in a humidor, which provides optimal temperature control..how cool is that?!  

PACKABLE TRAVEL FAVORITES

As the busy travel season takes flight, I've got my head in the clouds thinking about all the clever packable and easily foldable finds that will streamline summer jetsetting. Unfortunately, some of our favorite wardrobe staples don’t travel well, like that wrinkles-in-two-seconds linen dress or that chic but bulky straw hat. But, don’t fret, I’m unpacking a few of my favorite hacks and ideal travel pieces to make your journey stylish and stress-free.

Luggage Storage Essentials:

The travel laundry bag -- Don’t leave home without a bag to store dirty laundry or wet clothes. Trust me. Plastic bags will do the trick, but for something a little more stylish (and environmentally-friendly), this set from West Elm packs easily and even has descriptions so everything stays organized while on the road.

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The all-in-one makeup and jewelry organizer -- Discovering this clever invention from The Flat Lay Co. has been life-changing! A time and space saver, this flat makeup and jewelry storage piece rolls up into a nice, tight packable ball.  

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The hat holder -- This little leather magnetic charm from TopTote may look unsuspecting, but it’s one of the most inventive packing pieces I’ve ever found. Adhere it to your travel tote or purse and the magnetic force grasps your hat so you don’t have to worry about holding or wearing it. Genius!

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Clothing and Accessory Essentials:

The day-to-night dress -- This relaxed maxi dress from The Row is effortless travel dressing at its best! Breezy, yet tailored, this flowy frock can easily go from yachting in the Mediterranean to dining al fresco in the city.

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The fancy foldable flat -- Travel shoes don’t have to be boring and these Badgley Mischka crystal foldable flats are proof! Whether wandering the cobblestone streets of Rome or road tripping across the US, these fancy and functional flats were made for journeying.

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The hat that won’t lose its shape -- You won’t find me traveling without a head-topper or two, and my latest go-to is Janessa Leone’s packable straw hats. I especially love the Marcell -- it packs down and returns to its original shape like new.

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The light-as-air sleepwear -- I’m obsessed with this washable silk sleepwear set from Lunya. A little sporty, a little sexy and super compact, this luxurious tank and shorts combo makes going to sleep while on vacay a little sweeter.

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The packable puffer -- Many summer travel destinations don’t require a jacket, but for camping trips or locales with cooler climates, this Aritzia puffer is a no-brainer. It packs into a little bag, comes in tons of colors and won’t break the bank.

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The sleek and stylish workout sneaker -- I never leave home without my workout wear. Even when I can’t make a Barry’s Bootcamp class, I’ll find a way to get my heart pumping. I love these Stella McCartney Adidas running shoes made of knit and neoprene. They’re super light and bend easily so can fit into the tiniest suitcase crevasses.

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The trendy travel tote -- I’m always on the lookout for the ideal travel tote and I think I found it! Fendi’s Runway Collection Calf and Canvas Tote Bag is big enough to hold all my personal belongings like magazines, iPad, beauty products and more. I also love the idea of affixing the brand’s Tamburo Pocket Leather Charm so I can carry along an extra packable tote to bring home all the fun purchases from a trip!

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SUN HATS AND SWIMSUITS

After a rough winter for many (including us Angelenos), summer can’t come soon enough! With sun-filled days on the horizon, it’s time to update a couple of my favorite warm weather wardrobe staples -- hats and bathing suits! Whether sporting a one-piece suit with a straw fedora or bikini with baseball cap, swimwear and hats make the perfect summer pair. But, with their unique shapes and fabrics, properly storing them can prove challenging. Luckily, I have some storage solutions for both in my arsenal.

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For swimsuits, start by making sure they’re clean. I recommend washing then air drying them completely so they’re moisture-free. Any dampness can form mildew and also damage the delicate fabric. Then, lay the suits flat until they’re ready to store.  This helps to maintain their shape and also keeps bikini tops and bottoms organized. Lastly, place the folded swimwear on a shelf, in a lined, partitioned drawer using acrylic divers like these or hang on a body shape hanger like this to optimize closet space and extend lifespan.

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When it's time to store suits for winter, put them in a fabric bag, not a plastic bag which can hold moisture and damage the suits.

Need some beach-ready bathing suit inspiration? These styles caught my eye this season:


I’ve always loved hats and it seems like there are several fashionable styles to choose from right now -- from bucket and baseball to fedora and floppy.  Even in summer, though, hats are one of the least worn accessories, meaning a thoughtful storage system is imperative.

The best way to store your favorite designer or sports team’s baseball cap is to fold it in half so the back tucks into the brim, and stack in a drawer or on a shelf.  

If you have extra wall space, hang your straw and floppy hats on hooks that aren’t too sharp or pointy. Hooks with a broad tip are best, as they help the hat keep its shape. Wall displays are not only functional; they can be a chic way to highlight your headwear, almost like an art installation!

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Other storage options include hanging head-toppers on a hat rack like this or keeping them upside down in hat boxes like this and this (a proper hat box has a circular cut-out to stick the crown through so the hat is suspended in the box).

Just like clothes, hats are susceptible to moths (they especially love wool!), so I recommend using lavender or eucalyptus sachets like this and this to keep them away. Hats are also best kept in dark areas away from sun to ensure a long lifespan.

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Here are a few head-turning hats to provide shade while helping your style shine this summer:

CLOSETS WHERE YOU'LL WANT TO SPEND THE LONG WEEKEND

While many jet set or road trip for Memorial Day weekend, I’m dreaming up closets where I’d want to spend a long, leisurely three-day weekend. From playing dress up with designer duds to cozying up with a glass of chilled champagne to retreating with a binge-worthy show, closets can be a truly sacred space to relax, decompress and escape. So, here are few LA Closet Design projects and inspirational closets that offer all the creature comforts for an ultimate holiday weekend hideaway!   

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I recently shared some cool closet fridges for storing everything from beauty products to booze, and outside of beautiful bags and dazzling diamonds, it might be the best closet accessory out there. So, this weekend, pop some bubbly and toast your prized possessions!

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I love adding nice, plush seating to a dressing room. It makes the space feel like its own dwelling. A glam ottoman or chaise provides the perfect place to curl up with a good book, journal or simply take time to admire your wardrobe during that extra weekend day.

One of the most popular closet requests I get, especially from men, is to design a designated space for a TV. And, when you have the luxury of time (as one does with a holiday weekend), what better way to enjoy your personal escape than by tuning into a baseball game or binge watching “Game of Thrones?”

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If you have the luxury of space, you might find even more reason to spend the long weekend lost in your own fashionable fantasy! This closet we designed for a client in Minnesota, making up a dramatic 2-story space, leaves plenty of room to lock yourself away and play with all of your favorite things, without any reason to leave. Complete with a mini fridge and coffee station, this spacious retreat has all the makings for a comfortable weekend in.

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When a client’s closet is located in a part of the home that offers a striking view, I like to optimize the favorable positioning with a window or door facing the vista. So, with a few extra hours to relax during a long weekend, taking in a tranquil setting sounds pretty serene.

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Wellness has become such a significant part of the home and that has spilled over into the closet.  From chic vanities with spa-like amenities to stylish workout spaces,  closets are an ideal place to indulge in self-care without having to go anywhere.

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CREDENZAS: A STYLISH EXTENSION OF THE CLOSET

Wardrobes, armoires and dressers are a traditional bedroom storage solution, but credenzas are another closet extension option that can dress up a space. While credenzas are most often seen in living and dining areas, they’re proving to be popular organizing piece in the closet or bedroom.

The angular furniture piece dates back to the Renaissance era and has transcended centuries and aesthetics. As functional as it is fashionable, credenzas are timeless additions to nearly every room in the house. Here are few striking options that could be a continuation of the closets in your home!

Mid-Century Makes a Comeback -- Credenzas were popular in the mid-1900s, as closets and storage spaces were much smaller. Today, as mid-century design makes a pervasive return, minimal wood credenzas are a common storage staple.

Earthly Delights -- Incorporating natural materials like stone, marble and leather are a great way to bring nature into the bedroom and these credenzas are sure to add a rustic layer to the space

A Touch of Metallic -- Credenzas get a glam upgrade with metallic hardware like handles, feet or doors. Whether adorned with bronze, gold or silver accents, a metallic credenza is a classic, yet modern way to elevate your space.

Pops of Print & Color -- Want to make a statement in your space? A colorful or printed credenza can add a playful pop that will make your space anything but traditional.

TREND SPOTLIGHT: OMBRE

Fashion’s biggest night took NYC by storm this week as the Metropolitan Museum of Art celebrated its annual Vogue soirée, the Costume Institute Met Gala. This year’s theme, “Camp: Notes on Fashion,” celebrated Susan Sontag's 1964 essay that defines camp as "love of the unnatural: of artifice and exaggeration."  Designers decked out celebrities, athletes and tastemakers in bold, eclectic, over-the-top fashions that were some of the most daring the decades-long event has ever seen.

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The pink carpet (a thematic shift from the traditionally red entry), served as a runway for feathered frocks, colorful confections and playful props that made the iconic star-studded stairs feel more like a Broadway stage than an art and fashion festivity. The internet is still abuzz about Lady Gaga’s multi-look strip down courtesy of Brandon Maxwell, Cardi B’s head-to-toe ruby red Thom Browne ensemble and Katy Perry’s Jeremy Scott getup -- chandelier and all.

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Whimsical looks aside, the Met Gala saw plenty of glamorous couture showstoppers. One of my favorite trends of the nights was ombré. Twins Victoria and Cristina Iglesias donned ethereal ombré watercolor feathered Oscar de la Renta dresses while Kylie and Kendall Jenner were also on the “birds of a feather flock together” train with their feathered ombré Versace gowns in purple and orange, respectively. Priyanka Chopra’s Dior dress boasted a rainbow skirt and cape adorned with handmade tulle ombré “feathers.” Guys embraced the ombré trend, too, as exemplified by Henry Golding who rocked a purple and blue metallic ombré Versace suit.

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Ombré isn’t just reserved for fashion’s biggest night. All these over-the-top ombré looks have me thinking about ways to bring the creative use of color into the home! The trend is trickling into today’s home decor, and one of my current favorite ombré projects is Adam Hunter X Studioart collaboration, which recently released an ombré leather wall covering collection that celebrates a love for color and how it is arranged.

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Here are a few other eye-catching ombré pieces that can help you take a tasteful dose of the trend home with you!: