Every time Domino contributing style editor Benjamin Reynaert opened the teeny entryway closet in his New York City home, he knew it wasn’t living up to its full potential. For starters, the size—just 2-by-3 feet—and layout were less than ideal: “It was a standard closet with one shelf and a rail—and stuff was just smushed in there,” he says. From paper towels propped between jackets to half-used gallons of paint, the whole situation was, to paraphrase the great Cher Horowitz, a big ole mess.
And even though Reynaert is a stylist by day, sometimes even the pros need to call for backup. So he enlisted the help of California Closets to rejigger his layout and create a storage space for his photo shoot props and coats for when guests come over. To accommodate both, his California Closets consultant suggested two zones: one with multiple shelves to store baskets and cords, and another to hang clothing.
Before the framework (aka a set of white shelves) was installed, Reynaert added a custom touch by painting the walls and floor in a paint he color-matched to Plain English’s Mushy Peas hue. “It makes my props really pop,” he says. “I wanted everything to stand out so I could find things easily.”
And because the closet was customized to his needs, he could add little touches, like a caddy that pulls out and hangs all of his market totes so he can grab one on his way out the door to a shoot or the flower market.
To keep things organized, each shelf is home to a particular item; for example, woven trays are all grouped together on one, and china goes on another. For smaller items, he places them on a tray instead of inside a box so that everything is visible. “If you can’t see it, you can’t find it,” says Reynaert.
Just because a space is utilitarian doesn’t mean it has to look that way. “There’s something to having open shelving, where you can display the things you use but then also opt to shut the door,” he says. “And then if I do have a guest come over and they need to hang up their coat or tuck their bag away, it’s a little surprise when they see interesting things instead of, well, you know, typical storage.”