For hands-on advice from designers and pro DIYers, plus more scrappy before-and-after transformations, subscribe to Reno. Let your in-box do all the hard work—for now.
Having an interior designer in the family comes in handy—just ask London It girl Rachel Stevens. Last year her sister-in-law, Emma Gurner, founder of Folds Inside, turned Stevens’s gray, bare dressing room and adjoining closet into a candy-coated confection.
Gurner dressed the two spaces in a melody of pastels that nod to the color-blocked work of illustrator Charlotte Taylor, a personal fave. But the palette isn’t just relegated to the walls. The designer extended the hues to a collection of custom-made clothing racks that keep Stevens’s outfits at the ready, and in turn make her feel like she’s shopping her own wardrobe.
A closer look reveals that the racks are actually—get this—pipes. Gurner devised the solution alongside aptly named Pipe Dream Furniture, which used industrial spray paint to ensure they would stand the test of time and attached legs to certain sections so they could bear more weight. Bonus: All in, the installation cost only $1,200—a far cry from your typical custom closet.
Ahead, a peek at the other improvements the fashionable Gurner made for her equally stylish client.
Leave Some Breathing Room
The sister-in-laws kicked things off by doing a full intake of Stevens’s wardrobe. Unsurprisingly this informed the amount of storage necessary, but Gurner says it also dictated the distance between each pipe rack, a minor detail that made a huge difference. “The empty space above and in between the rails is what really makes the area feel like a shop and not a crowded storeroom,” explains Gurner.
Use Paint to Highlight—And Hide
Gurner accentuated the curve of the archway connecting the dressing area and closet (she sends her gratitude to the previous owners, who installed it) by applying a swoop of Benjamin Moore’s Smoked Salmon to its interior. To further draw your eye to the passage, the designer then camouflaged the baseboards by painting them the same blush shade as their surroundings.
Scuff-Proof Your Shelves
Stevens owns more than 50 pairs of shoes, all of which are merchandised on a towering set of shelves wearing Benjamin Moore’s Hollingsworth Green. In a bid to keep the high-traffic installation looking brand-new even after it is not, Gurner gave it a lick of matte varnish. “You can also line shelves with plexiglass for extra protection,” she says.
Pile On the Luxury
Underfoot, Gurner replaced the stubby, builder-grade carpet with a plush alternative from Wolff & Grace. Then the designer suspended a Marks and Spencer sputnik pendant lamp above to draw the eye to the statement ceiling, which she painted the same hue as the pipes and archway. A matching velvet ottoman—great for when Stevens needs a moment to sit and plan her outfits—is perched at the center of it all. Together they help her get ready in style even if she’s just hopping on a Zoom call.