Practical And Functional Living Space Transformations

California Closets is more than just closets these days. The brand that began more than four decades ago has built a reputation as a leader in premium and luxury space management, delivering custom products and unparalleled service.

Since the beginning, the top priority of the design team at California Closets has been to focus on its customers’ needs. The team is committed to listening to the needs of its customers, working with them hand-in-hand while recognizing that it’s a privilege to be invited into their homes and their lives.

We recently spoke with Debra Russo, a designer with the California Closet team here on Long Island about the market trends and how the pandemic has helped people recognize the need to reshape their living spaces.

“We do so much more than just closets, we do Murphy beds, home offices, entertainment units, bars and so much more now,” Russo said. “We have done so many home offices in recent years; the new term is cloffice–a fusion of a walk-in closet and a home office.”
The idea is not new, however; thanks to the pandemic-prompted work-from-home explosion, the term looks to be a mainstream design topic on social media sites like Pinterest.

“I’ve noticed a shift in consumption, in what people are buying,” Russo said. “People aren’t really doing much fast fashion; people are trying to be a little more minimal, spending money on better, quality items, but fewer of them. And I am seeing a lot of ‘capsule wardrobes’ too.”

A capsule wardrobe is a term used in American publications as early as the 1940s to describe a small collection of garments designed to be worn together. The clothing collection, for instance, might have six items in total (a skirt, a blouse, a T-shirt, a blazer, a pullover sweater and a pair of pants), but mixed and matched strategically can produce 30 different outfits.

“People are letting go of a lot of things and really making their closets more of a sanctuary,” Russo said. “They are starting to see the value of their closets as extended living space.”

She said that homeowners are incorporating Murphy beds into their walk-in closets; a lot of people are converting guest rooms into walk-in closets and also adding an office into the same space.

“We can make custom built-ins like cabinetry for your clothes if you don’t want someone feeling like they are sleeping in your closet,” Russo said. “We can put doors over hanging clothes to create a wall and a wall-bed on the other wall.”

Do these conversions take away from the value of your home?

“If the home is lacking storage, a conversion will not decrease the home’s value,” said Russo. “Also, our systems are modular; you can take it completely apart, in fact some people take it apart and take it with them to their new home.”

If you sell your home and the new owners decide they want to convert the space back into a bedroom, it all comes apart; California Closets does offer a service to help return a space to its original state.

Without a lot of forethought or creativity, Russo said people were calling at the beginning of the pandemic asking for a desk to be built adjacent to their bed. With the help of their design team, they were able to identify more productive spaces throughout the house for a home office to be built.

“One of the things I see the most on Long Island in new and existing homes is lack of storage. It seems like for a lot of contractors who build homes, the closets are an afterthought,” Russo said. “They put in a standard shelf and pole, which does nothing for anyone. Things do not have a proper place. When you open the closet doors and everything comes tumbling out, shoes are piled all over the floor.”

She said Long Island homes are missing proper homes for belongings, especially in pantries.

“You are missing slide-out drawers for things like onions and potatoes; you are missing adjustable shelving for appliances and canned goods; everything is a different size,” Russo said.

She said the trend in new construction seems to be to create a smaller primary bedroom, but to make the primary closets larger, keeping furniture minimal inside the bedroom (bed, nightstand, TV). All of the furniture and things (dressers, hampers, shoes) go inside the closet. This concept lends to better energy in the living spaces.

“I see people waste so much money on fun containers and bins; think about how much money you’re putting into these organizing accessories,” Russo said. “It’s going to save you so much money in the long run; I have seen people spend $1,000 on bins. A new closet would have cost you $600.”

Today, California Closets has 120 showrooms and more than 700 designers across North America.

California Closets Nassau County is a pioneer in custom closets and personalized home storage. From Manhasset in the west to Farmingdale in the east, the team at California Closets Nassau County will not only transform the organization of your space, they’ll design a solution that will fit your budget and your home’s aesthetic.

The Long Island showroom is located at 25 Northern Blvd. in Greenvale.

Visit or call 516-253-4170 to book a free design consultation (in-home or virtual) or to get more information and inspiration.

Christy Hinko
Christy Hinko is a managing editor at Anton Media Group. She is a New York Press Association (NYPA) and Press Club of Long Island (PCLI) award-winning writer and photographer.

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