My Favorite Project: The Closet Gallery

by Mary Thomas | Dec 28, 2008
My Favorite Project: The Closet Gallery …From the pages of Suburban Home and Garden Resource Guide…

Moorestown, NJ-resident Aileen Konzelmann is no stranger to home closet design projects--she has hired various vendors for organizational work in three different houses. But it wasn’t until she worked with Teri Fisher, owner/designer at The Closet Gallery in Medford, NJ, that she felt she found someone who truly understood what she wanted. So when Aileen and her husband, Chris, bought a new home earlier this year, they turned to Fisher and her team to overhaul the closets.

The his-and-hers closets in the master bedroom posed the greatest challenge, because they were significantly smaller than the closets in the Konzelmann’s previous home. “I was going from a closet in our old house that was almost the size of a regular room, which Teri had turned into a dressing room for me,” Aileen Konzelmann says. “In the new house, I had a nice-sized walk-in, but it was much smaller than what I was used to and only had a single bar running across. I wondered how I was going to get all of my stuff into this relatively small space.”

Fisher arrived on the scene and surveyed the situation. She determined that Aileen’s existing closet, 6 feet deep and 12 feet wide with ventilated wire shelving, had sufficient space but was claustrophobic and not that functional. Fisher went to work designing a solution that would meet the Konzelmanns’ specific needs.

Konzelmann also took an active role in the new closet’s design, though she relied on Fisher’s expertise when it came to final recommendations on materials and layout. “[Teri] took the time to look carefully at the furniture, paint and accents in the bedroom and bathroom so that the closet would coordinate nicely with everything around it,” she says.

Shoes became the primary obstacle during the planning phase, which Fisher says is typical of her female clients. “People have so many shoes, even after weeding some out just before a closet project begins,” she says. “I’ve had customers with 100 pairs for each season!” For Konzelmann, Fisher created a floor-to-ceiling shoe cabinet enclosed by frosted Plexiglas doors that can hold up to 60 pairs. Additional shoes can be stored on shelves located above all the hanging rods in the space.

Additional custom features in Aileen’s closet include a dedicated area for hanging business suits, another for hanging pants, closed-door shelves for folded sweaters, vanity drawers, an open shelf to hold her jewelry, a belt hook and plenty of storage high above. “This second-floor room has nine-foot ceilings, so Teri used all of that vertical space to create places for me to put extra pocketbooks and out-of-season shoes,” says Konzelmann.

The installation also features such high-end accents as crown moulding, base moulding and backing on all of the open shelving. “It’s really a showpiece,” says Fisher.

Chris Konzelmann also got a closet upgrade, with dedicated areas for suits, ties, belts and shoes. It even has a pair of built-in hampers -- one for laundry and one for dry cleaning. “He absolutely loves this closet,” says Aileen. “He normally doesn’t care at all about stuff like this, but now that he has such an amazing closet, he’s very particular about it.”

Although the Konzelmann closets might have scared away other professional organizers, Fisher and her team embraced the challenge. “We’re different because we truly believe you can put anything anywhere, and we’ll do whatever we need to do to make the space function properly once the job is complete,” says Fisher. “I take this idea very seriously.”

The philosophy helped Konzelmann get beyond her skepticism. “I was discouraged having to downsize my closet, but Teri is phenomenal at visualizing what needs to happen,” she says. “She came up with the best configuration to help me organize all of my belongings.”

Most importantly, Fisher accommodated the Konzelmanns’ desire for symmetry and beauty. “I have to admit that I’m a difficult customer, because I want perfection … but Teri gives me that,” says Konzelmann. “She can walk in and see every little thing the way detail-oriented people like me would see them.”

The only problem is that the couple has become quite spoiled when it comes to their closets. “We’d never be able to live with regular closets again,” says Konzelmann. “They’re so organized, and they look so nice, that I’m afraid we couldn’t go back.”

Music to Teri Fisher’s ears.

Find Out More

The Closet Gallery

Published (and copyrighted) in Suburban Home and Garden Resource Guide, South Jersey edition, November 2008.
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Author: Mary Thomas


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