In the many years I have been working on remodeling projects, there is one problem that always presents itself when working with small spaces: Clutter! Homeowners are seeking new ways to make better use out of closets, niches, and other areas where clutter collects.
My solution… Lockers! They are attractive and provide great storage. The photo here displays a set of built-in lockers I constructed in a closet space in the back hallway of a home. This area is the main entrance for the family and it was used as a “catch all” for backpacks, shoes, hats, etc. The homeowners disliked the fact that the closet was filled with brooms, coats and general clutter. They typically had no recollection of the closet’s contents, so they kept the doors closed and kept the mess out of sight and mind. We decided that a built-in locker system would be a great way to transform the space into something much more usable and attractive. Custom lockers are a great solution, because they can be designed to fit almost anywhere.
We started this project by removing the double doors for the closet and we were immediately faced with challenges. Firstly, the closet space was wider on the inside than the width of the doors. Secondly, the ceiling was taller than the door opening. We did not want the top area of the locker to be blocked by a wall and the family was not interested in major framing changes in the home. So we decided to choose the simplest and “cleanest” option which was to build down the ceiling of the closet to the height of the doorway. Then we added 4” recessed can lights to brighten up the area.
With our new space defined, we built a custom set of lockers that fit exactly into the wall space of the closet. The design of this locker system has drawers on the bottom and open shelves on the top. We also put hooks all around the middle to provide plenty of hanging opportunities for the kids’ coats and bags. The drawers below hide the shoes and boots (It’s a good idea to put a plastic liner in those drawers to catch water, mud and snow.).
Once we designed the lockers to fit left-to-right, we had some leftover space. We decided to use the space for shelving. The beauty of a custom system is in the flexibility. I have even had clients begin with baskets and request I design a system around them. This, by the way, is a great idea. It is much easier to design a locker system around a specific basket or storage container, than the reverse (trust me, I KNOW!).
My clients liked the finish product so much that they asked me to build a second set along another wall. Now they have a beautiful and well organized space to store all of their day-to-day items. Perfect solution for a busy family!