A walk-in closet is a home addition many of us dream of. Certainly the Type As among us, the suckers for neatly organized drawers and cabinets. But for Mary Bonnet (nèe Fitzgerald), it is less a dream, more a perfectly executed reality. The realtor and star of Netflix sensation Selling Sunset has taken to Instagram to show her new walk-in closet made by California Closets in Los Angeles.
Though a common occurrence in celebrity homes, a walk-in closet as accomplished in design terms as Mary’s is gaining some serious praise from the professional designers who have kindly shared their expert opinions on why her closet just works.
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The television star’s closet - created with the help of California Closets - features several open shelving units displaying her many handbags, clothing items and pairs of shoes. Each shelf is illuminated with LED tube lights as well as the closet island which sits adjacent to a built-in bench furnished with neutral scatter cushions. Warm rose gold-effect hardware adds warmth to the white gloss closets complementing the warm wood laminate flooring.
Madison Popper, Founder of Chill Casa, commends Mary for the classic appeal of her closet. ‘I appreciate Mary’s modern walk-in closet. It provides efficient organization in a timeless esthetics,’ Popper says. ‘Everything has its designated place, making it easy to find what she needs. Her space will never go out of fashion because it's designed for convenience and in a neutral palette.’
The right decor can add 'quiet luxury'
It is the luxury of the neutral palette that impresses Elizabeth Rawes, Owner and Principal Designer at Sharp and Grey Interiors based in Philadelphia, PA. She tells us: ‘The first thing I notice in Mary’s closet is the unique vaulted ceiling treatment and the dark paint. I think that makes the room feel very cozy but also open.'
She goes on to tell us that 'this is a great example of classic simple materials to create a really inviting functional space. The mix of white and taupe cabinetry is really simple and elevated with the addition of brass hardware and lighting is simple and timeless.’
The thorough approach to working out how best to organize her clothes, shoes, bags and jewellery is what catches Jenny Kozena’s eye. The designer says: ‘She has utilized a variety of storage solutions including glass closets, open shelving, drawers, and both slanted and straight shelving units, and single and double hanging options. This organization ensures that all items are easily accessible, while also providing a comfortable walkway and ample space for dressing.’
She continues: ‘I particularly love the window seat. Not only does it offer subtle additional storage space, but it also serves as a charming addition to the room. It provides a space where someone can join her, offering company or advice as she gets ready, without obstructing the flow of the room or getting in the way.’
Lighting is key
Varying the lighting in a closet like Mary’s ensures it feels like a beautifully-designed room and not just a place to store belongings. Rawes says: ‘Lighting always has a major impact on any space and I think she incorporated great lighting into her closet space. I think about adding all different types of light to a space - ambient light, mood light and task light. Mary’s closet has all of these lighting elements and those layers of lighting really add to the space. The can lights act as ambient light, filling the overall space with light, the chandelier gives a decorative element, while the lighting in the cabinetry acts as task lighting. The under cabinet lights near the floor are a nice mood lighting, and to top it off she has a large window with natural light.’
This sense of aesthetics is enhanced, in Kozena’s opinion, by the finishing touches which add a sense of elegance without being a stand-out feature. ‘Her decision to add crown molding to the top of her closet brings a classic and timeless sophistication to the space,’ Kozena says. ‘This architectural detail, often associated with grace and grandeur, lends an ageless elegance to the room.’
The same is true of the vanity area which adds practicality and visual interest. Kozena says: ‘The vanity is at the central point, it’s nicely lit with the window in-front. Providing a space in the closet for makeup and getting ready makes the experience of getting ready nicer and more luxurious. The reflective surface of the vanity complements the mirror and in addition is also easy to clean and practical for putting makeup on.’
If looking to recreate a walk-in closet like Mary’s, it is important to ensure you don’t copy celebrity designs to the letter and instead consider the kind of storage you need for your individual belongings and what you want the room to offer. If you have a lot of pretty hadbags, you may want to consider a well-lit cabinet area for those. As Kozena says, ‘The lighted glass cabinets for her handbags give a boutique feeling to the space and is such a lovely addition because it creates her closet as a display of her personal collection.’
You will want to ensure you aren’t left with excess space which will make the room look empty, or on the flipside, aren’t left with too many pieces for the amount of storage fitted. Rawes suggests taking note of how many items and the type of items you have as a starting point. ‘I always recommend taking an inventory of the types of clothes, bags, shoes and jewelry you have,’ Rawes advises. ‘Then build storage around how you dress. And imagine how you would live in the space day to day. How you would like to pull your clothes on a work morning versus before weekend errands - then you can group items that way as well.’
Though a closet like Mary’s requires a lot of planning to ensure it serves all your needs, putting those hours in will pay off. In the end, you don't just have somewhere to hang your clothes, but a bespoke boutique to luxuriate in.
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Katie is a freelance lifestyle writer who has recently finished an MA in Magazine Journalism at City, University of London. Before writing for Livingetc, Katie has gained bylines with The Caterer and The Telegraph and has interned at several lifestyle magazines including Grazia and Red. When not scrolling through Pinterest for interior design inspiration, Katie can be found writing about women's issues, trying out new beauty trends for her blog or seeing a West End show.
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