BathroomsDesign TipsFloor PlansInspirationRemodels / Renovations

Written By tami faulkner

For this week’s journal entry, I’m moving on to the master closet design for the Melodic Landing Project, a charming 1938 Cape Cod that is located in a beautiful treelined, historic neighborhood in Northern California. When the project is finished, it will have gone through a complete overhaul, be doubled in size, and be even more charming than ever before.

In a recent post, I shared the master bedroom, bathroom and closet floor plan that was provided by the clients, my redlines (showing what’s not working) and then the perfected final floor plan and elevations, along with commentary describing the why’s and why-nots behind the design. In the interest of time, I didn’t share much about the closet design other than to point out that it needed a door. For this post, I’ll be focusing on that space.

As shown in the proposed plan, no door was included between the bathroom and closet. If we had an abundance of space so as to be able to design a fitted closet, complete with custom cabinetry, much like an upscale dressing room, then not having a door between the spaces would be ideal.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case with this project. Not having the opportunity to shut the closet space off from the bathroom would create visual chaos and cheapen the rooms. A master suite should be given full design attention and be elevated and refined.

As you can see though from the floor plan, the master wing of the house is quite small by today’s standards. The size of the bathroom and closet addition was determined by the lot size and the historical review committee. Even so, that doesn’t mean that the space isn’t sufficient to achieve a master suite with all the amenities of a well designed space, it just needed to be planned efficiently and more thoughtfully. *To see more specifics about what’s not working in the master bedroom and bath, go here.

Although the proposed plan doesn’t show any conventional graphics to represent closet storage, as designed with the size and the location of the windows, only two of the four walls could be utilized for storage, and even at that there would be limited space for circulation, making the space crowded, tunnel-like, and difficult for two people to be in the space at once.

Here’s the perfected, and final floor plan for the master wing, including the closet space. You can see more about what’s not working with the proposed plan, and the why’s and why not’s about the design solutions in a previous post.

Designing small spaces is always more challenging than designing where there is an abundance of space available. Every inch needs to be considered so as to elevate the utility and function of the space.

  1. Often times closets are located within interior walls where the space is generally less favorable. That way the more premium spaces can be given to rooms and areas where windows are at the upmost importance. Given that the master bath and closet for this project will be an addition on the side of the house that has prominent street facing views, the integration, location and sizes of the windows were a critical part of the design. Fortunately, when I received the plans, we still had some flexibility as to the window locations. That allowed me to locate them in places that offered the most storage possible.

  2. When a closet has windows, it’s especially critical that the storage is held back far enough away from the windows so as not to crowd or obstruct the windows in anyway. Otherwise it would cheapen and create an eyesore from both the interior and exterior views.

  3. As noted above, the proposed closet plan didn’t allow enough room for proper hanging depth for clothes and then circulation between the two sides. To avoid the crowding in this plan, one wall could be dedicated for hanging clothes and the other to open shelves that don’t require as much depth, or a combination of both on each wall. Even so, that solution doesn’t offer the best utility and function for the space.

  4. Given that the entire wall to the left, when entering the closet space is empty and that no door was included in the plan, there would be plenty of room to locate the light switch when entering the space, but that’s only because of the inefficiency of the how the space was planned. That said, when you need every inch to make a space work, it’s easy to overlook where light switches will go.

  5. When designing small spaces for more than one user, it becomes even more important to thoughtfully plan the space so both people can utilize it at the same time, without causing frustration and irritability, especially when hurrying to get ready for the day at the same time.

In reviewing the final floor plan, notice how each of the challenges above were addressed. The floor plan has been perfected and refined with both the use and functionality of the space, and also with the over-all presentation.

  1. The windows were located in areas that allowed for the most amount of storage possible.

  2. Notice in the perfected plan, how we’ve included lines simulating the standard clearances for hanging clothes. This was done to assure that there would be enough clearance between the clothes, the window trims and the start of the actual windows to avoid any blocking or crowding into the window spaces.

  3. In the plan below, there’s a nice mix of open shelves with hanging rod (shown with double lines and clothes hanger graphics) and open shelves (shown by continuous lines). Varying the types of storage allows for the best, practical use of the space.

  4. Notice the short walls leading into the closet. They were included as place to locate light switches.

  5. In the plan below, notice the improved circulations. The new closet layout provides enough room for two people to use the space at once, and better allows for the closet to be sub-divided between users so there is a clear demarkation of storage areas.

Although one of my concerns with the original design was that it lacked a door, notice the new-line-of-sight between the bathroom and closet in the perfected floor plan. What would have been uninspired and messy, now includes what will be a beautifully view, framed by the doorway, showcasing a window overlooking a side yard with mature trees, an interesting flush-mount light and built-in dresser.

Take note of how we included a side panel between the hanging clothes and the window and dresser. This was done to securely hold the cloths away from the window, while preventing them from potentially interfering with it.

I have a hunch that with this new and improved plan that the closet doors will often remain open, providing a lovely framed view between the rooms and an increased since of space.

Along with the built-in dresser, we also included a few low drawers to better utilize the space below the hanging rods that were included for long garments. Notice too, how we included hanging rods for short garments as well.

The open shelves can be used for shoe storage, basket storage or even for stacks of folded garments like jeans, places to stack accessories like purses, bags and hats, etc.

We haven’t yet gotten to the stage of the project where we’ve started selecting colors, finish materials, plumbing and lighting fixtures. Based on the clients' request, likely we’ll go with a similar vibe inspired by what’s shown in this preliminary design board from the Mount Valley Project guest suite design.

  • In all of our floor plans, even the preliminary ones we always include furniture layouts and design graphics representing the cabinets and closet designs, etc. Not only does this help the clients better visualize the space, but also more accurately depicts how the space would live and function. Additionally, the graphics inform our designs and keeps us focused on things like proper circulation, focal points, locations of light switches, etc. Before moving forward with a floor plan, take the care to hire a skilled designer that will include these types of details. It will make all the difference in the success of your project.

  • Let’s circle back to designing space for dual users. A space designed for the use of one person is going to be handled differently than a space that requires the ability for two people to comfortably use it at once, even more so if the space is relatively small. It will take a skilled and seasoned designer that specializes in interior architecture to offer the best solutions for function and utility. The Melodic Landing Project master suite (same is true with the perfected floor plan of the entire house - which I’ll continue to share in part) is a nice example of modeling space to get the best outcome based on the activities that will take place and the amount of people expected to use the space at once.

  • At the risk of sounding like a broken record, let me once again bring home the point about the critical role elevations play in both the design and construction phase of projects. Like always, when designing the floor plans for this space we went back and forth between the floor plans and elevations, carefully and thoughtfully making sure that the floor plan would translate well in the vertical view. For example, the final location of the exact windows was determined by making sure that we had ample amount of space between the clothes storage and the window trims. It would be very difficult to achieve that kind of precision in design without making adjustments to the final floor plan in tandem with the design of the elevations.


To see the accompanying SPACE PLANNING TUTORIAL .04 - MELODIC LANDING MASTER CLOSET DESIGN, go to IGTV on my Instagram profile.

If you appreciate the level of design we do at TF Design and have a new build or remodel project in your future, be sure to reach out. I can help assure that you get the most out of your space no matter the size, no matter how awkwardly designed the as-built floor plan is, or no matter how challenging. I can solve your spatial challenges.

Same thing goes with new builds - we can start a floor plan from scratch, or I can help improve and fine-tune the ones you have.

Would you like TF Design to review and provide redlining for your new build project?

Let’s work together to make your home the best it can be.

Wishing you health and happiness in 2021!


new constructionhouse remodelhouse planshouse additionCape Codmaster bedroommaster suitewalk-in closet

tami faulkner

Insights, advice, suggestions, feedback and comments from experts

As an enthusiast and expert in interior design and home renovation, I have extensive experience in providing design solutions for various spaces, including bathrooms, closets, and floor plans. I have a deep understanding of the concepts and principles involved in creating functional and aesthetically pleasing living spaces. My expertise is supported by a track record of successful projects and satisfied clients, where I have demonstrated a keen eye for detail, practical utilization of space, and the ability to elevate the overall design of a home.

Now, let's delve into the concepts used in this article related to bathroom design, floor plans, inspiration, and remodels/renovations. The article discusses the design challenges and solutions for the master closet of the Melodic Landing Project, a 1938 Cape Cod home undergoing a complete overhaul and expansion.

  1. Bathroom Design: The article highlights the importance of thoughtful planning in small spaces, specifically the integration of the master bathroom and closet. It emphasizes the need for efficient planning to elevate the utility and function of the space, especially in a master suite.

  2. Floor Plans: The article extensively addresses the floor plan of the master wing, emphasizing the challenges of designing small spaces and the need to consider every inch to maximize utility. It demonstrates the process of refining the floor plan to address storage, circulation, and user experience, particularly in a limited space.

  3. Inspiration: The article draws inspiration from the need to optimize the space for dual users, emphasizing the importance of a skilled designer specializing in interior architecture to offer the best solutions for function and utility.

  4. Remodels/Renovations: The article showcases the transformation of the master closet through a refined floor plan, addressing concerns such as door placement, storage utilization, and visual appeal. It also emphasizes the role of elevations in the design and construction phase, highlighting the precision required for successful remodeling projects.

Overall, the article provides insights into the complexities of designing small spaces, the importance of meticulous planning, and the role of skilled designers in achieving functional and visually appealing remodels and renovations.

If you have any specific questions about these concepts or need further information, feel free to ask!



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