My closet obsession

I have to admit, I have been hit with the closet obsession bug.


{Source unknown? Please let me know if you know publications, blog or designer for above photo}

Years of living in old houses with little storage have finally taken their toll. I’ve gone crazy by actually visiting IKEA on a Memorial Day weekend to look at closet systems. I never thought I would desperately want something from IKEA with every fibre of my being (okay maybe that is a bit extreme and NO I am not pregnant and nesting) but there is something quite psychological that takes place in a woman’s brain when she rounds the corner of the IKEA and sees over the little flag of her cart the perfect closet, with dressers smushed together to create an island. Not that I have room for an island in my kitchen much less the closet but its fun to stand there and dream! So I have been doing a little closet research and apparently IKEA really does have it down in this department. THE BILLY and THE PAX for starters. I will be honest I am not impressed with the rods on their ALGOT system (which is actually what I think is shown in the closet in the fab photo above) but let me know if you think different. Because really we all know dream closets are not made of rods and drawers anyway right? They are made of WALLPAPER!

Seriously unless you have a huge closet or very few items to store, wallpaper may not be practical. Apparently what is important and what involves math skillz is the dimensions!  I have 63″ to work with in my proposed closet space… an IKEA PAX unit is 23″ deep (they also make a shallow 14″ version…i was excited when Carmen at Ikea told me that bit of PAX trivia).  In case you don’t know about the PAX it is the closet wardrobe system at IKEA? A lot of people put them out in bedrooms and hack the doors in brilliant ways and add trim to make them appear like built-ins (apparently HACK is the term for taking from IKEA and making it more interesting more unique). You may have heard of Jenny Komenda and her Domino hack….I adore the color and hardware. It looks amazing. Click here to see more on her blog including a post on how to kilz and paint IKEA furniture.


Link to the Jenny’s article in Domino affectionally called ODE TO PAX. Love it!

My friend Lauren P (who is classy and smart AND loves IKEA) turned me on to the idea that the PAX could be used inside a closet with no doors and the unit would cover a door (old house with unused door to tiny closet long story;) and provide an amazing base for rods and drawers.  She also pointed out that using the PAX with no doors is much cheaper and feasible (basically $90 a shell)..apparently the doors and the ugly shoe trees are where things add up.  She had me hooked.

And like I said you can do so much with PAX, add drawers and cubbys for shoes and bags, even wallpaper the back. I think this pinned photo is from IKEA themselves?

ikea photo

My proposed space is 10’6′ x 5’3″ and it has windows and doors (like I said one of the doors goes to a tiny old closet in the room that is now a larger closet, you gotta love old houses) so its a funky space but i love that it has windows and isn’t teeny tiny. I know my sketch isn’t totally accurate so need need to email;; I am not really worried about the length of the room, I know a combo of Pax of Billy units will almost entirely cover the walls and go to ceiling (I may trim out), what I am concerned about is walk space or lack of between rods and or units. SO here are the options;

Master all pax

What I am trying to decide is if 26-29″ is enough space between units for walkway.  I know I know there are bigger issues in this world but this is just my little closet fun.  Other people watch reality TV or play golf I do this.  SO if I use Billy bookcases it gives me 3″ more…I just dont know if that is worth it. THREE INCHES?  if 26″ is too narrow then 29″ might be too.


But honestly in looking in my Mom’s closet and other real life closets the walkspace in small walk-ins is often only about 24-26″ (even the owner of California Closets told me this). It will like look very similar to this (a reason to just do rods and not units like below)


Love this image from SO SUPER SAM

If I can’t  or don’t do Pax on both sides (wide on one side and shallow on the other) maybe I just do nothing on other side (short side with door)? After all I will have ten feet of double rods and drawers and shelves (that is lot for this girl) and I could make it end in an L shape on far wall. I could do that with corner piece to “kill” unit (which I can’t draw but its nice) and then use the wall opposite the Pax units for mirror and hooks and not try to do hanging on both sides.  Does any of this make sense.  Again, first world problems I know.

Mastercloset L shapes

Is your head hurting, anyone still reading? lol.  Good think I have weeks to figure this out;

Apparently Sarah Richardson’s sidekick the ultra chic Tommy Smythe has also used the PAX in his chic man closet. With doors of course!


Link here on Tommy’s article. It’s good.  I love his use of color and the PAX with surrounding dark walls..In fact, I am really on a dark closet, dark bedroom “kick.”

So there you go, the possibilities are endless. No wonder they call it the PAX…hello PAX ROMANA..if you can have a great closet there will be PEACE..peace PAX get it..anyway it all made me go to IKEA on a saturday, Memorial Day weekend Saturday and it was educational. Also the blog Drive by Decor has a great review of the PAX system and what components to avoid (the cute wire baskets apparently) its a great post!


It may turn out for me and others that the PAX “case” just takes up too much space/footprint.  You may just want rods and shelves and drawers and if so apparently ELFA is the way to go (or you can do Algot system from IKEA like the top photo combined with other Ikea pieces for drawers).  Elfa  ooks great in Lauren Leiss’ closet here below (this may be her old closet in previous home?) Link to post here.  People who buy Elfa at  Container Store LOVE IT..I read so many RAVE review online but silly me it looks very similar to some of the systems at Lowes and Home Depot…but apparently the quality is tip top and its very flexible you can arrange it and add to it. I would love to know the dimensions of this closet I think its similar to what mine may be.  I may have to go with Elfa (or a plain rod from Lowes and a few Billy bookcases because apparently Elfa can really add up $$$) but for now I am dreaming big.


Yep dreaming of gray painted closets with plenty of storage and organization. PAX = dark paint!  I am thinking Amtherst Gray!

I leave you with this beauty from Hammersmith of Atlanta.  This is sooo custom and so very not IKEA but great inspiration for color.


What are your thoughts?  DO you like a white closet or a dark closet?  Do you think I should go with L shapes or do Pax on both sides, is your small walk in closet more than 29″ walk space or less? Any experience with Elfa, PAX or any of the other systems.  I actually talked with California Closets yesterday and will report more on that soon. In the meantime if anyone has figured out the IKEA online planning tool for PAX, email me; It’s beyond my skill level apparently.

Beautiful rooms


I have so much new work to share with y’all…it takes so much time to style and take photos of client spaces and edit them but it is so worth the effort to see a beautiful room come together.  I need to have some professional shots done of several spaces but in the meantime I will share this room! This room is really special and not just because of the fabric.


I love the trim on the lamps and the custom shades.  The wonderful Monica of Custom Creations did the shams, shades, pillows, duvet and bedskirt. I love working with Monica. Most of the fabrics are available through


The fabrics look so pretty with the dark wood and beautiful plates on the wall.  I have done several rooms for this client and we always try to use family heirlooms or photos when possible because it adds so much to the space and my client has so many treasures.  Like this photo of her parents on their wedding day.  Isn’t it wonderful.


This room was designed as a guest room for my client’s mother. Unfortunately she passed before she ever got to see her beautiful room.  But I know my client agrees her precious mother has a much more beautiful bedroom in heaven.

It’s such an honor to be a part of the stories being lived out in people’s homes and to be a part of making their spaces here on this earth a place of rest and safety and beauty.

My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I
have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you
to be with me that you also may be where I am.  –John 14:2-3

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