Closets & Wardrobes

Parent Q&A

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  • Handyman for closet renovation

    (3 replies)

    Can anyone recommend a handyman for a closet renovation? It would involve removing built-in shelves, patching the plaster, painting, and installing a new shelving unit. I've reached out to a few handymen with no luck. We are in the Redwood Heights neighborhood of Oakland. Thanks!

    Closet Magician! Here is his Yelp. He redid 3 of our closets and was amazing.

    We love our handyman - Jose Ramirez. Happy to share pictures of his work.

    His number is 510-754-9578

    Feel free to direct message me if you want more info about what he's done for us

    I highly recommend Ted-the-Handychick, 415-713-6974, she is very competent and professional. 

  • Built-in storage to maximize space

    (1 reply)

    I live in a 1000 square foot house with my two boys. Space is becoming an issue and I'm looking for ways to maximize our space on a budget. Currently I have a desk in our small kitchen/dining area that we use regularly but takes up valuable dining space.  I would love to save space and create a desk/work area built into the wall to gain a few extra inches of depth. The area is about 4 feet wide but only 15 inches deep (current desk sticks out from wall about a foot). Another space saving project is for the tiny entry way to add a bench or maybe just a shoe and coat storage area. I also would like to remove a window in a bedroom to gain wall space. I'm looking for a carpenter that would take on these somewhat small jobs, has an eye for design and clever use of space and be considerate of a limited budget.  Some electrical work would also be needed.  Any suggestions greatly appreciated!  

    Try Simon Shamoun with Bay Area Closets. They are high quality but also quick and affordable. Simon was great at stopping by and drawing up several options for us to choose from. The new space they built out gave us all the missing storage we needed in our 1902 home! Don't think they could do the desk but definitely the entry storage.

    Simon Shamoun
    Bay Area Closets
    408-768 3002

  • Closet designer

    (3 replies)

    Know a good closet designer? I have two tall and shallow closets in my old house that need to be organized with shelving and such.  Looking for someone who can organize the space and install everything.


    Do California Closets. Closets are all they do. I have used them both in SF and NY and they are fantastic. They come to your house with their books and work with you on how to max out the space. Then they measure, come back with the pre-fab units and install everything IN ONE DAY. And it looks beautiful.

    It holds up, too. I have had exactly zero wear and tear on the installation, and it's been years.

    A regular carpenter would probably be more expensive, and less efficient.

    Karen Rolleri, Organizeology, is amazing! Seems pricey at first, but she is super efficient and makes great use of every inch available!

    Good luck!

    We recently used California closets and they did a great job!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Feb 2010

It's the new year, and we're trying to clean house. We have large wall closets (not walk-ins) that are a mess. Can I hear from those who have had good experiences with custom closet designers (California Closets, others?) and off-the-shelf (elfa, others?). Have they endured over the years? Btw, we went to the California Closets in Concord, and they're now closed. Thanks. Esther

I used both elfa and a custom closet company (closet design? can't remember which one) in our old house. Both turned out well and helped me organize things and really use the space in my closets, though a big part of that is simply getting rid of stuff too. One isn't better than another: elfa was considerably cheaper, but we used the basic product purchased on sale (sale is going on now til Feb 15). The custom closet looked nicer, but elfa has some higher end products that look nice too. My husband installed the elfa no problem, but Container Store also offers install services. Molly

Oct 2009

We are planning to organize the closets for two children's rooms and I wanted to get more current opinions about options that might be available to us. We looked at Ikea but their systems wont fit in out closets. We can use the closetmaid products at home depot but before we bought that I wanted to see if anyone has recommendations about any alternatives that we can look at. Sharie

I can highly recommend Elfa closet organizer/systems through the Container Store. We did it for a few of our closets. The consultation and design is free. The designers give you a form to fill out. You note your closet dimensions and inventory the clothing you want to store and how you prefer to store it (e.g., hanging, folded, etc.) The staff has a demo area where they show you how to install it.

it isn't super cheap, but it is reconfigurable as your needs change, which is cool. We went to the Walnut Creek Container Store. They have big Elfa sales a few times a year, so look for those. Here is a link to the Container Store's Elfa webpage: Mary

My wife and I were completely delighted with a professional organizer named Julie Elliott. Julie helped us out on a ton of things in preparation for a top-to-bottom home renovation, then throughout the renovation work, and then ''moving back in'' and organizing after the construction was done. She was great at packing up the household, organizing everything that went into storage in our cellar, running all kinds of errands to assist my wife, and then organizing closets, cabinets, etc. after the renovation was over. Julie is responsible, has a great, can-do spirit, and works really hard. Her site is rob

May 2008

I want to get a built-in corner desk/storage for my new home office, and am looking for recent recommendations. Checked out the CA closets site -- lots of glossy photos but low on info, esp. price. Has anyone used the Concord outlet of CA closets? Or any other companies with good results? anne

We used Closet Innovations, part of the Innovative Design Group. They didn't do closets for us, they did all our kitchen cabinetry, a built in banquette with bookshelves, and a garage hall with bench, cubbies, and a built-in hutch. Their work is very good and their prices were comparable to the customizable premade stuff, such as KraftMaid (KraftMade?).

They have a showroom at the San Francisco Design Center, which is just about all closet and office configurations, so you could go over there to see what they do and talk to someone. Otherwise, you could call them and they'll come out with a portfolio to show you. They do some very high-end work (tech billionaires, baseball players, conference rooms for Cisco Systems, etc., but they also do the basic laundry room and cabinetry for regular folks like me, I am not a rich, will-pay-whatever-it-costs type). So, don't be scared off by the fact that they are at the Design Center or that they do high-end stuff. Their prices are pretty good and the service is good. Plus, they have great ideas and are good problem solvers.

You can tell them Mary in Moraga referred you. Their number: IDG/Closet Innovations, 800-971-7900 Mary

Feb 2006

Would you recommend Closet World? We have just gotten an estimate from Closet World for some closets, cupboards, & bookshelves to be in a future family room (converted garage). The estimate seems high, but I have no experience in these things, so it could be OK. It's a smallish space (350 sq ft) with odd sizings of things, it took their person 3 hr. to measure things (as well as discuss with me, advise and help me figure out what would work.) What is reasonable to pay per lineal foot? The material is melamine, not solid wood. If anyone has recent good/excellent experience with another local company (e.g. California Closets, Closet Innovations) I would be grateful to hear about it too. Thanks.

I worked for Closet by Design for a short time... they are both owed by the same parent co. Closet World and Closet by Designn Personally, knowing what I know about the business... I recommend you call California Closets, Closet by Design and you already have the quote from Closet World... then pick the design you like the best and negotitate... HARD!! pit them against one another and see who will give you the best price... then give that person your business and have them install the design you like the best!! They all use almost exactly the same materials. I know they will discount down about 40% off the list price but you have to push them... and do not feel guilty about it!! they are trained to try and hold the discount to around 20- 25% off... but they will go to 40 % pretty easily if you push. been there

We recently (august 05) had a free-standing closet built along a wall of our bedroom to replace an 1890's hole that had passed as a closet for 100 years. The closet we had built was 96in tall and 103in long and included 7 doors, 9 drawers and a number of added options (interior shelves, belt/tie rack, special upgraded face design). It too was melamine with a wood-look finish. The final cost was about $4000.

We used Closets-by-Design(, but got bids from a few of the other companies. Our experience was that California closets was at least double but really triple the cost of the closets-by-design bid. Closet-world sounded good but I didn't groove on their sales person (doubted that he knew the product, didn't think he was a very intelligent designer). The best bet for us was getting some suggestions from multiple designers because our orignial design was improved by the ideas from the other bids (some better use of space) and we now have something that really works well for us.

Also, Closet's by design meant it when they said it. They gave us an install date, and they were here on that date and exactly on time (important because it was 2 weeks before we had a baby). Their showroom is down by OAK airport and you can see the plant there where the stuff is locally made. Also, they use their own installers not contractors (check this especially if you go to Home Depo EXPO), because they can control the quality and workmanship. Their installers were very clean and careful. Recently, we needed some extra shelf hangers, and they just mailed them to me, no extra charge. My woodworker/cabinet maker grandfather was very surprised that the closet wasn't wood and that it looked so good. --a very proud organized closet owner

Sept 2004

We need a basic closet organizer system with some shelving and double hanging in our kids' bedroom closet. It should be pretty simple, and I know what we need (I'm not really interested in a ''free in-home design consultation'') but the type of DIY components available at Home Depot and its ilk can't be arranged the way we need them, and I'm thinking that for once (since I've got a 3-month-old and a 3-year- old to manage) it might be nice to have someone else wield the drill. So, does anyone have any experience with California Closets, Closets By Design, the Closet Factory, and/or any similar companies to share? Did you compare prices? Are you happy with the quality of the product? How was the service? Alternatively, have you ordered components from or a similar business and installed it yourself? Any comments pro or con on going that route? (I have plenty of carpentry skill, just a lack of time and patience right now.) Thanks! Holly

I highly recommend California Closets after my positive experience six months ago. The closets are very well made and attractive, but I felt Kim Howerton (510-828-2147)was the real plus. She really made the closet decisions easy on us. She looked at the existing closets-mine a depressing disaster & my husband's tidy as a pin- and estimated space allocations for the # of shoes, shirts, etc. she saw. She drew up a proposal, we fine-tuned it with her and were delighted with the result. I must say I am not that easy to please and looked around a lot, even considering a very high end Italian company. They were so paranoid that they wouldn't let us keep a copy of their proposal, which by the way didn't compare to Kim's and cost 3 times more than hers. Proud of my new closets

About 2 years ago I reorganized my walk-in closet using Elfa components from The Container Store. It took longer to design the closet than it did to put it up! It was all very easy. You can get an idea of what they have at their website, and once you go to the store they have employees that make sure you have all the components that you need to realize your plan. As far as actually building, all you have to do is drill the ''header'' across the top of the closet and everything else just hangs from that. It was super simple and I ended up with more storage room than I even needed. Good luck. Ruth

May 1999

We used California Closets to build storage units in our garage which have made much better use of the space. They are best known for building closets/wardrobes, however. The materials are of good quality, and because they come and do the measurements and discuss your storage needs with you, you'll end up with a customized result that makes best use of the space. It cost around $1200 to have four huge 10'tall, 4' wide storage units built, with shelves and secured/earthquake proofed. I imagine a wardrobe would be much, much less. The design and estimate was free, and I have often seen coupons for discounts on installation in the paper or magazines. They are located in Concord, but will come to your home. (800) 274-6754.

We used a place called Closet Innovation to organize the insides of our exsisting closets. I LOVED them. When the designer, Malka, showed us their portfolio, they have done beautiful jobs making free-standing or attached closet spaces where no closet exsisted before. I think they would be very suitable for your purpose. We used them within the last 6 months. We had two other closet companies bid on our job, but both of them where fairly inflexable: they have standard sizes and modular systems that would not work in our old funky closets. Closet Innovations was very competetive price-wise. We paid about $1500 to have two large closets totally gutted, spacked, painted, and many shelves and rods installed, and a third closet they added shelving to. They did this in one day- no hassels. Malka was also very good helping us get the maxium use of our space. They are totally custom, and can fit any unusual Berkeley space. They are in the yellow pages. From a no longer storage-impaired Mom!