Planning for a baby is no easy task, especially when you're tight on space. When California mama-to-be Emily Reaman found out she and her husband Skye would be expecting their first child, she knew she'd have to make some adjustments in their home. While their Sausalito loft was perfect for two, she wondered how she could make it feel big enough for a party of three.
Reaman saw potential in an unlikely place: the couple's bedroom closet. "We have a whole wall of reach-in closet space that was essentially segregated into three areas with three sliding mirrored doors," she tells House Beautiful. The left third of the closet belonged to her husband, the middle part was a "random catch-all area" where the couple stored their hamper, and the right third belonged to her.
"When we found out we were having a baby, I thought it would be smart to maximize the wall of the multi-use, reach-in closet space," she says—not just to make more room for the couple's belongings, but also to benefit their baby boy on the way. After seeing photos on Pinterest of nurseries designed inside closets, Reaman made three goals. First, she wanted more closet space for her husband. Next, she wanted to add shelving to her section of the closet (as she already had an additional closet for her clothes). Last, she wanted to transform the closet’s middle sector into a cozy baby nook with a dresser for her son.
Reaman worked on the corporate side of California Closets, so she was familiar with the company's smart storage solutions. "In mid-February, before COVID-19, I decided to pull the trigger and scheduled a free design consultation at my apartment," she says. During this one hour session, the design consultant took measurements, assessed the couple's inventory, and identified potential design ideas to optimize the entire space. The consultant and Reaman finalized a game plan and arranged for an early March installation.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 derailed the project until May, but with a July due date, Reaman was still able to make her closet baby nook fantasy a reality. She explains that the consultant finished the project over two short visits, where he removed the closet's inefficient wire shelving, patched up the wall, and even painted the nook area a blue-grey color the couple had picked out (the other two sectors of the closet would remain white). He returned the next day to install the nook's new furnishings and set up Skye’s area— making sure to sanitize absolutely everything!
The Final Product: A closet to accommodate everyone!
Ta-da! What once was just a space for a hamper became a cozy baby nook for this California couple! Reaman explains that California Closets designed a built-in dresser for the space that not only would fit her son's clothes, but offered a surface area large enough to accommodate a changing table. There was also enough room to fit a diaper bin. "Everything is adjustable so we can modify as we need," Reaman says.
The couple added some personal touches to the nook by incorporating some of their favorite toys and books from their own childhoods. In addition, Reaman lined the "soft-close" dresser drawers with gingham contact paper, to match the nook's calm and soothing blue aesthetic. Meanwhile, her husband, an artist, drew portraits of lions in Sumi Ink for the walls — the couple decided on the name Leo for their son.
While Leo has a pretty charming setup, there is still plenty of room for Mom and Dad, too. "Not only did all of my husband’s things fit, including his ugly bins," Reaman jokes, "but he actually found that he had more room now that his space was properly organized to accommodate everything."
Bottom line: "[don't] underestimate the potential space that could be hiding," Reaman says. "There is a lot packed into this entire reach-in closet, but with the right organizational design and smart use of space, everything feels orderly, neat and accessible." If it wasn't for her design consultant, Reaman adds that she might not have realized how her closet’s high ceilings could be used strategically.
As Reaman gets closer to her due date, she notes that "this definitely brings me calm as I get ready for the maybe “not-so-calm” adventures in parenting ahead."
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