An expanding family, a move, a renovation—the storage arrangement of one’s clothes is at the mercy of these and other changes. I have watched as my wearables have been shunted from a master closet to a spare bedroom closet (following marriage), to an office closet (following our firstborn) to a relative state of homelessness (following our second child). Perhaps I set the wrong precedent by forfeiting any closet space from the start; I displayed generosity and a willingness to compromise where I should have been mean and stubborn with what limited space there was. My clothes have suffered the strain of this forced exile, with the dusty shoulders and flattened lapels to show.
Never overly fond of closets to start, some time back I decided on another, better solution: an armoire. A five minute spin around the internet revealed two problems. One: though modest, no armoire exists that would effectively contain my collection of suits, odd jackets, trousers and shirts while still allowing for future growth. And two, that the largest specimens would not negotiate the dropped ceiling and sharp turns of the hallway leading to the master bedroom. A built-in seemed the only option until, while discussing designs with a carpenter, I hit upon the idea of an "armoire" constructed in two modular sections that could be stacked to appear as one. It was a eureka moment, affording ample space (100 linear inches) for hanging clothes while maintaining relative mobility in the event of a future move. Considering the rough treatment of my belongings since bachelorhood, it was important to me that these two trunk-like sections could be stacked, placed adjacent, back-to-back, or across the room from one another without losing their charm. Should I be banished to some shed one day, my trunks will happily follow.
And all went well, from drawing up rough plans to selecting the very beautiful sapele wood from which the armoire would be constructed. I launched my carpenter into the project with a breezy attitude: just a couple of stackable boxes, no? I don’t have to explain to more knowledgeable readers just how naive I must have sounded. No sooner did the carpenter arrive to begin work did the questions start appearing out of clouds of sawdust: did I want the grain to run vertically or horizontally? Should the doors hang inside or outside the case? Do I want standard, concealed or action hinges? What to do about a base?
Several weeks later (interrupted by a poorly timed holiday) we are nearing completion and I am happy that my displaced clothes seem to have a lovely home within grasp. Below are some photos of the progress. Once installed I will post some more thoughts on stylistic choices, the advantages of custom furniture, the problems with storage generally, and other organizational desiderata, along with another gallery of well-lit vanity shots.