Alex Hayden

A freestanding storage unit makes a master suite both spacious and efficient

Jennifer Block Martin,  – November 30, 2005

A bedroom, a bathroom, and a walk-in closet – Eric Ledoux assumed that the master suite in his new Bellevue, Washington, home would be laid out in the traditional way. Then architect Lane Williams posed a simple yet mind-blowing question: “Have you considered not having walls?” Williams’s idea was a closet island that would be a multifunctional divider, separating the sleeping area from dressing and bathing zones without closing off one area from another.

Interior designer Amy Baker made sure the unit would be flexible and efficient. She included 13 feet of hanging space, double rods, adjustable shelving, and cubbies for books.

DESIGN: Lane Williams Architect, Seattle (206/284-8355); Amy Baker Interior Design (206/283-1969) 

Planning a closet

To improve your master closet, designer Amy Baker suggests taking stock of what you own and customizing your space for different types of clothing.

  • Have one section for hanging dresses, coats, and pants with a high-mounted rod. Maximize your closet efficiency by using double-hung rods for shirts, skirts, and folded pants.
  • The best way to store shoes is on slanted shelves or open cubbies. Lay your shoes side by side to assess how many lineal feet of storage you’ll need. “Remember, men’s shoes take up more space,” Baker says.
  • Special items such as ties and lingerie benefit from shallow drawers, which provide easy access.
  • Look online or in the phone book for professional closet designers or organizer companies. Or bring your measurements to a store specializing in storage fixtures.

High cabinet

The divider incorporates extra hanging space close to the changing area and bathroom. Bird’s-eye maple makes the cabinetry resemble furniture.

Ceiling lights
Low-voltage lighting built into the soffit running around the edge of the room prevents dark corners.

Side tables
Flip-down night tables are built into the head-board below the reading lamps.

Extra storage
Beside the bed are drawers for books and magazines.

Floating island
The satin-finished chrome legs almost disappear, making the divider seem to float.

Total control
A programmable touch screen – lying flat above the bookshelf – controls the lights, audio, video, and electric window shades.

Subtle space divider
The charcoal-colored wool carpet of the bedroom meets the tile floor of the bathroom.