Text: Robert C. Martin
Photos: Images used courtesy of Edith-Anne Duncan, shot by Dustin Peck

Ready or not, it’s off to the races each morning with everyone in a mad dash to start their day. Since things are already hectic enough, why make getting dressed even harder by keeping your wardrobe in disarray? “There’s certainly a better way,” says Julia Walter.

As managing director for Boffi Georgetown LLC (an Italian-based company that specializes in sleek kitchen, bath, and storage design and products, along with ultra-mod furniture), Walter makes it her business to inform clients on how to sort and display their clothes. “Ideally, selecting what you’ll wear should be both pleasant and convenient—not stressful,” she says. “I’ve found that our clientele is ultimately looking for a boutique experience when perusing their closets, much like they encounter in an exclusive clothing store.”

Walter clarifies that it’s all in the way garments and accessories are grouped and organized that make the difference. “The key components of a successful primary closet consist of a great balance of hanging and drawer space, combined with shelves or bins for folded clothes or smaller items (such as purses), and if space allows, an island,” she says. Ample room for shoes requires even more attention because they’ll quickly fill up whatever space is available. “Personally, I’ve found that placing shoes on a simple, level shelf suffices,” says Walter. “Slanted surfaces may not always work with the heel or shape of various footwear.” Likewise, she favors having just enough depth to accommodate one pair of shoes, rather than wanting deeper shelves in which one pair sits in front of another.

To determine just how much hanging space versus other closet zones a client needs, Walter doesn’t leave such decisions up to chance. “As a rule, I always take an inventory of their apparel and accessories first before figuring out what goes where,” she says. “And their preference of hanging or folding clothes impacts a closet’s layout as well.”

Another issue worth considering involves whether to conceal everything behind cabinet doors or allowing a closet’s contents to be visible for quick selection. “Often, clients choose a mixture of both options,” Walter says. Whereas closed sections protect more formal or expensive garments from dust and other elements, cabinetry with glass doors not only offers the same benefits, but also enables a client to see inside. “Moreover, customers tend to select solid doors if their intention of staying neat and tidy aren’t a priority.” Other factors, such as smaller walk-in closets or those closed off by an entrance door, will frequently nix the need for additional millwork.

Walter highlights one feature that’s gaining popularity, largely because it shares something in common with the boutique world. “If there’s enough space, a glass display case (better known as a ‘vitrine’) lets clients show off cherished items like exclusive, festive garments or heirloom jewelry.” She concludes by saying that such cases can be installed as freestanding elements or as space dividers when a couple shares the same primary closet.

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