A Small Studio Gets Big Storage

A reno for better storage yielded maximum use for a closet—and a pantry

studio hallway with storage closet

Project: Combine multiple closets for more efficient storage

Before: When Melissa Young first set eyes on her new apartment, she was thrilled. It was a sunlit studio space on the corner of a beautiful prewar building with plenty of windows and charm. But she knew there was a lot to be done, given that the last renovation had occurred sometime in the ‘70s. Every surface was caked with paint a quarter-inch thick (including light switches!), and the floors were badly damaged. Melissa laid out a multi-step plan as soon as she closed. Feeling overwhelmed with the number of issues, she decided to tackle a relatively simple project first—the dearth of storage—and reached out to Sweeten to be matched with contractors. There were three tiny closets off the entry hall with low doorways preventing her from maximizing the vertical space available inside.

After: With the help of her Sweeten contractor, Melissa designed the largest closet doors that would fit in the space, working with California Closets to outfit the interior to create a functional, beautiful design with a mix of hanging and open shelving space. Her Sweeten contractor knocked down the wall separating two closets but left a third intact to use as a pantry space, since it was directly across from the galley kitchen. He also wired it so that her microwave and toaster oven could sit within the pantry. And although the project was intended to just focus on the closets, discussion with her contractor resulted in updates to the flooring, doors, walls, and radiators as well. In the end, Melissa’s studio had beautiful new herringbone wood floors in the hallway, refinished parquet in the main room, new baseboards, and molding.

Bonus: In the process of scraping the front door, the contractor discovered that underneath a hundred years’ worth of paint was “this gorgeous metal with amazing character.” They scraped all the door frames throughout the apartment as well, uncovering the same beautiful metal patina.

Style finds: Custom closets: California Closets.

before storage closet SWEETEN_Melissa_Closet-03 small storage closet studio entryway studio bedroom

A walk-through custom closet in Michael and Chenta’s loft transformed their bedroom storage.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.