Closet case

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 March, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 March, 2007, 12:00am

In New York City, where having an old flat is considered desirable, size does matter - specifically, closet size.

Yet most older flats were built at a time when people owned at most one or two pairs of shoes and a similar number of outfits. So, when Chris Dlutowski and Peter Occolowitz renovated their pre-war Chelsea flat, the first order of business was to increase closet space.

To figure out how to winnow out somewhere for their ward-robes without sacrificing too much floor space in the 750 sqft two-bedroom, one bath-flat, the couple brought in architect Stephen Alton.

'The question is how to make storage look interesting,' Alton says. Rather than chopping up the bedrooms, which were already cosy, he suggested creating a built-in feature that would span the width of the living room. 'We decided to build something that would be practical, yet look

great from a design perspective,' he says.

The closet is camouflaged by custom-made sliding doors with slightly off-kilter square finishes, selected by Dlutowski and Occolowitz to look like wall panelling. The room-wide closet is just a stone's throw from the master bedroom, so convenience isn't an issue.

Further convenience is provided by the interior build- out of the space by California Closets, which created a nook and cranny for absolutely every article of haberdashery owned by the couple. So should a guest accidentally lean against a door, the inside is almost as pleasing as the outside.