Champagne Bars, Tanning Booths and Revolving Shoe Racks: The $1 Million Closet Has Arrived
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Champagne Bars, Tanning Booths and Revolving Shoe Racks: The $1 Million Closet Has Arrived

Budgets for high-end projects have skyrocketed, as homeowners opt for larger and more luxurious spaces

By SARAH PAYNTER
Sat, Feb 3, 2024 7:00amGrey Clock 5 min

On an October evening, Kimmie Turiansky and four girlfriends sipped pink champagne in her Bedminster, N.J., home as they prepared for a night out. Chandeliers illuminated silk wallpaper and pink window treatments as pop music blared, while the women swapped clothes and perched on window seats.

The primary setting for all this activity wasn’t Kimmie’s bedroom or bathroom, but the roughly 470-square-foot closet she created at a cost of roughly $120,000 during a recent home renovation.

“It didn’t feel like this was my house until this was done,” Kimmie, 49, said of the closet. “This is truly the only space that is mine alone.”

Kimmie’s closet has silk wallpaper and pink window treatments. PHOTO: DOROTHY HONG FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

Closets in luxury homes are getting bigger and more expensive, as homeowners look to display increasingly extensive, curated fashion collections. Closets are also doubling as entertaining spaces, with seating areas and champagne bars where owners can host friends, said Christina Relyea, president of the Association of Closet and Storage Professionals.

These days, “clients actually do hang out in their closet,” said Container Store executive Barbara Snook, who leads sales-and-design training for the company’s custom-closet design service. When a project is completed, “the first thing they will often do is throw a closet-reveal party.”

Average budgets for top-of-the-line closets have skyrocketed to $200,000 to $300,000, up from $60,000 to $80,000 a decade ago, according to custom-closet builder Claudio Faria, chief executive of Ornare Miami, who said he often works on projects costing more than $500,000. Closet designer Matthew Quinn of Design Galleria in Atlanta said a client recently spent over $1 million on a two-story closet with a spray-tan booth and an elevator.

These days, some high-end closets have features such as thumbprint-protected jewellery cases, built-in watch winders, revolving shoe racks and clothing storage with dry-cleaning capabilities, said Eric Marshall, co-founder of the Closet Training Institute in Scottsdale, Ariz. Christian Nadeau, president of Maryland-based recycled leather business EcoDomo, said he recently installed custom leather stairs in a two-story Las Vegas closet. A Dallas client’s closet, Quinn said, has a camera that takes pictures of each outfit and sends images to a digital folder, much like in the movie “Clueless.” The system allows the client to select outfits remotely and have her assistant pack for her, he said. Some closet owners are even putting meditation areas in their closets, said Donna Infantolino, a California Closets designer in Northern New Jersey.

Kimmie, a mother of three, and her husband, marketing executive Eric Turiansky, bought their roughly 100-year-old house for $2.55 million in 2021. As part of an extensive renovation, they nearly doubled the size of Kimmie’s closet, commissioning Wendy Scott of Timeless Closets & Cabinetry to create boutique-like displays for clothes, purses and shoes. A display case was custom built for Kimmie’s Chanel roller skates, Kimmie says, while a centre island has a brass charging port for a Chanel handbag with an LED screen.

For many clients, closets are private spaces, Quinn said, which frees them up when it comes to design decisions. “Because it isn’t shared, in a closet you can have more fun and show your personality,” he said. “It doesn’t have to match the rest of the house.”

One of Quinn’s clients, Jill Gallagher, chose an antique crystal chandelier passed down from her grandmother as the focal point of her 180-square-foot closet in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Gallagher, 49, and her husband, Vionic Shoes co-founder Chris Gallagher, 54, bought their home for $2.1 million in 2018 and hired Quinn to renovate it.

Jill also selected grey leopard-print carpet for her closet, as well as a central island with a white and gray quartzite countertop. Cabinetry and lighted display shelving are stacked all the way up to the room’s 12-foot ceiling.

“I wanted it to feel like not just like my own little boutique, but like my own personal art gallery where I could display some of my special bags and shoes,” said Jill. The cost of creating the closet was about $150,000, she said.

She’s not the only one in the family with a fabulous closet. Chris, originally from Australia, has a roughly $70,000 Aussie-inspired closet, with leather drawer pulls and cabinet handles made of cattle horns.

In his roughly 75-square-foot closet, marble countertops and textured wallpaper give the space a “men’s retail store” feel, he said. Metal mesh shelves store his roughly 50 pairs of shoes, allowing them to “breathe” without being prominently displayed, he said.

“I’m a shoe guy,” he said. “I wanted to have a nice place for my shoes but I didn’t want to see them, because men’s shoes can look a bit clunky.” Having numerous hooks and hampers in the closet was also important for keeping the space uncluttered, he said.

Leather finishes are a popular choice for men’s closets, said New York architect Thomas Juul-Hansen. He has designed closets around large shoe and T-shirt collections for male clients, he said, including the hip-hop promoter Damon Dash, whose New York City closet holds 200 pairs of sneakers, 1,000 folded T-shirts and hundreds of baseball caps, he said. Elton John’s Atlanta condo, which sold for $7.225 million last year, had shelves with space for about 200 pairs of shoes, said Chase Mizell of Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty, who had the listing. And hip-hop artist and producer Sean Armani said he hired California Closets in 2022 to design a closet for about 100 pairs of shoes in his Miami home, at a cost of roughly $70,000. His condo is now for sale, asking $6.45 million with Elke Johnson and Christopher Wands of Douglas Elliman.

Homeowners often see a return on investment for the tens of thousands of dollars they spend on luxury closets, real-estate agents said. “In my experience, buyers are willing to pay a premium for homes with well-organized, aesthetically pleasing closet spaces,” said Ginger Martin of Sotheby’s International Realty – St. Helena Brokerage in California.

Some 93% of home buyers were willing to pay 10% more for a home with upgraded closets, according to a 2023 study by ClosetMaid, an Orlando-based home storage-and-organization company. At the Jade Signature condominium in Miami, the average unit’s sale price increases about $150,000 with the addition of a roughly $120,000 luxury closet, according to Ornare, which designed some of the closets in the building.

Condo developers are leaving larger footprints for closets in their floor plans and partnering with designers to build out custom closets for interested buyers, said Daniel Seigle of Brown Harris Stevens Development Marketing. Miami developer David Martin said Villa Miami, which he is developing with the One Thousand Group, will have bigger closets than past projects as a result of feedback from focus groups. The St. Regis Sunny Isles will have about 20% more space for closets than the developer’s last project, the Ritz-Carlton Residences, Sunny Isles Beach, said Faria. And closet designer Sandra Swieder of the Closet Builder in Bergen County, N.J., said she is working on her third project with New York City-based Minrav Development to develop large, custom closets.

In 2018, fashion blogger Emily Gemma built a home in Tulsa, Okla., with her husband, internist Dr. John Gemma. The couple, both in their 30s, designed a roughly $135,000, two-story closet with an office. The closet is roughly 450 square feet, larger than the home’s primary bedroom, said Gemma, who launched the style and beauty blog “The Sweetest Thing” in 2013.

Gemma films content for her blog on the first floor of the closet, which has a marble and wood floor and lighted shoe displays. Windowed doors provide natural light for filming, she said. A large staircase lighted by a Parisian chandelier leads to the second floor, which also serves as an office for the blog’s two full-time employees. On the second level, French windows open to a Juliet balcony.

In Gemma’s Instagram posts, the closet is often mistaken for a foyer, she said. “It gets people really stirred up,” she said. “They say, ‘I can’t believe you store shoes at the entry place of your home.’”



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11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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A 600-Year-Old Medieval Villa Overlooking Florence Lists for €12 Million

The four-storey, lemon-hued villa boasts more than 16,000 square feet of living space and historic character and charm by the bucket load

By LIZ LUCKING
Wed, May 29, 2024 2 min

A 14th-century villa in the hills overlooking Florence, Italy, has hit the market for €12 million (US$13 million).

Surrounded by cypress trees, vineyards and olive groves, the quintessential Tuscan home was built for the Davanzati family—who were powerful bankers, merchants and patrons during the Italian Renaissance who have a museum named after them in the heart of the city. The villa was one of the family’s multiple country retreats, according to Lionard Luxury Real Estate, which brought the home to the market earlier this month.

Courtesy of Lionard

The four-storey, lemon-hued villa boasts more than 16,000 square feet of living space and historic character and charm by the bucket load.

The ballroom has a giant skylight.
Courtesy of Lionard

On the ground floor there are ​​a number of reception rooms and open-air living areas, with many of them boasting antique paintings, tapestries and stately fireplaces made of marble or carved stone.

The most “magnificent” room, according to Lionard, is the winter garden hall, a ballroom with stuccos, loggias and towering vaulted ceilings, illuminated by an Art Nouveau skylight.

Courtesy of Lionard

On the first floor are multiple double bedrooms and an antique library, and the second floor, while in need of renovation, offers the possibility of creating up to 12 en-suite bedrooms. The villa’s tower has a “delightful sitting room and a rooftop terrace offering a breathtaking view of the city of Florence,” the listing said.

The villa has ivy-covered loggias.
Courtesy of Lionard

The basement, meanwhile, has a cellar with brick vaults that are perfect for wine lovers. An elevator runs between the levels.

Outside, the grounds have well-kept gardens, rolling lawns, a fountain, ancient wells and ivy-covered loggias.

Mansion Global couldn’t determine who is selling the villa, or when they acquired it.

The property is “an oasis of peace,” the listing said, and “one of the most exclusive historical estates on the hills that surround the city of Florence.”

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11 ACRES ROAD, KELLYVILLE, NSW

This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

35 North Street Windsor

Just 55 minutes from Sydney, make this your creative getaway located in the majestic Hawkesbury region.

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