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closets

i hate to use a sex and the city quote as an opener, but…i’m going to use a sex and the city quote as an opener.

i’m referring to the first movie, where mr. big says to carrie, “we’re getting married. should we get you a diamond?”

and carrie, ever the clotheshorse, replies cheekily, “no. just get me a REALLLLY BIG closet.”

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that’s right – girlfriend would rather a giant closet than a giant diamond. YOU AND ME BOTH, CARRIE. YOU AND ME BOTH.

granted, i don’t have a mr. big swooping into the grand apartment and offering to marry me, but hey – you can’t always get what you want, right?

i digress. my point is this: when it came to storage in the grand apartment, my thinking was this: i want it. a lot of it. no marie kondo “throw out everything you own and live with less” shit up in here–mama has a lot of stuff, and she needs a place to put it all.

unfortunately for me (and my poor contractor), the grand apartment was built in the late 1920s. also known as a time when a single family lived in just one room (or two, if they were lucky), where everyone shared one giant mattress (or one not so giant mattress), and where people quite simply did not have a lot of stuff.

which is why at the time of purchase, the grand apartment had just two closets: a small coat closet in the entryway (which i promptly demolished to make room for my breakfast bar), and a small linen closet near the bathroom.

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the linen closet at the time of purchase

nothing else. that’s right, ZERO storage in the bedroom. NARY A CLOSET IN SIGHT.

and that, quite simply, wasn’t going to work. as i said, i have a lot of stuff. but i don’t want to SEE a lot of stuff.

hence, storage. and closets. more of them.

luckily, my contractor had just the guy. his name was henry, and he was FAB-U-LOUS. last week, he met shmulik and i at the grand apartment, and promptly proceeded to put on a one man design show complete with theatrical gesticulation.

let me set the scene.

henry enters, stage left, and goes to stand inside the linen closet (literally, the man was in the closet). he stretches his arms out, indicating that he can touch the sides. 

“can i give you some design advice?” he asks.

i nod.

“my dad is always telling me, HENRY, don’t give people design advice! you’re giving it away for free! don’t give it away for free! but i just can’t help myself.”

i laugh, and say that of course he can give me design advice! i WELCOME his design advice!

“okay, great. here are my thoughts: we need to make this work for you, right? so we’ll do some shelves (rapid sketching on his pad of paper), and we’ll need big ones here for comforters, that sort of thing, and then some smaller ones, too.”

he proceeds to point out that “shampoo bottles go here, they’re tall, see?” and that “you’ll stack sheets here. sheet sheet sheet, towels here, a towel there.”

as he talks, he continues to sketch. within minutes, a linen closet comes to life.

my hour with henry was, without contest, the very best hour of this renovation so far. besides being hilarious and easy to work with, henry truly considered my lifestyle (“i can tell you’re stylish”), my wardrobe (“you have a lot of shoes, don’t you?”), and what i needed to hide, “we’ll put the vacuum and swiffer right here, see?”) before designing my closets.

so now, let’s SEE SOME SKETCHES, shall we?

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so COOL, right? watching henry sketch out my belongings in such an orderly, sensible fashion was magical. the man even remembered sock and underwear drawers!

the best part? this wasn’t even the best part! that honor belongs to the entryway, which he literally designed exactly to my vision and specifications. but that’s a story for another day (aka, tomorrow)–so come back then.