I’m a Brit and you can count the number of closets in the UK pretty well on the fingers of both hands! So… what’s a Brit doing talking about closets?
Well … I started in the custom cabinetry business many moons ago working for a UK company who manufactured Fitted Bedroom Furniture. In the ‘States, built-in wardrobes is what it really was! As you may have seen if you have ever visited Britain on vacation or business, a custom fitted closet is a pretty rare site in the UK. In all the years that I worked in the business in England, I only ever did 2 custom closets, and both were for American families living and working in the UK. And that’s probably 2 more than most custom cabinet designers in Britain have done too!
We Brits have so very little space compared to the norm in the ‘States, and finding space for a custom closet is not really “on the cards” for the vast majority of people.
The job as I knew it in England was to provide built-in wardrobes (kind of an old fashioned word nowadays) and storage space for clothing and all the essentials of daily living. Then we had to make all the cabinetry an attractive feature in the bedroom! This is the sort of thing that I mean …
This type of design was termed an “Over-Bed” Layout, and was a very popular style of bedroom furniture when I was working in the business in England. There were many variations on this theme, and an “over-bed layout” was a very practical way of providing additional storage, (especially the top cupboards over the bed), and I found myself sketching this type of layout a great deal of the time!
One very popular and attractive set-up was to build away from the wardrobe at a 90 degree angle, running into a set of two, four, even six drawers under a window forming a window seat, or onto a dressing table … (again, sounds to me like an old-fashioned phrase!).
The window seat option was always attractive, and the cabinets were often topped off with a padded seat. To enable this to happen, the robe door nearest to the wall had to be cut to leave an inch or two clearance over the window seat, and this was termed a “stable door”, for obvious reasons. The second door would be full length to gain proper access to the clothing inside.
Here are a few more designs to show can be achieved without having access to a regular closet.