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Open top of closets?

Posted by gladys1924 (My Page) on
Sat, Sep 7, 13 at 18:11

Our new house has 10 foot high ceilings. The closets in the two side bedrooms (not the master) have standard 2 foot deep reach in closets with standard height sliding doors for access. That means that the top 2 feet or so of the closets is unreachable without a ladder - and no room for a ladder in a 2 foot deep closet (am I making sense here?).

Dh and I have asked our carpenter to make the closets only tall enough for the doors - make it a 7 foot or so high closet. The area above the closet should be completely open to the bedroom, giving us about 2 feet of a shelf like space. We plan to use this for storage of lightweight, bulky items that we use infrequently (sleeping bags, etc), and use a ladder for access.

Has anyone ever done anything like this before? I'm looking for a picture that I could show our carpenter - I don't think this is a difficult idea, but he doesn't seem to understand. I've looked on Houzz and all over the web - not finding anything like this.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Open top of closets?

Are you thinking of a library ladder? If so, photos of those should be around....


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RE: Open top of closets?

No, I'm not thinking of a library ladder for the closet, although I did consider them briefly for access. Then I discovered how much they cost, even on craigslist, and I realized how *nice* ordinary ladders from HD are!

I'm looking for a picture of this closet/storage shelf (platform?) already built. It seems simple to me, but our carpenter isn't me, so he is a bit challenged trying to picture this thing.


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RE: Open top of closets?

Do you mean something like the first picture on this page, except above a closet?

Here is a link that might be useful: Houzz


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RE: Open top of closets?

The area above the closet should be completely open to the bedroom, giving us about 2 feet of a shelf like space.

That gives you a dust collecting ledge. I've had them and they don't work very well. Unless you have some really great-looking storage it turns into a collection of ugly containers.

Have the space framed in, with doors and shelves so your storage is enclosed, and it will be tidier and easier to use.


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RE: Open top of closets?

Yeah, we've thought about covering that area - with blinds/sliding doors, or just using big, matching bins. Although for what we're talking about storing there - backpacking gear, etc, it really doesn't matter if it gets a little dusty. Up that high, I can dust once or twice a year and it'll be fine - unnoticed...but it needs to be relatively open or how would we get bulky things into it? We have a lot of recreational gear that needs to go someplace, and it needs to be inside - climate controlled...In our previous house we had some open storage - doesn't everyone? High, open shelves in the kitchen, rec room shelves, etc.

The Houzz link looks good - not *quite* what I'm talking about, but the same idea.

This post was edited by gladys1924 on Sun, Sep 8, 13 at 13:09


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RE: Open top of closets?

I think it would *look* sort of cluttery and messy.

I like the idea of bedrooms looking very serene and streamlined.

I vote for adding a slim-line frame around the opening on both sides, and putting full-width, full-height doors on it that open into the room.

Make the doors be a perfectly flat panel (masonite over a 1x1 frame, maybe) that's painted the same color as the wall, with those push-to-open latches, so you don't have hardware up there.

Then it'll look more streamlined, but you'll still have the storage space that's accessible from the outside.

Here is a link that might be useful: hidden storage wall panels on Houzz


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RE: Open top of closets?

We have doors already; they are standard height (7 feet?); when they are in place, there will easily be two + feet of closet space above the door frame that will be inaccessible if it is enclosed in a standard closet space.

We are going to leave these spaces open for now because we aren't going to use them as bedrooms - one is a rec room/exercise room (with treadmill, weights, etc), and one is an office. We want open storage so that our sleeping bags/tents/etc don't get musty - ventilation. When we sell in 20 years or so, the future owners can cover these storage spaces if they want to do so.

This is a *log house*, so by it's very nature it's informal. *Very* casual, nothing streamlined about it.

I like the pictures I've seen on Houzz of open storage; I just haven't seen anything specifically like this - open storage over a closet. I've read about builders who have done something similar to what I'm talking about as a way of using that dead space above high closets...they just haven't posted pictures of the solution (darn them!). Dh is very enthusiastic about this; we both see it as a way of replacing the (open) storage that we had in our previous house for our hiking gear.

Thanks for your answers!

This post was edited by gladys1924 on Sun, Sep 8, 13 at 21:24


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RE: Open top of closets?

We're doing exactly the opposite - we're having our carpenter open up the closet and frame it in taller and we'll install taller sliding doors (they make sense in the scale of our place anyway) so we can access the shelves above the rod - so what is a 6' tall closet now will be an 8' or more tall closet when done. We need to gain storage space anywhere we can!


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RE: Open top of closets?

We're doing exactly the opposite - we're having our carpenter open up the closet and frame it in taller and we'll install taller sliding doors (they make sense in the scale of our place anyway) so we can access the shelves above the rod - so what is a 6' tall closet now will be an 8' or more tall closet when done. We need to gain storage space anywhere we can!


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RE: Open top of closets?

You're right - what you are doing also makes sense. But it wouldn't work for us because we already have the doors (I stained them myself!). But this should work just as well, and we really like giving outdoor gear room to breathe, not stuck in a closet with no ventilation. I don't see the big deal about dust - how many people have open shelving in their kitchens, bookshelves throughout their houses that are open. This doesn't seem any different. And it does give us a lot of usable storage that we would've lost otherwise.


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RE: Open top of closets?

Is this what you had in mind? See the 4th picture.

Here is a link that might be useful: Closet with ledge above


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RE: Open top of closets?

Or maybe this one?

Here is a link that might be useful: Another picture


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RE: Open top of closets?

Want to see another one?

Here is a link that might be useful: Click here


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RE: Open top of closets?

Thank you, Sail away! That is exactly what I'm talking about!

I don't see why this is considered so heretical. You'd think I was planning on putting a bed for a new born child up there or something. :-(. This is really going to be a good use of space above our closets....and where else would we store our backpacks? :-P

I'm going to email the pictures to our carpenter...


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RE: Open top of closets?

"I don't see why this is considered so heretical. "

Heretical??
No one here feels that way... are you getting that sort of feedback from friends?


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RE: Open top of closets?

Maybe that's too harsh of a term. But I see people here talking about how "streamlined" is better for a bedroom, how this will show clutter and collect dust...Do people have closed in bookcases? Probably not - but don't the bookcases collect dust, especially on the higher shelves...In all fairness, after we move in (this is new construction), I might get big, colorful bins for one of the storage areas, just to keep it from looking cluttered. But if I don't, that won't be the end of the world. And the backpacks - I don't give a rip if they are out in plain view.


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RE: Open top of closets?

Well if you don't care that the backpacks are in plain view, then what's the issue - just do it? I like my "stuff" behind closed doors :-)


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RE: Open top of closets?

Everyone has their own likes and dislikes. I think additional storage up there would be great. My concern would be future resale of your house. If you don't have to worry about that, then I would leave it open. If you need to sell again in a few years, I'd add cabinet doors. I've had an open space above the room before. It was a decorating nightmare.


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RE: Open top of closets?

This reminds me of the discussion on the Kitchen forum about double bowl sink versus single bowl. I fall squarely on the single bowl side of the discussion and couldn't imagine any rationale argument one could make for a double bowl. Much to my surprise, there were many well thought out and practical reasons given by those who prefer the double bowl sink. However, I realized the way we use our sinks differed greatly. I still think single bowl is the only way to go for MY home, but I have a new respect for the reason others chose the double bowl.

It sounds to me like the open area will work perfectly for what the OP has in mind. I, personally, would prefer attractive bins for the stuff, IF I could find ones that were the proper sizes and convenient to use. Rule #1, if I want a storage system to work is that it has to work easily.

I think you have a great idea, Gladys, and you're smart to think ahead. Those who warned you off the idea were basing their opinions on their own personal experience and needs, which, obviously, are different from yours.

Once you showed him some pictures, did your contractor finally get what you were asking for? I hope it turns out just the way you envisioned.


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RE: Open top of closets?

Thank you, Sail away! You've expressed my thoughts exactly! I was going to say something yesterday, but couldn't find the tactful way to say it as you have done.

Open storage will work perfectly for what dh and I have in mind - and don't most people have some form of open storage? Open bookshelves, etc. I might look for nice storage bins to use in the office (that can be a bedroom), but definitely not for the exercise room (bedroom) - what kind of bin would take a mountaineering backpack? :-P Anyway, this is a *log house*; much of conventional decorating wisdom probably doesn't apply to us.

If this open storage creates a problem for resale in maybe 10-20 years, it should be easy enough to put cupboard doors of some kind on the front.

(We ordered a custom log bathroom vanity for the second bathroom; it has a paper topographic map embedded in the clear countertop - map is of *our* mountains... you think I'm concerned about *that* impacting resale? :-) It's another feature that we both love, and no, I'm not asking for input as to whether we should do it. It's done! )

I haven't shown the picture to our contractor yet because he has barely started the inside framing yet - is going to do that this week. But the pictures will be helpful - thanks!


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RE: Open top of closets?

I know that *for me*, there really isn't a comparison between the open storage of a bookshelf and the open storage for large, lumpy things like hiking backpacks.

Bookshelves become almost decor items; camping gear wouldn't ever do that to my eye. Ditto open shelving in kitchens, usually (the stuff that doesn't look good usually goes in a pantry or lower cabinet).

And as for dust, bookshelves and open shelves in the kitchen (BTW, I think open shelves in a kitchen would be a horror--I would never have them in my own) usually get used often, so dust gets sort of naturally knocked off. And they're easier to dust frequently so they're down low.

But suggesting that you enclose them (back when I thought it was a real bedroom, and not an exercise room) is not the same as acting as though you were "planning on putting a bed for a new born child up there or something."

Nice pics, Sail-Away! You've got great google-fu.

(oh, and I love the countertop idea in your bathroom. Very cool.)


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RE: Open top of closets?

I think open shelves, especially if you were storing sleeping bags up there, would be highly practical . . . but rather clutter-y looking.

I would like the concept IF you had large doors that could conceal these bulky items.

I think it would cost less in the long run to simply have another shelf up high in the closet. Either way, it's not all that easy to access the items . . . but they're not things you use every day anyway.


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RE: Open top of closets?

Trouble with a shelf high up in the closet is - this is a reach in closet. So if you have a shelf in there, it has to be a shallow shelf, Otherwise, how do you get stuff on and off of it? Above the closed in area that is above the closet doors (which are standard height), I mean. So you have a shelf that is one foot deep; the area above the shelf is two feet high. Not wide enough for a mountaineering backpack (which is *much* larger than a school backpack!). Where do you guys store your mountaineering gear? ;-P

I've had closed in shelves like that before - although not with 2 feet above - and hated them. Horrible waste of space, and the thought of sticking my head up into that area (to find whatever was stupidly stored there) gives me instant claustrophobia!. We can use a ladder to access the open storage, but couldn't get one into the closet. We'd probably forget what was stored up there, since it'd be so hidden and difficult to access.

...these two rooms are designed to be used as bedrooms, and the house is officially listed as being a 3 bedroom/2 bathroom house on permits, etc. But we are going to use one as a rec room/exercise room and one will be an office - we have no need for the extra bedrooms. The open storage of recreational equipment works very well with our lodge style home and decor (vintage snowshoe wall lights in the great room, etc.).

Thanks - I like the bathroom countertop idea as well. The manufacturer - JHE - apparently got quite a kick out of producing the vanity for us. They're holding it for us until we have room to accept it - can't wait to see it! :-)

At any rate, I really didn't mean for this to turn into a discussion of the wisdom of this open storage idea. Both dh and I love the idea, and we have no interest in changing it in any way. It works perfectly for our needs and for our log home decor. I just came here asking for pictures, which Sail Away nicely provided.

This post was edited by gladys1924 on Mon, Sep 16, 13 at 16:59


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