He Stored, She Stored

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March 2005 • Hour

Custom-made embellishments, fine craftsmanship add luxury to his-and-hers closets
By Khristi Zimmeth

Karen Tucker and Paul Hodges’ 15,000-square-foot home on Upper Straits Lake in Orchards Lake Village is embellished with the sort of intricate woodwork, elaborate plaster crown molding, custom carved stone and traditional craftsmanship that characterized grand old estates. While their French Chateau style home is clearly inspired by the past, the house has an asset those gracious manors often lacked: spacious his-and-hers closets.

“Today’s homeowners want the look and feeling of the past with the function and convenience of the present,” says Bloomfield Hills architect Lou DesRosiers of DesRosiers Architects, who designed the Hodges-Tucker home — and their closets.

DesRosiers says at least half his clients request large walk-in his-and-hers closets. The days when closets with a shelf and metal rod would satisfy homeowners are long gone, it seems. “For most people, the closet can’t be large enough,” he says. “The space has taken on a new importance.”

Tucker says the couple wanted a his-and-hers configuration for several reasons. “Beyond the fact that we wanted our own space, I wanted mine to be pretty and feminine, and he didn’t,” she says.

Tucker’s 9-by-8-foot closet features 10-foot ceilings, custom-made cream-colored cabinetry, built in drawers, full-length mirrors and the sort of detailed crown molding usually reserved for formal living spaces. Hodges’ space has masculine finishes such as dark wood and granite. The interior features bookshelves, a staircase that leads to a private upper-level office, and even roof access via a trap door.

“My closet offers access to the highest vantage point on the lake,” Hodges says. “Being up there is like being on the top of the world.”

The industry has seen a rise in requests for such extras as valet bars, which are useful when packing for a trip or for hanging items just back from the cleaners. Other currently popular closet perks include granite or marble-topped island staging areas, built-in vanities, pull-out tie and belt racks, vertical dividers, pull-down ironing boards and hidden safes. Closet industry insiders say homeowners are seeking luxury behind closed doors. “More and more people want their closets to look like a fine European boutique,” says Mike Carson, founder of National Closet Group. “Some clients spend the same amount on their closet as they would on a new kitchen.