Tailored Living (Burnaby, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, BC)

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9 Insightful Tips for Designing a Wheelchair-Accessible Closet

wheelchairAs a society and culture, we have come a long way since the days when people had to fight just to get curbs lowered and stores and restaurants to install wheelchair-accessible entryways. Today, no one even thinks twice about leaving disabled-designated parking spots available for those who need them, because people know it’s the right thing to do.

Yet even in this age of heightened awareness, few able-bodied people understand what it’s really like to live an ordinary day with a mobility-limiting condition. Simply getting out of bed and getting dressed in the morning is a challenge, particularly for those who live in a space that has had few, or no, modifications. The standard-designed home simply does not accommodate many of the daily living challenges that people with mobility issues face.

That’s why we thought it would be fitting to talk about the wheelchair accessible closet. Just imagine how difficult it would be to try to reach a shirt hanging from a standard-height closet rod when sitting in a wheelchair. Fortunately, making changes to an existing closet to render it more wheelchair-friendly isn’t as hard and probably not as expensive as you might first think. The designers at Tailored Living are pros at creating flexible closet solutions, and our proprietary 3D design software, D’Vinci, lets clients see their potential wheelchair-accessible closet in three dimensions before it is even built. Whether your closet is walk-in or reach-in, we are full of ideas as well as the hardware and accessories to bring those ideas to life in your home. Here we will share a few of our best tips for planning your wheelchair accessible closet:

1) Enlist the perspective of someone who uses a wheelchair for day-to-day living. The best design advice you’ll ever get is that which comes from a person who has had firsthand experience navigating a closet from a wheelchair. You’ll undoubtedly hear things that you might not have read on the Internet or seen in design magazines.

2) When calculating where to place rods, drawers, shelves, etc., consider not only the distance of the seat of the wheelchair from the floor, but also the distance from the floor to the height of the person when he or she is sitting in the wheelchair. The idea is to strive for personal comfort and avoid strain on muscles, joints, etc. Therefore, a child in a wheelchair will need a closet rod positioned much closer to the floor than, say, a six-foot tall, fully grown man. There is no “one size fits all” for anyone, and that includes people in wheelchairs.

closet drawers 23) Always keep maneuverability in mind when planning your design.  For a wheelchair accessible walk-in closet, a wheelchair must have enough room to roll in and turn around comfortably without hitting walls, drawers or anything that sticks out of the wall, like hooks or rods. If placing drawers inside the closet, the person must be able to access them easily, preferably from the side. Accessing drawers from head on is difficult because the person will have to reach over his or her lap first. Often this means that the deepest parts of the drawer will become inaccessible. Side-reach makes it easier to access the entire drawer, as long as there is enough room to maneuver the wheelchair in the same space. For drawers in a reach-in closet, the person must have enough room to maneuver the wheelchair within the room and still be able to access the drawers from the side. Also, remember that it’s not just high drawers that are difficult for a person in a wheelchair to reach, but low ones too.

4) Install sliding doors instead of conventional hinged doors. This eliminates any need for door clearance space, leaving more room for a wheelchair to maneuver.

5) Make sure flooring inside the closet is wheelchair-friendly. That means either a smooth, non-slip finish, or, if carpet, one with a low pile.

6) Use reach-tools to help maximize all of the space inside the closet. If you were only able to place hardware like hanging rods at wheelchair height, you would miss out on using all of the space above that. Fortunately, there are practical tricks and tools that someone in a wheelchair can use to access items that are out of his or her usual reach so that all space can be utilized. One such handy piece of hardware that Tailored Living installs in all kinds of closets (not just wheelchair accessible ones) is the pull-down rod, which is pulled down when access is needed, and pushed up against the wall when not in use. A garment hook (basically a long metal stick with a hook at the end) is a must for reaching hanging clothes that are otherwise out of reach, and can also be used to access a pull-down rod.

shoe fence7) For shoe storage, tilted shoe shelves sit at an incline with the lowest point at the front of the shelf. This allows an unobstructed view of what is on the shelf, even high ones.

8) Install a built-in ironing board at wheelchair height. The board slides away when not in use.

Pull-out belt rack.

9) Install pull out belt racks, tie racks and pants racks. They can be both excellent space-savers and practical accessories for making clothing easier to access from a wheelchair.

These are just a few ideas. For a personalized wheelchair accessible closet solution with your own customized design, contact us for a free, on-site consultation.

Do you use a wheelchair, or do you live with someone who does? If so, you are the true expert. What design suggestions and ideas would you offer?  What has and hasn’t worked for you in the past? Share your tips on our “leave a comment page,” or on our Tailored Living Coquitlam Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/tailoredliving.coquitlam/


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The Logistics of Custom Walk-In Closet Design or “You Can’t Put Those Drawers There!”

walk in closetDesigning and installing a custom walk-in closet is a dream-come-true for many homeowners. The wrong design, however, can turn into a nightmare. Sometimes homeowners and even professional designers focus so much on the aesthetics of a closet design that they forget about some of the basic logistics, and end up with drawers that smack into each other when opened, shelves that can’t be accessed unless you close the closet door behind you and other common closet problems.

Tailored Living’s expert designers are trained to spot such issues and adjust plans accordingly. The last thing you want after spending your hard-earned money on a custom-designed closet is to be unhappy with it for the rest of your years in your home, or until you shell out more money to fix the problem. We run into these issues frequently, so we wanted to cover a few that we encounter most often so that you can start thinking ahead of time about a design plan that really works for you (one without crashing drawers and inaccessible shelves) and one that you’ll be thrilled about when your custom closet is finally finished.

closet drawers.jpgPlacement of drawers and sliders: Anything installed inside a walk-in closet that slides out when in use (drawers, slide-out racks and baskets, etc.) or needs to be pulled away from the wall to be accessed can be problematic if not placed smartly. We often work with clients who already have a basic layout in their minds of where they want drawers and sliders to be placed within the overall system. However, people often forget to think about how these drawers and sliders are actually going to interact with the rest of the system and with one another, when opened.

For instance, what if your walk-in closet is fairly narrow, and you want to have drawers placed on opposite each other on the side walls of the closet, his-and-hers style? This mirror-image type layout seems to make sense and might sound logical. However, what will happen if both of you are trying to access drawers on opposite sides at the same time? Will you be able to open both sides of opposing drawers at the same time without them bumping into each other? Would you be able pull it open a drawer on one side all the way and still have room to stand in front of it? Although such a layout might work with all drawers and sliders retracted, it will be problematic if there isn’t enough room to open them without doing an awkward dance around them inside your closet. The novelty of your new closet will wear out pretty quickly.

How your closet door opens and closes: If your closet has sliding doors, then you don’t closet doors.jpghave too much to worry about in terms of your door interfering with shelving, etc., inside the closet. If you have a traditional hinged door that opens into your closet, you’ll want to think about what you install in that space behind where the door will open. Will you still be able to push the door in far enough if there is shelving behind it? If your closet is on the small side, will you have to perform awkward maneuvers to get inside the closet and then get behind the door to access whatever is stored there? Is it plausible to change the design of the closet door (change the door from inward opening to outward opening or install sliding doors instead)?

girl wearing boa closetThe age and size of the closet’s main user(s): This is something you’ll especially need to keep in mind if you are designing a closet for a child, or a closet that is going to be used by two or more people of significantly varying height, or if the closet is going to be accessed by someone who uses a wheelchair. A standard closet in a new build usually has a rod that is placed about 68 inches from the floor. Double rods are generally installed at about 43 inches and 84 inches. This would be considered ideal for the “average” user.

Of course, everyone knows no one is actually “average” in height. A slight majority of people fall somewhere just above or just below that, while the rest of the population is usually significantly above or below that, height-wise. What this means is that the “average” closet rod really only serves just over half the population well. The rest of us either have to reach down or reach up to hang clothing. Not only that, but the “average” closet rod height really cancels out a lot of otherwise usable space in your closet.

If you’re going to design a custom walk-in closet, please for the love of all things sane, DON’T have it designed for the “average” person. If you’re spending the extra money to get something tailored exactly to your lifestyle, you might as well place drawers, closet rods and any other spaces you plan to access frequently at a height that makes sense for you. If you’re reluctant to do this because, say, you’re over six feet tall and you’re worried about the resale value of your home if a prospective buyer is 5 feet 2 inches tall, you can work your design so that pieces like the hanging bar can be height-adjusted.portrait-1160487_960_720

The same goes for children’s closets. Hang rods and install shelves at child-height, not adult-height. This encourages independence in picking out clothing and in putting clothing and personal belongings away. However, children grow, so make rods and shelving adjustable so that they can grow with your child.

Consider other “hacks” that can help you access less-frequently used closet space: In order to make the most efficient use of the space in your closet, you should plan to utilize all of it, from floor to ceiling. Of course, doing so means that the very highest components, whether shelving, cupboards or otherwise, are going to be more difficult to access. These spaces are ideal for storing items that you rarely have to access. However, at some point you will have to access them. Hacks like extendable clothing rods, high-reach hanger hooks (a long stick with a hook at the end, great for reaching high-hanging clothes), step-stools / step ladders (with their own dedicated space in your closet) will make getting to those out-of-the-way spaces less frustrating.


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The Kid-to-Teen Closet: Designing a Closet That Grows With Your Child

girl with teddy bear and closetStandard closets are built with a “one size fits all” mentality. In reality, the “standard” closet isn’t really a great fit for anyone, but especially for children. If you have the budget to makeover your children’s closets, you’ll find that they’ll be far more functional.

However, although we can work with just about any budget when it comes to doing a closet upgrade, it may not be a reno that you’ll want to do all over again when your children get older and taller. Instead, Tailored Living can work with you to create a children’s closet design that can be adjusted and re-adjusted so it grows with your child.

1) Adjustable height rods. Placing hanging rods at a level where a child can reach her clothing herself helps to foster a sense of independence. She can choose her own outfit to wear and access it on her own. She can also hang up her clean clothes by herself.

Eventually,  she will grow and become a teenager.  Hopefully by that time she’ll have the self-sufficiency thing nailed. However,  it won’t be very convenient if the closet rod is still only 2 feet off the floor. That’s why it’s a great idea to plan ahead when they’re little. Pre-installing closet rod hardware at varying heights will allow you to move the rod girl wearing boa closetprogressively higher as your child grows.

2) Adjustable shelving. The same principle applies to shelving. What’s the point of a shelf in a closet if your child can’t reach it? You’ll be able to teach your child to get organized and manage his own possessions if you create a storage system he can access on his own, even at a very young age. Then, when he’s bigger, you can readjust shelving to better accommodate his height.

3) Accessories that transcend age. Baskets, sliding baskets, drawers, drawer dividers and shoe racks/shelves are the kinds of accessories that will be useful throughout your child’s entire life (although their contents will undoubtedly change from Hotwheels or Shopkins to sports gear or makeup).

4) Paint the closet walls white. We suggest painting the rear wall of the closet some shade of off-white, now matter what color the rest of the walls in the room are painted. It’s not easy to paint a closet wall once all the hardware is in place, so a neutral white shade will match any wall color. This way, if you paint your little girl’s room pink and she gets older and decides she doesn’t like pink anymore, at least you won’t have to re-paint the inside of the closet too.

Here are a few more general tips for organizing a grow-with-your-child closet:

boy closet* Instill a habit of organization while they are young. Teach kids what goes where (and let them help decide where to put certain items as they are capable). Re-visit your closet organization scheme periodically, as your children’s storage needs will change as they get older.

* Labels are your new best friend. Label bins, drawers, shelves, etc., with what belongs in that particular spot. (For children who are not yet readers, label with pictures instead of with words.) This will make it exponentially easier for your child to put items where they belong.

* Make sure to re-label when you make storage changes. Even if your child is 16 years old, labels are still an excellent visual reminder to stay organized.

Tailored Living has endless options when it comes to ideas, designs and configurations for a closet that will grow with your child. Our skilled designers and craftspeople can work with any budget and any size space and create a closet that works for your child and your family’s lifestyle.

One more thing: we’d like to wish all of our readers and clients a very safe and happy weekend celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday!


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Closet Dreams: Top Seven Closet Mods Moms Must Have

TL walk_in_closet2_organization_by_tailored_livingWe hope all you Moms had a beautiful Mother’s Day this past Sunday and that you got spoiled by your kids and grandchildren. There’s no one else on earth who can fill your shoes, but if you’re a Mom whose shoes fill most of your closet, we have the right solution for you. After all, doesn’t every girl dream of having a walk-in closet with a mirror, dressing room lighting, room for a hundred pairs of shoes (or more), and a section for every season of clothing?

For a lot of women, the ultimate walk-in closet is but a dream. However, no matter what size her closet is, it CAN be tailored to meet some of those personal dreams. In honor of Mother’s Day, we have decided to dedicate this post to all of those Moms out there who tirelessly give of themselves to make sure that their children and grandchildren are cared for and loved unconditionally. However, these mods are really for ladies of any age, with or without children. Check out the top seven closet mods that Tailored Living installs in women’s closets:

1) Shoe shelves: Shoes are an obsession that most guys will just never understand. Just because she already has ten pairs of black shoes doesn’t mean she doesn’t need another black pair because they’re all different and they all have very different purposes, right girls? However, accumulating shoes can eventually become a problem because you only have so much floor space in your closet, and even over-the-door shoe holders fill up fast. That’s why Mom will love Tailored Living’s shoe shelves. Individual shelves tiltshoe fence downward so that you can easily see what’s on it, even if it’s up high. A built-in fence keeps shoes from sliding off. Each shelf typically holds two to four pairs of shoes, but the design can be adjusted to accommodate more or less, depending on how much space you have to work with in your closet.

spiral-shoe-rack2) Spiral shoe rack: An alternative to the shoe shelf, the spiral shoe rack can hold up to 25 pairs of shoes. Shoes hang from specialized hooks on a spinning carousel device so they’re not only easy to access, they retain their shape better.

3) Pull-out mirror: A full-length mirror is mounted on a sliding rack. This allows her to pull out the mirror when she needs it. It slides back against the wall or inside a cabinet, depending on how it’s mounted, so that it doesn’t take up space when it’s not in use.

4) Spiral clothing rack: It’s kind of like having her own personal shopping boutique right in her closet! The spiral clothing rack allows for hanging up of typical clothing items, like dresses, and is ideal for funky closet corners where space might otherwise simply be wasted.

5) Custom drawer dividers: These are really simple and inexpensive to install, yet they ACC0 make a big difference when it comes to maximizing space and efficiency. Drawer dividers ensure that small items like socks, undergarments and accessories don’t get all mixed up in her drawers.

accessory hook6) Accessory hooks: This is another simple mod that can make Mom’s closet SO much more organized. Tailored Living’s accessory hooks come in a variety of shapes and configurations, and they are ideal for things like necklaces, scarves, hats, belts, purses and many other small to medium-size items.

7) Valet rod: Yet another simple and relatively inexpensive closet mod that is perfect for the working professional. It’s a clothing rod that’s housed in a track mounted on the side valet rodof cabinet or shelf. It takes up virtually no space when not in use. To use, she simply pulls the rod out. There’s just enough room to hang up tomorrow’s outfit so she doesn’t have to waste time hunting for it in the morning.

These seven closet mods are only a very small sampling of the incredibly-useful ones that Tailored Living installs in closets every single week. And don’t worry, Tailored Living can transform the guy’s closet, too. You can view some of the closets we’ve transformed and check out the accessories that can make your closet fabulous on our closet customization page.

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Got Moths?

clothes-moth-1492608Ever get a kick out of those cartoons you watched as a kid where a character would open up a closet door or storage trunk and a hundred moths would fly out? We laughed then, but it’s not that funny in real life. If you’ve ever pulled your favorite sweater out of storage, only to find it ridden with holes, and felt like crying, this advice is for you.

It might already be too late for those woollens and cashmeres you boxed up for storage last spring. But these de-mothing tips will help you avoid getting your most expensive suit chewed up over the winter and will be in you mind next spring when you de-winterize your closet once again.

What the Heck is the Deal with Moths Anyway?

There are hundreds of different kinds of moths, but clothes moths are the only kind that eat holes in your clothes. Some people have the misconception that they will eat any kind of fabric. In reality, they only like fabric that is made from animal fur, such as wool and cashmere. So don’t blame clothes moths for the holes your favorite cotton or synthetic fabric shirt.

Another misconception is that adult moths eat fabric. It is actually only clothes moth larvae that eat your woollens and cashmere. What happens is that the moth looks for a woolsdark, cool, secretive place with lots of access to animal material to lay its eggs. That’s why closets are popular, but they will also lay eggs in places where there might be lots of animal hair (like inside your doghouse) or in enclosed spaces in your barn. There, the larvae can eat to their heart’s content and probably not bother anyone. But chances are good that you don’t want to sacrifice your expensive wool suits to raise baby moths.

However, a lot of people have a strong aversion to mothballs, and we don’t blame you. Our advice is not to put mothballs in your closet. There are a few good reasons for this. First, mothball fumes are unpleasant at best and noxious at worst. Plus, they smell awful, and the scent is very difficult to get rid of, even after washing. Mothballs contain toxic chemicals, the main one being naphthalene, which is what gives mothballs their distinctive smell. They kill moths by giving off toxic fumes. Not only that, but they’re dangerous for children, especially little ones who might mistake them for candy or playthings.

Besides, mothballs are not doing any good in your closet anyway. In order for the vapors to effectively kill moth larvae, they have to be in a controlled and tightly enclosed space where they can’t evaporate. As confining as your closet is, it’s not enclosed enough to contain the fumes of mothballs.

Get Rid of Moths and Moth Larvae This Way Instead

Since you’re not wearing your wool and cashmere over the summer anyway, the best thing to do is store them in an airtight container, like a Rubbermaid tote bin. Instead of tossing mothballs inside, add some cedar. Cedar fumes have a similar effect on moths as mothballs, but without the toxic chemicals. Not only that, but the scent is much more pleasant, and it is easier to wash out after summer is over if smelling like cedar isn’t your thing. Plus, they aren’t noxious to humans AND they’re 100 percent natural.

That being said, cedar balls can be pricey, especially if you need quite a few. However, you may be able to get cedar waste if you happen to live near a cedar mill, such as board ends or shavings. If not, you can probably get cedar shavings at your local pet store in the form of animal bedding. It is often marketed as bedding and habitat liner for small rodents like hamsters and guinea pigs as well as for rabbits. Ounce for ounce, it is much cheaper than cedar wood planks or cedar balls and a big bag will go a long way.

For now, if your clothes from last winter smell like mothballs, it might take two or three washings to get rid of the scent completely. Adding an oxygen-booster like Borax to your regular laundry detergent may help. For those wardrobe items that are not machine-safe, a trip to the dry cleaners is probably your best bet. Make sure you mention the mothball smell. Dry cleaners have great tricks for getting out unwanted scents.

Need more closet storage space for those bins of off-season wardrobe items? Tailored Living offers free closet upgrade consultations, and you can even see your plans in virtual reality 3D before any demolition or construction begins.


This could be your new closet, with plenty of room for storage bins.



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New Eyes for Your Closet

Light almond-coloured reach-in closet reno by Tailored Living as seen on Property Brothers

August is a busy month for all three of the greater Vancouver Tailored Living dealerships. Of course, summer time always brings holidays, and many of us have already traveled this summer or have plans to do so before the summer is over. Juggling vacation plans and busy workloads is keeping us on our toes this summer, with closet and garage renovations topping the list as the most requested jobs these days.

Since we’ll be rolling into fall sooner than you probably want to think about, we wanted to take this opportunity to talk about closets. Closets are always on people’s minds during that transition from summer to fall, probably because along with it comes the transition from tank tops and short sleeves to bulky sweaters and overcoats. Somehow the space in the closet seems to shrink in the fall, and home owners start to get frustrated with their closets all over again.

Instead of going through closet angst every fall, now is a good time to start thinking about a little bit of closet rehab. That summer-to-fall transition is always a great time to do a comprehensive clean-out, getting rid of things that are outgrown or out-of-style and pass them on to a local charity organization.

We’ve addressed the issue of cutting down on clutter before, getting your closet ready for fall and other closet-related tips. We highly recommend you take a few minutes to revisit these old blogs for inspiration and ideas.

Getting organized isn’t easy, and, no matter how you try to look at it, not very fun either. But in the end if you can stay on top of closet clutter your life at home will be a little easier. Don’t let lack of inspiration be the thing that stops you, either. TailoredLiving.com is full of ideas and custom solutions that can help you make the most of the space in your closet, even if your closets are small. Check out some of our closet solutions, or browse our online brochure, which is filled with real-life stories that will probably resonate with you on some level.

We also know that sometimes it just takes a fresh pair of eyes to come in to your home and see the possibilities that you can’t. When you’ve lived in your home for a while and looked at your closet several times a day for weeks, months or years, it can be very hard to envision the potential it actually has. Bringing in one of Tailored Living’s home organization experts can be an eye-opening experience. They’ll have all kinds of ideas you probably never even thought of, and access to products that can be completely customized to accommodate the things that you want to store in your closet. Consultations are always free and come with no obligation to purchase anything. Once our customers really understand what is available to them, though, they are almost always eager to get us to come back.

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A Recent Closet Installation Transforms a Maple Ridge Bedroom

By Mike Pachal, Tailored Living Coquitlam

Believe it or not, this gorgeous cabinet with solid maple wood and dark chocolate pear stain is a fully- functioning closet.  I recently had the opportunity to install this particular piece in a detached home on a rural property in Maple Ridge.

Full Wall Custom Closet in Dark Chocolate Pear Stain

Behind the full length wood doors on the left and right is space for hanging clothes and shelves for folded clothes.  This space includes built in tie and belt racks.

A pull out tie rack keeps ties organized and wrinkle-free

A pull out tie rack keeps ties organized and wrinkle-free

Tie racks like the one shown here are perfect for the working professional.  Rather than rolling ties and putting them in a drawer, the rack keeps them from wrinkling while at the same time allowing the home owner to see all of his ties at once, with a single glance.  The same is true for the belt rack.  This system helps save a little time in the morning, and every second is precious when you have a long commute ahead of you.

Pull-out belt rack.

Keep belts handy with this pull-out belt rack

Behind the cool looking frosted glass are custom shoe shelves and spaces for accessories, jewellery, hand bags and other items.

One of several styles of shelving for shoes available from Tailored Living

One of several styles of shelving for shoes available from Tailored Living

It also includes 9 full depth drawers and a dual bag laundry hamper, ideal for “his” and “hers” laundry, or for separating lights from darks.

One style of dual laundry hampers available from Tailored Living

One style of dual laundry hampers available from Tailored Living

This particular system was created for a couple and customized to fit their lifestyle.  It’s just one example of how Tailored Living can create a closet that’s as unique as the person or people who live in the home.  Tailored Living can mix and match different design elements like these and many others (visit the Tailored Living closet designs page for more examples) to create the perfect, individualized system.  We offer several different finish options, from the rich dark chocolate colour of this closet to deep warm browns to crisp, clean whites.  Tailored Living’s exclusive D’ Vinci 3-D design program allows you to get a three-dimensional picture of what your new closet renovation can look like before it’s installed, saving you from any surprises.  Tailored Living offers free, no-obligation in-home consultations throughout the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley.