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New Closet Design

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  • New Closet Design

    I'm trying to get my house ready to be put on the market, and I was advised to redo the master bath and closet to something that would appeal more towards women and/or a married couple. I've already built shelves in some closets, built some drawers in the kitchen, along with a handful of other things. I'm single and I don't really care how my closet looks as long as I can hang something up.

    So, I got an estimate from California Closets to redo my closet, making it more organized and they want $49,000 to do this. Even though the finished design looks great, everything they use seems to be prefabricated MDF with some paint on it and some fabric, so I have no idea why this would cost so much.

    Has anyone ever tried to redo a master closet into the same type of elaborate design and used shelves, drawers, lights, base cabinets, etc that are pre-assembled? I've seen a handful of these things to buy in pieces, and it seems like I could buy a ton of stuff, assemble everything myself, or even hire a group of carpenters, and it would still cost less than what these people want to charge me.

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  • #2
    Would it be better to spend the money on a closet the new owner may or may not want, or would it be better to simply clean up the subject closet and present it as a clean slate that the new owner can customize to their own taste?


    • #3
      Unfortunately most home buyers are idiots with no imagination. It's a universal recommendation to give them a finished product even though it's not to anyone's benefit. Truly stupid.


      • #4
        Just another brain fart. I suppose you are right, the confusion of moving in a new house, new to you everything, the new owner wouldn’t have the time and resources to build their on closer. They will just want to shove it in the closet and get it over with.

        How much will spending money on a closet increase the sale price?


        • #5
          I'm not saying it's rational, it's just that people are too dumb to envision things, and fear the unknown. Same reason houses get staged with rental furniture. Me, I'd rather have the canvas as blank as possible. I'd love to find an empty hole instead of a closet, and save $20k I can put into it myself.


          • #6
            I find it hard to believe you will get back $49K you put into remodelling the closet! What did the realtor say about that?
            Loring in Katy, TX USA
            If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
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            • #7
              I can’t get my head around a $49 k closet.


              • #8
                Try We did all the closets in our house including a 9x12 walk in for about $7000. I looked at california closets at a showroom near us and they basically sell low-moderate quality cabinetry at super premium prices. Far too much particle board and basic low cost drawer slides .
                An ethical man knows the right thing to do.
                A moral man does it.


                • roldogg
                  roldogg commented
                  Editing a comment
                  I agree, after meeting with California Closets and seeing the quality of the material they use to buildout the closet, I was shocked when I was given the price. The markup on these modular closets are ridiculous. I imagine it’s because all of them can be adjusted, like being able to move shelves around to widen/narrow the distance between shelves. Everything is particle board/MDF with laminate. The options seem unlimited as far as shelves, moldings, doors, lighting, etc, but at the end of the day, it’s still cheap looking.

                  Carlos is exactly right! People don’t have an imagination. I’ve already taken down my theatre equipment because people weren’t able to visualize anything else to do with that room. Regarding the master closet, I want to redo it to add a “WOW factor,” especially for a woman. I think the closet is fine just how it is, but I’m a single man who doesn’t care about having specific areas to store things. My thoughts were if I upgrade parts of the master bath/closet to appeal more towards a woman, who could spend all day in a “spa like” bathroom and closet. My realtor says I will get my money out of it and I know I will get my money out of it. I’m just looking for alternatives to a $50,000 closet. I bought the house about a month before it was finished being built, and then I spent about 8 months remodeling it since it was built as a spec house. I know I’ll get my money out of the house, but to get the interest of a married couple, I need to change a few things. I’ve already built shelving in all the other closets, added built in drawers, added epoxy to the garage floor, cabinets and overhead storage in the garage, but now I’m on the fence about the master bath and closet.

                  I’ll take a look at to see if this might work for me. When selling a house for $1.5 million, it should have lots of amenities. I’ve been working with an interior designer since the day I bought the house, and he suggested everything that I’ve done so far. Since I don’t have an eye for stuff like this, he’ll give me some ideas and I’ll do the work myself, unless it’s something big or something I couldn’t do by myself, like putting in a pool.

              • #9
                I guess my head is still with my wallet... back in the 1990's.... $49K for a closet interior??? For that price I'd expect to build a pretty fancy 2-stall garage! (But of course, I don't live in California). Listen, I wouldn't buy anything that was made with MDF, no matter what the veneer looked like.

                So, you didn't mention the size you have to work with, how big is this gold-plated closet that "California Closets" got to dream about?

                I think that if I were faced with the task, I'd address the issue with my realtor, take that with a 'grain of salt' and then address the issue. I'd start with a sketch of the work area you have, and then see what I could fit in there from what is on the market that fits your imagination and budget. If you have woodworking skills, the tools, and the time, you might easily tackle the job; but, only if you were moving in. Moving out, selling the place, I think you'd want to do what is necessary as quick as possible and certainly without major expense (looks nice, is efficient and comes as close as you see necessary to what your realtor suggested.

                Here where I live, in a smaller eastern city, the general idea is to show appeal for those who might barely be able to afford your house. But also recognize that those with deeper pockets are, to a large extent, buying into the neighborhood with a house that appeals to their basic view, and provides them the potential to put their own brand on it with a remodel. So, don't put in so much that you won't get it back on the sale, but also realize that majority of buyers may not have your taste and prefer their own vision. (Like don't put in a walnut cabinets, which the future owner will most likely tear out and put in something more to their liking.)

                Perhaps my view comes from watching too many of those 'house flipper' shows, but in the few houses that I've purchased over the decades, there has never been a home in which I just moved in, loving everything we saw. All four houses were purchased based on the neighborhood; and, in every single case we remodeled considerably, even on a relatively low budget. I think most people buy a home with the cost of making adjustments in mind.

                $49,000? Really beyond my imagination!

                Last edited by cwsmith; 09-10-2019, 11:44 AM.
                Think it Through Before You Do!


                • #10
                  $49K sounds like a lot for a basic kitchen remodel, let alone a stupid closet. Even a big stupid closet. "Move in ready" is a big deal for many buyers - especially young families that don't have a whole lot of spare time or money to spend customizing everything - often they can barely afford the house in the first place. Having lots of shelf or drawer space to accompany regular clothes hanging poles seems like it'd be the main draw for a finished closet - i.e. a way to stash lots of "stuff" neatly. Two rows of hanging poles - one above the other like you see in the men's section of department stores - stands out. Fancy appearances and fancy trim on closet pieces? Put that expense into the kitchen and other public areas, not on closet stuff unless the rest of the house would already make the cover of Better Homes and Gardens. Then making the closet as classy as the rest of the house (sort of) makes sense. I'm too practical to think extravagance belongs in closet furnishings. Specialized storage areas - i.e. tailored to shoes, winter coats, etc. - sounds nice on paper but I think a) they end up taking more room than they are worth and b) they work only if you actually have that type of stuff - and have just the right amount of that stuff. Compare a mechanic's tool chest with several generic drawers to the Studley toolbox. That toolbox is bloody awesome but 100% customized to that particular tool collection. Get a bigger mallet to replace one that just broke... now what - where will it fit? Perhaps choose a supplier that does offer those specialty storage things but install simpler shelves/drawers where those fancy gizmos could go... if the new homeowner wants to upgrade the "provisions" are already there... kinda like old kitchens that had a big base cabinet that was easily replaced with a dishwasher if that's what you wanted. Leave the cabinet maker's catalog/brochure where the realtor can show it to the buyers to say "ready to customize if you want to."

                  I got lucky with the house I bought a few years ago - actually I purchased a corner lot with a detached multi-car garage for my shop and it came with a house. The master bedroom is an addition to the house with a large walk-in closet. That closet is about 40% as large as a typical bedroom in this neighborhood built in the early 1970s. With generic Home Depot ClosetMaid cabinets and shelves it gets lots of oohs and ahhs from friends and their spouses when they visit. That stuff is not what a woodworker would make - laminate covered particle board, no backs so the cabinets want to rack and bust apart until attached to the walls, etc. - but they are more than serviceable and, as I said, get lots of jealous reaction from others. And boy do I have a lot of stuff/crap stored in there!

                  Putting money into upgrading the bathroom makes a lot more sense, to me, than spending it on making a jazzy closet. Whirlpool tubs, easy to clean showers, anything other than linoleum floors, something nicer than the metal box + mirror medicine cabinet, plenty of lighting rather than one central fixture, etc. With modern colors/styles rather than basic porcelain bone white. My master bath was part of the addition and it really stands out compared to the other bathroom (original to the house). For older buyers, designing the bath with wider than usual walkways - or even with wheelchair access in mind - is a big deal. Nice looking hand-holds really catch their attention too.

                  Speaking of lighting... good lighting in the closet (and bathrooms and the kitchen) is an upgrade that does make a lot of sense. Multiple lights so there are few shadows but not not bright/harsh lighting is quickly appreciated by home shoppers these days. Savvy shoppers may recognize lighting that is color-pure, unlike fluorescent lighting or others that alter the colors of clothes. Same with the lighting in a dressing or make-up area: that lighting should be color-pure as well to avoid surprises.

                  Last edited by mpc; 09-10-2019, 01:31 AM.


                  • #11
                    I believe that I would consult a cabinet shop that fabricates kitchen and bathroom cabinets. They probably also build cabinets for closers.


                    • #12
                      What size is your 49k closet?


                      • #13
                        The largest closet, I ever knew about, was in a baseball players house, that a friend built. (the master closet was the size of my house)
                        I could see $49K for that.
                        When my parents bought a home, years ago, now, my mom got her first walk in closet. She dreamed of having a custom closet, but my father isn't a woodworker (or carpenter), and she had no real idea what she wanted. I talked idea's and designs with her, and then she called California Closets, and got some quote that I knew was high for the material used. (think melamine covered chipboard) She was "guessing" that she would have to call them, so I said first lets go to the hardware stores. We looked at Lowe's, and Homedepot's offerings, and on the way home, we stopped by a damaged freight store. Spotting several of one item, she got excited and we came home to measure. There are closet orgainizers by Rubbermaid, and Closetmaid, that are basically the same thing, with a different finish. Hers are Rubbermaid (chrome), of which I disassembled her closet, painted it and put up the new orgainizers in half a day, with a good day of letting the paint dry. We spent more time, deciding how she wanted to configure it (layout), of which, she made one change in 17 years. She put some money in my account after what I saved her, and she has been happy with it ever since, especially with the idea that it breathes better then those solid wood things she was looking at. (her words)

                        If I were allowed to do it today, I might consider making some shelving out of wood (cedar), based on a wooden version of the same thing, I saw on Amazon since ( search B00B8AHBLW).

                        I think you could save a LOT of money and end up making some woman happy.
                        She couldn't tell the difference between the escape pod, and the bathroom. We had to go back for her.........................Twice.


                        • #14
                          My closet measures 20’x11’ with 12’ ceilings. I have a mental picture of the design, went to, built a similar layout on their website, and everything came out to $7000. Needless to say, these companies who specialize in closet design must have a huge margin. Like I said, I’m perfectly content with how the closet is currently, but I seriously doubt that I’ll be selling the house to another single guy.

                          what I’ve decided to do is add some shoe shelving with rails and lighting for an “Oooo ahhh” factor, and give the buyer a concession to have the closet redone to their taste. The reason for posting here was because of the sticker shock. I thought I would be able to redo the closet for a couple thousand dollars. Whenever they told me how much it costs, I almost fell out of my seat. By the way, I don’t live in California, I live in Louisiana


                          • #15
                            49$ is definitely too high even if there are other teardowns and permits in scope, also if its pure wood and custom design..not sure they indicated MDF or you assumed as much. We recently redid our kitchen cabinets custom hardwood and it came to 10K for just the cabinets.