Bedrooms in old houses often lack a proper closet, and this 1880s Folk Victorian farmhouse was no different. A time-honored solution is to build a floor-to-ceiling wardrobe that spans the length of a single wall, but that approach can look monolithic, while also eating up usable floor space. For this child's room, architect Anthony Vermandois broke with tradition by claiming a corner—unexploited real estate in most rooms—to build a wardrobe with an adjoining, stepped-down shelving unit that tops out before reaching the ceiling. "It's a closet that doesn't gobble up all the visual space," he says. And the varying heights make the single built-in look more like two individual pieces of furniture. The wardrobe is 24 inches deep to accommodate standard clothes hangers, but for a similar cabinet in a hallway to hold linens, a shallower 16- or 20-inch depth will do.
IDEA: Construct built-ins with materials that are appropriate to the age and style of
the house in which they are installed. The wardrobe below is made from a rustic-looking beadboard paneling that's perfectly suited to an old farmhouse.