Build 101...walk in robe plans storage wardrobe

So here is the skinny on the specifics of our walk in robe, in case you love it as much as I do and absolutely have to have your own.  I relied heavily on the Italian style wardrobe designers, like Poliform and Fanuli, for inspiration.  I love the symmetrical designs and substantial but elegant cabinetry.  

#1   Width of shelves and dividers
All our shelves and dividers are a chunky 32mm wide.  It makes the joinery marginally more expensive but creates a very high end custom looking finish.  
You could economize here and use a normal 18mm width, but the small extra cost does add a lot of extra visual impact.

#2   Symmetry and the power of 3
A big part of what makes the Italian designs so pleasing to the eye is their symmetry.
Three is a classic design number, things really do look better in three's or other odd numbers. 

Although the storage on our His and Hers sides is a little different, they have the following symmetries:
  • the height of the hanging rails is identical on both sides
  • the shelves above the hanging space are identical on both sides
  • each side is divided into three sections
  • two of the three sections on each side are identical. 
Even though the sides are not exactly the same there is a strong sense of symmetry in the space.

#3   No doors - pros and cons
PRO 1: I like being able to see our clothes.  I tend to keep things tidier and there are fewer hidden pockets of clothes that are never worn. 
PRO 2: Not having doors also means the space can be smaller.  We would need at least half a meter more between the two sides for doors to open without blocking the space.  And don't mention sliding doors, not a fan.
PRO 3: No doors is cheaper.  You can spend more on making the internal joinery pretty, and on pricier inclusions like pull out racks, drawers and shoe racks.

CON 1: It's messy if you don't keep it neat.  We specified pocket doors between the walk in robe and the bedroom to block the space visually.  It is nice to be able to close them if we need to, but it only happens when one of us is getting dressed early and we want to keep the light out of the bedroom. 
CON 2: Dust - not really a problem, yes there is a little dust but hardly clouds of it.

#4   Hanging rail height
Our hanging rail is 193.6cm high.  Much higher than most manufacturers recommend, but I can reach it easily, and I am not very tall.  The extra height creates space for double drawers underneath.
If I had a dollar for every time I was told by a builder it just isn't done that way, well my walk in robe would lead to a luxury yacht.  It may not be done that way normally but there is no reason it can't be.

#5  Lots and lots of hanging space
Two reasons you should plan lots of hanging space:
  • It is cheaper than putting in drawers and shelves because there is less wood and less work,
  • Clothes don't crease when they are hung
  • You can see exactly what you have and are less likely to hoard what you don't use

#6  Finish - stained oak
I love this finish, its elegant but not pretty and totally timeless.  Now that I have had a wardrobe with a dark inner I can't figure out why most of them are white.  Probably only because white is the most easily available option.

#7  Basic measurements
You can see the detail in the attached scale drawings but here is a quick summary:

  • width of shelves & dividers - 32mm
  • depth of cupboard - 600mm/60cm
  • width of space - entire space is 2.7m long and split into 3 sections.  After allowing for 32mm dividers each section is 957mm wide
  • height of space - 2.7m and wardrobes built all the way to ceiling
  • height of hanging rail - 193.6cm
  • remaining details are in the drawing

#8  Pull out pants rack/trouser rail
I discovered that it is pretty hard to get good pull out trouser rails at a good price, and that they are only available in very limited sizes.  So for our non standard space I had to make my own.  It was a surprisingly easy project to achieve, to see how it can be done see the full diy here.

Having lived with a walk in robe I cannot imagine not having one in the future.  I would be finding a way to put one in by stealing space from the bedroom or re-configuring smaller rooms.  Read all about why a walk in robe is a great investment of your hard earned build dollars here.  

For more details you need to know to get the finish you want, see the rest of the Build 101 series here.

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