Q: I have decided to follow some advice from your column and enlarge my bathroom by breaking down the wall to a small adjacent guest room. The idea is to create a combination bath and dressing room right off my bedroom. Now I need some advice about what sort of cabinets to use in this new space. How do I choose the right kind?
A: Uh-oh. Since you're following my advice so closely, I certainly hope the end result will meet your expectations. And I'm a little worried, because what you're embarking on can be a very ambitious project.
First, you need to decide exactly what kind of storage will work best for your particular needs and in this specific space. Ask yourself not only what you want to store, but how accessible it should be.
For starters, count the number of garments you wish to hang in the closet. If pants, skirts and jackets account for the great majority, don't forget that they can easily be double-hung as long as the closet is fairly tall.
How many shirts are to be stored? It's also important to tally the shoes, belts and handbags. Now divide the space accordingly with combinations of closets, cabinets and chests of drawers.
Remember, too, that the room should include mirrored areas, possibly on the closet doors. Also, accessible horizontal space is necessary for placing a garment or accessory as you go about coordinating what you plan to wear. And you must leave adequate room for applying makeup.
bTC As you can see, this task does require a good knowledge of cabinetry. You therefore might want to consult with a skilled cabinetmaker or a professional designer.
Bath planning centers could also provide help in organizing and selecting the storage pieces. But no matter whose advice you seek, it's essential that you have a sure sense of your own needs.
To show you what good planning can achieve, I've chosen this photo of an elegantly appointed bath-dressing room combination.
Notice that the cabinets have lacquered panel doors with brass inlays in the frames and handles. Their lightly profiled fronts are conducive to an interesting play of light and shadow. And the brass inlay in the joint between the frame and door panel gives a delicate outline to the pure white surface.
As this model suggests, light colors should not automatically be ruled out as non-functional for a bathing area. Today's technology, with its water-sealed materials, allows you to select whatever cabinet colors you consider most attractive.
Such a pristine and refined design may or may not appeal to your tastes. But I offer it as an example of what fine cabinetry and mar-proof plastic laminates can accomplish, once the details of storage planning have been sorted out.