Tell me about California closets please.
January 22, 2014 8:06 AM   Subscribe

Hi AskMe. I need to do something about the closets in my 30+ year old house. I would like a more efficient use of space both for the master walk in closet and the smaller bedrooms. Simple shelf + rod no longer cut it. I have no idea how to do that myself so I'm thinking of California Closets who seem to get a lot of praise online. Have you had any experience with them (or a similar outfit)? Satisfied? Please tell me about your experience.
posted by aeighty to Home & Garden (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I used them to re-do the closets in my condo. They did a fine job, but it really was quite expensive. I really wish that I had spent a bit of time doing it DIY.

You really don't need a lot to re-do a closet to make it serviceable, and I had some serious buyers remorse after the fact.

But! If the money isn't that big of a deal, then use them, they put out a quality product and they were a hoot to work with!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:08 AM on January 22, 2014

I looked into several companies a while ago to do a walk-in closet. I ended up buying various Pax units from Ikea. It's solid as a rock (and heavy!), easy enough to assemble, flexible enough to fit any situation, and much cheaper than the other systems. It's kind of made to be a stand-alone unit in a room but if you don't need the doors it cost much less and works in walk-in closets.

Ikea had an app that let you design your layout and it gave you a list of items you needed.
posted by bondcliff at 8:14 AM on January 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I used Closet World for my pantry and the Elfa system from the Container Store for my closets. I would recommend both. The Closet World designer was surprisingly experienced and helped me figure stuff out; and the Elfa system is great because you can move stuff around if you realize you use it differently than you thought - it's modular, but very sturdy. Elfa is nice because it has all kinds of custom use thingies - like a shelf designed for purses with upright dividers, or a pull-out jewelry box shelf, special scarf/belt hanger hooks, etc.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:18 AM on January 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

We used California Closets to redo 1 small, 1 medium and 1 large closet in my house, they were professional from start to finish and the quality of the work was top notch (and I'm kinda picky). They were recommended highly by a friend and we have re-recommended them numerous times since.

I don't know if the price was fair, we didn't really shop around.
posted by Cosine at 8:23 AM on January 22, 2014

I had California Closets install a bunch of cabinets in my garage in San Francisco. A workbench, clothes closet, lots of drawers, etc. They were great. The designer / estimator was perfectly happy keeping it cheap for me working with standard widths, etc. The installation was high quality and sturdy. It even looks pretty good; definitely synthetic materials (as specified) but well put together. I'd be glad to hire them again. My only caveat is it's probably a franchise; you may want to figure out who is going to do your local install.
posted by Nelson at 8:50 AM on January 22, 2014

I researched them but I found as Ruthless Bunny said - it is super expensive for what it is. Like $1500 for some shelves and a bar. You can find similar stuff at Ikea for 1/3 the price.

If you want it easy with no hassle and have the money then for sure pay them

If you want good value, go to Ikea and DIY.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 8:56 AM on January 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I have used Elfa. Not cheap, but not as expensive as California Closets. I like it. Well built and solid. The folks at the store will spend however long you need to help you lay out your setup, although it helps to go in with a good idea of what you need. I understand that Ikea is considerably cheaper, but have no experience with it.
posted by adamrice at 9:11 AM on January 22, 2014

We used California Closets to redo the closet in the master bedroom. Great experience, work was done well and on time. As others said, however, a little pricey.
posted by BozoBurgerBonanza at 9:30 AM on January 22, 2014

I used a local company that does the same thing as California Closets (I had a couple estimates, including from California Closets and took the best bid). In the past I have installed my own closet systems or lived with DIY other people have done, and this was a significantly better decision. It looks better; it works better and I did not have to do anything. When I priced it, it was cheaper than a DIY system, even with the labor costs. Elfa was around $1100 (installed) for one closet; I paid $1100 for two and I got drawers, which were not available in Elfa for my size closets. I would not hesitate to do it again.

There was some silly upgrades that I declined (like the fancy drawer pulls--it was cheaper to buy my own fancy drawer pulls and replace them) and the hangers (same deal--it was cheaper to buy my own posh hangers). But my designer did a really good job of figuring out the best arrangement of shoe shelves, drawers, high/low/full-length hanging bars.
posted by crush-onastick at 11:21 AM on January 22, 2014

I recently ordered from FreedomRail where they are having a 25% off sale. I can't tell you how it is yet as I just received the boxes and haven't done the install yet. The materials look good/finished and the installation videos really sold me on it- super, super easy. MeMail me in a week or so and I'll tell you what the experience was like.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 11:57 AM on January 22, 2014

If you know what you want, more or less, Elfa or Ikea can work out fine. We had a bit of an odd closet layout (slanted roof) and wanted to make the best use of the space. We hired a California Closet competitor and couldn't be happier. She made decisions about how to organize the space, how high things COULD be and still be useful, and how to make use of the weird back corner. I don't think we could have figured that out on our own.

I do wish we had put in more drawers and fewer open shelves. We ended up using some baskets on the shelves but will probably end up putting in drawers at some point. She had recommended drawers but we were feeling tight on our budget and decided to go 1/2 and 1/2.
posted by barnone at 1:46 PM on January 22, 2014

Friends of mine hired CC to redo their entryway. The CC rep told them explicitly to NOT clean up the mess in there before CC came over, but they did it anyway. Once they'd cleaned it up themselves, they decided they could do it themselves, and after talking to others, figured out that CC tells people to not clean up their storage areas because it will be so clear to them that they don't need to hire CC with its overpriced services. YMMV.
posted by Capri at 1:48 PM on January 22, 2014

Capri - I think organizers and closet folks do that so they can see how you're currently using the space. It's easier to work with natural patterns and improve on them, rather than start from scratch. Usually people are happier with an improvement on their current system (which has already usually been refined over time) rather than a whole new layout and use pattern. But seeing someone's current mess and stuff helps the designer/organizer understand the scope and general situation better than a pile of neat boxes.
posted by barnone at 2:02 PM on January 22, 2014 [1 favorite]

I used California Closets to re-do a large walk-in closet in a studio apartment in Jackson Heights, Queens (NYC). I believe the installers were located in Long Island. It dramatically increased the usefulness of the closet. I was very satisfied with the quality of the product and the over-all service. Worth every penny.
posted by Majorita at 9:01 PM on January 22, 2014

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