Like many of you, I’ve had daydreams of the ultimate closet dancing around in my head for a long time. I lived for years with clothes strewn on the floor, stuffed into every available corner, slowly creeping into one-quarter, then one-third, then a half of my husband’s closet (he was not pleased). So when we bought the Victorian, I was determined to create the closet of which dreams are made. And I’m so excited to hear what you think of the final result! Today you get to see my complete closet before and after.

Lifestyle blogger and design expert Erin Hiemstra reveals her dream closet

Above is the closet mid-construction. Drywall is in. The floors are down. While it looks like a relatively simple job, this space was once actually a bathroom! The only upstairs bathroom to be exact. The room is a decent size, but not huge by any means. This was an 1850’s bathroom after all. But the space does feature a lovely window and those glorious 11″ ceilings. Thankfully, we could relocate the bathroom so I got to snag this space for my own little oasis that now looks like this…

dream closet on apartment 34

Ta-da! I call this my closet miracle – a space where everything has a place, where I can actually see my clothes and I know what I have to wear. It truly is a game changer (check out how I rediscovered my own wardrobe in this post).

When it came to creating my dream closet, only one place came to mind: California Closets. They work with you from point A all the way to point Z to create a fully custom solution to meet your exact needs. The process started with my kickass designer Paige (it’s always fun when someone you work with becomes a friend) making a house call to our loft to do a personal closet assessment to determine my storage requirements. It wasn’t too challenging to identify the top priority – as I have probably 3x as many shoes as I do clothing! After years of cramming shoes onto little racks and having stacks and stacks of shoeboxes piled along the wall, I was really excited about the idea of finally having all of my little shiny ponies on display.

dream closet on apartment 34 dream closet on apartment 34

So Paige helped me devise this genius design above. The columns of shelves offer tons of shoe storage. We optimized the spacing and design based on the number of heels vs flats in my collection – though post-baby that number has shifted heavily in the flats direction! I love that I can now see exactly what I have without digging through mounds of boxes. I created a few more open sections to house bags, my denim and a few folded items like sweaters and tees. The center console houses my unmentionables, clutches & small bags as well as a velvet lined jewelry drawer. Swoon. The large bottom section hides laundry! Have I mentioned genius?

dream closet on apartment 34

One the opposite wall we installed a double-stacked hanging section for shirts, jackets, and blazers as well as a section for long items. I’m not a big dress person so that’s pretty small. And of course, there’s also more shoe storage on this side. The addiction is real people. Those 11′ ceilings came in very handy here (yes I need a step stool to reach the tippy top).

dream closet on apartment 34

Of course, I had to add a few original touches to make the closet truly feel like me. I selected a light gray finish for the built-ins and while we didn’t grab a good shot you might spy my black ceiling in the pics above. Obsessed. The dark ceiling makes everything pop. To further customize the look, I found amazing brass and lucite hardware on Etsy (you can check out the shop right here). I had them made in a smoke color – so good. I also added a floor-length drape from The Shade Store for some additional texture. Draperies really take a space to a whole new level.The room also features a pocket door on the (rare!) occasion I want to hide the space. Et voila – dream closet achieved.

Having a functional, organized closet is amazing for all kinds of reasons but three things really stand out. Number 1; general sanity and adulting. It’s refreshing to walk into my bedroom and not have it remind me of my sixteen-year-old self (or 27 or 35-year-old self for that matter!).  Now I only feel overrun by children’s toys rather than clothes. Number 2; I want fewer things. I don’t want a cramped closet so I find myself purging a lot more often. When the space starts feeling too full, I know it’s time for a closet clean out. And number 3; I shop way less and with a lot more intention. Shopping used to be a way to pass the time or I’d buy something “cute” on a whim. Now I know exactly what I have and can easily identify what I need. A pair of white denim to round out my jeans collection. A little camel bomber jacket for cool San Francisco evenings. A new flat sandal. But I keep the edit tight and the pieces timeless and classic. I actually just did another purge as part of my spring cleaning regime (have you checked out my tips here??). It’s the perfect way to make space for one or two pieces that will make my wardrobe feel fresh and new for Spring. I’ve included my current wishlist below.

dream closet on apartment 34closet reveal on apartment 34

SHOP:  tote / earrings / ring / jacket / shirt / jeans / clutch / sunnies / bucket bag / booties 



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I’d love to hear your thoughts on the final design and if you have any closet organization secrets up your sleeve. I’m always looking to add to my arsenal.


Check out all the updates on our renovation HERE

For more spring style ideas, CLICK HERE


original photography for apartment 34 by michelle drewes


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  1. Truly a dream closet Erin! Love it! I am planning to have California Closets design my closet this year and this post really helps 🙂 Can I ask what flooring you used for this room? I am looking for a light grayish bamboo floor for my mid century Eichler and am having a hard time finding the right color. Any suggestions would be awesome!

  2. Love the space! When are we going to see some more rooms? I can’t wait!!

  3. I need the information. I really need to do my second brm like this . I have seen some of my clothes in a few years because my 1 closet is so packed

  4. I know that this isn’t what the post is about, but that navy blue bag on the shelf in your closet! I love it, where is it from?

    1. It’s by Celine from a couple of years ago. It might still be available on the