Indianapolis area storage expert gives tips on closet design

With 25 years of construction experience, Paul Duwel has spent the last nine years installing closet and home organization systems for Innovative Home Space Solutions. "I've always looked for the more efficient way to use space," Duwel says. The company, in business since 1985, has proven to customers that it's efficient and effective, earning the Angie's List Super Service Award the last three years in a row.

Why do people want a new closet system installed?

"A lot of people just realize that their existing closet is inefficient. The rod-and-shelf systems most builders install waste a lot of space. What we install is for people who are tired of not finding what they want - they can't find that second shoe or that red sweater. They have too many items and they want to be better organized. People get disorganized because they don't have anywhere to put their stuff. We can't help them be better organized as people, but we can give them better storage options."

What's the step-by-step process for installing a new closet system?

"First, we schedule an appointment at their home and we ask questions. We want to know if the closet is for a man, a woman, or a couple. We also ask about their lifestyle: Do they wear suits or dresses to work? Do they work from home? Do they want all their clothes stored in the closet so they can get fully dressed there? We talk with them about what we can do and then measure their space. There's no minimum space required - we can install systems for small reach-in closets and all the way up to two-story closets. But we don't do any structural work, we only work with the existing space. After that, we schedule a showroom appointment and show them the design we've come up with using our showroom displays as examples.

"Then, we custom fabricate the closet system's cabinets at our location to fit their space and their needs. There are a lot of options when it comes to the material and hardware. The most common material we use is a prefinished laminate, but I just installed a closet that used bird's-eye maple. We remove the existing closet prior to the installation. Then, the installation almost always takes just one day, whether it's a $500 closet or a $50,000 closet."

How much does it cost?

"Most people probably spend about $600 for reach-in closets and $1,100 for walk-in closets, on average, but the cost depends on the size and the materials used."

Does a closet organization system add value to a customer's home?

"Absolutely. I can't imagine that it wouldn't. Even when you're doing a unique custom installation, the systems are very flexible, so a new homeowner could change it to fit their needs quite easily."

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