One of our first projects when my husband and I moved into our current home a few years ago was a built-in bookcase in our living room. I showed our carpenter tear sheets of built-ins I admired, then basically encouraged him to take the design reigns. In hindsight, I wish I had spent more time asking questions and pushing back on his vision (he had a more traditional design in mind). And I wish I’d had these images of beautiful minimalist built-ins to inspire us both.
Above: The guest room has a wall of custom cabinets built around the window in designer Michaela Scherrer’s guest bedroom. “The window seemed very lonely in the corner and needed something around it. The cabinets also created a nice ledge.” The doors have pencil edges and magnetic closures; they offer enough storage that nothing needs to be left in the open except by choice. Photograph by Matthew Williams for Remodelista, from World’s Tiniest Spa Bath: A Grecian-Inspired Guest Suite in LA.
Above: A trio of custom built-in closets are installed under a sleep loft. Photograph by Devon Banks, courtesy of Denise Lee Architect, from Before & After: A Gramercy Park Apartment Transformed.
Above: Every bedroom in Instagram star Tessa Hopp’s home is outfitted with a wall of bespoke closets. Photograph by Constance Gennari, courtesy of the Socialite Family, from Living with (Four!) Kids: Ideas to Steal from Tessa Hop’s Organized and Serene Home.
Above: Additional storage was almost invisibly built into this Elizabeth Roberts–designed bathroom. Photograph by Dustin Aksland, from Indoor/Outdoor Living, Brooklyn-Style.
Above: “The owners are minimalists, but they had large storage requirements,” says Jeff Sherman, of Delson or Sherman Architects. “Thickening the walls and recessing the cabinets flush with the walls allows a great deal of cabinetry to recede almost to the point of invisibility.” Photograph by Catherine Tighe, from The Architect Is In: Seeking Sunlight in Chelsea.
Above: Simple, streamlined built-in cabinets are in harmony with the more ornate wall molding in this brownstone apartment. Photograph by Kevin Greenberg, courtesy of Space Exploration, from Before & After: A Period Brooklyn Heights Penthouse Gets an Overhaul.
Above: In a Workstead-designed bedroom, built-in closets feature painted millwork with flush pivot doors and routed pulls. The storage wall is fitted with closets, drawers, overhead cupboards, and, in the center, a cabinet that holds the TV. Photograph by Matthew Williams, courtesy of Workstead, from The Artful Shoebox Apartment, Workstead Edition.
Above: For an anteroom outside a bath, Workstead designed a linen and utility closet. The tall cabinet is fitted to hold the broom, mop, and vacuum. Photograph by Matthew Williams, courtesy of Workstead, from Room to Play: The Ultimate Urban Bunk Room by Workstead.
Above: Minimalist inset cabinetry in the kitchen conceals appliances, including an oven and fridge (plus a vacuum!). Photograph by Frederik Vercruysse, from Dappled Light: A Slim, Poetic Townhouse on a Tree-Lined Square in Ghent, Belgium.
Above: Much of this cottage’s charm (and expansiveness) comes from its built-in storage. “We thought it would be so lovely to have a wall full of shelves that runs the length of the dining room and living room, and secret flush doors and drawers throughout. We could keep the decoration really spare and let books and treasures adorn the rooms,” says architect Merritt Amanti Palminteri. Photograph by Suzanna Scott, courtesy of MAP Architect, from In Carmel-by-the-Sea, a Quietly Elegant Cottage with Vintage Appeal.
N.B.: This post is an update; it was first published in July 2019. Above: The doors and the built-in cabinetry in this Dutch country house are all painted with Farrow & Ball’s Borrowed Light. Photograph by Luuk Kramer, courtesy of Korteknie Stuhlmacher Architecten, from An Agrarian-Inspired Holiday House on an Agricultural Dutch Island.
More built-in storage inspiration ahead:
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