Aha! Design: A Space-Saving Entryway Booth

Open closet in the entry of a Brooklyn duplex designed by Oliver Freundlich | Remodelista

Every house hunter starts his or her search with a very specific list of potential dealbreakers. On my husband’s list: uneven floors, low ceilings, an outdated electrical system, a musty odor, a bad layout, a dearth of natural light, not enough land, too much land, too far from the train station, too close to a busy street, too many paintings of cherubs, too many cats—and on and on (this is why it took us three years to finally land our house, by the way). On my list? Lack of a coat closet. (N.B.: Be sure to check out Remodeling 101: What to Know When Buying a House: 6 Problems that Shouldn’t Be Dealbreakers.)

I fixated on the coat closet because we had lived for 14 years in Brooklyn (in four different apartments during that span of time) without ever having a dedicated coat closet. In my last apartment, I insisted on installing an Ikea Pax unit right next to the front door to make up for the lack. So when we began our search in the suburbs, I would find myself scanning for a coat closet as soon as we walked over the threshold.

All of which is to say: I know a good coat closet when I see it. And this one, by one of our favorite architects, Oliver Freundlich, is a good coat closet.

Open closet in the entry of a Brooklyn duplex designed by Oliver Freundlich | Remodelista
Above: Before the redesign, there was “a telephone-booth-like closet facing you immediately when you walked in,” says Freundlich. This open coat closet, to the left of the front door, replaced the cramped closet.

Instead of a traditional coat closet with a door, Freundlich designed an open nook in which to hang outerwear and store the clients’ collection of motorcycle helmets. In addition, he included a built-in bench, under which rests a crate of shoes. The result is an efficient, functional, and compact landing pad.

To get the effect without hiring a contractor, consider this hack: Simply take off the door to your coat closet and add a bench.

N.B.: This post is an update; it was first published December 2019.

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