Before/ After Closet Reveal and My Honest Closet Factory Review
Today I finally get to reveal my newly installed closet with Closet Factory! You will notice that this 25 sq foot space is mainly reserved for my shoes, handbags, and dresses as I have a larger wardrobe outside this closet that stores the rest of my clothes. (I’ll be sharing more on that later once I get it painted and new doors installed.)
I did have to downsize from my previous walk-in closet at my condo. How I managed this is donating a lot of items I had not worn in years, and I also store my out of season clothes in the garage.
It was really important for me to be able to see everything because if I cannot see an item, I forget I have it and never wear it. Below is a before photo of the closet with the original shelving and rods. The space was not well used and the 3 clothing racks made the space feel cramped.
I started the closet design process by first trying to design the closet myself as I did at my condo with the Ikea Pax system. However, I wanted to utilize every inch of this closet and the Pax system would have left a lot of unused space. I had 3 closet companies to give me free consultations, bids, and design ideas for the space: Closet World, Closet Factory, and California Closets. I ended up going with Kimberly Koffler from Closet Factory because she created the best design at the best price.
Here are Kimberly’s original designs of the space:
She took the time to measure my clothes, the amount of space the different types of garments took up, and designed my closet from there. I had originally planned to have this entire closet dedicated to handbags, shoes, and accessories, however, she pointed out that I would still need one more rack for hanging clothes outside my wardrobe space. And yes, there is a window in my closet. This was popular during the 1920s when the house was built to allow for more light. And remember that back then people did not have the insane amounts of clothes that we had today so a closet this size would have fit everything for a couple.
My experience working with Closet Factory is continued at the end of this post.
Arranging my shoes this way, one facing forward and one facing backward, allows me to fit more pairs on each shelf.
One of the tricks I use to create extra storage in a small space like this is with Command hooks. These are great for hanging handbags and hats in any empty wall space you can find in your closet. I arranged all my bags by size, style, and brand. Remember to measure your tallest and shortest bags before installing shelving to get an idea of the different sized spaces you may need to store your bags.
Closet Factory offers several finishes for the clothing racks. I opted for brushed gold and hang everything on these black velvet hangers. Having matching hangers really helps keep your closet neat and tidy. Plus, the velvet keeps clothes from slipping off. My mom’s vintage Louis Vuitton handbags are older than me and bought In Paris when she was in her 20’s.
I also made sure to have the shelves installed at the heights needed to store different sized bags. This is so important when planning out your closet because the last thing you want to do is realize you don’t have any shelves tall enough to fit your handbags with handles, or too big that you are wasting space where other items could go. Even my shoe shelves are measured out. Shorter shelves for flat shoes, and slightly taller shelves for booties. I use clear dividers called file sorters like these to keep my clutches upright and organized.
I store all of my shoes with one shoe facing the front and the second shoe facing the back because this allows much more room on the shelf rather than having both shoes face the front. I also group my shoes by category (tennis shoes, flats, booties, black shoes, designer shoes, etc.)
My Honest (and disappointing) Closet Factory Review
In all honestly, I was not impressed, nor would I recommend hiring the Los Angeles Closet Factory team if you appreciate thorough customer service and communication. But let’s break it into parts so you know that both my designer Kimberly and the install manager Eshmill were amazing. It was the scheduling and install team that could use some serious management improvements.
The Initial Meeting:
My initial meeting with my closet designer Kimberly was great. She took the time to go over my wants/needs for my closet. Took into consideration the items I had in my closet from the length, amount of space these items need, and how to best build a space that would display all of them.
After she took all the measurements and within a few minutes was able to create and email a 3D model showing me different options for my closet which I shared above. This is such a great feature because it really allows you to visualize what a 2D drawing cannot.
As I had mentioned, there are two parts to my closet in my master bedroom. An outer wardrobe and a small walk-in closet. Back in the 1920s when this house was built, people didn’t live in excess as they do now, so the small walk-in was enough for most. Not for a fashion blogger like me! The photo below gives you an idea of what the outer wardrobe and closet look like.
Kimberly showed me designs for both, but because the bare bones of my outer wardrobe are good, I did not want to spend the extra money tearing down the wardrobe just to have another one build in its place. Instead, I’ll just have it painted white and have a door with mirrors installed to reflect and bring in more natural light in the room. But that is for another time…
So I decided to just do her shelf design in the walk-in closet. A shrine to my favorite pieces collected over the years and hidden behind bi-fold doors ready to be admired.
Week of the Install:
I removed all the of items in my closet and stored them in my spare bedroom. I made sure to clear any items such as furniture that could get in the way of the installer bringing tools and boards into and out of my room. The week of I counted down the days…patiently waiting to get an install window.
Wednesday night (my install was scheduled for Friday) I emailed my designer, Kimberly, to get an update on the time of the install and how long it would take. She said the office would call me the next day to confirm. Never received a call…. They have a note saying they called me, but I have no such voicemail. I received an email with “steps to prepare for my install” at noon on Thursday stating that if I wanted to paint the room, this should be done two days prior to the area has time to dry. This makes sense, but why couldn’t this have been emailed on Monday or Tuesday so I would actually have time to get the supplies to properly prepare. The email did not state my install time. That I had to once again bother Kimberly for. She was kind enough to leave me a message Thursday evening with an install time of 1-4 pm. Okay, great, I had all I needed and was looking forward to my install.
The Day of the Install:
I patiently waited for my installer to arrive. One pm passed, then two pm, then three pm. By 3:30 I called the Closet Factory office for an ETA on my installer. They told me they would get in touch with him and let me know. 45 minutes later I still had not heard from anyone. The tipping point was when I received the notice from American Express that the second half of the payment to Closet Factory had just been charged to my credit card. Are they kidding me? The install had not even happened yet! No one had bothered to call me back with any updates! So I called back to speak with the manager. She was not available so I left a message.
4:20 on Friday night and the manager had already gone home. Poor Jay had to listen to all of my frustrations at this company’s poor customer service and how as a customer, I don’t appreciate having to follow up when I’m paying them. Yes- I paid for this install, it was not gifted by the company. I received a small discount in exchange for writing about my experience.
The installer finally arrived around 4:20 and came in to measure the space. I wanted to clarify with him that he would be removing the existing poles and shelves and patching the holes. He said that he did not have anything to patch with. Serious? I explained to him that “minor patching” was part of my install.” I even double-checked the email from my designer to show him. He again stated that he had nothing to do with this. How does an installer for a closet company not have anything in his truck to patch minor holes with? Surely the $600 they just charged on my card for work not even started yet could have been used to by a $5 jar of patching material at Home Depot?
So I had to go into my own supplies and hadn’t him the materials to patch. Honestly, the point that frustrated me about this part is that had I know he wasn’t not going to be patching, I would have removed the shelves and railings myself, property patched, sanded, and painted the entire closet days before he ever showed up. Now I’ll have to patch with shelves in the way. Now at this point, I just wanted the install done.
The Installer arrived at 4:20 as I was on the phone trying to get a hold of someone to tell me an updated time. Now, I don’t mind that he was late. What is frustrating is that there was never an update, not even a callback, to let me know his ETA and he arrived after the call window. His previous appointment had gone over and it would have been simple to just let me know an updated ETA.
He said the install would only take him 2 hours. 3 hours later he was still not done. 7 pm on a Friday night and he had to cut two or three pieces that were not properly measured. As he was installing, I noticed about a 2.5-inch gap on each side between the shelf and the wall due to improper measurement. He said they would just put a “filler” piece to fill in the gab. In a closet this size, 5 inches of space is not something to just fill in with more material. 5 inches can fit 5 more articles of clothing, shoes, etc. So I asked him to have the company remeasure, recut, and come back.’
The following week, I thought I would have someone from the company reach out to reschedule my appointment. It took me calling on Tuesday to reschedule. They didn’t have anything available for another month. Disappointing, but nothing I could really do. I called back a few days later and spoke to Pearl. She was a bit more accommodating and found a cancelation two weeks later. I took it and again anticipated my install. Two days before my install I was again expecting a call time with an arrival window. Never got one, so I called the office. When the Los Angeles branch manager finally called me back (keep in mind this is the woman who never called me back a month ago when I called her to note my disappointment with the original install) I knew it was not good news. She told me that the install was not able to happen because the closet space needed to be remeasured. When I asked why no one had taken the 5 minutes to call or email me to let me know the install was not happening on the reschedule date, her response is that they are behind and her office is working with fewer employees. I respectfully let her know that I worked in retail for 10 years. It takes 5 minutes to call or email someone. Especially when the company had told me they would reschedule my install for that date. This type of management was disappointing.
A week later I received a call from Eishmal, the installation manager. He arranged to measure the space himself and hire two installers for the earliest date possible. The day of the install I held my breath hoping to not run into any more issues. Two installers worked in unison and the install was completed in 2 hours. No pieces were damaged, and Eishmale had upgraded my shelving to a higher quality free of charge. I really appreciated his professionalism and attention to detail.
I wish I could have given this company a better review, but in all honesty, this is my complete and honest opinion. Kimberly and Eishmale were great, I’d happily work with them again. But not Closet Factory. You get what you pay for and perhaps I would have been better off spending a bit more money and going with California Closets. The Los Angeles Closet Factory branch needs some serious communication and management training.
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Photos by Taylor Lynn Photo