Friday, 30 August 2013

Too Few Closets

Armoire in our French home. Photo by JoyD.
Armoires are big in France - big in size and big in popularity just because built-in closets as in the North American style are few and far between particularly in the old houses. Our house in the South-West of France is not so old by French standards. It was built in 1868 so when you consider that friends of ours near Macon live in an old farmhouse dating back to the 15th century, our house is modern comparatively speaking. However in Canada we talk of our house in France as being old.

Master bedroom closet doors. Photo by JoyD.
We have four bedrooms on the second level, premier étage by French definition, and only one bedroom has a configuration that would be considered "built-in". The doors you see are the built-in closet doors. All our clothing needs are housed behind those four doors. My stuff on the left and my husband's on the right. Although I must admit I have a few of my things on his side. Above the doors are sliding wooden doors but they don't slide very well so only that which is not often required is stored up there.

Guest bedroom faux closet doors. Photo by JoyD.
Another bedroom appears to have had the same construction but the space, behind those doors, that was once a closet was renovated and retrofitted by the previous owners into a "toilette"/water closet in the 1990s. Good plan. I'd rather have toilet facilities on the second floor than a clothes closet in a bedroom seldom used. The other two bedrooms have absolutely nothing for closets and so owing to guests who live out of suitcases for a week or two while visiting, we needed something to hang a few items of clothing. 

Ugly clothing rack in guest bedroom. Photo by JoyD.

For a couple of years, we made do with those brackets that fit over the door and provide a series of hooks but that was just inconvenient for closing doors and for hanging a shirt decently and ugly too.
Clothing rack and ledge in blue guest room. Photo by JoyD.

My friend, Shirley B, while visiting in 2012, suggested a simple bracketed clothes rack with a ledge/shelf on top. We brainstormed all kinds of possibilities to repurpose as the brackets and I even found a photo of a folding chair mounted on the wall to serve as a clothing hanger. I finally had to settle for that which I found at the "brico". I spent a few Euros on brackets at "vides greniers" AKA community boot sales (UK) or garage/yard sales (NoAm) that didn't work but perhaps I will find another use for them.

Blue guest room in Port Ste. Foy et Ponchapt. Photo by JoyD.

So with the help of Mr. Bricolage and my husband, this room is ready for guests and they will have a space to hang a few things. The  basket becomes a catch-all for toiletries and such, which need to be carted back and forth between bed and bath.
What to do in the bedroom that once had a closet with doors that are now simply decoration? I welcome your ideas . . . 

Ikea full length mirror in guest room. Photo by JoyD.
September 1, 2013 Update in Response to "Relaxing in Kelowna" comment: Here's the mirror we put in the blue guest room. After taking the wallpaper off, there were wooden beams indicating a doorway that had previously been "filled in". When you have a defect, make it a feature and so we stained the beams and hung a full length mirror in the space. Ikea's framed mirrors were the best price for mirror and frame. I put a lined-basket on the table beside the mirror for the "stuff" that needs to be toted back and forth between bed and bath.


  1. I think wardrobe to impact direct on your life to feeling good or bad then it rely on your nature to adopt first impression when you draw look first on your cupboard to feel happiness.Its embellish you bedroom.

    1. It's not so much the look of the closet doors - that's fine for now - I'm not concerned about the esthetics and remember this is not my bedroom. Maybe once a year a guest will sleep in this room. There's just no closet behind them! I want the doors to actually become or stage the closet.

  2. It looks very nice. For the nonfunctional closet doors to actually become or stage the closet, you need to give up the toilet room, right? Wanting both puts you in a quandry. ;) I think they fit nicely into the décor anyway. I like the hanger shelf in the blue room. It would probably serve its purpose for a guest staying only a couple of days or you could put a smaller armoire type closet in there in the same location. I am looking forward to the time when I can come visit.

    1. Once you come and see it, you'll see why I say that the bathroom/toilette/water closet definitely has priority on the second floor. The only thing I can envision is doing something similar as in the blue room - rack with a ledge - that would be most cost effective. You are right about the armoire. My problem is I would like an antique one and to find one in good shape at a reasonable price is difficult. And I can't bring myself to buying one at Ikea. You don't have to concern yourself with that room anyway when you come to visit - the blue room has the nicest view!

  3. Relaxing in Kelowna31 August 2013 at 22:09

    Over our years of travel we have come to the conclusion that less is more. That being said, I still take far too much!!! When we travel and visit friends we expect only to have good times. The facilities do not have to be luxurious or over the top. Number one hope is a comfortable bed. Nothing else really matters if that is the case! However, having somewhere to put our suitcases out of the way is nice, and to be able to hang a few things is a bonus! Your solution to the blue bedroom dilemma is perfect, although the over the door hangers worked as well. Having stayed with you and your charming husband I must say that all of those finishing touches are very nice, but it is always the company that is tantamount!! I would live out of a cardboard box and sleep on the floor if it meant spending time with the two of you.

    1. You my friend are definitely a gracious guest but I knew that before you wrote the comment! And by the way, thanks for taking the time to comment. I always ask my guests, "bien dormi"? And of course, they say yes. The 140 cm bed in the blue room is the one we had before we bought the 160 for ourselves so I feel alright offering that particular bed although a 160 would be nice in the blue room. The matelas, sommier, and even the bed "feet" are sold separately and so after pricing out a reasonable Sealy - not the most expensive one, the "bed" will cost around €1000.! So for now my guests have to be content on the 140 - essentially double bed size by North American standards. But back to the "closet" space - the blue room is becoming more guest friendly in that regard and we look forward to having you visit again!

  4. Relaxing in Kelowna31 August 2013 at 22:27

    Further to my previous comments, a mirror is truly an essential in a guest room. It means one can have a shower or bath and then retreat to ones's room to finish the hair, makeup, whatever in the privacy of their room, and leave the bathroom free for other guests, or the homeowner. It prevents a guest from becoming the dreaded bathroom hog!!

    1. You'll be happy to know that there is a full length mirror in the blue room - framed in white, found at Ikea in Bordeaux. Beside it is a small table and a basket to carry things back and forth between the bedroom and the bathroom. Check back in a day or two. I'll take a photo of the side table/mirror arrangement and update the post.

    2. Relaxing in Kelowna22 September 2013 at 07:57

      The photo of your mirror update makes that room complete. Anyone would be most pleased to stay in that space. Tout finis!!!

    3. Thank goodness! That's as good as it gets except for moving the furniture pieces between rooms on my whims and eventually purchasing a new bed. The bed in there right now is owned by one of the sons of the woman from whom we bought the house. I agreed that we would "store" it until they can take it. It's a nice sleigh bed (140 cm = to Canadian double beds) but I would probably replace it with a 160. Guest rooms in my Canadian home don't get near as much attention.

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