Converting a Walk-In Closet Into a Divine Art Studio

Candice Olson creates a one-of-a-kind hideaway for a busy, creative mom.


This oversized, albeit outdated, walk-in closet would make many a clothes hound happy.

Before: Big, Empty Closet

Ashira and her husband, Ohran, and their three children moved here from South Africa and finally found house of their dreams: a spacious home in a great neighborhood that overlooks a park. After living in a small apartment for so long, they were thrilled to have a big home with lots of elbow room. Ohran has a study, daughters Shali and Atarah each have a lovely bedroom, and even 3-year-old Avichai has a room designed especially for him. But even with all the space, Ashira was the only one who didn’t have a place to call her own.

Between working and volunteering in the community, this busy mom didn’t have much time for anything, let alone her one true passion of painting. She longed for a peaceful place in which she could unwind with a paintbrush in the few minutes she did have to herself each day. Her bedroom had a walk-in closet that seemed a likely choice for such a retreat, so she asked me if I could turn it into an artist’s sanctuary.

It’s not often that I get asked to design a closet, but this huge room was no ordinary closet. In fact, most women dream of having a walk-in closet like this but not Ashira. She wanted the bright, airy room to be transformed into a place where she could get her creative juices flowing.

After: Art Studio With a View

Closet turned craft room

Closet turned craft room

Candice Olson was faced with a new creative challenge: converting a closet into a luxurious art studio. She embraced it, adding storage, workspace, velvety blue upholstery, mirrors and plenty of white. A perfect canvas for creative juices!

So, to start, I ripped out a closet area and painted the whole room in a soft, creamy shade of paint. I even painted the cabinetry and added beautiful, new gold hardware. I then chose wallpaper for a feature wall that inspired the color choices and finishes for the room – a serene aqua-blue- and gold-patterned paper with a handcrafted quality.

I then created three zones in the room: a creative area, a computer station and a relaxing lounge. In the creative zone, I installed a 12-foot, continuous work surface in brushed gold with storage above and below.

In the work area, I installed a second work surface, complete with under cabinet lighting, with room for a computer and chair.

In the lounge area, I put in a sitting area with two canvas chairs, two mirrored cubes and a bunch of throw pillows. I grounded the seating arrangement with blue and cream carpet tiles that provide a splash of color and can be replaced if paint splashes on them.

For some extra elegance, I took the room’s existing wall of windows and mirrored doors and made it more sophisticated. I created a small bench seat in soft velvety blue upholstery, and I kept the mirrors but added transfers of Ashira’s favorite artist’s quotes in gold lettering. I then designed a drapery system that framed both of these areas with three, columnlike panels of lush, exotic drapery.

To further lighten up the room, I added movable track lights and even a funky helix-shaped fixture with teal and purple crystals in the lounge area.

I then added a miniature gallery of Ashira’s paintings and her kids’ creations, put in a host of vases, pillows, photos and other accents, and the room was complete.

This walk-in closet was wasted space in need of creative intervention. So I blended luxurious fabrics, unusual finishes and stylish details, and now Ashira has a room where she can relax, unleash her inner artist and create masterpiece after masterpiece. Now that’s divine!

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