Stylist's Closet Is a Perfect Fit
Alison Deyette custom-designs a closet and stylist's studio in her basement.
Alison Deyette knows a thing or two about fashion. She’s worked internationally, wearing many hats in the editorial world as a writer, producer, fashion director, on-air expert and wardrobe stylist. “Although I’ve assumed many roles in this industry, it all essentially comes down to one thing: the styling of clothes,” she says.
When Alison found her dream home, a 3,200-square-foot, midcentury-modern house built in 1960 and located in the Sherman Oaks neighborhood of Los Angeles, she looked forward to decorating all of its rooms — except for the bottom-floor storage area.
For her work as a wardrobe stylist, Alison wanted the 8’ x14’ room to serve as a dressing room, closet and studio space. In addition, she pictured the space as extra sleeping quarters for guests. Due to the room’s long, narrow shape, however, she found herself constantly hitting creative roadblocks when it came to spatial planning.
After nearly six months living in the house, she consulted with a designer friend. He suggested taking advantage of the room’s length by placing a twin mattress sideways, rather than using a queen bed. This freed up enough space for clothing racks and a built-in accessories display. Alison says, “I hadn’t thought about breaking up the narrow space, simply because I figured it would instantly shrink the space even more. But just like a supermodel strutting down the runway, the space just really needed someone to work it.”
Scope of Project
With a clear vision in place, Alison decided on a budget of $10,000 and a timeline of two weeks to complete the project. Her to-do list included:
- Replace dated carpet with tongue and groove wood laminate
- Add wallpaper
- Install wall sconces
- Install pendant lighting
- Install full-length mirror
- Integrate a mobile hanging rod system
- Create a custom sewing station
- Add privacy with drapery panels
- Incorporate sleeping space for overnight guests
- Create a lounge space for clients
First up was ripping out the carpet and then installing tongue and groove wood laminate flooring. With the flooring underfoot, Alison turned her focus to the lighting.
“Once the sconces were found, the rest of the aesthetic fell into place,” she says. Hollywood regency in style, the heavy iron sconces were customized with a spray-paint finish in a plum hue that was certain to add drama. Alison had the sconces rewired as plug-in fixtures that were fastened to a concrete wall with concrete anchors, and then plugged into an existing outlet below. In addition to the wall sconces, Alison also had a three-bulb fabric drum pendant installed in the center of the room to give off diffused light that would be flattering to herself and clients during fittings.
Next on the list was the built-in needed for accessories display. “In order for me to be able to use every inch of the space effectively, it all came down to the built-in,” Alison explains. “I needed shadowbox-like sections to keep everything organized, graphic and contained.”
The only place for the built-ins was the back wall, which was only 8 feet long and had an additional design obstacle to work around: a four-foot window right smack in the middle. The built-in’s casing was carried along both sides of the window, then above it, which turned the window into the main focal point of the dressing room closet. The contractor used cost-effective medium-density fiberboard to construct the built-ins.
Tweaking, prepping and small alterations are part of Alison’s everyday life when it comes to fitting her clients or herself properly. To sneak in a small sewing station, she had a wall-mounted desk installed near the entrance, under the dressing room closet’s front window. This gives her the proper natural light to read the colors of textiles correctly.
A full-length mirror and an element of privacy are essential for the dressing room closet and stylist’s studio. A modern 6-foot mirror trimmed with darkly stained wood makes it easy to check out proper fit and style. Floor-to-ceiling draperies installed directly to the ceiling keep clients hidden from view while changing while also keeping the sewing machine out of sight.
With the dressing room closet and stylist’s studio complete, the rest of the house has a lot to live up to. “The rest of the house is still a work in progress, but luckily for me, my clients never see anything but the dressing room. Until I get around to everything else, I’ll just let them assume the rest of my house looks just as polished," says Alison. "It can just be our little secret.”