Space of the Week: A Blush-Toned Closet Became a Designer’s Arena for Risks

Let this space inspire you to make over your own closet.

Space of the Week, blush dressing room with black pocket door and leather chair, RealSimple

Tim Lenz

Interior designer Bryan Graybill doesn’t mind trying something new—particularly if the experiment happens within his own home. “I typically take risks here before trying them out with clients,” he says. 

He went out on a limb when he first saw his East Hampton property, describing it as “a very bad 1950s cinder block house with low ceilings and vinyl floors,” but knew he could tweak it here and there to turn it into something special. Graybill initially hired an architect to help with his primary room’s closet, but once it was complete, he admits that he “hated” the results. 

“We over-programmed the first version to maximize storage, and were a bit heavy-handed. The finished space felt dark and tight,” he remembers. “So, we ripped the closet out and repurposed it in the basement.”

Starting from scratch on a second attempt seems risky enough, but Graybill went for it. This time, he looked to the past to inform the present. “I took a crayon and drew the profiles of the closet on plywood, and the carpenter cut out templates to make sure this version felt lighter and airier,” he says. “I was thinking of the Secessionist architects from Vienna. They were the original modernists, but were still romantic.”

The templates turned into a stunning second act, complete with neat stacks of drawers and rows of hanging hooks, so that the space doesn’t resemble a closet as much as a dressing room—which is exactly what Graybill calls it. 

“I designed the dressing room with plenty of vintage hooks I found on Pimlico Road in London so I don’t have to always rehang [my clothing],” he says. “I also designed a banquette so that I could throw sweaters on top or set down my tote for packing and unpacking.”

There are a few other clever details to mention, too. That warm blush shade that wraps around the room was specifically chosen to complement Graybill’s skin tone as he tries on clothes “without washing me out,” and the desk next to the banquette is for accessories. “I created the desk to hold my watches and cufflinks,” he adds. “I often turn the chair toward the rest of the dressing room and use it to put on my socks and shoes.”

Even though this project was a risk he took twice, it all paid off in the end. “It’s ok to make mistakes, but jump in and figure it out,” he says.

A closet with blush-toned walls, an antique black leather chair, geometric rug, and vintage bathtub.

Tim Lenz

Get the Look:

A vintage-looking Catchpole and Rye Tub in a deep brown color.

Elegant Bath

In a bathroom that adjoins a luxurious dressing room, a bathtub with vintage appeal makes a statement. This tub is a splurge, but your bathroom will never look more sophisticated.

A brown, pink, and white rug with a geometric pattern.

Geometric Rug

Cozy up your closet with a runner rug. A geometric pattern is a great way to add a pop of color.

A chair with black faux leather upholstery and wooden armrests.

Upholstered Chair

A vanity chair with black (faux) leather upholstery completes the sleek look. If you want a piece with history, check out local vintage shops.

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