Make Book on This Design Detail

January 22, 2019
Woman at built-in bookcase
Photo: Unsplash/Radu Marcusu

Brooklyn-based architect Robert Garneau offers eight tips for incorporating custom built-in storage space into a home's plan. 

Whether installing built-in bookcases, Murphy beds, wardrobe storage, or other space, Garneau says first and foremost, consider the resident's daily routine when putting together the design. “Built-in storage should address your unique requirements and respond to your daily rituals,” Mr. Garneau tells The New York Times. “Think about how you move through and use various spaces, your daily actions, and what spatial modifications could increase functionality and joy of use.” 

Like a bespoke suit tailored to flatter your body, custom-made built-ins can enhance the appearance of a home — elevating the design, offering creative solutions to everyday problems and disguising unsightly features like exposed pipes or air ducts. “If you do it right, the built-in becomes a hybrid of a work of art and a hardworking machine that should last a long time and be a sound investment,” said Garneau, who has designed a range of imaginative built-ins, from storage concealed behind a kitchen backsplash to a guest room that folds out of a wall. “Investing in functionality will never go out of style — it should always work for you.”

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