My friend, Abby Stone (what a great name, right?) called me on November 5th of last year. She wanted to talk closets. Specifically, doing a make-over of a closet for The Hollywood Reporter. I was excited. Closet makeovers are my fave (besides email decluttering and time management). And maybe kitchen pantries… The spin for the story Abby was working on was this: The growing trend of not just Hollywood but everyday folks creating more than just a walk-in closet in their homes. Chalk it up to reality TV inviting us into multi-million dollar homes where closets have a coffee station, a wine bar and everything in-between. I also believe HGTV and the like contribute to opening the floodgates and showing homeowners what’s possible– which is apparently anything and everything. So Abby and I were chatting (she already had an idea of whose closet she wanted to feature).  A gal about town that has some cache and might house an award (or three) in her home. Because this was for THR, we did need someone with a wow-factor. Lucky for me, I was picking up what she was throwing down. My best friend is Alexis Martin Woodall, executive producer for Ryan Murphy television. She and her husband are also a dynamic duo, birthing Red Herring just last Summer. With all that going on, there’s little time left for Alexis to spend doting on her home. She has the wardrobe of a starlet but the closet of a hostess. So when I approached my BFF with Abby’s idea to turn her study into her own personal closet, she was all ears. Although, we did have a little bit of selling to do on her husband, Dave, but he eventually came around after we told him he would get ownership of the entire master bedroom closet. It really was a win-win.


Ah, the study. Cozy, no? Oui! Unfortunately, Alexis and Dave had started to run out of space (hence the armoire to store coats, linens and the like). Alexis’ growing shoe collection had kicked the linen closet out of existence (located in the bedroom). So as a solution, their study started to house categories that were homeless…


Let’s dive deeper!

Dave, in addition to being a rock star chef, is also a carpenter. When I visit his garage I joke that I’m going to a Lowe’s pop-up shop. He owns everything tool-related. I mean, he built this door and most of what lies behind said door. He has a knack for being kinda awesome at all things (which might make one loathe him if he wasn’t so darn nice). I mention his love of wood (hey now) because he built this bookcase for Alexis to house all her Maeve Binchy and Harry Potter books. Fortunately for all involved, those page-turners got pushed out by Dave’s solid cookbook collection. She and I did have to do a lot of sweet talking to get Dave to let us dismantle this wood shrine to bookworms. But like most men that are married, he understood that you really can’t get between a woman and her new CLOSET ROOM.


I put threw this pic in because I was around five months pregnant with baby P (who now goes by the name Luna). I basically wanted to show you that I’m a badass because I used a lot of tools and sweat quite a bit while working on this project WHILE PREGNANT.

This was also a continuation of day one. Alexis and I purged this room of so many things. Honestly, the only items that remained were Dave’s cookbooks, some childhood books and the credenza which housed everything from crafts to office supplies. Even though Alexis doesn’t have time to declutter as often as she’d like, when she does, she does it like no other. It was almost as if she was trying to get a job at Bneato (as if).


Now let’s get back to Abby and THR. So you recall, this conversation with Abby started on November 5th. But we didn’t want to start anything in Alexis’ closet until we knew we had the go-ahead from Abby and team. Because things take time to decide, we didn’t even start decluttering Alexis’ closet until Monday, November 14th which is essentially when the green light was given. And we had to hustle like nobodies business because the photoshoot for the Hollywood Reporter was happening 4 days later on Friday, November 18th. That is crazytown folks.


Alexis and I decided that less was gonna be more with her closet. Our inspiration was a whole lotta white with open shelving. We were already working with a very tall PAX wardrobe system from her bedroom that we shimmied into this space. I drew out a plan to buy a mate for their existing PAX which paired nicely with IKEA shelving and a curved closet rod above said shelving. We did, however want a show stopper for the space. We had considered their current coffee table staying put but I wanted something more glam to anchor the space. Alexis was more than ready to throw down some cash at a centerpiece for the room but we couldn’t find anything that could a. get shipped in time or b. locally bought that worked for the room. Thank goodness Alexis is a genius and decided to have something custom made. Her upholsterer turned around the drop dead red ottoman in FOUR DAYS. (see pics below)!

P.S. Having a full rolodex not only makes you popular, it guarantees that you’ll have four men at your beck and call putting together IKEA furniture late into the evening. Referring to Alexis’ rolodex, not mine!


I have to give major props to her painter-handyman (who is also my painter-handyman, Hector). He is a sweetheart of a man who feels like a member of the family. He is also a beast at hanging those IKEA Lack shelves which are a pain in the ASS to affix to a wall– especially if the walls are wonky as hell. I curse out of frustration because that was a painful day of measuring and re-measuring for both Hector and I. Not only was I five months preggo, I also hung the curtain rods, the IKEA blinds and helped put together the PAX wardrobe. There was also an evening IKEA run when we realized that we didn’t have all the parts and one of the doors to the wardrobe was broken. OY VEY.


We ended up calling this the party wall for obvious reasons. You don’t belong here unless you’re furry, sparkly or just plain COOL. Thanks Abby for being my model – you pair nicely with this nook. The curtains were also IKEA because Alexis spent a fortune on the ottoman. Hangers also IKEA. I mean, GO IKEA. The brass curtain rods and finials were from Country Curtains.


We decided not to do a window treatment to this window. It was so close to the french doors (which were lovingly covered with flowy white drapes) that I thought anything extra would feel cluttered. I initially thought of extending the curtain rod to cover this window as a workaround but it looked odd in practice. Would you have left it naked like this? Looking back I don’t think I would have changed anything.


Our shopping also included a trip to Anthropologie to find hardware for the PAX systems. We wanted to tszuj up the doors and break up all the whiteness. Alexis, like all shopping addicts, had a gorgeous cape that had not seen the light of day. Partly because she bought it before the temps cooled down, therefore not having the occasion (or weather) to trot it out. It makes the perfect display piece for the room and also reminds her to wear it as soon as it’s appropriate to do so.


Abby again for the win. Do not forget to read The Hollywood Reporter piece HERE. Also, let’s stare at that POUF for a moment, shall we? GORGEOUS!! It really was one-stop shopping for this project. That cowhide rug, also IKEA! When you have a week to re-do a room, it really helps to get all your shopping done at one store.


I’ll have to ask Alexis where she got the mirror from. It’s super light-weight and I believe was around $150. Initially she was thinking an entire wall of mirrors for this side of the room but I reminded her we had a lot of shoes to store. I think we came to a nice compromise, don’t you? I am going to pat myself on the back for repurposing her old light fixture here. It adds some nice texture and some more color to our white room. And I know I keep saying white but the color of the walls is actually a really pale pink. Again, I’ll have to get Alexis to get back to me with the paint color. Stay tuned!


Alexis has a lot of really great pieces of jewelry – since she attends many awards shows for her job (she has two Emmy’s and a Golden Globe, yo). Her baubles used to be stored within individual boxes and miniature felt bags in her bedside table. That, my friends, is no way to accessorize. We picked up two ginormous grey organizers from IKEA and placed them right below her skirts so she can now see all of her shiny bits and bobs. Her bedside table also contained undergarments and the like. They now call the drawers below her jewelry home sweet home. This move also allowed her to get rid of her clunky bedside tables which in turn, lightened up her bedroom.


Often, when we’re helping clients declutter and re-organize spaces, there’s a space that will help unlock all other spaces. For this project, it happened to be the study. There were so many random categories being stored in here: Linens, coats, office supplies, craft supplies, gift wrap, books, games, barware and alcohol just to name a few (er, many). The first step was deciding that the study would now be Alexis’ new closet. We’d move all of her clothes, shoes and accessories into this once space. And since Alexis’ wardrobe was taking up a lot of room in her master BR, there were now pockets of places that opened up for us. Take for instance, the linen closet in her bedroom. Her entire shoe collection was taking up all the space where her towels, sheets and blankets would otherwise, normally live. Now that the shelves were empty, the linens vacated the study and found their way back home.

Another dense area was the bookcase. Decluttering this area with ruthless abandon, we were left with a lot less stuff to find homes for. The cookbooks were dispersed between their restaurant and the kitchen at their house (along with the barware and alcohol). The credenza stayed pretty much the same, only we purged and tightened up the categories to make more sense of this zone.

They did have to sell the couch (which doubled as a place for guests to sleep). But I think Alexis would agree that having a guest once in a blue moon does not warrant saying no to a CLOSET ROOM. As far as projects go, this one would have to go down as one of my all time favorites. Not only did I get to work with my best amiga, It was highlighted in the pages of The Hollywood Reporter. It didn’t feel like work (except when I was doing all that manual labor).

p.s. Last two images via  The Hollywood Reporter

p.s.s. I know it’s reckless abandon but I think ruthless abandon works here, no?


  1. Get organized already May 20, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Especially appreciate your advise to splurge on a good piece and go IKEA with the rest of it where possible.
    That ottoman is worth it!

  2. Beth Penn May 20, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Thank you! I know, riiiight? SO WORTH IT!

  3. John Trosko May 20, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Great back story on what it took to prepare for the Hollywood Reporter article. Those Pax wardrobes from Ikea are a great solution. And hello, that ottoman!

  4. Beth Penn May 20, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    Thanks John! I also enjoy how you and I end up on a lot of the same features. So fun to see your name in print at the start of the article:)

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