by Laura Knight-Keating

Can we talk about built-ins and how jealous I am of people who own their apartments and can have built-ins? I grew up in Indiana in a big house with a lot of built-in bookshelves and beautifully designed closets (actually designed by my dad – a lawyer who wished he was an architect!). When I moved to New York City at the age of 21, not only were there no bookshelves to house my gigantic collection but my room didn’t even have a closet. What?!

Ok so built-ins. There are tons of advantages to having built-in millwork in your home. Aesthetically, you get to design it to look exactly the way you want it to look – or you get to hire a brilliant designer like Lauren to design it exactly the way you want it to look. It can be inconspicuous and blend so perfectly that it seems like part of the wall.

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or super funky with punches of color and interesting geometric nooks:



Either way, it looks amazing and fits seamlessly into the room because it has been built to be an exact fit. You never have to worry about it falling over when one of your toddlers decides it is a great idea to climb it – another bonus! It’s like the difference between buying a suit at a department store and having one tailor made. A designer looks at what you are trying to display, store,…maybe hide…and creates a piece with compartments to match. Whether its books, albums, your tv, artwork…baskets and baskets of tiny toys…everything will have its place and all that you – or anyone else – will see is a well-organized area that looks like it was born to hold your stuff (because it was!)

Since most of our work is in New York City where storage is usually in short supply, Lauren has perfected the art of designing built-in millwork. Hidden storage, work space, play space, display space, she’s done it all. Check out some of these:



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The only catch is the expense.  Specifically conceived by an architect and installed by a millworker, it can be pretty costly – but well worth it in my mind.  I have always imagined buying a home that I would live in forever so to me millwork would be one of those elements that would really personalize my space and make it that much more special. But even if you are more practical than I, built-ins are a valuable asset to a space. Who doesn’t love lots of storage? and anything that sets your home apart can only be an advantage.

If you are like me, still a renter…am I alone in the world?!…here are some fun solutions to storage that can move with you:


TAG/Laura Knight Keating