This Tiny NYC Closet Gets a 2-for-1 Makeover That Uses Every Square Inch

published May 9, 2024
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Your home is a reflection of who you are, and for some, that includes a reflection of what you do for work. Check out this home with a hair salon in it, for example, this home with a painter’s studio, and, most recently, the HQ where voiceover actress Lorin Zackular (@lorinzee) records audio … which also happens to be a closet.

Lorin says the space is only about 9 square feet — just 3 feet by 3 feet. “Not a lot to work with,” she says. Lorin started voiceover work as a side hustle, so at first the work setup was very much closet-like. 

“My main motivation was to make money in voiceover and not spend it when I first started as a side hustle,” she says. “Contrary to what many believe, having the clothes in the closet did do a lot of good! I produced some super high-quality audio that you may have heard on the radio from in between those Hill House dresses!”

Still, Lorin didn’t like that her workspace was “cramped, messy, [and] dark.” She wanted an upgrade from the creaky wooden chair she found on the street and the lamp that hardly fit — or lit — the space. 

“I wanted to look forward to ‘going’ to work every morning,” Lorin says. “It was important to me for it to look bright, welcoming, and professional.” 

The project didn’t sacrifice clothing storage.

As a Manhattanite in a two-bedroom (shared with a roommate), Lorin says she wasn’t keen on losing valuable closet space, and, as mentioned above, having fabric in the small space actually helped with audio quality. “I did super value the acoustic treatment the clothes provided and did not revel in the idea of replacing all of that with acoustic blankets or foam,” Lorin says. “See: expensive dollar signs in my head!”

Instead of removing clothing storage entirely, Lorin moved the curtain rod (a first-time DIY for her) and hung her clothes up higher to make room for a desk. “I bought a cheap closet rod off Amazon, demoed the old one and tossed it — sorry to my landlord, I’ll buy you a nice one when I leave — and remounted the shelving unit and closet rod above in the old storage space,” she says.

Lorin says she fully intends to restore the closet back to its old ways when she leaves, “which will be a decent sized project with lots of spackling, painting, and reinstalling,” she says, but she considers the project a renter-friendly one and is optimistic about getting her deposit back.

The cozy setup cost $674.

Lorin’s desk was a $63 find, and she even had room for floating shelves above it. The hardest part of the project was installing the new sconces. 

“The thing I hated most about the space before was the lighting,” Lorin says. “As you can see in the before pictures, the large lamp got in the way every day and did nothing to light the space. I figured I would want lights in the wall but surprisingly, sourcing wall mounted sconces that plug in … was really tricky! I ordered and returned a few.” Her project total came to $674.

Lorin says if she could change one thing about the project, she would buy an exact 3’x3’ rug, which is hard (and pricey!) to find. Even the teeniest, cutest bath mat gets caught in her office chair wheels.

The foam panels add a pop of color. 

“I think the best part of my space is easily the color on the foam sound paneling,” Lorin says. “I had lived in a world where I thought this stuff only came in gray, gray, and the color gray. Then, because I follow fellow VO artists and influencers on Instagram, I came across @womeninvo’s studio, and was wowed by the color!”

Lorin contacted the paneling company, had an acoustic consultation, and placed an order in colors that perfectly matched her keyboard and mouse, which were gifts from her mom. She loves the way her workspace came together. “I feel happy, not distracted, and at peace,” she says. 

Even better? She’s now more confident in her DIY skills. “I am capable of more than I think!” Lorin says.