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Sara’s Custom Closets

Hi friends, it’s Sara and I’m back with my Makeover Takeover – Updating my childhood bedroom. If you need to catch up, read my first post here. Otherwise, get ready to delve into the thrilling world of . . . my closet.


As you saw in my first post, the above is what my room used to look like after I moved back in (hence the disastrous mess). But let’s focus on the closet there in the back. I’ll start by saying my closet is awesome, and I have no plans to physically renovate, just incase you were holding your breath. It’s modeled after traditional Japanese Shoji panels, and my dad built them back in the early 2000’s. Before there had been these awful cupboard like closets, with a row of extremely narrow doors, which made it hard to see and get to things (but extremely good for hiding them, usually on accident, and mostly from myself).

Once my dad took out the doors and the rest of the wall, there was a huge gaping hole, which he covered with these insanely beautiful sliding wood and paper panels. Then several things happened. First, despite my best efforts (or so I said at the time), I kept punching holes in the paper. Not literally punching holes, just poking them. With hangers, heels, fingers, elbows. Secondly, our cats thought the paper was such a fun game to run through, tear at, and nibble on. My dad had to keep replacing the paper sheets, which it turns out was pretty expensive (I learned this myself recently, when I had to buy my own paper). He got tired of it pretty quickly. So he reinforced the inside of the panels with sheets of clear plexi glass. No more holes, no more rolls.


The outside looks like just wood and paper, but on the inside there you can see the plexi screwed in, making a little sandwich for the paper between it and the wood. And it works. I haven’t punctured the paper yet! Doesn’t mean I didn’t find a way to ruin it though. If you take a peek at that “before” image again, you’ll see that I ended up using my panels as a bulletin board. I stuck, taped, and glued all sorts of memories to it. Which I loved. My parents did too, and it was a little hard to pull it all down. But I needed a clean slate, and cluttered closet doors were just too chaotic for my adult vibes. So down it all came.


Which brings me to the last hardship this poor closet had to endure – all those taped on memories left memories of their own behind, in the forms of several holes and rips. Not the “grown-up” look I was going for. But it was going to make me do a very adult thing – spend my hard earned money fixing the problem myself (and by myself I mean buying the stuff and hoping my dad will help because I have no idea how to get the closet doors off their track. Trust me, I’ve tried).


I ended up at the same place the original paper for my closet was purchased – Hiromi Paper, Inc. in Bergamot Station, Santa Monica. Bergamot is a little arts colony filled with shops, studios, and galleries. If you’re ever in the area it’s well worth a visit. Hiromi Paper is a tiny shop that specializes in handmade, high quality paper from around the world (primarily Japan). If you’re into pretty papers, this is like a candy shop. It’s so small, but I still ended up spending over an hour there, rifling through paper samples, and deciding what to get (have you ever seen American Psycho, in particular the business card scene? It was a lot like that, minus all the murder).



1. Hakusen Series #2 | 2. Thai Lace #2 | 3. Kinwashi White | 4. Colored Hanji Series Peach

I ended up buying a few sheets to bring home and hold up to my closet. While I did get a traditional white similar to what I already had, I also got 4 other samples that I fell in lust with.

The Hakusen #2 has this amazing subtle wave pattern screen printed onto the paper, giving it this slightly raised texture and a really nice weight. It’s only draw back is that it might be a little much for an entire panel.

The Thai Lace #2 is GORGEOUS, and it’s so soft if feels like fabric. It’s some of the most beautiful artistry I’ve ever seen, and basically the sexy lingerie of the paper world. My concern with this one is it’s transparency. I worry that it might start looking too dark with the inside of the closet peeking out through it’s lacey details.

Kinwashi isn’t as transparent, and definitely not as fun as a pattern, but it’s kind of subtle without being boring and I like that. It’s got little fibers pressed into the paper, which gives it a more natural look and feel.

Finally, the Peach Hanji is what I want to cover my whole room in, but I feel like it would turn into a uber pink wonderland faster than I could break out the hair beads and B*witched CD of my youth (where my 90’s people at? Guys, they RIVER DANCE in their music video). I think it would also turn the wood in the closet too yellow, so keeping it in the white family seems like the better direction. Side note: This made me so nostalgic for the 90’s. Go listen to some music, it’s all so good.


I have strong feelings towards a few of these, but what do you guys think? Simple and natural, or fun and different? Lady the cat has decided that, like a true lady, she prefers pink. Stay tuned for my final decision and more Makeover Takeover!


Want more Makeover Takeover? Check out these posts from the rest of the EHD crew: Brady Picks A Sofa | Brady Picks A Gray Paint | Ginny’s LA Living Room | Ginny’s English Roll Arm | Jessica’s Living & Dining Room

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7 years ago

Oh my goodness, that lace paper is just about the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen! I agree with you on the transparency; BUT, is there a way to double it up? Perhaps a very soft blush or cream under the lace so you can still see the design but don’t worry about seeing hangers and clothes through the panes?

7 years ago
Reply to  allison

Why don’t you just paint the plexi behind the more transparent paper?

7 years ago

Hi Sara,
What if you chose a sturdy fabric instead of paper. Then the odds of getting wholes would go down drastically.

7 years ago
Reply to  Marcia

I had the same thought!

7 years ago

Is there a chance you could
make the blog easier to navigate? Add archives? Add a older post/newer post navigation at the bottom of each post? I’d like to go back and read through the blog, but I haven’t found a way to do that with the current format. Thanks!

7 years ago

Sara! I’m loving your series. (And for more than the amazing B*Witched reference of my childhood.)

I really like #3! If I were to pick just one, I think that’s what I’d go with. (The pink is super lovely too, but I hear ya on the yellow thing. That would be no bueno.)

7 years ago

I like 1 & 3 the best. I just painted my own room that pinky-peach color, but I agree that it wouldn’t look right with the wood. Like @Marcia, I was thinking about fabric instead of paper when you discussed the lacy-looking paper. Maybe there are other alternatives as well–wide washi tape or stenciling on the plexi?

7 years ago

I can’t believe you referenced B*Witched – I had no idea anyone outside of Dublin knew them!

7 years ago

Oh what pretty choices! I would be SO tempted to go with the lace on top of the pink, but that might be a bit much. I also can’t tell how the pink goes or does not go with the wood. My next choice would be the wavy pattern. It is still beautiful and feminine, but more subtle. The fiber one is nice too, but a little boring.

7 years ago

I love Hiromi Paper! I was exploring multiple online paper options years ago and they were my fave.

If the Hakusen one is truly as subtle as it looks, it gets my vote. I love white on white; it is soft, but adds interest up close. The kinwashi is nice too (I have some). It’s simpler than hakusen, but might shine with the right decor nearby, and would be my pick if the hakusen is too much.

7 years ago

i’m hoping you go for a medley of all of these, they’re all so beautiful…

7 years ago

I like the fabric idea mentioned in the comments. Maybe some type of linen with a nice texture. Of the paper options, I like 3.

7 years ago

Ooo they are all so pretty! #1 and #3 have enough pattern to be interesting, and might be neutral enough to not get tired of. I love watching this project unfold! Your dad is a wizard!

7 years ago

Great pics!In love with everything!

7 years ago

I love the photos

7 years ago

Amazing photos.Great post!Such a beautiful look!

liike very good

7 years ago

Would love to see an ombre effect on that expanse – so much potential!

7 years ago

The Thai lace is gorgeous but maybe the Kinwashi white is more adapted to a closet? I’m very curious to know your choice 🙂

7 years ago

Love the site! Not really digging these Makeover Takeover posts. They drag on and on and are really anticlimactic. This is my story of paint….but you DON’T get to know what color I chose and why. This is the story of my-wait for it closet! Here is what I’m doing to said closet…maybe, you’ll find out in the stretch of twelve closet posts. Emily you’ve always asked for advice on what’s working and what isn’t so that’s why I feel like I am able to share this with your team.

7 years ago
Reply to  Ricardo

Seriously! Not trying to be snarky because I love this site – but a whole post on possible paper choices? For a closet?

7 years ago
Reply to  Katie

OMG- agree, agree, agree! ‘tune back in to see which paper/paint color/ light I picked!’ I’ve basically seen nothing but an empty room belonging to a non-decorator, my investment in these projects is not really high enough to merit a cliffhanger blog post. Maybe just writing in a more straightforward way about the project (without all the weird ‘funny’ side info) would be more interesting?

7 years ago
Reply to  Ricardo

I think these would be more fun if we learned what you chose in the post.

7 years ago
Reply to  Ricardo

While I like the idea of the makeover takeover posts in general, I agree that they should reveal their choice at the end of the post. It does feel anticlimactic to have to wait a few weeks (I assume?) to learn what color/paper they chose. But seeing someone go through the real process of making over a room is fun! I hope you guys keep the makeover takeover posts but tweak them to let us know what choices you make along the way!

7 years ago

Lovely choices but I’m prefer the Kinwashi white paper.

7 years ago

If I could have all peach-coloured everything, WITH LACE in there, I 100% would! What a tough decision. Excited to see the final product.


7 years ago

Ok, Sara – now that you’re going to so much trouble to make over your room and closet, you’ve gotta get rid of those old tubular plastic hangers and get a nice set of the Huggable Hangers for your clothes – they work wonders in a closet!!

7 years ago

Those doors are gorgeous! <3

7 years ago

Gorgeous! Lacey is my vote! and yessss to B*Witched!

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