By Christine Tumpson · Reporting by Liz Petoniak · Photographs by Michael Fornataro

Pittsburgh is having a residential real estate moment. With all of the publicity about how great it is to live here, finding a great house has become harder. And, once that home is found, it will probably need some improvements.

First on the list: New closets and storage space. When many of the homes here were built in the early 1900s, little room was left for stowing away belongings. Small cupboards and little drawers were the norm, and remedying the situation often required expensive, extensive renovations. But today, making more space in the house can be done in days with the expertise of Stephanie and Juan Antunez, the new owners of Pittsburgh’s California Closets.

Stephanie Antunez, California Closets Pittsburgh, Wexford

“We’re all about great design, making it aesthetically beautiful so people want to be in their closet, be in their space, and enjoy their homes. I feel like the closer you are to your home, the more you enjoy your family and whatever that looks like. You want to entertain your friends and bring people together.” Stephanie Antunez, co-owner, California Closets Pittsburgh

The husband-and-wife duo have owned the Cleveland franchise for 10 years, the Columbus store for five, and last April, took control of the Pittsburgh store. “It just finished our triangle,” they laugh.

Their approach to home organization takes on a higher purpose as they bring order into their clients’ lives. “Your biggest worry shouldn’t be tracking down your stuff,” explains Stephanie. “We’re all about great design, making it aesthetically beautiful so people want to go in their closet, be in their space, and enjoy their homes and their families. You want to entertain your friends and bring people together.”

Juan agrees that having an organized home has an effect on the happiness of the entire family. “It’s calming to me, personally, it’s calming to the household, and to everyone involved.”

It’s easy to get it together with these two on-hand. The first step is letting them know where the trouble spots are, and listening to their ideas. A complimentary visit will lead to assessments of needs and complimentary solutions for every storage need. And, it’s all done with style.

“Probably the biggest thing that happened as soon as we came into the Pittsburgh market was that we started offering a full range of materials and products, like imported materials from Italy,” says Juan. “Once the market started seeing that, it just exploded. Everyone wants the texture.”

With style and design, coupled with experience, the efforts of this team make it look easy. They prioritize listening to their clients’ needs and finding clever solutions, like creating shoe closets from tiny spaces, and putting a settee with shelving under a sloping attic eave.

Sometimes, a little organization can go a long way.

Stephanie smiles, “When you can find something you want, you can take a deep breath and move onto the bigger things in life.”

:: California Closets Pittsburgh, 10899 Perry Hwy., Wexford. 724.935.7066. californiaclosets.com/pittsburgh.

California Closets Pittsburgh, Wexford

“After we have a conversation with you, we’ll go to the space, take measurements, and give you ranges, ballparks, and ideas. Then we’ll do a 3D rendering on our CAD program and get a perfect idea of the space, down to the colors of your walls and flooring. You can sit with the designer and hash out exactly where you’d like things placed to fit your needs. So, it’s very collaborative and I think that’s a huge differentiator.” — Stephanie

California Closets Pittsburgh, Wexford

“People want to use every square foot that they can for storage, especially in the older homes. That could be for wardrobes that are half-height because of peaked attics, or more shoe storage. It’s not a total renovation where they’re raising the roof, or changing their lines and ceilings. They just want to maximize those awkward spaces.” — Stephanie

“Piles stress everyone out, but sorting things into baskets is a lot easier. Organize them by content, like homework for school, or by the day of the week — whatever you need. As far as kids’ stuff goes, put it by the back door. That way, when they head out, you’re not chasing them with those forgotten backpacks, tennis shoes, or sports equipment.” — Stephanie

California Closets Pittsburgh, Wexford

“You can just use one small element, such as a splash of color or something bold; it doesn’t have to be the whole space. From a material standpoint, that’s where everything is going in our world.” — Juan

California Closets Pittsburgh, Wexford

“We try to give our clients a place where they think, “I can’t believe I can use this space.” — Stephanie

California Closets Pittsburgh, Wexford

“We take any budget, any sized space. There’s really not any minimum or maximum space that we can’t design.” — Stephanie

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