Finishing is a Tricky Business, But Why We Do It Anyway.

Finishing is a tricky business.  At Cope we offer Hardwood Ventilated Shelving (and a whole line of companion products) - in 11 different finishes.   Because properly finishing wood products is literally a moving target, we MUST take the whole process very seriously.  A common characteristic of finish materials is that they start evaporating about as soon as they are formulated.  Some naturally evaporate more rapidly than others, depending on the formula, air exposure (how much and for how long), etc.  Evaporation alone is a big deal for a Finish Specialist to manage.   Other forces to be reckoned with are keeping the formula properly agitated during use, keeping lines clean, filters changed, being mindful of atmospheric changes, and even the speed at which the finish is applied matters.  In addition to common issues, each of our 11 finishes has its own set of unique characteristics to manage.  While some of our finishes are forgiving enough to run through a finish machine, others require more human touch.  Hand sanding, spraying, and dipping still go on every day at Cope Closet Concepts.   

Wood is also a tricky business.  Color and grain variations are normal within every species, and Ash (our primary choice) is no exception.  Lumber quality must be managed from the start.   Worm holes, fish eyes, and mineral streaks are all terms (and not of endearment) you may hear when you walk thru our plant.   In addition, we offer solid hardwood products AND plywood products; this is particularly difficult because plywood and hardwood accept finish products quite differently.  Plywood is a handful to manage all by itself!  Glue residue, oil, water damage, etc. is often not visible to the eye on raw plywood, but will “rear an ugly head” during the finishing process.   To be “good with wood” takes training, experience and sometimes a stubborn spirit!

Finishing real wood products brings challenges for us every day, but we love it!   Our goal is to minimize (not eliminate) finish inconsistency.  We are primarily in the stain business (as opposed to paint) because we believe people are drawn to real wood products because of the depth of life that can be found in every piece of wood.  Our finishes accentuate this life, not hide it.   Below is a description of each of our 11 fantastic finishes.

Natural:  Simple and handsome, this nearly clear lacquer finish complements grain laden Ash hardwood.  Blonde color variations, accented by a faint amber hue, will be noticeable as noneof the natural wood characteristics are hidden.

Frost:  This simple “white wash” process soaks into the wood, resulting in a finish that often looks like a clear finish on wood that has white, beige, and pink hues.

Honey:  This economical dye enhances Ash hardwood with shades of honey, without hiding ANY of the grain.  Shade variation will depend on the grain pattern, and run the gambit of honey colors from Clover to Buckwheat.

Pearl:   This white, medium coverage finish actually builds up ON the wood’s surface but generally avoids grainy areas, leaving part of the wood fully covered and part very lightly covered.  Perfect if you want white, without hiding the beauty of the hardwood.  Color variation with this finish is a result of grain pattern variation; the white is always white, but there will be more or less of it from shelf to shelf.

Picket Fence:  One of only two opaque finishes we offer; Picket Fence is achieved thru applying multiple layers of pigmented lacquer.   Grain is visible even though it’s covered with white lacquer and there could be occasional areas of intense grain not covered in lacquer.  Nearly no color variation, resulting only from aging.   For less grain, Maple wood is available upon request.

Seashell:  A full coverage, opaque stain; finish is achieved thru applying multiple layers of pigmented lacquer.   Grain is visible even though it’s covered with Seashell lacquer and there could be occasional areas of intense grain not covered in lacquer. Very little color variation, only resulting from dye lots and aging.   For less grain, Maple wood is available upon request.

Driftwood:  Driftwood is a medium bodied finish that’s as finicky as it is beautiful!  As Driftwood builds up on the wood’s surface it creates two separate tones – beige and gray. While the build-up helps minimize natural grain coloration, these two tones have unique personalities, each seeking its own favorite places on the wood to settle.  Expect intense color variation, displaying uneven tones of beige and gray – sometimes more gray, sometimes more beige. 

Nutmeg:  This beautiful medium tone has the most personality of our “wood tones”.  Best describing this finish is a challenge. Color variations range from golden-brown to medium-brown, and can even display hints of red.  Too dark to be completely transparent and too light to hide natural wood color variations, the array of colors found in this finish is wide. The color will appear darker on dark wood and very golden over blonde areas of wood.

Brandy:  Brandy is a water-born dye.  Shelves are submerged in dye to insure complete coverage of this dark brown finish with prominent red tones.  Dyes produce less color variation than stains.  Dye lot variations and wood density play a role in determining intensity of red tones.   Much care is taken to insure color variations are minimal.  Once color is achieved, clear lacquer is applied.

Walnut:  Walnut is a water-born dye.  Shelves are submerged in dye to insure complete coverage of this dark finish. Walnut almost has a black appearance with green, gray and/or brown hues.  Dyes produce less color variation than stains.  Dye lot variations and wood density play a role in determining the intensity of Walnut’s hues.  Once color is achieved, clear lacquer is applied.   Much care is taken to insure color variations are minimal. 

Mahogany:  Mahogany is one of our two darkest wood tone finishes.  Rich and bold, Mahogany is very dark, almost appearing black, but with a prominent burgundy hue visible.  This finish is so dark, color variation should be minimal. 

Organizing Your New Master Closet Begins In Your Old One

If you are in the process of building a new home or tackling a remodeling project – consider your master walk-in closet a priority and you may just end up thanking yourself daily for the decision! Investing a little time and effort up front will bring happy returns.  With this in mind, I’ve gathered a few thoughts on the subject.  

1.     Consider your stuff.  

Go spend some time in your present closet with a notepad and pencil. Take note of pretty much everything in there. Next, think about what you WISH was in there and add that to your notes. And last, make a list of contents in your current closet you seldom use, just in case there isn’t space for everything. On a different page, make notes about what you like about how your current space is organized.  Make even bigger notes of what drives you crazy! Are there shoes or dirty clothes thrown everywhere?  Are your hanging clothes bunched up so tight you can’t tell what’s on half the hangers? Jot down all of the “problematic” issues.   Include your “pet peeves” (mine is the floor – I want to be able to see it!)

2.     Establish a budget.   

Your builder may have given you an allowance, but it’s ultimately your decision.  If choices must be made, consider spending more money up front on things that are difficult to add or change down the road like kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities or fixtures, and most importantly storage spaces.  New furniture and fancy landscaping are easier to upgrade at a later date.  Another suggestion is to sit down with your builder and review all of the big ticket items involved in the construction process and see if there are areas you can shave the budget slightly and divert those dollars to enhancing your closet.  For example, lowering your overall appliance budget by $1000 may have little impact; it could mean the difference of simply shopping a good appliance sale rather than buying a full price item.  But the impact of an extra $1000 in your closet budget will be impressive.

3.     Do your homework.   

Search the internet and educate yourself on solutions to the issues you wrote down when you were sitting in your closet taking notes.  Do you have lots of jewelry? Shoes? Luggage?  For shoes, your options might include over–the-door hanging shoe organizers or a built-in cubby unit topped with crown molding.  There isn’t a wrong or right – it’s really about what works best for you (and your budget of course.)   Cope Closet’s hardwood shoe rack options include both a stand-alone version and built-in, but I personally love the over-the-door shoe organizer.  I keep occasional shoes on my two tiered hardwood shoe rack which sits under my hanging dresses, while “most used” shoes are at my finger-tips in an over-the-door organizer.   Formulate ideas about how to improve your storage shortfalls in ways that will work for you.  

4.    Get a professional involved.  
Just like your kitchen cabinets, rules and best practices apply when planning closets, so gather up all your notes and homework and find a pro.  Trying to pack a lot of anything into a relatively small space, without the help of a professional can create more problems than you realize. Even in the realm of choosing professional assistance, you have options.  If you have a fairly large budget, there are businesses out there completely devoted to designing your dream closet.  Reputable closet companies really know their stuff and they can incorporate fancy solutions into your closet design. They will offer options in accessories, drawers, and bells and whistles; however, system optionsmay be limited, as most deal primarily with laminate materials.  Closet pro companies are popular in remodel situations.  Another great alternative you may not be aware of are builder supply stores.   These businesses specialize in a handful of products essential to new construction that need a professional installation.  Some examples of products available through these businesses are insulation, glass and mirrors, shower enclosures, garage doors, hardware, flooring, and closet shelving.  Also, lumber companies sometimes have an “After Paint” division, same thing as a builder supply store, except they only handle products that come after your walls are painted (in the construction process)…and that includes closet shelving.  These businesses often cater to builders, but most are happy to help retail clients as well. The huge advantage – builder or homeowner – is a one stop shop for several necessary items.  Like closet pro companies, reputable builder supply businesses are very knowledgeable about the products they sell and install.  And particular to closet shelving, they usually sell several different types of shelving and closet systems – wire, melamine, and hardwood.  Builders supply stores are a great solution, especially in new construction, where you can take advantage of multiple services under one roof.  And because they carry different product lines, they can get you organized on just about any budget.

Remember, well organized storage spaces are essential to a well organized home.  These small spaces can pack big returns!

Closet Size Is On the Rise

CLOSET SIZE IS ON THE RISE – so let’s add a few drawers!

So, what’s the big deal about adding drawers to closets?  A few years ago, the concept of adding a convenient opportunity to hide your stuff – in a drawer, that you can shut and potentially never see the need to open again – seemed like a bad idea.  More recently, however, after talking through changes in housing floor plans as well as trending personal organizational needs, we were convinced of their importance and proceeded to add drawer units to our product line. 

In upscale housing, there has been a trend evolving toward shifting a portion of traditional bedroom square footage to the master walk-in closet.   In fact, some plans show closet square footage making up about 1/3 of the space assigned to the master suite.  Historically, most of the square footage was devoted to the “living” space of the master suite; but then master bathrooms began to get bigger and most recently closet size is on the rise.   Another shift in master suites is the proximity of the walk-in closet to the master bathroom.  While the master closet has always been near the master bath, today it’s not unusual for the door to your master closet to be located inthe master bath.   

This is the reason that drawers now make sense in walk-in closets. People have more stuff than ever before and they want quick and easy access to it.  Time is precious; life is precious!  We want to be dressed and ready to see the world – or at least our children – when we walk out of our bathroom each morning.  We also want to be able to shut that door behind us and feel the calm of a neat and orderly living space.  This can’t be accomplished without sophisticated, well planned organizational space.  

“All things wardrobe” should be in one convenient place, so we aren’t running, half covered by a towel, into the bedroom to get our undergarments from our dresser, before we dress. This requires drawers – yes, in your closet.  Personal items well suited to life behind a closed drawer inside your master closet include undergarments, socks, jewelry, and pajamas.  And don’t worry about emptying your bedroom dresser; that’s a great storage area for off-season clothing and specialty items such as ski wear and bathing suits.  These items do not need to take up precious master closet space in a well-designed master suite – unless, of course, you are a swimming/snow ski instructor.      

If you are in the midst of building your dream home, give much consideration to incorporating drawers into your master walk-in closet, so there is appropriate storage space for your everyday personal items.   If you are thinking about remodeling, consider the long term reward associated with improving storage areas.  For a relatively small investment, the return is amazing.   Even if you are thinking of selling your home, attention to detail in storage areas can be the one thing that sets your house apart from others in the price range.   And in every case, be sure to “open up and pull out a new level of storage options” by checking out the Cope website at


At Cope Closet Concepts, Inc. we produce quality, handcrafted Hardwood Ventilated Closet Shelving and all-wood Closet Organizers.  Our all-wood drawers are made using dovetail construction, a strong and attractive construction method.Closets are designed and installed, using our all-wood products, by authorized dealers throughout Southeastern USA. We have made it our mission to be experts at designing beautiful, functional closets with our Hardwood Ventilated Closet Shelving.  We have to be experts, so we can teach our dealers how to be experts at selling, designing, and installing Cope Closet Concepts extensive, all-wood closet shelving product line.