As an interior designer, Suellen Gregory knows the importance of using a house’s space thoughtfully and well. But even for her – a design professional – it can take time to take action.

She lived in her former house for a decade before turning a critical eye on a closet tucked under the stairs in the front hallway. In some homes, this space is used for a powder room. In Gregory’s, it was a basic closet.

“It was a catch-all and awful,” Gregory says. “But it was a good size, and I thought it could be a little jewel.”

Gregory reached out to H.J. Holtz & Son, with whom she had partnered on many projects (including painting her house’s floors) and Steven O’York of Closets of Virginia. After she gutted the closet, Holtz’s Jeff Ragland hung wallpaper left over from another of Gregory’s projects and painted the floor in a chevron pattern. O’York fashioned a design for the space that provided specific areas for scarves, bags, hats and coats. The redesign also included an area for storage of serving pieces, convenient to the kitchen.

Gregory says the attention made the space welcoming and more useful.

“Doing a small space [like this] is something fun to do; it’s kind of a lark,” she says.

Ragland, who had worked with Gregory on painting and staining other floors in her house, said the two collaborated on the scale of the pattern, keeping in mind how it would work with the wallpaper. “You adjust the pattern to the space, within an incremental, to suit the customer,” he says.

Small projects have other benefits, too, he says: “You can do it yourself; you don’t need another pair of hands. That’s less people, less labor, less time, less material, so a lower cost for the customer.”

In the end, Ragland said, “She turned that closet into more than a closet.”

Suellen Gregory Interior Design,