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Winter is the perfect time to look into a complete closet overhaul

With locations in both Spicer and Willmar, Perkins can create custom spaces for homeowners wanting to either build new or upgrade their existing space. Some of those services include design and installation of tile, laminate or hardwood flooring; cabinetry, vanities or countertops; closet storage and shelving systems; and garage storage systems.

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Interiors by Perkins Lumber works with all kinds of organization and storage needs, from closets to kitchen pantries to mudroom setups similar to this one pictured in this Dec. 16, 2021, photo. Kit Grode / West Central Tribune
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WILLMAR — When the cold settles in for the long haul, residents of west central Minnesota know the value of bundling up when venturing outdoors. And that usually entails digging through closets and mudroom storage to bring out the winter clothes in bulk.

A lack of clothing storage space is a common lament among homeowners across demographics, whether due to the temporary bulkiness of winter gear or an awkward configuration of available closet space.

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Doug Bernhagen, Interiors by Perkins Lumber in Willmar and Spicer

That's when Doug Bernhagen of Interiors by Perkins Lumber can step in. He's worked in the construction industry for nearly 45 years — both in contractor and retail settings — and has been with Perkins for the past 13 years.

With locations in both Spicer and Willmar, Perkins Lumber can create custom spaces for homeowners wanting to either build new or upgrade their existing space. Some of those services include design and installation of tile, laminate or hardwood flooring; cabinetry, vanities or countertops; closet storage and shelving systems; and garage storage systems.

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Taking a modular approach to storage solutions

Perkins Lumber offers modular shelving options by RealCloset and Organized Living, among others, which allow clients to mix and match modules to fit their particular storage needs without the need for entirely custom woodwork.

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Closet shelving options at Interiors by Perkins Lumber in Willmar come in many wood tones, as seen in this Dec. 16, 2021, photo. Kit Grode / West Central Tribune

And each modular shelving option comes in several color options, ranging from shades of monochrome — whites, creams, gray and black — to natural wood tones.

"So you just create whatever it is you're looking for, you know," Bernhagen said.

And that creation ranges from walk-in closets to linen closets and mudrooms to kitchen pantries.

"Generally speaking, is this type of stuff in a pantry? It isn't always," Bernhagen said. "If people have a big enough pantry, they'll put regular cabinetry in the pantry with a laminate top, and they might have upper cabinets in that pantry. They might have just open shelving or just counter space. More often than not, it's all shelving, because you're kind of limited to the space you have."

And another limitation Bernhagen has to remind his clients to keep in mind is the cost.

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"You get into this kind of stuff, as opposed to straight shelving, and obviously the dollars and cents go up," he said. "Some people want it pretty extravagant; they want the pantry really nice off of their kitchen. And some people, with something smaller, there's just not much you can do."

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Doug Bernhagen with Interiors by Perkins Lumber shows a design plan for a custom walk-in closet wall in this Dec. 16, 2021, photo. Kit Grode / West Central Tribune

Designing spaces customized to clients' needs


When it comes to reconfiguring available space, "you would bring in your plan, and I would get a feeling for what it is you're looking for," Bernhagen said, in terms of how many long- or short-hanging spaces are needed, or if shoe storage is preferred to drawers. "And then the next things is how much room you have in your closet as to what we'd turn that into."

If homeowners are unsure of the dimensions of their available closet space, or would prefer a professional take on the job beginning to end, Bernhagen can schedule a visit to their home. After measuring the available space, Bernhagen draws up possible configurations of how that space can then be designed to fit clients' needs.

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Doug Bernhagen with Interiors by Perkins Lumber flips through a design manual for RealCloset shelving options on Dec. 16, 2021. RealCloset offers customizable module shelving units for closets of any size, which can be configured to fit available space. Kit Grode / West Central Tribune

Walk-in closets or larger pantry areas allow for more options, Bernhagen said, but he has worked with spaces of all sizes, and also those of more unusual shapes, including a walk-in closet with an odd-shaped corner nook or an expanded L-shaped pantry.

"Typically I would draw (up the plan) and you would look at it and go 'Hmm, that's good,' or else you say 'How about this? Can we do this or this?' and sometimes there's limitations to what you can do, but if we can do it, we'll do it," Bernhagen said. "We'll take it to whatever degree you want it."

There's just three factors for clients to keep in mind: "Your budget, your imagination and the space you have."

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For more information or to set up a consultation, visit perkinslumber.net or email Bernhagen at db.intrs@en-tel.net .

Kit Grode joined the West Central Tribune as the features and sections editor in July 2021. She oversees the weekly Showcase and Extra feature segments and also the WCT's special sections.
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