Closets have changed a lot over the years. Walk-ins were once a luxury for the 1%. Space was a premium and nobody other than royalty or the .5% had the wardrobe we do today. People didn’t have fifty or more pairs of shoes, 15 handbags, 10 pair of jeans, 30 tops, 20 blouses, etc. They had what could fit in a dresser (often shared) and single shared closet, maybe 4 ft of hanging space.
We are lucky today because over 150 years ago any space with a door was called a room. One was taxed according to amount of rooms in your home. Imagine almost doubling the amount your existing room count for the tax assessor. Yikes! This closet is from a West Virginia farmhouse built in 1816. Every closet in the house is a visible addition. Photo via Coveteur
While much grander homes had glamorous walk-ins with a confection shop of built-in storage much like our dream closets of today, these were strictly for the 1%. Marjorie Merriweather Post’s Hillwood Estate in Washington, D.C. has a wonderful walk-in as do so many other noted historic homes. Separate cedar closets for seasonal storage, floor to ceiling shelving or cabinets, bins, drawers and pull-out shelves are nothing new. As styles change walk-in closets have become more of a norm than an anomaly.
Though I’m not versed in tax law, in many instances a closet is still not considered a room and not taxed as such. But different locations might have different rules. Now if one converts a room to a closet or builds a room sized closet should we call the accountant? Something to consider… feel free to offer and guidance as comments.