l’armoire essentielle

Rosemary McGrotha

image via larmoireessentielle.com, photo by peter lindbergh

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by the french blog L’Armoire Essentielle, translated The Wardrobe Essential. The blog takes a pared down approach to dressing which I admire. It’s in french but most posts have an english translation. Luckily for you, they’ve translated my interview.

Read the entire article here.

man’s elfa closet


I know, wire hangers??  Most men will not bother to switch out their dress shirts from dry cleaner hangers since they can only get one wear out of them before washing, so it’s all good. For shirts that won’t be worn a lot like tuxedo shirts, I suggest switching them out so they’re not on the wire hangers for extended periods of time.

In this rental apt, the closet had an Elfa system so I moved things around a bit, adding more upper shelves and an additional hanging bar to best suit this client’s needs. That is one benefit of Elfa, it can be reconfigured easily.

Because of the sliding doors I hung the shoe rack on the side wall of the closet with Ook Hooks using the existing holes. I secured it to the wall in the corners and in the middle with Ook Hook nails. If you don’t secure it to the wall, it moves around which can be annoying. I do that even if I’m hanging it on the door (just note if you do this and are in a rental it will leave holes that you will have to fill).

Nerd note: as shown in the last pic, the hanging bar is too long and I’ve since cut it down…

elfa pot rack


I’ve literally worked every day for the last 4 weeks and will be working every day for the rest of the month and into November so I apologize for not posting. But figured I’d better get back to it!!

Before there was nothing in the corner. It was just empty and sad crying out for shelves. I used Elfa for it’s ease of install and adjustability. The hooks can be hung at at the front, middle, and back which allows you to layer the pans easily. And the little knife rack finishes the corner nicely…

more cosmo pics


I just received the rest of the shots from Cosmo shoot from April and couldn’t wait to share with you.

It was such a great experience overall but my favorite part was when photographer Jessica Antola was setting up and she asked me how I normally have my closets shot. I told her I take my Canon PowerShot and try to angle it to get the most in the picture… I’ve never had my work professional photographed and I was so happy to have Jessica be the first. Click on her name to see more of her work.

All images courtesy of Cosmopolitan Magazine, shot by Jessica Antola.

walk-in closet


I helped this client get settled into her previous apt and I was happy when she called me again for this move. She didn’t want to spend too much time or money to make the closet more functional (a couple upper shelves and rod don’t make for a crazy functional or fabulous closet), so here’s what I did….

We wanted all the clothes in the this closet without the need for a separate dresser so I added this tall bookcase that provides tons of easy storage. Muji bins keep the open shelves neat, holding bras, socks, underwear, bathing suits, etc. Since she doesn’t have a lot of shoes we kept the often worn pairs out with the fancier pairs kept in their original boxes, with off-season (boots) on the upper shelf. She’s amazingly tall so having things on the upper shelves is not a problem. Thank goodness they had a ladder for me!! 

The clothes, going from left to right are categorized: least worn special occasion dresses, jackets/blazers, top and blouses, skirts then dresses. Instead of having everything facing the same way, I prefer everything face YOU which means everything facing  center. I hate it when clothes have their back to you….  For this closet, the skirts and dresses face left and the rest facing right. 

The leaning mirror fit along the left wall with an inch to spare, making it more of a dressing room than closet. I suggested adding a small area rug and even switching out the overhead light but she’s working with an interior designer and didn’t want to get anything until they spoke.





5 basic principals of organizing

There’s no secret formula for how to be organized. It’s actually a simple concept that anyone can learn whether they are naturally organized or not. And don’t confuse being neat with being organized. Even if something looks like a mess, it can still be ‘in order’.

Here’s 5 basic principles to help you get or stay organized:


2. GROUP LIKE THINGS TOGETHER. Office supplies, baking tools, vases, batteries, photos, things used only for travel, beach, etc. It’s easier to find and use thing when they’re all together in one place.

3. STORE THINGS WHERE YOU USE THEM. If you get undressed in the bedroom, have the hamper in the bedroom, not down the hall in the bathroom.

4. KEEP THINGS ACCESSIBLE IN RELATION TO HOW OFTEN YOU USE IT. Most often used things should be within arms reach, least often used things can be on higher or lower shelves (for heavier things). 

5. PUT THINGS BACK WHERE YOU FOUND THEM. It takes much more time to look for something than it takes to just put it back properly when you’re done using it. 




fun + affordable rugs



I love rugs and can’t imagine a room without them. I even like using real rugs in the bathroom, as opposed to bathmats. They can be pricey so I wanted to share these fun, graphic and affordable ones.

Urban Outfitters is a great source for fun rugs, but they also have some really chic ones as well…

And I see that John Robshaw Textiles is offering rugs, and not as expensive as I was expecting from them. They have THE best pillows btw…

Magical Thinking Diamond Medallion 

low profile woven cotton
4′ x 6′

Magical Thinking Triangle Chain
various colors come in 5′ x 7′

low profile woven cotton
3′ x 5′

Right Angle Woven
low profile woven cotton, perfect for a bathroom

2′ x 3′

Assembly Home Rotating Triangle
low profile woven cotton

5′ x 7′

Atlas Printed Dhurrie
100% jute
5′ x 7′

living better with less: facial cleansers


I’m not a spa person, I prefer to do all my beauty routines at home (including my nails), nor am I a product junkie. Since most products need time and consistency to really work, when I find something I like, I stick to it.

People’s needs are different depending on age and lifestyle. I’m late 30’s so I need extra exfoliation but am careful not to do too much as overdoing it with products can actually have a negative affect on your skin. My skin is a little sensitive so I try to avoid anything with too much fragrance or unnecesary additives.

Here’s my current cleansing routine and products:

Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleaner
everyday cleanser

Prescriptives Immediate Smooth Exfoliator
use 2 or 3x a week with the foaming cleaner. i labeled it so i don’t forget. this is no longer available and i’m on my last tube. will probably just use the glycolic wash only when it’s done…

Trish McEvoy Even Skin Glycolic Wash
a more intense exfoliator used 1x or 2x a week, instead of the foaming cleanser. i use it on my hands as well as my neck and chest when in the shower. 

Fresh Umbrian Clay Treatment Bar
2x a week to clean out pores

Philosophy Microdelivery Peel
2x a month for more intense exfoliating


where are my keys?


img_7905_copy red-hook-magnet-strip pkkm_1024x1024


For those of you with ‘entry challenged’ spaces like me, you can still carve out a space to drop your keys and mail with any of these great hooks: 

Cloud Keyholder
hidden magnets make your keys look like they’re floating in the sky….

Walhub Cover Plate

beyond easy to install, just switch out your existing cover plate. comes double hooks only or with mail slot as shown. the hooks can be on the left or the right and comes in both rocker (as shown) or toggle switch. for more info, 
check out this awesome video make by the designer justin porcano

Hook-Up! Strip Mail Holder + Hooks
this magnetic strips comes with three lower hooks for keys, small umbrella etc and three upper hooks for larger pieces and/or to drop mail. comes in a variety of colors.

ey Switch
another no brainer install. drop your mail on the top and hang your keys from the minimal hooks below. comes in toggle (as shown) or rocker switch.