Mar/Apr 2022

Getting creative with space

By Larry Adams

group of people at work table with samples designing for small spaces
Cover of Closets & Organized Storage magazine with view of shoes and clothes in a glass storage.

See it in the magazine

Explore the original feature from the pages of Closets & Organized Storage Magazine.

Designing for small spaces is nothing new to Genesis Products. Located in the heart of the RV manufacturing country, they have been designing and producing RV and tiny-home interiors since the company’s very beginning some 20 years ago.

This ingrained knowledge of creating components for small spaces is one of the reasons that the company has found closets and storage products a natural market for its products.

In fact, “closets and cabinets is a fast-growing marketplace for us,” said Jon Wenger, company president, CEO and co-founder. “One that we are already seeing a lot of growth.”

Model display of wooden cabinets.
Genesis Products’ headquarters in Goshen, Indiana, features a showroom displaying myriad materials, styles and end-use products.

Design expertise

Genesis Products, which was recently ranked #34 in the FDMC 300 ranking, can do this not just because of its manufacturing capabilities, which are clearly substantial, but also because of its in-house design and engineering acumen.

Customers who work within the Genesis Interiors team focus on a Consult, Curate and Construct process where they can choose from a vast range of materials, colors, styles, construction techniques, etc., and this diversity of offerings is really where Genesis Product’s product managers and design team comes into play. Not just to show them what is available, but, perhaps, also to generate new ideas.

Phyllis Beyers, product manager for decorative surfaces and design at Genesis, and host of the Web video series, Friday Flatlay (see below), said that one of the strengths of the company is the deep knowledge of available products and how those products can best be used to serve its customers.

To keep up to date, Beyers meets with Genesis Product’s suppliers throughout the year to review new product offerings, design trends and materials. Trade shows such as Neocon and KBIS also offer design trend inspirations.

“It is important to gain product knowledge on all of our suppliers,” she said, “how their materials perform? What are they good at? What is their niche if there is one? The goal is to become a product expert and take that knowledge back to Genesis Products to determine how to use the materials and how to incorporate them into our manufacturing processes that make sense.”

This is especially true if a customer has specific needs, she said. For example, “If they want water holdout or they want to be able to miter-fold material, or any number of needs, we have specific materials that we can offer that makes sense from a production standpoint and a warranty standpoint for our customers,” Beyers said. “We really try to guide them and give them the best options without being biased.”

Interior of an RV with wooden floors, couch, tv, and kitchen.
In an RV, such as this vehicle, every inch of space is important, especially as RVs incorporate a more residential look, said Phyllis Beyers of Genesis Products. Space might be limited, but that doesn’t mean that the design can’t have a “wow factor.”

Creating a unique space

While functionality and durability are givens in any closet design, Beyers said the company can also offer customers a chance to consider other marketplace trends and provide them with options to take to their customers that they might not have considered such as solid surface countertops or felt-lined drawer boxes and mixing multiple laminate types for a two-tone look or matching the color choice or material type to the hardware or fabric; the possibilities seem limitless.

Beyer said that is an aspect of her job she enjoys. As seen in her Flatlay videos, her design aesthetic incorporates myriad design elements and creates unique spaces. For instance, in Episode 6, she describes a space that incorporates unique whites with solid surface countertops, simple hardware with interesting colors, to create a warm space.

“First, I utilized this beautiful warm and creamy white woodgrain ... that is definitely different than your bright sterile white. It just kind of warms up the space,” she explained. “I paired that with a brighter white granite countertop that has very subtle movement … Additionally, I used a matte gold hardware [that is] very simple, but also adds an awesome element to warming up and classing up the space.”

When it comes to closets or storage, effectively using the space provided is critical. “You want to do the most with the space that you’re given,” she said, “while also creating ‘awesome alternatives’ to make the space feel larger.” This could mean open shelving, adjusting shelving depth or utilizing glass to maximize the space.

While standard white and black cabinets will always be popular, pops of color, if done right, can stand out, she said. Small details such as hardware choice or fabric to build texture can also make a big impression.

“Small intentional details can make a space. When you are working in a smaller space, it really matters. The details can pull the design together and give the space that ‘wow factor.’”

Friday Flatlay Video Series

Utilizing small spaces

Phyllis Beyers is product manager at Genesis Products and host of the Web video series Friday Flatlay. After chatting with Closets & Organized Storage magazine, Beyers filmed a special segment of her series in which she highlighted ways that OEMs and designers can best utilize small spaces, such as closets, and still give the space that “wow factor.”