Ben Kruse and John Trombello find room for all in Briarcliff

When you meet your spouse, you likely have a lot in common–favorite musicians, restaurants, and even style choices. For Briarcliff West residents Ben Kruse and John Trombello, that shared taste also extends to their wardrobe. Luckily, their master closet has plenty of space for clothing and a few fun details as well. 

Kruse is no stranger to designing. After purchasing his home in the late-2000s, he gutted it and created a modern oasis (featured in our inaugural issue of Northland Lifestyle) perfect for hosting family and friends. The home reflects a fresh look on tradition and allows for continual updating as the need–or whim–should arise. When Kruse and Trombello married just over four years ago, it was time to make the space work for two, and we were eager to see how the closet had evolved since our last visit. 

The guys have merged all their clothes together but keep suits, dress shirts and more casual pieces arranged separately. Since many of their pieces are similar–and let’s face it, matching–they try to organize by size, with Trombello’s items going in front. This creates a tidy, almost formal, appearance to the space but has also led to some humorous moments. 

Kruse admits to the occasional mistake, “I’ve gone on business trips and realized once I arrived that I grabbed John’s shirt by mistake,” he laughs. “Thank goodness the fitted look is in!” 

A neutral palette for the walls allows the colors in their shirts to pop, and the natural slate flooring maintains a masculine feel. Silver accents appear on frames, wooden hangers and fixtures, keeping the styling classic while brightening the space. An orchid peeks out the window, and a floor-length mirror stands at attention for that ever-important once-over before facing the day. 

In addition to their clothing, which they rotate out with the season, Kruse and Trombello added a few personal touches to keep the room from being too utilitarian. For a stylish place to put on shoes, Kruse reupholstered his grandmother’s antique channel-back chair in a wool blackwatch plaid from nearby decor mecca Nell Hill’s. A nearby tray table holds a framed print of the couple and is perfect for catching the day’s watch selection. 

The duo took a cue from one of their favorite department stores, Halls, to organize a collection of colorful silk ties. By installing three simple towel bars, they created an artful way to access their favorites without digging through a crowded tie rack. (Kruse notes that this simple closet hack could also work well for ladies wanting to display favorite scarves or pashminas.) 

One of the couple’s favorite parts of the closet is the watch winder, which was a Christmas gift to each other. Three watches rotate to simulate the motion from daily wear or hand winding, and the rest of their collection rests in a matching box on the adjacent shelf. Both are available at Meierotto Jewelers. 

This couple has created a space that clearly says ‘we’ rather than ‘me,’ cleverly mixing organization and classic design from some of the unique resources the Northland provides.