Vancouver artist Joe Average collaborates with California Closets for grand penthouse makeover

California Closets art collab

Joe Average O.B.C. M.C.G. is a beloved Vancouver-based artist who has earned recognition across the globe for both his art and his activism. Many Canadians would recall his artwork which appeared on the 2019 Equality coin, a special edition “loonie” marking the 50th anniversary of the decriminalization of homosexuality in Canada.

“Everyone has heard of California Closets,” says Average, describing how the brand came up in conversation with a good friend when he disclosed his need for a new wardrobe in his home office.

“We spent a bit of time together going through the website and then called them to explain what I was looking for. It quickly snowballed into more than just a single wardrobe! They helped me revamp seven spaces in my home and created bespoke housing solutions to organize a lot of my artwork.”

Fostering creative collaborations

The joy of the collaboration was mutually shared, says Matthew Jolly, a designer from California Closets.

“It was an honour when Joe reached out to us and a privilege to work with him,” Jolly beams. “He is an incredibly talented artist and a very kind person, who has given much to the LQBTQ+ community. It was a special project because Joe had a sense of what he was looking for, and through a visit to our South Granville showroom, the direction became clear.”

Average was seeking two custom closets in his office but also wanted a linen closet, a number of storage solutions, two new pantries and a place to house his artwork.

“Most people don’t know that we do more than closets,” Jolly explains. “We offer custom solutions for almost every space, and this project really showcased all of our expertise.”

Checking every box

Average provided Jolly with seven words of inspiration to guide the process: opulent, over-the-top, grand, masculine, dark, elegant and sophisticated.

“He delivered on every single one,” Average explains. “Working with Matthew and the team at California Closets was a wonderful experience. They asked a lot of questions in the beginning so that they could get a grasp on exactly what I wanted. They were also patient, polite and most importantly, they were really good listeners. I felt comfortable with them straight off the bat and trusted that they would deliver.”

One of the custom closets designed for Average’s office included a special compartment for his 20-pair John Fluevog shoe collection, complete with integrated lighting.

“Joe and I bonded over his shoe collection - the shoes themselves are a work of art, and I knew we needed to make them stand out, while at the same time making sure they were easily accessible for him,” describes Jolly. “Form and function.”

Another element of Average’s office was a hidden ironing board.

“The ironing board is my favourite part of the whole project, but I could not be happier with the entire project as a whole,” says Average. “My penthouse actually looks like a fancy penthouse now, and that’s all thanks to California Closets.”

The majority of manufacturing and production at California Closets BC happens right in the province, which speeds up production and delivery times for clients. In addition to custom closets, California Closets BC designs entertainment centres, garage storage systems, Murphy beds, mudrooms and entryways, libraries, bookshelves and more.

If you are looking for a custom design to fit your space, personal style and budget, contact California Closets at

Delivery, installation and limited lifetime warranty are available for Metro Vancouver, between Whistler and Chilliwack, and throughout the Okanagan, from Vernon to Penticton.

This article is written by or on behalf of the sponsoring client and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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