Meet Lisa Adams

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When doing a huge redesign or redecorating interiors, it's almost unheard of to focus on the closet first. And even in the rare case that they do, one almost  always thinks about its more functional aspects over aesthetic ones. But, as a space where you'll spend plenty of time in your room dreaming up outfits and admiring what you own, why shouldn't a closet be organized and beautiful? This was the lightbulb that went off for Lisa Adams, principal of Los Angeles-based firm LA Closet Design, when she opened shop exclusively devoted to redesigning wardrobes back in 2007. Intent on revolutionizing the concept of closets, Lisa's worked with celebrities, designers, architects and homeowners alike to reinvigorate their wardrobes into spaces that are fresh, uber-organized and utterly beautiful. As the expert behind some of LA's most spectacular closets, Lisa shares with us the creative process of redoing a closet, overcoming design problems in this small space, and whose closets she's been dreaming of working on:


Image via courtesy of LA Closet Design


Image via courtesy of LA Closet Design

Closet design is such an interesting niche. How did you get into it?  I had an "aha" moment while working in a kitchen & bath design firm. At that time, kitchens were all the rage and it was common to hire a kitchen consultant; I knew I wanted to be that specialized expert in closet spaces—to change the perception of "closets" and to view them as wardrobes and dressing rooms. I see closets as more than a space to house clothing, but if given the luxury of space, as a multi-purposeful space to dress in, lounge in and even socialize in.

What is the creative process for designing a closet? Do you find it different from designing other interior spaces? I always say that based on my experiences, closets are the perfect spaces for me to be in. They are different from other interior spaces in the sense that you have to be utterly precise but at the same time, equally creative—where function meets design to the nth degree when you are dealing with ultra high-end homes and the belongings that go with them. I do an inventory analysis for every project, counting and measuring each item and its dimensions. Simultaneously, my team and I are gathering inspiration images to pin to the project board on Pinterest. It's such a quick way of gathering images, sharing it with clients, and getting their immediate feedback, which leads you closer to the final look of the closet. I find inspiration in luxury boutiques, fashion and architecture.


Image via courtesy of LA Closet Design


Image via courtesy of LA Closet Design

What is your design philosophy and how did you come up with it?  "Wardrobes are the ultimate fashion accessory"— LisaAdams Closet Design My mission is to create wardrobe and storage spaces that are balanced functionally and aesthetically. As a designer, I see the potential in this under-utilized, and often out of control space to add value to your home and to calm the chaos of everyday life. The closet is where we most often spend the first and last moments of a day and unfortunately at those times many of us deal with universal closet issues: cluttered, overstuffed and unorganized spaces. Instead, I look at both your room - and your life - and then I create a space of peace, beauty and even glamour. Each LA Closet Design project is customized to reflect the needs and style of the individual client. Whether masculine, sophisticated and streamlined or feminine and high fashion, the closet should be a high functioning, natural extension of the home and an actual living space. In my designs, I inherently stress that every item should have its place; the first step to maintaining a closet is to know where things are and where to put them back.

We imagine, especially with such a small and often overcrowded a space, there must be a lot of obstacles to achieving a clean and organized closet. What is your most creative solution to a closet design problem to date? I have grown to love corners in a closet and love finding new ways to treat corners in efficient, creative ways.  In small closets, it is critical to treat the corners; otherwise, you are left with reach-in corners that look messy and not well-designed.  One of my favorite solution to the corner is doing custom corner hanging rods or corner shelves—that way you are maximizing the corner spaces but also making them look aesthetically pleasing. Have there been any big design disasters along the way?    There have certainly been design challenges along the way, but knock on wood, no big design disasters.


Image via courtesy of LA Closet Design


Image via courtesy of LA Closet Design

Whose closet would you consider it a dream project to work on? I would say it's a toss-up between Sarah Jessica Parker and Kobe Bryant!  Since Sarah is a true fashionista and girly-girl (and not to mention is Carrie Bradshaw!), it would be fun to live in her world for awhile and contemplate how to display her beautiful Manolos. On the other hand, I am a huge basketball fan and would also be drooling over Kobe's shoes...in both cases, I believe they would both allow me to go beyond the norm creatively and as a result, something very cool would be created. What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting out in the field?  Be thorough. Follow through. Be on time. Work on your sales' skills (I would advise everyone to get a sales job at some point during high school or college—learning how to ultimately make a sale is a lifelong skill). Be diligent. Treat your clients the way you would want to be treated. Find balance.

The closets you’re worked on must reveal a lot about the people who own them. What would your closet say about you?   My closet would say that I practice what I preach!  It would be screaming that I am a type A personality that can have fun with colors and prints, that I love purses and shoes (and jeans, dresses and Lululemon…), and that I comb through my closet regularly to keep only what I truly love and will wear (and the rest I sell, donate, take to the tailor, give away). It bothers me more to sift through a crammed closet than to let things go…


Image via courtesy of LA Closet Design

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