COURTESY LISA ADAMS
Closet designer Lisa Adams established L.A. Closet Design Inc. in California last year. She grew up in Hawaii.
Closet designer inspired by isle upbringing
University Lab School graduate Lisa (McIntosh) Adams is a closet designer.
Not one who secretly designs stuff, but literally, a closet designer.
She established L.A. Closet Design Inc. in California last year after serving as president of the wardrobe division of her husband's company, Troy Adams Design, for seven years. She had also worked for him at Studio Becker in Honolulu and they are still married. Hanging out her own shingle seemed "a natural transition," she said.
Her client list includes actor Eddie Murphy, whose abode rocks an "opulent" closet.
It has "a grand island in the center of the room," for his watch collection. "It was almost like a jewelry store where watches are on display covered with glass."
It also has an underground safe, refrigerator and coffee maker.
Other celebrity clients include Carmen Electra, Sela Ward, Byron Allen and Jewel.
Some clients want wine chillers, plush seating areas and rotating clothing racks.
It is hard to imagine lounging in a closet with wine and a cheese plate, but one must wonder if living rooms or dens are pass.
Closets have become extensions of luxurious bathrooms, a reflection of "the whole spa-scene," she said.
The megacloset's increasing popularity is due to a combination of factors.
Closets at their most basic are "shelf-and-rod ... too small, really not conducive to the things we have," or keeping them organized.
Kitchens used to be small, but "now it is a place where you gather. It is the heart of the home." The analogous concept to her is to create a space where closet and dressing area flow freely into the, um, water closet, as "one grand space."
Her biggest-budget project was about $250,000. At the low end, she's done a $20,000 project.
"You don't compromise on materials or design ... you still take into account design and functionality, it's literally just the size that drives the price down."
It doesn't matter if someone makes $50,000 or "billions of dollars ... everyone's closet is just kind of a jumbled mess," that needs help.
Adams' corporate work has included closets for 84 units at Wailea Beach Villas, the most Hawaii-themed of her designs. Her vision "is really influenced by the fact that I grew up in Hawaii." She is "fond of warm woods, exotic woods and taking a lot of Asian influences to create Zen-like spaces."
A search of the state business registration database revealed 12 active companies in the closet organization or design-build game.
Some fit organization products into existing closets.
"They are product-focused and I'm really designer-focused," she said, meaning she will design the space and use products and materials accordingly, including lighting, flooring and other aspects.
She returns to Hawaii a few times a year because "grandma has to see" her almost-four-year-old son Kai.
"My hope is that I can do more work in Hawaii," she said. Bunking with family would spare a client the cost of a hotel. "That's the added benefit," she chuckled.
is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Call 529-4747, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210, Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org