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By Hannah Malan
LOS ANGELES — For eco-friendly closet designer Lisa Adams, making a living is all about making a difference. “What can I do to improve people’s lives?” Adams asks. “That question always remained important.” From indoor-outdoor living in Hawaii to the PhD path at UC Berkeley and beyond, Adams developed a desire to make a difference in both her industry and her environment. After finding her passion and transitioning from hard science to home improvements, she made a commitment to revolutionizing the way we do closets. Her LA Closet Design company tagline reads: LUXURY. CALM. SANCTUARY. And her work embodies all that and more.
On a warm, sunny afternoon, Adams met Sierra Club Green Home photographer Ashley Tittle and me at one of her celebrity client’s homes on a quaint, quiet street in Los Feliz, Los Angeles. Obviously trusted by her client, Adams led us through the gate and upstairs to see her work in finished—and working—form. Compared to the otherwise modest home, the closet stood out as an element of just what Adams promises: luxury, calm, sanctuary. Designed to be not only beautiful, but also functional and eco-friendly, the closet embodies a certain goodness—built with sustainable Walnut wood, accessorized with sustainably harvested woven rattan baskets, painted with low-VOC paint, and lit with low voltage bulbs. Even the hangers add to the eco-friendliness—they’re bamboo.
Adams explains that the closet is where we often spend the first and last moments of our days. “I want to create a space people feel good in,” she says. “How do I do that?” It’s about creating organization, utilizing space, and choosing products that make an impact. “Whenever I can use [eco-friendly] products or do it inherently, that’s what I do.” At times, she’s taking the lead on green building and telling her clients, “I’m getting these woods from here, and here are the options.” But while some clients “need the education,” she says, “others are driving the process.”
When reflecting on the role of green building in her industry, Adams adds, “It’s amazing how mainstream it has become. It’s not so expensive. It’s something people are constantly thinking about. Now for people to not choose that option, well, they don’t.” In terms of revolutionizing closets, it seems Adams is achieving her goal. When she started LA Closet Design in 2007, she felt closets were in the “dark ages.” Now, she can say she’s proud of where the industry is going. “People were so content with rods and shelves, but now they understand they can have the space designed for their needs. The future is all about education and raising people’s expectations.”
As for giving your own closet an organizational and eco-friendly makeover, Adams suggests invoking your personality in terms of materials. It’s not about buying new, but rather, about making your closet a space you’re proud of. “Repurpose things, recycle things. Even knobs. Paint [an old knob] or make it decorative,” she says. With creative inspiration from resources like Pinterest, green home blogs, and experts like Adams, we can all find eco-friendly ways to add a little luxury, calm, and sanctuary to our closets.
Other green closet tips:
- Clean out your closet regularly and donate items to a local charity
- Consider using bamboo hangers
- Cut back on single-use plastic with a 3-in-1 reusable Green Garment Bag
- Find a eco-friendly dry cleaner near you
© 2012 SCGH, LLC.