Inner Sanctuary

A custom closet can dress up your day

We spoke to Kelley Lyle, a Birmingham-based designer for California Closets, plus Brittany Sena, a thrilled custom closet owner, about the process for building your own dream closet. 

Basic Process

Lyle: The process for a custom closet starts with a complimentary in-home consultation. I will come out and measure your space and we will talk through your specific needs – what’s working, what’s not working and how you envision the space. While measuring, I’ll take an inventory of what is in the space – it’s a custom closet! So, this is our chance to make sure we are allocating the appropriate space to shoes, long hang, drawers, et cetera.

Next, we will take a look at all the finish options.  I’m a traveling showroom, so I bring tons of samples with me and it is always fun to go through and create a palette with my clients. 

Finally, it’s time to design. Our amazing software allows me to design right there in your home. ClosetCAD offers the opportunity to see your new space in 3D in the finishes you selected. This process is meant to be collaborative, so I ask for your feedback, and we talk through all the options together. I can make adjustments in real-time and you can see how the changes affect pricing. Don’t forget to add all the fun accessories like a jewelry drawer and belt rack.

Once we come up with the perfect plan for your new custom closet, then it’s off to manufacturing.  


Lyle: Brittany is a dream client — she has a beautiful home and a beautiful wardrobe. The biggest challenge was really maximizing the space – she has tons of clothes, shoes and hats. We had to do a really good job of inventorying her wardrobe and then getting creative to get everything back in the space in a way that is beautiful and functional. 

Sena: Organizing so much "stuff" can be daunting and overwhelming. Whether it is clothes, shoes, jewelry, scarves OR food and kitchenware, without the expertise and resources of a company like California Closets, you may not know where to start. Kelley was such a pro at calming my mind and making the process very methodical. 

Picking the finishes and finalizing the details was probably the most difficult but fun part of the process. The possibilities here are endless. From leather benches to glass or mirrored doors, mirror backing, different wood finishes and combinations . . . Did I mention the pull-out shelves and drawers? Or the jewelry and accessory organizers? And, of course, the lighting! The possibilities are endless. 

Improvements to Quality of Life

Lyle: You start your day and end your day in your closet – so why have it working against you?  There is a huge trend getting away from dressers in the bedroom, so we have seen lots of clients wanting drawers in their closets. By adding drawers, you can fully get dressed in the closet. Everything has a spot – voila, your morning just got a bit easier. 

Advice about custom closets

Lyle: Be careful! Custom closets tend to become an addiction, and you won’t be able to stop with just one. Many clients end up coming back for a custom pantry, garage, coat closet or kids’ closet! 

Sena: Create vision boards on Pinterest and Instagram. Clean out items first, so you know how much stuff you need to fit into the space. You may need to prioritize. Know your goals and what is most important to you. Also, the finishes matter if you are going for a high-end look. If you want something that is lower budget but very functional, basic white is still an amazing option. But if you are looking for a wow factor, the finishes and backing combinations are endless, and they really elevate a space. 



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