Designing the Day-to-Day

By Kellie Doligale  |  Business Profile

We hear it all the time: The benefits of organization are undeniable. For all our efforts at order, however, sometimes there just isn’t a place for every little thing. The purveyors of interior harmony at Closets by Design make it their mission to create those places by assessing their clients’ needs and crafting solutions, creating not only a clean space but also priceless personal value.Despite their moniker, the business tackles far more than closets. “We’re more in the home organizing business,” says General Manager Jeff Speedy. “Any area in the home that needs more storage or organization, we can help. Obviously, the first place that people think of is the closet, which we’ve been doing since 1983. From that, we migrated to the garage to the pantry to the laundry room, home offices and mudrooms.”

Closets by Design prioritizes the oft-neglected parts of a house – the places no one but the homeowner regularly sees. By transforming a utilitarian space into one the client loves, their home sets the bar a notch higher.

“I tell people that I don’t think doing a master closet will necessarily increase the value of a house, but if someone is considering three different houses, the one with the custom closet will be the one they remember,” Speedy elaborates. “A lot of houses have a nice kitchen and a nice master bath. A custom closet can be the difference.”

Unlike a kitchen or a master bath, custom closets tend to be less time-consuming while still maintaining the same level of attention given to a shared space. Speedy, now in his seventh year with the company, oversees every step from consultation to completion. His job is a demanding one, as he says they complete projects across a massive stretch of Kentucky from Pikeville to Madisonville.

“Typically, we start with a free in-home design consultation, which usually takes about an hour, and the projects vary greatly in size from a small linen closet all the way up to a closet over 800 square feet. A designer comes out and talks to the people about what they want to do with the space. They’ll take measurements, and then we utilize a computer program that lets us design it with the customer. It has a nice 3D feature so they can see what it’s going to look like.”

Though aesthetics are given due consideration, Speedy says the top priority is function. Even one tidy space benefits the entire home as we’re less likely to relegate our belongings to places they don’t belong if they have a designated spot. “Once we know what the function is or the best use of the space, we can make it look any way they want. You can keep it very basic or make it elegant, and we have people who want all the bells and whistles. There’s a lot you can do to make it very unique.”

Closets by Design produces all of their materials at a local factory off Bardstown Road and uses company-employed installers. Their start-to-finish team adeptly merges each client’s wishes with functional logic. “We all have closets, we all put the same things in them. But we have to be able to adjust for somebody with 400 pairs of shoes versus 20, or someone with a lot of long dresses or more jeans. Once we get a feel for how they’re living in the space, then we can tailor-make it to work better for them.”

Even after a job is completed, Speedy says it can be adjusted until the client is truly satisfied. “In the custom business, it’s not always easy to get everything right the first time,” he explains. “We have a strong commitment from top to bottom that we will make sure it’s completed to the customer’s desire no matter what happens.”

Further, Closets by Design can revisit a previous project to adjust a family’s changing needs. A kid’s closet, for instance, may need three small hanging bars during infancy, two within reach throughout childhood, and one larger section as they become teenagers. “If we need to add or change something, we can usually accommodate that very easily. It reverses the process from making what you have fit with what is there to making the space fit what you have.”

Speedy is clear that Closets by Design transcends both construction and design niches. By a sort of transitive property of tidiness, they’re in the business of improving everyday life through organization. “If you have a space for everything, you feel more organized. If you’re more organized, you feel better,” he says, and it’s apparent that providing this small but important happiness makes for a compelling career.

“We’re not just about shelves and rods, or doors and drawers. I like knowing we can make a difference rather than just selling something. It’s the best testimonial for what we do when someone says, ‘I love this. Everything is where it’s supposed to be.’” VT

Closets by Design