The Lees' Story

When Scott and Tracy Lee decided to build a dream home for their young family in Mill Valley, California, they came to the project with more experience than the average homeowner. Scott is the lead architect at a prestigious firm known worldwide for creating stunning buildings and hotels. And Tracy is the Director of Spa Development for a line of exclusive, high-end resorts.

“Bob clearly knows closets. And Scott knows design. And I know exactly how I want things to function for our family. So, it was a lot of fun, actually, sitting down and talking about it from all three perspectives. It was a really a great balance.”

So it’s no surprise that the Lees' desires went beyond simply building a home. Instead, they sought to create a space of true sanctuary where they could relax, recharge and connect, away from the stresses of everyday life.

But the Lees wanted to do something else as well—they decided early on to make the project as sustainable and earth-friendly as possible. Scott explains, “As designers and architects, our outlook on the environment has changed and evolved. And as parents, we’re certainly more aware of what we’re doing to the planet. We felt that we’d be remiss in designing a house for ourselves that didn't focus on sustainability.”

The Lees chose to seek Leed Platinum Certification, the highest level of environmental certification available in a home. That meant carefully selecting everything from building materials to partners for their environmental impact. With its local focus and sustainable product options, California Closets was a perfect choice for the Lee’s new home.

Scott and Tracy met with California Closets Design Consultant, Bob Holcomb and discussed their goals for the project. And from the beginning it was a true collaboration.

As Tracy explains, “Bob clearly knows closets. And Scott knows design. And I know exactly how I want things to function for our family. So, it was a lot of fun, actually, sitting down and talking about it from all three perspectives. It was a really a great balance.”

Together, Scott, Tracy and Bob planned five spaces throughout the new home.

They designed a dramatic and beautiful master closet with space for Scott and Tracy’s wardrobes and a dressing area. Scott describes the space, “In today’s chaotic world it’s very comforting to have a place like our master closet. Every time I walk in, I get a sense of sanctuary and calm. Part of that is certainly the order. We can see everything we have to choose from right in front of us. It’s the perfect place to begin our day and to end our day.”

They created a wonderful playroom for the Lee’s children that can evolve and adapt as they grow. “It’s a place to play and spread your wings,” Tracy says.

They crafted two highly functional closets for storage of everyday items.

And they designed a dream garage that has space for vehicles, work and activities—all while acting as the perfect bridge between indoors and out. As Tracy explains, “Yes, it’s a place for tools and cars and all that stuff, but the great thing is having it be another living space. It really feels like another place to live in.”

The Lees were able to bring their vision to life when their home was still in its blueprint stage thanks to California Closets’ 3-D design software. Bob Holcomb explains the benefits, “It really gives a true-to-life view so that a customer can get an idea of what it will be like standing in the space. For most people it's difficult to translate a two-dimensional rendering and get a sense of how you'll actually function in it. With our 3-D system, you really have the option to move and tour around to give people a preview of how everything will come together.”

And things definitely came together. Just a few months into their new home, Scott and Tracy are already impressed with how their California Closets systems fit the way they live.

Scott explains, “We set out to have functional, beautiful closets that could be designed and installed on time in the midst of a complex project. And it was important they could keep with the rest of the house in terms of look and quality and sustainability. We certainly accomplished all that. And more.”

The Designer’s Eye

Designer Bob Holcomb partnered with the Lees to create spaces that would be sustainable, functional and beautiful.

What’s it like to work with such experienced and accomplished clients?
It was a lot of fun. I have background both in construction and design.  I love working with people who are focused the same way.

Did the Lees have firm ideas of what they wanted coming in?
They did. Which many clients don’t. In the master, for example, they generally knew what they wanted in the closet. So I basically took what they wanted as a starting point. I laid it out, given the size of the space, and then once I had a basic design we met and then reviewed and talked about how we could evolve and change it.

So your designs were flexible?
Absolutely. The whole idea is that we create a system. To me, a system is something that does part of the job for you. And so with closet organization systems it's a matter of creating a system so it makes life easier for the person who uses the closet. That system can be changed or tweaked to make it work best for the person who’s using it.

The Lees seemed impressed with your 3-D design tools.
When you draw elevations or the like in hand drawing, you can get a sense of how everything is going to fit together.  But the three dimensionality of a space will always speak to you. And our CAD program is detailed enough that you can really get the sense of what that space is like and how you fit in it.

Does that tool help foster collaboration?
Definitely. And that’s really key to a successful project. It’s the only way I work. I'll meet with a customer and we'll start designing and the next thing they know two hours have gone by and they hadn't realized because we’re having fun.  You’re trying to work out all the details and make everything work just right—it’s problem solving.  And I'm always learning from the customer.  Invariably when I'm meeting with somebody they come up with things I didn't think of. And that's great. I like that. I like that it's their closet and, in the end, they've really had a part in the design. That way they truly own it.


Bob Holcomb, Design Consultant

Whether it’s a crowded, inefficient closet, a dysfunctional home office, or a stuffed-to-the-gills garage, Bob Holcomb relishes a design challenge.At a complimentary in-home consultation, he’ll use California Closets' proprietary CAD program to tailor a personalized solution that marries beauty and functionality.  3-D renderings of the project allow Design Consultants and customers to plan the project together, visualizing color, shape, and design details from all angles.

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