Profiles in design: Binh Ly, Inspired Closets
September 23, 2022 | 11:56 am CDT

Binh Ly, Inspired Closets

Designers play a vital role in any home renovation or building project. Binh Ly, design manager at Inspired Closets, located in Pleasanton, California, shared his thoughts on his design philosophy and what inspires him. 

Why did you decide to become a designer? 

It happened organically when I was looking for a career change. I stumbled upon it and didn’t know this niche existed!

Do you have a design philosophy? 

Yes, my philosophy is to design the space for the people using it. I discuss with the client their vision and intention for the space and what they’re trying to address. I don’t believe in the Bauhaus school of thought where form follows function (minimalism), or that aesthetics should be the primary driver in design. Design, however, should invoke our emotional senses and be used directly or indirectly in a purposeful way. 

Favorite motivational quote? 

“I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.” — Jack London. In living to our fullest potential, I am reminded that my goal is to help my clients live out theirs. I don’t want their closet space to be a place of disorganization, chaos, and a feeling of helplessness that has taken over their lives. I want to help them take back control so that they can shine and live brilliantly!  

Binh Ly, Inspired Closets, won honorable mention in the 2022 Top Shelf Design Awards - Home Office: Over 150 sq. ft. category for “Elysian Office: Miles of Files.”

Where do you find design inspiration? 

I find inspiration from other designers’ work and my client’s home. Other industries that inspire me would be food, fashion, and art. Sometimes inspiration comes to me by trying to solve the problem of designing around the obstructions of the physical space. 

Favorite way to spend a day off? 

I love to get snacks and drinks with my wife and get settled into a good book. Or we like to stop by Barnes and Noble to hang out. 

What trends or cultural influences do you see becoming extremely popular in the future? 

Tech is becoming increasingly tied to every aspect of our lives. I wouldn’t be surprised if apps categorized our clothing and gave us different recommendations of our outfit for the day. Or it can help us find where that piece of clothing is located in our closets.

What advice would you give both customers and contractors on how to work with designers? 

I would tell them to build the relationship and trust the designer with the design. Oftentimes, customers will solicit different opinions of others’ expertise, to see if it’s in line with what they might perceive to be true. Sometimes it can lead to bad advice on a design or might confuse the customer altogether. I would recommend having a discussion when all three parties are there so that communication is transparent between all parties involved.

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About the author
Michaelle Bradford | Editor

Michaelle Bradford, CCI Media, is Editor of Closets & Organized Storage magazine and Woodworking Network editor. She has more than 20 years of experience covering the woodworking and design industry, including visits to custom cabinet shops, closet firms and design studios throughout North America. As Editor of Closets & Organized Storage magazine under the Woodworking Network brand, Michaelle’s responsibilities include writing, editing, and coordinating editorial content as well as managing annual design competitions like the Top Shelf Design Awards. She is also a contributor to FDMC and other Woodworking Network online and print media owned by CCI Media.