Growing up, I was always surrounded with creativity—my mom is a florist-crafter-musician-home maker and my dad remodeled our family’s farmhouse throughout my childhood… it was like living in a design project! So from a young age, helping with all that creative work, I learned how to make things that are both beautiful and functional, developing an eye for balance and symmetry. I’ve also worked on a lot of home improvement projects with my sister, fixing up her rental properties. We joke that we should probably have a home improvement show (The Property Sisters anyone?)
My six year (and counting!) adventure with Elkay began as a Customer Care Representative; I got to learn Medallion product inside and out and really got to know our customers, understanding how our cabinetry was used in real life by real people. Four years ago, I jumped at an opportunity to join the marketing department’s Design Team, where I can really let my creativity flow, designing kitchens for displays, shows and photography efforts.
When designing, I like to take inspiration from the space itself, its architecture and environment. Personally, I prefer the challenge of taking a problem space and making it work compared to starting with a blank slate. To see what isn’t working, improving it and finding ways to beautify it is one of my favorite aspects of designing. While earning my degree in Interior Design, I took as many classes as I could in furniture and art history, and I love when I get opportunity to incorporate those timeless historic parts of design with today’s trends.
My design background began in fine furniture, selling and managing showrooms and design studios for the first two decades of my career. As a master planner in the furniture world, I was able to efficiently layout residential living spaces while creating visually interesting rooms for people’s homes.
My transition from furnishings to cabinetry was very natural…in both industries; you need to have a good understanding of veneers, wood species, and laminates while having the ability to coordinate all that goes into a room. I traded in what was once the bringing together of leathers, striped fabrics or florals for what is now countertops, backsplash tiles, and various stained or painted woods. The same spatial rules apply whether laying out a furniture floor plan or configuring cabinetry; they’re both about how to use the space the best, visual interest, and storage opportunities. I would say the single biggest reason I stayed in the interior design business for over thirty years is the relationships I have built with clients while helping them reinvent their living spaces. I’ve enjoyed sharing their excitement when I’ve been able to design an area for them that makes a difference in their daily lives, more than they imagined. It’s rewarding knowing that what you helped them to accomplish makes such a huge difference in a person’s or family’s day-to-day activities.
By the time a client’s kitchen design is completed, I know most things about how that family operates; who shares the cooking responsibilities, how they entertain, the amount of children in the home, and where the pets are fed. Relationship-building has always been an intricate part of the process when working in someone’s home. One thing I find a bit amusing – even though I’ve designed hundreds of kitchens over the years, I run into past clients and could practically sketch most of their basic floor plans and layouts for them from memory due to the amount of time and energy I put into their homes.
With Medallion, one of my favorite things is pulling together coordinating finishes and pairing door styles, figuring out what is going to work best using an artistic view and making the spaces I work with both visually appealing and efficient.
Design comes naturally to me, having grown up in the cabinetry business with two creative parents. I designed my first kitchen when I was 6, using my father’s design triangle and proudly took my creation to school for show and tell – a story my dad loved to share with many of our customers.
Company meetings felt like family dinners as clients became our friends.
During my first year with the family business, I worked in the field full time. I helped with demolition, the installation process, and learned about the quirks a jobsite can bring that are essential for consideration during the layout phase of a project.
I have experience with full interior design services in soft goods and textiles as well as all the hard surfaces in kitchen and bath design. My passion for fit, form, and function has enriched my projects; there isn’t a design challenge that I won’t tackle.