8 Tips For Choosing A Kitchen Designer

Very few homeowners have the knowledge to design, build and install a new kitchen. That’s why many of us employ an expert kitchen designer. But how do you know if you are choosing the right kitchen designer to work with? It comes down to a bit of research and gut feelings. Design mistakes are costly, so it’s worth connecting with more than one kitchen designer to get a feel for the designer who is right for you. Consider the following eight tips when choosing a kitchen designer:

  1. Design ability and creativity
    How do you know just how good a given designer’s ability is? Check how long they have been designing kitchens. Ask to see some examples of their work. Will they be able to show you 3-D visuals of designs they create for you before going ahead with any work? Conceptual design can look amazing, but you want a designer with an eye for the practical realities of kitchen life too.
  2. Technical knowledge
    Your kitchen designer should have architectural drafting and construction experience. He or she needs to have a good knowledge of buildings and industry trends to bring you a state-ofthe-art kitchen design.
  3. Product knowledge
    Providing the right products and appliances for your kitchen also requires knowledge and skill. Good kitchen designers will know trusted cabinet makers and appliance firms to work with.
  4. Experience
    Everyone has to start somewhere, but for making such a big financial investment in your home, you want to choose a designer with experience. Ask to see examples of your kitchen designer’s work.
  5. The ability to understand client needs
    Be clear about all the aspects of kitchen design you want. The best kitchen designers will offer advice and support and guide you to achieve a kitchen design you are completely happy with. They will want to listen to all of your ideas and concerns. Your designer should be asking questions about your living space, your lifestyle, your cooking style and your kitchen needs. Always remember that you are the client, so you can set the terms.
  6. Communication skills
    Kitchen designers will need to communicate clearly with building contractors, electricians, plumbers and other professionals to get your job done on time and on budget.
  7. Testimonials
    A recommendation by friends or family is a good place to start, but don’t let that be the only factor informing your decision. Ask your preferred kitchen designer if you can speak with one of their previous clients. Check whether your designer kept to deadlines and responded promptly to any concerns.
  8. Qualifications and credentials
    Make sure your kitchen designer has the qualifications and credentials claimed. You want to know that your designer not only has an eye for great design, but that they’ve studied and understand construction, plumbing and electrical technologies. They should adhere to a professional code of conduct as well.

LEAH GROUT

Clear(ly) Connected Lake House Design

Imagine being one of the first to own property on Clear Lake outside of Graham, Washington. That was the story for one of the original homesteaders on the lake, and the extended family continues to have a deep love of the land and the lake. The homesteader’s grandson, a retired surgeon, sparkles and lights up when sharing his family’s connection to the lake.

The grandson’s Clear Lake home was built by Scott Jamison of Rainier Excavating and Nelson T. Miller, a retired Seattle architect. The contemporary lodgestyle home boasts two-story beamed ceilings with windows open to the lake and Mount Rainier views. It is warmed by a soaring two-story stone fireplace. The homeowner hand made the beams and mantle. The chandeliers next to the massive fireplace are of forged steel.

In 2015 the surgeon and his wife were introduced to Jamison’s childhood friend Juleen Pudists of Northlight Interiors. Northlight Interiors selected finishes, planned space, created the lodge-style fireplace, and provided cabinet and tile design throughout the home. Many of the home’s surfaces were handmade and locally sourced. These include indigenous stone, handmade tile, and local marble from a Pacific Northwest quarry. Wood and trim details were reclaimed from a Seattle mill.

The vision for this home was to seize the connection with Mount Rainier and Clear Lake right outside the windows. The genuine stone fireplace reflects the rocks along the shoreline. The kitchen’s white marble has veins of green and blue mimicking the colors of the lake. Brazilian cherry floors and cherry cabinetry add warmth to the modern architecture.

The homeowner boasts that Northlight Interiors made his kitchen perfect for his beloved wife, finding a space for a large pantry and detailing to fit their needs. The homeowners love to open their home to share with family and friends. It is bustling with lakeside activity throughout the warmer months.

EMILY HAPPY

To see more of the design for this house or for more information:
Northlight Interiors
houzz.com/projects/2409769
northlightinteriors.com

Beautiful Cabinets by Trivonna

When you meet Amber and Rick Bevacqua, owners of Cabinets by Trivonna, you feel their passion for customer service immediately. From their showroom in Lacey, the Bevacquas pride themselves on getting to know their clients.

According to Amber, “We are hands-on and spend a lot of time with our clients to help them make smarter, more informed choices.” “Fifteen years from now, we want people to still love their choices,” added Rick.

As a licensed real estate agent with experience in house flipping, Rick has an eye for how to improve a home. “Rick can walk through a space and redesign it in his head, which allows him to do more for our clients,” said Amber.

During a recent new home build, Rick was able to collaborate with the owners to create their vision, while saving them money. The use of a unique white laminate out of Italy (Fenix from DeWils Fine Cabinetry) instead of paint in the bathrooms, laundry and mud rooms means the cabinetry will last much longer in moist environments.

Suggesting the use of a colored stain on their cherry kitchen cabinets versus glaze saved more than 30%.

Helping these clients meet their design goals included selecting cabinets that allowed for open spaces, stacked doors with glass accents, drawers and cabinets that were set in and set out to add linear variety, and inset cabinetry that was more like furniture than cabinets.

“We are different than other cabinet places . . . we are onsite with clients and are available as much as we need to be during installation to ensure we get to the client’s ultimate goal,” said Rick.

A few tips from Rick when picking your new cabinetry: Look for manufacturers that offer limited lifetime warranties. Watch for quality hardware. Notice not only the product the cabinets are made from, but, more importantly, how they are constructed. “Warranties really show you how well they are truly made because it means they believe in their product enough to stand behind it,” said Rick.

For Additional Information
cabinetsbytrivonna.com

LYNN CASTLE

Ashley HomeStore Opens at the Outlet Collection

The Outlet Collection | Seattle welcomes Ashley Homestore as the newest addition to the town center’s diverse selection of options for guests. Built on the values of hard work, family and affordable styles, Ashley has grown from the humble roots of a small Wisconsin town into the #1 furniture and mattress retailer in the U.S. Ashley Homestore, a local retailer offering furniture, mattresses and other home goods, will opened on October 1st near FieldhouseUSA.

“Our guests are always changing and evolving, and at The Outlet Collection | Seattle, we want to be able to offer them today’s top trends and shopping destinations,” said Christian Faltenberger, General Manager. “We are looking forward to welcoming guests to Ashley Homestore, while keeping the health of shoppers our top priority and providing the safest experience possible.”

The Outlet Collection | Seattle’s newest retailer, Ashley Homestore, will enhance the town center’s variety of notable retail locations to offer guests the most dynamic shopping experience. This is just one example of The Outlet Collection | Seattle’s ongoing commitment to creating a true town center where community members can safely shop, dine, and connect.  

For additional information on The Outlet Collection | Seattle please visit outletcollectionseattle.com.

About The Outlet Collection | Seattle®

The Outlet Collection | Seattle® is one of the premier outlet shopping destinations in the Seattle/Tacoma area. It is the largest outlet mall in the Pacific Northwest and draws shoppers from as far as Canada. The outlet center is home to more than 120 national and local retail, dining and entertainment options, as well as numerous events and activities throughout the year. A dynamic offering of things to do along with things to buy keeps guests engaged and returning often. The Outlet Collection | Seattle® is open seven days a week; Monday to Thursday 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. For more information, please call (253) 833-9500 or visit outletcollectionseattle.com. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/outletseattle and follow us on Twitter @OutletSeattle and Instagram @OutletSeattle.

Myth Busting: The Truth About Construction Loans

With the housing market creating buying frenzies in some local markets, people are considering building new versus purchasing. Many people have been scared off in the past by incorrect information or myths about the downsides of building loans. Let’s bust some of those myths using the help of a friend with 45 years in the financial world who works at Olympia Federal Savings (OlyFed), Barbara Whitlow.

To begin with, construction loans with OlyFed are designed to meet your financial needs, so there is no reason to be afraid of one. Whitlow suggests you begin the process by determining your budget with the help of one of the knowledgeable loan officers at OlyFed. They will help get you pre-qualified and determine what an entire realistic budget for your project should be.

Next, it is not necessary to buy the land and pre-buy house plans or other things as some people suggest. Save your money for a larger down payment. The great people at OlyFed will roll all the expenses from beginning to end into one loan and you may not have to sell your current house first.

Called “One Step Financing,” OlyFed is one of the few banks that rolls construction costs and permanent financing into one convenient package. They close up-front on the permanent financing so there is no need to refinance upon the completion of your new home. You avoid paying additional closing costs or running the risk of interest rates being higher than when you started.

Throughout the construction process, you or your builder can utilize a program called BUILT to assist in securing construction draws against your loan. BUILT helps to manage risk, maximize productivity of the builder, and improves the draw process.

Did someone tell you that you could save a lot of money serving as your own general contractor? Whitlow would advise you to use a great local builder because it saves you money in the end. Whitlow said, “They really can save you from making costly mistakes as well as the time wasted to re-do an error.”

For Additional Information
olyfed.com/personal/construction

LYNN CASTLE

Defining Space in an Open Floor Plan

An open concept living room, dining room, and kitchen by nature blurs the lines between each area or room. The best way to define your space is to determine how you want to use the space.

Consider Traffic Flow

Once you have defined your circulation paths, also consider how you want to use the room. For more definition, incorporate a focal point in each adjacent space. These standout elements capture the eye while improving how the space works.

Furniture

Creating a furniture layout in an open floor plan can be overwhelming. Arrange your furniture away from the walls. Anchor your furniture and conversation areas with a large statement piece like a coffee table and use a rug to complete the look.

Storage

What helps to make these spaces work is to have proper storage and thoughtful planning. These open spaces work best when you have adequate storage and defined smaller areas like an efficient laundry room, home office, home gym or an “amenity room” (also called a “plus room”).

Cohesive Color & Elements

When designing an open concept living room, consider the entire area, because you can see all your elements at the same time. Make sure they relate in some way. By using elements like color, texture and wood tones, you can repeat these to create layers and make your space feel cohesive. Our rule is three colors in a space. This also applies to textures and wood tones. If your style is more sophisticated than whimsical, you will want to add texture to a monochromatic space, with high contrast neutrals and layers of texture. If you are looking to create a high-end custom feel, use different custom wall coverings in different areas for added definition.

Create Intimacy with Lighting

Use a statement chandelier. Consider the light fixture but also how the light illuminates specific areas. If the lighting is versatile and visually interesting, it can help make a bright and spacious interior feel cozier and more intimate with strategic lighting.

For Additional Information
Instagram @alindamorris

ALINDA MORRIS

The HeART of the Home Cabinets by Trivonna

Cabinets by Trivonna of Olympia pride themselves on a design experience that is uniquely customized to their individual client’s dreams and wishes.

Trivonna Cabinets brings to life an artful design plan built around their customer’s need and budget. We’ve all discovered that the ‘heart of the home’ isn’t just for the cook anymore. 

“The kitchen has become a gathering place meant for entertaining guests and gathering family alike,” states Trivonna.

Navigating the myriad of decisions on textiles and design options can be daunting. Trivonna has created a design studio offering a nurturing environment that helps clients realize their best kitchen design.

Many of us have already discovered our kitchens to be the center of the home in more ways than one. Often our kitchen plays host not only to baking and cooking, but to child and adult art, science and sewing projects, and even Dad’s auto repair, fishing and tackle shop.

Whatever your kitchen design dream, creating a work of art and functional space built for you and your family is what Cabinets by Trivonna does beautifully. Be sure to visit their creative space and showroom in Olympia and realize your dream kitchen fulfilled soon.

For Additional Information
Cabinets by Trivonna
cabinetsbytrivonna.com

BY DANA PETHIA

TREE Eco Home Furnishing is Now Sage Interiors

TREE Eco Home Furnishing, an award-winning furnishing and design company in Tacoma, has been relaunched as Sage Interiors. Founded by Nicole Wakley in 2017, TREE specialized in curating furniture and decor from makers in the Pacific Northwest and around the globe, while ensuring sustainability was upheld.

Sage Interiors is an evolution of the TREE brand and concept. “We are absolutely bringing the TREE feeling with us into Sage Interiors,” said Wakley. “By savoring our loved and timeless signature collections, we are stepping forward to layer them with hundreds of new curated pieces– specially sourced with the understanding of knowing what our clients want,” she explained. Their one-of-a-kind gallery, in the historic Nisqually Power Substation building in downtown Tacoma’s Brewery District, showcases a variety of handcrafted, mindfully-made pieces across a range of styles, budgets, and signature collections.

“Since establishing ourselves in the Pacific Northwest, our dream for the brand has always been evolving. We have expanded from mainly offering reclaimed wood furniture to curating thousands of exceptional, luxurious, and sustainable pieces,” said Wakley. “Don’t worry, though– we still have our famous candles and handcrafted chopping boards for when you need some quick retail therapy.”

New products now available at Sage include luxury leather, locally-made bespoke sofas and upholstery, and outdoor collections sourced especially for the Pacific Northwest. New services include a comprehensive Quickship service provided through their in-house white glove delivery team and home staging servies.

Home design and styling services are provided in-person and virtually by their talented team of designers. “It’s always a privilege to be invited into our clients’ homes and work with them one-on-one to bring their styles to life. These personalized services are becoming the soul of the brand,” said Wakley. The Sage team not only believes that home is where the heart is, but that it is also a personal space to inspire and nurture the soul.

JULIE LEYDELMEYER

A New Home for Holy Lamb Organics

The innovative and sustainable company, Holy Lamb Organics, surprises our community once again with a new location. This time, right in the heart of creative downtown Olympia! Surrounded by international cuisine, historic buildings, breweries, cafes, art stores and other clothing and home goods shops, Holy Lamb Organics fits right in.

Since 2017, the previous Olympia location was in the historic steam plant building, mere minutes from the space on Washington Street. When asked why the company decided to move, co-owner Jason Shaefer explained, “[when] the lease ended, we came here because this was more of a central spot. And we wanted to be a part of the revitalization of the downtown after all of the antics of COVID-19.”

The new space is narrow, but still spacious enough to fit all their product, including mattress displays, and walking room for social distancing. Between handmade blankets and soft bed sheet bundles is a colorful chalk board featuring the cellular structure of wool drawn by a local artist. Around the store are more art pieces by another local artist, giving the store appropriate Olympian character.

The move is working out well for the company and providing a different shopping experience than before. Most customers that visited the steam plant store were more conscious and already-decided buyers. At this central location, customers are largely walk-ins browsing the downtown. The benefit has been the profit of display settings, meeting interesting people and more involvement in a community they love.

They are becoming especially close to their neighbors, Painted Plate and Ember Goods coffee. “When customers seem to be stuck or indecisive, we will send them to Painted Plate for some creative release,” says Shaefer. “If the customer is lagging, we send them over to Ember Goods for some caffeine and vice versa. People are sent over to us to rest and test our mattresses.” Overall, the connection the company is creating with their community has been the most rewarding part of their move to central downtown.

Be sure to check out Holy Lamb Organics’ new showroom to touch and experience their all-natural product and learn about their mission to provide ethical bedding.

For Additional Information
holylamborganics.com

NATALIE BENSON

Outdoor Living Spaces

It’s time to start thinking about your impending spring and summer garden parties. Outdoor living and entertaining are important to modern life; people enjoy spending time outside, surrounded by fresh air, wildlife and the sounds and smells of their environment. Ultimately, this means you need to offer your guests an outdoor space where they will feel comfortable spending time. If you haven’t given your outdoor spaces a second thought since fall, you might need some guidance toward up-and-coming trends. Here are some design ideas to jumpstart your creativity and get your outdoor areas ready for sunny skies.

Natural Materials

Metal and plastic outdoor furniture and features have been popular for decades because these materials offer the clean, modern lines essential to minimalism, and metal and plastic tend to withstand the elements fairly well. However, as interest in minimalism has waned, so has the use of synthetic or artificial materials in outdoor décor. Instead, you should look into utilizing natural materials, like organic cotton, wool, wood and wicker.

Warm Colors

In addition to the change in materials, the most up-to-date deck and patio furniture is warm and inviting in color. In recent history, color palettes for the home have been relatively cool-toned: grays, icy blues, white and black. Cool colors are refreshing and tend to have a calming effect, but they don’t often make a space feel welcoming or comfortable. As the new year dawns,
almost every designer is shifting focus toward warm and earthy hues, like brown, taupe, golden yellow, dusty red and olive green.

You can integrate warm colors many places in your exterior design, not just your outdoor furniture. You might consider giving your front and back doors a new coat of paint or changing the color of your home’s trim around windows and doors. You could add decorative hardscaping, like fences, with a new and inviting color palette. Finally, you can stain your concrete or repaint your deck to add color to your exterior. Most of these fixes are relatively small but pack a major decorative punch.

Functionality

It doesn’t matter how much time, effort and expense you put into your outdoor living area if your furniture is uncomfortable. Perhaps most important of all, the features you place in your exterior living spaces should be functional, meaning you and guests should be able to enjoy the stylish outdoors with ease and comfort.

Additionally, you might consider adding functional features to your outdoor living space, transforming it into a true room of your home. A popular choice is to add an outdoor kitchen space, replete with refrigerator, counter space, cooktop and more. An outdoor kitchen can be fun and interactive during warm-weather months, when you don’t want to separate the party between your yard and indoor kitchen. Plus, it gives you more opportunity to design your exterior, perhaps adding trendy countertops, backsplashes and lighting to the space.

BY MORGAN LUCAS