Jean Ehmke of JeanE Kitchen and Bath Design of Raleigh shares her thoughts on design.
My design signature: Functionality is so important in kitchen and bath design, so we always start there. Once a basic plan is in place, we move on to styling it. Each project is different and reflects the client’s personal tastes. My job is to listen to the client and help them create the space they are dreaming of.
Best way to personalize a space: Make it your own by reflecting your personality. If re-sale is a major consideration, you can do that with things like accessories or paint color that are easy to change. If you plan to stay in your home longterm, you can do it with your choices for more permanent items like cabinetry, tile and countertops. Create a space that you love to be in.
Favorite way to add character in a bathroom: There are so many opportunities to use a variety of patterns, finishes and textures in bathrooms through the tile, cabinetry, countertops, lighting, plumbing fixtures and accessories. Mixing things up adds interest and character.
Design trick we could learn from tiny house trend: Simplify and get rid of the clutter.
Next project at your house and why: The laundry room is currently under renovation. Why? Because it is awful. Seriously, it’s terrible. But, I have a new plan that will make it much more functional. Since this room is also the pet room, we will be housing the cat’s litter box on a roll-out tray inside a base cabinet with an opening in the door for entry. This will free up valuable floor space. A trash pull-out cabinet will be incorporated, and shallow cabinets extending to the ceiling will provide much needed extra storage.
Tool I can’t do without: My 25-foot fractional read tape measure never leaves my side.
Round dining table or rectangle: It depends on where the table is going. I love to use round tables when possible. They are perfect for conversations, everyone can see each other, and bringing curves into a room is often just what it needs. But sometimes, the available space calls for a rectangle, square, oval or other shape.
Favorite way to make small space look larger: Stick to lighter colors without too much contrast and keep things clutter-free.
Best organization advice for parents: A dedicated drawer (or drawers) for craft supplies, coloring books, crayons and games in the kitchen or in a buffet cabinet near the table. The kiddos can easily access them and play at the table or island while meals are being prepared. When done, everything goes back in the drawer to keep things neat and tidy.
Best travel souvenir: To me, the best souvenirs are ones that you can use. My current favorite is a small pewter butter keeper with a tiny elephant on top that I picked up in Africa. I use it daily and it reminds me of that fabulous trip.
JeanE Kitchen and Bath Design, Raleigh