The kitchen is not only the heart of every home but the destination of every celebration and everyone's favorite gathering spot. Therefore, style and functionality are of equal importance and go hand in hand while designing your successful kitchen. Functionality is a simple linear process but style and authenticity is where the real magic happens and is key to designing and planning a space where you'll enjoy everyday of your life.

It is difficult to know where to begin especially in our over saturated age of design information and opinion. So to simplify the planning process and set you up to succeed as a good steward of your time and resources, start here and follow my proven process to design a successful kitchen where you'll love to celebrate & savor your important relationships.

Step 1: Vision Exploration - Everyone has their own idea of the perfect kitchen. And I don't believe in 'surprises and mind reading' during the design process which is why I recommend that you begin with the end in mind. This starts with researching your preferences early on in the process. To do this, look for inspiration from nature, travel, memories, etc. or browse online to determine which images best represent your personal style and taste. To do this, you'll need to begin a photo gallery or pinterest board of design ideas that can be drawn from to reflect your unique lifestyle and passions (or ask me to do this work for you). If you're more old school & hands on, begin a scrapbook or vibe tray full of magazine clippings, finish samples, and inspirational items that are meaningful & beautiful. Don't panic if you are unsure about your design style. Most people are a combination of styles and inspiration and when they can't hone in and figure it out - they stay stuck or cave in to settling for good enough and 'piece-mealing' it. I don't want that type of stress, frustration for you and I don't want you to do all that work only to feel something is not quite right when you're finished. One of my specialties is helping others discover and interpret their own unique authenticity & brand of beauty so they can create a home where everyone feels calm, comfortable, connected and cared for. And while many think this step isn't necessary and omit it or replace it with predicable 'style themes' to expedite the process, I enjoy it and it is one of my nerdy super powers. In addition, it is the secret to my many five star reviews. Taking the time to ask the right questions, listen, hone in and interpret will save you from expensive disappointments at the reveal. So gather anything that catches your eye or you find interesting. Don't overthink it. Pin images that speak to you personally and embody the space you wish to create.

In addition, now is the time to take 'before' photos and pin them to their own folder to quickly reference with those who will help you. Don't worry about what it looks like now - I can see past it....I mean, I saw past these before rooms without judging the business owner - but you might want to cover your eyes.

ugly room

Step 2: Prioritize Personal Preferences - There are thousands of options available today and Interior Design is not a one size fits all solution. Using your inspirational photos, hone in on your own personal style by dissecting the images and pulling them into a Visual Guide to share with others. This visual guide becomes the “key drivers of your style” and should be considered and referenced consistently throughout the design process while making choices to ensure your design comes out how you envisioned.

Step 3: Create A Budget - Determining how much to invest in your new kitchen is an important decision you will make early in the process. It's important that you determine a realistic beginning budget for your remodeling project and be prepared to openly discuss your budget with me and your contractor who will work hard to meet your needs and expectations. Consider it a working document up until the final contract is signed using an Excel spreadsheet so you can easily tweak numbers to see how small changes in design details (flooring, tile, etc) affect the bottom line. Depending on the specification, marble tile over ceramic might be easily worth it. Not sure how much you should invest in your new kitchen? Don't worry, I have an excel spreadsheet to help you quickly and easily begin a realistic investment figure for your new kitchen.

Step 4: Create the perfect Layout based on Your Lifestyle - The kitchen layout is the shape that is made by the arrangement of the countertop, major appliances and storage areas. A floor plan creates the kitchen's work zone(s) or activity centers, and the path that you make when moving from the refrigerator, to the sink, to the range. When designing your new kitchen and choosing the best solutions for your home, you will want to consider the overall layout of the kitchen before making purchases so you know what size to buy and which layout will best support your lifestyle.

Step 5: Get Organized & Focused - Undertaking a design job, whether its remodeling an existing space, expanding to incorporate more room, or starting from the ground up can feel overwhelming, which can hold us back. You want your new space to function well for your needs, accommodate your lifestyle, and reflect your unique authenticity. But with so many options and opinions available today, how do you make the beautiful space you've been dreaming of become a reality? The creative process can be chaotic without the framework of an experienced interior design professional. As your interior designer, I'm your partner in the process and will help you establish clear boundaries to lay a firm foundation using a proven framework to get you organized, ready to roll & reduce typical DIY design mistakes everyone else is making.

Step 6: Develop Your Best Idea - When a design feels great - people love being there and happy people help others! So designing your new kitchen will take careful thought, planning and attention to detail. Expect to spend anywhere between one to six months during design development because the first idea is generally not the best solution. Making definitive design decisions based on what matters most to you is important so you won't have to settle on what is put in front of you under time constraints & pressure. In addition, with your design plan in hand, you'll be able to receive apple to apple quotes from those you are considering hiring to be on your team.

Design Development & design plans act as your insurance policy to a successful project, demystify the "I'll know it when I see it" approach to design and is where the real design genius happens - the rest can be done by your trusted general contractor.

Step 7 - Implementation - When you are remodeling, you're investing a lot of time, energy and resources into creating a beautiful and functional environment that will shape you and your family - and you want to be a good steward of these resources. But make no mistake about it, remodeling can be very stressful. After all, it's change and you'll be living in a construction zone. I often joke that interior design is like a moving train - you're either on it or getting run over by it. That's why it is important to plan before you plunge. Doing so will help you survive the dust and demolition, have your project will run smoothly and have your project reveal be exactly what you expected. Is that important to you?

The bigger the kitchen remodeling project, the greater the potential for problems, such as lost deliveries, wrong parts, adverse weather and more - so expect the unexpected from things you can't control. But the thing you can control to reduce surprises is to carefully plan your project before you plunge - this ensures that you'll get what you expect. So when the unexpected happens, you'll be able to keep your cool, stay calm and flexible, maintain good trade relationships and be the authority behind your project.

Designing your new kitchen is not only exciting, it's a great way to express yourself and add value to your home. I offer prospects a "Kitchen Design Planning Guide" as an excellent place to start your design process. Inside this 50 page visual design guide, you'll find inspiration photos of kitchens as well as my favorite cabinet colors, wood species, my favorite statement tile, plumbing fixtures, lighting fixtures, my favorite color palettes and so much more to help you get started correctly on your project. And the sooner you can get heading in the right direction, the sooner you'll be waking up each day loving your surroundings and living your best life!

That's why your personal authenticity or 'style strategy' is so important to start. So many people brush off the personal beauty part of design thinking that they can come back later. But the truth is by creating a strong personal brand foundation from the start, sets you up for success from day one! That's why the first step in designing a dream space is establishing a firm foundation built on your unique authenticity, lifestyle and vision. This is so much more than a 'style theme'. And when rushed, your project suffers.

And, because this is your home, you're the best person to become the design expert (aka: design (r)evolutionary) behind your vision so you can avoid unwanted surprises and pressure. In fact, participating in the creative process as an act of worship is not only faith & relationship building, but also produces the most extraordinary results. Just ask my clients.

How do you feel about designing your environment? I hear super smart design lovers everywhere tell me all the time how frustrating it is honing their style, making cohesive design decisions and starting their projects in a way that removes the guesswork, simplifies the process, cuts out buyer's remorse, project stalls, regret & expensive do-overs so that they look like the design hero they were meant to be. You're not alone - I've been there too. In fact, it's the number one reason why most design projects fail. I know, because I once had an Architect pay me to teach him my step by step (and then he quit his corporate job and started his own business with his lovely wife). Listen, I believe that unique, beautifully designed environments based on purpose & passion should be accessible to everyone - not just the elite. And that's why I provide my easy to follow framework as a gift during your free 45 minute design coaching call (4 years of college in 45 minutes). Because when you follow the proven steps successful interior designers take, you're more like to achieve the results successful interior designers get.

Would a step by step approach from an award winning interior designer with years of trial and error experience telling you what to expect, what to do, when to do it and how, help you succeed?

Then let's get your design right! Request a free design consultation by clicking below and we'll see if we'll make a good fit working together. In addition, after you book, you'll also receive access to my Ultimate Interior Design Jumpstart Guide via a series of emails where you'll discover how to start your project like a pro so you can begin planning the home of your dreams.

Then, you'll be amazed at the power that professional interior design planning has on your people.

Is that important to you? I thought so.

Here's what the client had to say in his 5 star review when we were finished....

Until then,

Hugs and blessings (Numbers 6: 24-26),


p.s. Preliminary pictures are encouraged to add value to our conversation. For non-local clients, technology enables me to consult with you via Zoom.

p.s.s. not ready for design but would like to join my newsletter to keep in touch? Provide your email address and first name below and join my VIP group of interior design (r)evolutionaries & start co-creating with confidence!


Beauty needs boundaries so it only has 'happy accidents'. Therefore, my specialty is managing & directing the creative process through thoughtful planning which then magically interprets & integrates the practical and the pretty into one clear distinctive vision.

Portfolio pictures concept design Karen
Portfolio pictures concept design Karen

press to zoom
Portfolio pictures concept design Karen
Portfolio pictures concept design Karen

press to zoom
Portfolio pictures concept design Karen
Portfolio pictures concept design Karen

press to zoom
facebook group icon in gray.png