Kitchen & Bath Design News

OCT 2018

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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Tracey Stephens Designer embraces green design, world culture As the daughter of a Foreign Service Officer and an artist, Tracey Stephens spent much of her childhood in Europe where her parents' museum-quality art and antiques collection inspired in her a passion for art, world cultures and design. So it's no surprise that the Par- sons School of Design graduate was drawn to a career in interior design, founding the Montclair, NJ-based Tracey Stephens Interior Design in 1991 and spending the last decade focused primarily on kitchens and baths. An award-winning designer, Stephens has earned Best of Houzz awards for six years running, along with numerous ASID NJ Silver and Gold awards for design excellence. She is a ReGREEN Trained Professional, and eco-consciousness is a key facet of Stephens' design philosophy; through the use of sustainable materials and practices, she strives to design spaces that are healthy for the environment as well as the people who live in them. And, just as she is committed to being a steward of environmental resources, she is equally committed to being a steward of her clients' financial resources. A New Jersey Certified Interior Designer, she is active in the ASID and NKBA; a Masters of Social Work degree also gives her an edge in dealing with a wide range of clients' needs. Lou Silver Leader built a dominant chain of kitchen & bath showrooms Lou Silver's father Isaac immigrated to the United States in the mid-1960s and built Remodelers Supply Center, a business that consisted of a wholesale distribution business in Chicago and Climate Guard window manufacturing, both serving remodelers. But it was Lou who, while build- ing his own home in the early 1990s, realized the need for a large, multi-brand kitchen and bath showroom. Soon after he started such a showroom, Studio 41 in Highland Park, IL, it quickly became a hub for remodelers, designers and their clients. When the recession of 2008 hit, Lou seized the opportunity to grow the family's Studio 41 operation. Over the last decade, Silver began building out new showrooms and acquiring others. During this time, he became the first new Kohler distributor in Chicago in over 50 years, which led to the acquisition of three Kohler Signature stores from the iconic plumbing giant. Today there are 14 Studio 41/Kohler locations, including one in Scottsdale, AZ, with expansion underway for a 15th location opening in 2019. Silver's formula for success is one that is commonly seen in show- rooms today: He offers a wide variety of decorative plumbing products, a number of cabinet lines, plus lighting and window coverings. Studio 41 places a strong emphasis on showroom quality and service. Another key differentiator is that most products are stocked at the firm's headquarters facility, which enables product to be shipped to a location within 24 hours. Courtney Shearer Designer draws inspiration from blogging When Courtney Shearer took her first kitchen and bath class while study- ing Furnishings and Interiors at the University of Georgia, she didn't warm to it immediately, finding it somewhat technical for her tastes. However, a fortuitous meeting with her future employer at KBIS led her to a career in kitchen and bath design, which soon became her design passion. She dove into the industry head-first after graduation – in 2011, she won the Calla Award for Kitchen of the Year, and she was selected for the NKBA's 2013 'Thirty Under 30' group. She also served as the Kitchens Expert for from 2015 to 2016. Currently, she is the director of design for Atlanta, GA-based Bell Cabinetry & Design. Early in her career, Shearer began documenting her design work and life in her blog, The Cow Spot (, which has since become both a creative outlet and a source of inspiration for her. According to Shearer, she has always found inspiration in reading about others' visions in their own words, and adding her voice to the conver- sation has given her the drive to stay on top of trends and continually pushes her to think critically about design decisions for both clients and her own home. Susan Serra Tech-savvy designer is always ahead of the curve Designer Susan Serra, CKD, has made a career of being innovative. From her early days of creating the first online forum for designers to share their ideas, challenges, questions and best practices to her widely read kitchen design blog, her own Google+ group and her work as kitchen/bath moderator for the IDC-In- terior Designer Community's Google+ and Facebook groups, and as an accurate forecaster of trends for the industry as noted in her reports for Design Milk, Serra is always ahead of the curve. An award-winning designer whose work has been published exten- sively – including two of her personal kitchens, which were featured in a Better Homes & Garden publication and Dwell – Serra is a go-to source for kitchen design information for national media ranging from HGTV, Better Homes & Gardens and to This Old House, Martha Stewart radio, the Financial Times, The New York Times and numerous other online and print publications since the 1990s. Serra was one of only 17 design professionals worldwide chosen to participate in Cosentino's report, The Home Kitchen in the Globalization Era, and shared her insight on a panel with other participants of the study at a conference in New York City. Serra was invited as part of the inaugural group of designers to design a kitchen for DXV by American Standard as part of its national launch. Always at the forefront of new technology, Serra is a sought-after speaker, has served on numerous design panels and judged design competitions. Photo: Beth Keiser Photography October 2018 • 51

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