Kitchen & Bath Design News

NOV 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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Page 21 of 67

NEWPORT NEWS, VA — When Ebony Stephenson's parents refused to buy their young daughter a Barbie Dream House, they probably did not realize they were sowing the seeds for what would eventually become a passion for design. Far from being deterred, the budding designer took matters into her own hands and fashioned her own dream house out of cardboard boxes. From there, Stephenson went on to attend a vocational high school for drafting and architec- ture, followed by the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at Virginia Tech. Since her graduation from Virginia Tech 11 years ago, Stephenson's career has flourished. After putting in time to learn the ropes as a designer at other kitchen and bath compa- nies, she set out to found her own company – Designs By Ebony – which she launched in 2015. Stephenson was also a member of the 2014 NKBA Thirty Under 30 class, and included in Professional Remodeler's 40 Under 40. A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE As a CAPS-certified designer, one of Stephenson's particular design specialties is for older clients. "Some of my clients may be dealing with current medical issues, while others are just preparing for the future," she explains. "To help ease their concerns and gain their trust with these sensitive conversations, I tell them about my background, my extensive training and experience with aging-in-place, and I also tell them about my own medical limitations with Fibromyalgia and CFS [Chronic Fatigue Syndrome]. I explain to them how my own health needs have actually helped me be a better designer." Stephenson's empathetic approach to un- derstanding her clients' needs extends beyond mobility issues, as well. "Being 33 also helps me cater to my younger clients. As millennials, Designer Wins Clients With Empathy BY AUTUMN MCGARR Designer Ebony Stephenson utilizes her unique life experiences to craft perfectly tailored spaces. This Yorktown, VA remodel was for a young female medical professional who chose to work with DBE because she wanted someone her age who understands what millennials are looking for. This remodel for a busy Poquoson, VA family of four included knocking down a wall to create an open concept for the kitchen and family room. Out-of-the-box thinking by Stephenson, the contractor (Mares Contracting) and the homeowners gave the space much needed storage, including a walk-in pantry and a coat closet. Photo: Susan Houchin Photography Photo: A. Tatum Photography 22 Kitchen & Bath Design News • November 2018 DESIGNER PROFILE

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