Kitchen & Bath Design News

JUL 2019

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

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PURCELLVILLE, VA — Many designers can point to a family connection as the reason they came to the industry – a parent who operated an interior design business out of a living room oce, or perhaps a grandparent who created custom furniture. Few, however, embody this organic path to the design industry quite like Cathleen Gruver. Generations of Gruver's family have owned and operated Purcellville, VA-based custom home business Gruver Cooley for years. "I kind of grew up in the industry," Gruver explains. "But, I always wanted to do something a little bit more creative." While attaining her undergraduate and master's degrees, Gruver became more involved in the family business, oering selection and design help to clients. Gruver has since become head of Gruver Cooley's design branch, working with high-end clients throughout the Washington, DC area. She is a member of the National Kitchen and Bath Association – she was honored as a mem- ber of the Thirty Under class – as well as the American Society of Interior Designers. TIMELESS LIVING Growing up in and around an historic home- building business fostered in Gruver a deep appreciation for design that stands the test of time. "It instilled in me a sense of wanting to create spaces that are timeless. [Gruver Cooley] is known for its quality, and it's been instilled in me since a very young age to create spaces that reect that," Gruver says. This drive to create design that lasts is well-suited to her clientele, many of whom are based in the historic semi-rural area of Loudon County, VA. "It's a lot of farms and horse country," Gruver notes, adding that her clients tend to favor a transitional aesthetic. "I just love marrying traditional elements to some slightly modern touches. I think that's the best way to create a timeless environment – you're not too trendy, you just have touches of trendy." Part of timelessness is making sure that people will continually want to linger in the spaces that she creates. Gruver prioritizes designing to encourage familial interaction and socializing. "The kitchen is the hub," she believes. "You want to make sure that you have enough electrical outlets, enough seats at the bar, and you want to make them comfortable seats. It's about guring out how to make the area the most functional and the most welcoming." COMMUNICATION AND INNOVATION In order to design for the ow of a specic client's life, Gruver begins by asking for the clients to describe their dream space in three words. Often, these words seem quite generic – "welcoming," "rustic" – but they are crucial to Gruver's design process. "We base our design around these words the entire time and use them as an anchoring point, because it's really easy for clients to Designer Lends Talents to Family Business BY AUTUMN MCGARR DC-area designer Cathleen Gruver brings a technology- forward approach to her family's historic homebuilding business. Cathleen Gruver updated this formerly dated master bath by making the bay windows the star of the space. Gruver designed the ADA-compliant kitchen of this new-construction dream home, incorporating a leath- ered granite counter with a hand-chipped edge and oil-rubbed bronze fixtures to create a rustic aesthetic. Photos: Mary Parker Architectural Photography 24 Kitchen & Bath Design News • July 2019 DESIGNER PROFILE

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