The Innovators: Jam-Li
Designer shines with project and product design
Susan Jamieson makes a splash wherever she goes. The award-winning product and interior designer is a professional powerhouse: She’s been nominated for Southeastern Designer of the Year, selected by Southern Living and Coastal Living magazines as Virginia’s “go to” designer, and her designs and advice have been featured in national publications including Architectural Digest, Coastal Living, ELLE Décor, House Beautiful, Southern Living, Traditional Home and Veranda.
With degrees in Art History and Interior Design, Jamieson effortlessly curates styles, periods and materials to create highly personalized spaces.
Jamieson was a DXV National Campaign Designer in 2016/2017, and is a recognized color expert who formulated each color in her line of 200 Bridget Beari Colors paints.
A believer in giving back, she donates a portion of all proceeds from both her Bridget Beari Colors paints and her Bridget Beari Papers wallpaper collections to animal care and rescue organizations. (Bridget and Beari were her Shar-Pei pup rescues, and all of her products are named after the pets of friends and family.) She also recently opened Bridget Beari Home Store in Richmond, VA, where she offers complimentary workshops for the community.
Jamieson donated all interior paint for the 2018 Designer Show House benefiting Richmond Symphony Orchestra, and received Richmond’s ‘Woman of the Year for the Arts’ award for launching the city’s largest outdoor exhibit, raising over $300,000 for charities, including Cancer Research.
Historic projects and entrepreneurial spirit drive designer’s success
Grace Jeffers is an esteemed design historian who focuses exclusively on materials. A graduate of the Bard Graduate Center, Jeffers considers the “big picture” of design. Her approach blends material science with social history, art history and design practice. She teaches people how to think differently about design.
Jeffers has become an innovative designer of patterns for paper, flooring, laminate and a range of other decorative surfacing materials, working for over 10 different major manufacturers, including NASA, Burberry and Airstream. Since 2014 she has presented “Manmade Natural” – her AIA, ASID and IIDEC approved lecture – about the authenticity of materials across the U.S.
Jeffers’ led the restoration of the Ralph and Sunny Wilson House in Temple, TX, for which she received the Merit Award from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She is also the creative force for The Wilsonart Challenges Chair Competition. Now in its 16th year, the competition works with a design college to create and make a short list of winning chairs that are exhibited at ICFF each May in New York.
A passionate writer on materials, Jeffers has served as a contributor and design editor to magazines such as Interior Design and Surface for over 17 years, and has written over 400 articles about design, materials and design history. Whether teaching, lecturing, designing or writing, Jeffers questions preconceptions about design and gives her audience a new framework with which to consider the material world.
Color and detail inspire award-winning designs
The impact of color in design is one of the passions that drives Sarah Kahn Turner. A graduate of Kansas State University with a degree in Interior Design, Kahn Turner wrote her undergraduate thesis on color therapy, and strongly believes that living amidst great design and the appropriate use of color can positively affect the subconscious and provide inspiration.
In her current position with Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath, Ltd. in Chevy Chase, MD, Kahn Turner uses her interest in color to elevate her designs. Gilmer even refers to her as the firm’s resident color expert.
After working for over a decade in the design/build field, Kahn Turner found herself drawn to the nuance and detail of custom millwork. That led her JGKB, where attention to detail is not only encouraged, but celebrated. In her six years at JGKB, Kahn Turner’s design skills have flourished as she has learned about cutting-edge technology and how to truly customize kitchens and baths.
She has spent the last year building and opening the second Jennifer Gilmer Design Showroom, which she manages in Loudoun County. She splits her design time between the Bethesda, MD and Ashburn, VA showrooms. Her award-winning work has been featured in HOME, Traditional Home, Better Homes and Gardens, Home & Design, Chesapeake Home and The Washingtonian, as well as in regular features on Houzz.
Designer leads through education, accessible design efforts
Anne Kellett, ASID, CAPS has been designing for homeowners – especially older clients needing accessible spaces – for nearly four decades. Owner of the San Diego, CA-based A Kinder Space, Kellett focuses on leading the charge to create safe, easy-to-use and beautiful spaces that address not just the present needs of her clients, but also their future needs.
As a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist, Kellett’s primary goal is to interpret her clients’ needs and desires in an aesthetically pleasing way while making their spaces work for them rather than against them, creating an environment in which they can live and work more positively and independently…in short, creating designs that keeps one’s house a home.
After earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Textiles and Interior Design from the University of Connecticut and her Master’s from Oregon State University, she began her design career in New England – from Connecticut to Vermont to Maine – before traveling to Virginia and then Southern California.
There, she became active in the San Diego Chapter of ASID, serving as president. She was also professor at Design Institute of San Diego for 11 years, sharing her industry knowledge with design students.
While her design, association and educational efforts are tangible examples of her leadership abilities, equally important are her empathy for clients and reputation for providing innovation and excellence in the form of spaces that not only look great, but also function beautifully.
Designer changes how the industry sees color
Few designers can boast as thorough an understanding of color and undertones as British Columbia-based designer Maria Killam. Although she began with no formal education in interior design, Killam’s history of conducting color consultations with Benjamin Moore and years of hands-on experience within the industry gave her a unique perspective on color and its applications, particularly where undertones in whites and neutrals are concerned.
By 2008, she had been working in the industry for a decade, and began her successful blog, Colour Me Happy, which covers trends, her own projects, color theory and more. Killam’s approach to color is geared toward creating an atmosphere of timelessness, eliminating the need for frequent renovations and repainting.
Interest from both her blog and the students in her community college color theory courses led her to develop and teach her proprietary System for Specifying Color, which she shares with designers around the continent in comprehensive three-day courses, culminating in students being certified as True Colour Experts.
Killam’s work and her color expertise have been featured in numerous publications, including House Beautiful, Better Homes and Gardens, Canadian Living and many more. Additionally, her work has appeared on HGTV and in USA Today.
Kitchen and bath designer focuses on space planning
Over a 30-year career in interior design and later kitchen and bath design, Jason Landau has developed a stellar reputation as a design innovator covering a broad range of design vernaculars – from modern and transitional to rustic and traditional. The firm he founded in 2005, Amazing Spaces by Jason Landau, has two locations today, a showroom in Greenwich, CT, and an office in Briar Cliff Manor, NY. Growing up in a family of artists, Landau studied architecture at Tulane University and then studied and passed the NCIDQ exam for interior design and became an ASID and later served as chapter president of ASID for the state of Connecticut. Landau and the Amazing Spaces team of designers have won numerous design awards for their work in recent years.
When asked about the key to his and their success in kitchen and bath design, he harkened all the way back to his interest in architecture and that discipline’s focus on superlative space planning. “As designers, we want to make the most use out of anyone’s given space,” says Landau. “So most of our projects involve fairly extensive space planning. We are consistently knocking down walls, moving windows and doors or figuring out ways to steal spaces from garages or other adjoining areas. We know how to come into a home and show clients how to transform the space into something better and different.”
Achieving spaces that ‘feel right’ is designer’s ultimate goal
Kitchen and bath designers spend a great deal of time focusing on rooms that look great and offer optimum functionality. For Richard Landon, CMKBD, principal of Richard Landon Design in Bellevue, WA, designs must also “feel right.” The Seattle area designer specializes in residential space planning, and to help designs reach their full potential, he created and follows the Designed by L.I.F.E. process.
Landon notes that, with most projects, the design program is shaped by a wish list and pictures of sample spaces. But the Designed by L.I.F.E. approach follows four cardinal rules of The Room Compass: The client’s lifestyle factor; the interior flow; the feelings created by these relationships, and the home’s exterior connections through windows and doors. Landon believes that harmonizing these four aspects will reveal what is driving the wish list, i.e., what most matters. What results is a home that is transformed visually, satisfying functionally and, most important, inspiring emotionally.
In addition to his design work, Landon is an official instructor for the National Kitchen & Bath Association. For the NKBA, he has developed Virtual Instructor Lead Trainings and webinars, teaching advanced design concepts in a virtual classroom. He has judged design competitions for the NKBA Puget Sound Chapter and NKBA Art of the Industry Design Competition. His designs have been published over 70 times in national and international magazines, and he has received multiple national and regional design awards.
Passion for automotive design led to kitchen and bath career
Linda Larisch may have her family roots in automotive design, but these days she’s driven by a commitment to her craft and the projects she provides for her clients.
Larisch, a Chicago-based designer who recently joined DESIGNFirst Builders as Senior Architectural Designer, is a highly regarded design professional whose projects have been featured in such publications as Luxe, CS Interiors, Chicago Home and Garden, and Kitchen & Bath Design News. Her NKBA design awards include Design Visions “Best of the Best” first place/large kitchen.
A Certified Master Kitchen & Bath Designer with 30+ years of experience, Larisch was educated at the University of Michigan and College for Creative Studies, and holds an MFA in Industrial Design, with minors in interior, graphic and automotive design.
Her love of product development initially led her into automotive design but, inspired by the innovative projects she came across, she eventually found her way into kitchen and bath design. She has worked at several of the industry’s leading Midwest showrooms and design firms, and also served as v.p. of Professional Development for the Chicago Midwest Chapter of the NKBA.
Most recently, Larisch has added teaching design at Harper College to her resume. On a personal note, Larisch grew up riding horses and her passion for riding inspired her to develop an equestrian product that was awarded a U.S. patent in 1996.
Design leader mentors next generation
A thoughtful, creative and detail-oriented designer, craftsman and mentor to young designers in the industry, Patrick Lavery, co-owner of Troo Designs, is known for taking extra time with customers to thoroughly educate them regarding all aspects of a given project. His business is a thriving hub within the kitchen and bath design industry in Austin, TX, and the firm boasts a number of testimonials from past clients to show for the years of excellent design work.
A graduate of Utah State University, Lavery has been a member of the kitchen and bath design community for almost two decades. Prior to owning his own firm, Lavery honed his design skills at Davis Kitchens, Kiva Kitchen and Bath and UB Kitchens.
This longtime and established designer does more than create great designs, however. He also takes pride in sharing his knowledge with other up-and-coming designers. He is widely regarded as a generous mentor, providing guidance to several industry individuals, including previous KBDN Innovator Christy Bowen of Twelve Stones Designs, LLC. In fact, Lavery recently came to the rescue of other designers whose cabinet supply was unexpectedly interrupted. He remains eager to teach young designers about the craft, and is very open to speaking with and educating other members of the design community.
Educator, Living in Place co-founder promotes accessibility
Erik Listou, CLIPP, CAPS, CAASH, CGR, CGP, CLR, LDST is passionate about helping all people live in homes that are accessible, comfortable and safe. His $100M+ career in residential and commercial building spans over 50 years. Recognized and honored with seven national credentials and numerous project and leadership awards, Listou brings his knowledge, passion, energy and leadership skills to the forefront of industry and consumer awareness through inter-professional teaming and advanced professional education.
He is a public speaker, author and organizer, as well as a professional musician. An instructor for all the certifications following his name, he is a renowned educator, especially in the senior housing industry, where he taught business courses for well over a decade for several industry associations. A former executive director of the Denver Habitat for Humanity, he also hosted and produced his own 125-episode talk radio show, and has been quoted in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, AARP Bulletin and numerous industry and trade magazines.
Listou is most well-known as co-founder of the Living In Place Institute™. This internationally recognized organization provides education, awareness and certification to professionals from all facets of the home and human-related industries.
As proud grandparents, he and his wife Frances don their hand-made red suits and hats at the end of each year to the delight of children of all ages.