The Innovators: Lo-Po

Ariana Lovato

Young designer gives back to her community

Inclusion in the 2020 class of the NKBA’s 30 Under 30 is just one indicator that young designer Ariana Lovato, AKBD, Allied ASID has already more than made her mark in the kitchen and bath industry. The owner and principal of Pismo Beach, CA-based Honeycomb Home Design has already accumulated an impressive array of awards and recognition, including Lux Life’s 2019 Designer of the Year Award, Woodworking Network’s Best Office Cabinetry Design Top Shelf Winner and Best of Houzz 2018-2019. She has also recently been named the new Central Coast Interior Design Group Chapter President.

Perhaps more than any award, however, what truly sets Lovato apart from the crowd is her determination to use her success to give others a hand up. “Giving back to the community was really something I wanted to focus on because you’re not only doing good, you feel good doing it!” says Lovato.

In addition to participating in organizations such as the Iranian-American Women Foundation, Lovato serves as a Board Executive for Girls Going Greater – a local non-profit that creates awareness for other non-profits dedicated to helping women and children in need – and has created the Honeycomb Gives Back initiative. The Honeycomb Gives Back initiative was inspired by one of Lovato’s clients, whose son has cerebral palsy. According to Lovato, “As I was working on their kitchen remodel, I fell in love with this sweet boy and wanted to do something nice for him since they had just moved. With the help of a few sponsors, we were able to get his room totally transformed.”

Dan Luck

Successful design path led to training and mentoring

Industry professionals are used to wearing many hats, but Dan Luck takes the concept to a whole new level. Luck, who is president of the Madison, WI-based design firm Bella Domicile, is also active as an educator, business advisor, program developer and mentor.

In recognition of the changing design landscape, Luck transitioned his company from a cabinet supply and countertop fabrication operation to an upscale kitchen and bath design firm. As a result of the company’s outstanding performance, Luck was presented with the M. A. Peterson Best Businessperson of the Year Award for 2014 by the SEN Design Group.

SEN Founder and KBDN Innovator Ken Peterson followed up that honor in 2018, choosing Luck to be the organization’s senior v.p. for Education. Luck continues to run Bella Domicile while performing his duties at SEN, and also remains active in a peer circle of business owners who visit showrooms, critique operations and make recommendations for success.

Luck has also embraced the adoption of an industry-specific technology as an operating system for kitchen/bath and design/build firms. The all-in-one system is the centerpiece of the four-day SEN Business School, which he leads several times each year. He is also currently finishing a training program to become a StratOp professional facilitator, and plans to use this specialized education to give back to the kitchen and bath industry.

Sandee Mann

Designer builds kitchen and bath community in British Columbia

Starting in his father’s contracting business Sandee Mann’s two-decade career in the kitchen and bath industry eventually grew into a tenure as an interior designer as well as a kitchen and bath design professional. Since 2010, he has served as a showroom specialist for a manufacturers’ representative. But Mann’s most notable contribution to the kitchen and bath industry is his long-term service and leadership within British Columbia’s National Kitchen & Bath Association chapter.

Over the last three years as chapter president, Mann has led a renaissance for the organization, including significant growth in membership, programming and member engagement.

A frequent speaker and educator, Mann has rebuilt the association’s board and has revitalized its design award program. Indeed, a mere two years ago, there were only a handful of design entries. This year there were 200 entries, with several eventually earning honors from NKBA nationally. In addition, the B.C. chapter recently hosted 300 people at its first-annual awards event.

Most recently, Mann led an effort to engage with five local colleges to recruit more students into the organization. As a direct result of this, more than 100 students have joined the local NKBA chapter.

In 2017, Mann was honored as NKBA’s chapter president of the year nationally.

Paul McAlary

Designer and blogger shares views with industry pros

Paul McAlary possesses a voice that resonates far beyond the boundaries of Philadelphia’s western suburbs and the city’s prestigious Main Line – the location of his well-established Delaware Valley design firm.

McAlary, president and senior designer of Bala Cynwyd, PA-based Main Line Kitchen Design, is an internationally recognized kitchen design authority who has won more than a dozen local and national design awards, including being named a 2017 Viking Appliances Designer of Distinction.

Beyond his achievements as a designer, McAlary has also forged a burgeoning reputation as the creative force behind the “Main Line Kitchen Design Blog,” a unique online forum and social media resource that is read by more than 40,000 people each month and has been honored as one of the top kitchen design blogs in the world.

Main Line Kitchen Design’s videos and blogs address a wide range of kitchen/bath-related topics aimed at sparking a constructive exchange of ideas among both consumers and design professionals.

McAlary, whose kitchens and comments often appear in trade magazines and on social media sites, is sometimes at odds with the kitchen design establishment, but he maintains a distinct sense of humor and is known as a fierce advocate for design standards, ethics and transparency in the kitchen design trade.

Molly McCabe

Sustainable elements and environmental factors drive designer

It’s not that hard to be green, at least according to Molly McCabe, the award-winning designer and general contractor who is the founder, principal designer and co-owner of A Kitchen That Works LLC on Bainbridge Island, WA. McCabe’s full-service design-build firm focuses on kitchen and bath design and whole-house remodeling.

Sustainable and accessible design and build principals are incorporated throughout each project, adding little or no cost to the budget. McCabe lives what she preaches, residing in a Three Star Built Green home with accessible amenities that she designed and built with husband and business partner Clive Pardy.

This Certified Green Professional has published numerous articles and lectured locally and nationally on design, with an emphasis on sustainable and accessible design and construction. She is former Subject Matter Expert for the U.S. Green Building Council’s Green Home Guide, a member of the esteemed Thermador Design Council from 2010-2019, a member of the Kitsap Building Association’s Built Green program and the past Chair of the Association’s Remodelers Council, the founder and past Chair of the Kitsap Chapter of the Northwest Ecobuilding Guild and one of the founders of the Olympic West Sound Chapter of the NKBA, for which she has  held many board positions including Treasurer, Secretary, Chapter Liaison and President.

McCabe has judged a variety of building product and design competitions and devotes time to community outreach to encourage young people to consider entering the building-design trades for a rewarding and lucrative lifetime career.

Kelly Morisseau

Author, blogger and designer shares kitchen expertise

A designer for a residential design/build firm by day and an author/blogger by night, Kelly Morisseau loves timeless design – and she loves sharing that passion with others. The award-winning, second-generation designer grew up in the business, with a father who was a cabinet manufacturer/kitchen designer/dealer and a mother who was a kitchen and bath designer. So it was no surprise to anyone when she followed the family passion, falling in love with the idea of creating beautiful, livable spaces.

The Northern California-based Certified Master Kitchen & Bath Designer and Certified Interior Designer has more than 30 years experience specializing in kitchens and baths, and she not only focuses on creating spaces with an eye to comfort and easy maintenance, she also helps educate consumers through her kitchen design books, articles and her popular Kitchen Sync blog.

She has written about kitchen design for numerous publications and websites, and has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, Country Living, House Logic, Stone World, Kitchens.com and The Denver Post, among others. She has also authored three design books for consumers: Kelly’s Kitchen Savvy, 20 Kitchen Design Questions Answered and Kelly’s Kitchen Sync.

During her 30+-year career, she has designed spaces from Vancouver Island to Silicon Valley, served as a judge for both the U.S. and Canadian NKBA design competitions and won numerous design awards.

Mayan Metzler

Dealer forges national chain of kitchen and bath showrooms

Mayan Metzler is the founder of German Kitchen Center, a national, multi-brand European kitchen chain with 17 showrooms around the U.S. It is the fastest growing kitchen center and kitchen cabinetry retailer in the U.S.

Before founding German Kitchen Center in 2010, Metzler was a business major graduate holding an AKBD designation from the National Kitchen & Bath Association. He had also founded MyHome, a full-service remodeling company in the New York region.

He opened his first showroom location as a dealer of Leicht Kitchens on Broadway in New York City. In 2012 he became a Nobilia Kitchens dealer and began adding more partnering brands, which became the model for the German Kitchen Center.

Over eight years and countless projects, Metzler learned the ropes of New York City remodeling. His second showroom debuted in 2012 in Westchester County, with the Leicht Flagship loft following in 2013 on West 25th St. in New York. From there and in short succession, he opened showrooms in Miami, Seattle, Denver, Dallas, Atlanta, Washington DC, Chicago and Los Angeles. Today, GKC is a chain with 17 locations in 10 cities.

Metzler is also the founder of MyPlanet, a charitable non-profit focused on housing and medical support. MyPlanet is branching into a construction system offering advanced building systems and a new digital currency called Planet Points, which can be used to pay up to 10 percent of a bill from each of German Kitchen Center’s brands.

Lori Paranjape

Passion leads to profession for ‘New Classic’ designer

Lori Paranjape’s journey is the epitome of “passion becomes profession.” Though she started her career in television news, marriage and a move from Knoxville to Nashville, TN led Paranjape down a whole new path.

An inspiration junkie and serial redecorator, she was asked repeatedly to help friends and acquaintances with their homes. As referrals exploded, Paranjape began working as the in-house designer for home retailer Redo Home+Design, now a leading retail boutique and collective of interior designers based in Nashville.

The designer started her own firm, Mrs. Paranjape Design + Interiors, in 2008, specializing in luxury residential and new construction projects throughout the U.S. She is recognized for her “New Classic” aesthetic – a crisp, modern, fresh twist on traditional design, adapting this signature style in unexpected ways while fulfilling the unique needs of each client. Paranjape is also passionate about discovering local artists to source custom pieces for residences.

Affectionately known as @mrsparanjape by her 75,000 Instagram followers, Paranjape’s work is covered frequently by design blogs and editorial outlets, and has been featured in People, Domino, Elle Décor and Traditional Home, among others. She is a sought-after collaborator with leading lifestyle brands, and participates regularly in industry panels, design markets, showhouses and events.

Diane Plesset

Designer shares knowledge with homeowners and peers

With well over three decades’ experience in the kitchen and bath industry, Diane Plesset, CMKBD, CAPS, NCIDQ has a treasure trove of knowledge to share – she has been there, done that, and seen trends come and go. This certainly is a boon to her clients, who benefit from her experience, her empathetic, honest approach to the design process and her solid relationships with contractors and suppliers. Her thoughtful approach and distinctive designs have earned her an extensive shelf of awards, including recognition by the Henry Adams Awards, Chrysalis Awards and CoTY Awards.

The owner of the Greater Portland Area firm D.P. Design, established in 1984, Plesset has also taken it upon herself to share her accumulated knowledge with homeowners – clients or otherwise –  as well as other designers through several different channels. Her book, THE Survival Guide: Home Remodeling, has won the Pinnacle Award for best how-to book.

Podcasting is the most recent addition to Plesset’s educational portfolio. Her podcast, Today’s Home, and its corresponding blog are geared toward helping homeowners (and designers) make educated selections and survive the remodeling process. She gives clear, no-
nonsense advice on every subject related to kitchen and bath design, from how to prepare the space for a remodel, to the benefits of LED lighting, to how to select a reliable and trustworthy contractor.

Dani Polidor

Universal Design expert doubles as realtor and problem-solver

When it comes to kitchen and bath design, Dani Polidor practices what she preaches.

The owner of the Pittsfield, NY-based design firm Suite Artistry, Polidor is a multi-talented designer who is widely considered the foremost authority on Living in Place in the Greater Rochester and Finger Lakes region.

But not only does Polidor incorporate sustainability and Universal Design principles in all her work – she’s also a popular educator who shares her expertise with contractors, builders, designers and homeowners. Since 2016, she has been a speaker for the Peer to Peer feature, “The Voice of the Industry” at KBIS. In 2018, she presented a webinar for the NKBA entitled “Explore Technology and Design Secrets That Will Wow Clients and Allow Them to Thrive-in-Place.” She presented on the same topic at KBIS VOTI 2019 and has seen her projects published internationally.

Polidor’s extensive credentials also speak to her versatility across 20+ years in the design trade. She’s active in the NKBA, the ASID and the  NAWIC. She also holds a degree in environmental design.

As one of the area’s top selling licensed real estate agents, Polidor is also an expert on local property values and is active in local community groups, as well as “Design for a Difference,” an industry organization that renovates spaces at local charities. She is also working closely with affordable housing groups and is hands on in building the inclusive community Homesteads for Hope Community Farm.

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