Meet the Cabinet Designer: Natalie
We’re incredibly happy to introduce you to a talented new face to join our award-winning cabinet design team. Keep reading to learn a little more about Natalie and help us welcome her to McCabinet.
Where were you born and raised?
While I was born in Michigan, I was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio (a.k.a. The Queen City!), and am a midwesterner through and through.
I love that I grew up in a very friendly, family-oriented city; filled with beautiful parks, an interesting history, river boats, and the best chili around. Also, I love the idea that Cincinnati is a place where anything is possible! Pigs do fly in Cincinnati! (Look it up!)
How did you get started in the industry?
As I think back through my childhood, I believe I was always destined to be a designer. With my box of crayons at the ready, I tackled new concepts, dreaming up images of things like tubular playgrounds (because I thought it would be such a fun adventure, like cave exploration) and a doll that was my size (so we could share clothes and hang out all the time). Imagine my surprise and excitement to see that my ideas had become a reality when McDonald’s started installing tubular playgrounds, complete with ball pits and slides, in 1987; and “My Size Barbie” hit the toy scene in 1992. As I grew, and had a bit more physical strength, I was constantly drawing new floor plans for my bedroom, then rearranging the furniture to test out the new arrangement in my drawing.
In my professional life I have designed surgical equipment as well as the interiors and exteriors of private and corporate aircraft. However, it’s funny how life works…it’s as if I was “called” to the kitchen and bath industry after venturing through medical and transportation design experiences. I had this sense, a whispering in the back of my mind, that I should look into kitchen design when we moved to Florida six years ago. Then, as I was seeking out local designers, and building a network, the universe provided an unexpected residential design opportunity. Now, over five years later, I have fallen in love with the kitchen and bath industry and feel I have found my niche!
What is your favorite part about design work?
I find the ideation process truly invigorating! The very beginning of a new project is such an exciting time, and it’s in this early stage that I truly thrive. It is incredibly fun and energizing to let my imagination run free, adventuring down uncharted avenues and trails, turning over rocks and opening all doors along the way. Discovering new possibilities, innovative ideas and concepts is as exhilarating as finding treasure. (Really the new ideas are truly a treasure!) Being an extrovert, I especially love sharing this stage with a team of creative minds. It is extremely enlivening to work in tandem, riffing off each other’s ideas, generating an explosion of new design concepts.
Which room is your favorite to design?
There are different opportunities for creative joy to be found in every room, so it’s hard to select a favorite room. (Especially for a person who loves variety…it is the spice of life after all!) Kitchens provide great opportunities to be really creative with cabinetry, building an engaging space filled with architectural details, colors, textures that increase the space’s beauty as well as organizational elements that increase the space’s functionality. Bathrooms really become works of art! With endless combinations of tile and plumbing fixtures available, a designer can really PLAY!
Describe a project you’ve done that you are most proud of and why?
I have two projects that I am really proud of and were really a lot of fun to design: a private airplane that belongs on the show Pimp My Ride and the complete transformation of a dated, five-bedroom/three-bathroom house on Clearwater Beach into a modern living space with an open floor plan and increased functionality.
For the plane interior I was overjoyed at the opportunity to use a metallic mint green window line material paired with a haired-hide, blank-and-white striped leather for the lower side wall. We had sleek black leather chairs with minimalist lines. For the lavatory I had a custom, curved, trough-style faucet built and did a custom paint on the with a lavatory sink/counter unit to match the metallic mint green side walls. I was even able to find a flooring material with the black and white striping, that we could cut into circles and place in the bottom of the cup holders to carry the theme throughout the space.
In the house remodel, I consolidated the front four rooms (entry, dining, sitting, and kitchen) into two open, partially separated spaces allowing the new home owners to have an ample entryway and a new open kitchen with large island and dining. In the entryway we built in storage to serve as a butler’s pantry without it being closed off or impeding traffic flow. The new kitchen included a decorative island with floating hood and pot-filler for the cook top; a new drink creation station (wet bar and coffee nook combined); and increased baking/warming capabilities as well as a new, larger pass-through window over the sink opening the space to the back of the house. In the dining section of the new kitchen I designed new decorative, glass-front, built-in storage around the fireplace, integrating a new mantle that flowed seamlessly into the cabinetry. In addition to the new mantle build, we refinished the front of the fireplace with glass mosaic tile and a granite hearth to match the new countertops.
All three bathrooms in the house needed to be reorganized for more efficient utilization of the space. In one guest bathroom I was able to glean the closet footprint from the adjoining bedroom (which had two closets) turning it into the perfect location for a recessed, double vanity. Moving the vanity freed up a lot of floor space for a large walk-in shower with sliding frameless glass doors and a bench seat. The master bathroom was divided into four sections, so I opened the space by reallocating the footprint of the oversized garden tub to a new, walk-in shower with multiple shower heads and a bench that spanned the whole back wall of the room. I removed the old, smaller shower and relocated the toilet into that space, hiding it behind a large linen closet. These two moves created a wide open center to the room, so the user could move around with greater ease as well as provide more storage, including a make-up table (in addition to the double-sink vanity) and the linen closet.
Each of the three bathrooms had their own style. The master bath had a transitional, coastal feeling with a turquoise and taupe color scheme and wavy, three-dimensional tiles on the shower walls. The first guest bathroom had a modern, sleek vibe with polished white tile, slab -front cabinets, and a geometric, tumbled glass mosaic tile. The other guest bathroom had a contemporary black-and-white theme, that I would describe as masculine with a vintage throwback.
In the master suite we redid the flooring, removed decorative beams and refinished the fireplace with a new mantle, mosaic glass front, and hearth.
Both of these projects were so beautiful at the time of completion that I just wanted to stand back and gaze at the final product, as if I was enjoying a piece of art work.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Connecting with clients! I love getting to know new people, hearing their stories, and learning from their life experience. It is so rewarding to take what I learned from deeply listening to their wants and needs, and truly nailing a design that suits them perfectly and they love.
What is your personal design style?
I have a very eclectic and global style. I am inspired by the richness found in patterns, colors, and textures from cultures around the world. Integrating global elements into my living environment and wardrobe allow me to feel connected to, and energized by, those that have come before me.
What are some design elements you love when customers add-in?
I live for the moments when customers truly want to personalize their space, sprinkling in fun, unique details (colors, textures, materials, architectural features,bling) that allow their personalities to shine through.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I can throw down on the dance floor! I grew up dancing and have studied many dance styles from ballet and tap to modern, swing and break dancing to west African dancing. (I also dabble in playing the djembe drum). I have proven to be quite talented at pet portraiture, my medium of choice being oil pastels or colored pencils. My mom taught me to sew when I was in high school, so I have been designing and making clothes for myself as I feel inspired by a fabric or an event. I also have two yoga teaching certifications and have a gift for teaching yoga to kiddos. It is such fun to create games and stories to make yogic principles easy to digest and comprehend.
Do you have any pets?
We have a spunky little dog and a sassy cat that make great twins, dressed in their matching tuxedos. (They could go as each other for Halloween) We love to watch our three hilarious chickens play what we call “chicken football” as they chase each other around for the best morsels of food. And it is a blessing to have fresh eggs as well as fresh honey, compliments of our three beehives in our backyard.
What’s your favorite way to spend a day off?
Grab an iced coffee and take the family for an early morning walk by the water, play with my son at a park, go for a swim, and lay in a hammock reading a good book. If I am lucky I will squeeze in a yoga practice before the walk in the morning and some time to create (paint, draw, design, tie-dye, build) in the afternoon.
CABINET DESIGNER LIGHTNING ROUND
Chocolate or vanilla?
Ocean or lake?
I am a total water baby, so BOTH!
Cold or hot weather?
How about a nice, sunny day in the 70’s with a gentle breeze?
Sweet or salty?
Extrovert or introvert?
Favorite local hangout?
Breweries with outdoor gardens (decorated with twinkling cafe lights), a relaxed atmosphere, and live music
Mediterranean (Spanish, Italian, Greek, etc.)
Call me Rainbow Bright! I love all colors! I do tend to gravitate towards aqua, tangerine, sunshine yellow, and magenta…so, I guess I have a favorite color scheme.
Favorite sport or team?
The Ohio State Buckeyes!!!! (It is my Alma Mater, after all)
Contact McCabinet Custom Cabinetry
Meet this amazing McCabinet designer for yourself! Schedule a visit to our Largo, FL showroom or call us today at (727) 608-5929.
You will be blown away by the skill and expertise of our entire team, from the designers to installers, support staff and everyone in between! If you’re looking to add custom cabinetry to your home, don’t do it alone. Contact us today!