I recently caught up with Virginia Ellis and Jennifer Cameron, the designers at DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen. With a newly remodeled design center, DreamMaker’s dynamic design duo share their approach and obsession helping their clients realize their dreams.
How would you describe your style?
JC: Traditional with modern elements mixed in. I think taking a classic approach and then adding in youthful or unexpected items adds a layer of personality and depth to a space.
VE: I love traditional interiors but love the opportunity to incorporate more modern elements, whether that be with a bold color, a design motif or pattern, or an architectural element.
What is your modus operandi, your work method, your differentiating factor?
VE: We are all about the details. When we meet with a client, we take copious notes about their vision and the space.
From there, the design starts to take shape. We put together an initial proposal with those details in mind and modify and tweak as we go. All of the selections and decisions for their project are made up front to take away the stress in a remodeling project. We want to make the design process as easy as possible.
JC: We go through the design and selection process first, so by the time a contract is formed, our clients know exactly what items and finishes have been chosen for the space – for example, the exact tile or cabinet hardware. Once the project starts it can operate smoothly.
Describe your creative process?
VE: It starts with listening to the client and what they love. It could be a tile they adore, an inspirational image in a magazine or a piece of art that gives us a sense of what moves them. From there, we try to focus on these design elements to deliver a design that connects with them.
JC: To echo what Virginia said, a lot of times it starts by listening to our clients and creating a space that works with the things they love. Usually each project has a focal feature, whether that be an interesting tile or maybe a beautiful range hood. We let those things help drive the creative process and then fill in the gaps to help bring the entire project to fruition.
How do you help your clients discover their design aesthetic and transform their vision into reality?
VE: We do this by asking a lot of questions. What’s your favorite room in the house? Do you have any pictures saved of a space you love?
JC: Our first meeting with the client is usually at their home. This way we can see the other spaces in the house and get a better idea of their style and things they like. .... Once we have an idea of the desired style, function of the space we are helping them with, we design and produce 3D drawings to help them visualize the final product.
What are the lengths you’ve gone to please your clients?
JC: Pleasing our clients is our number one priority! At the end of the day, I think it is important to remember that we are designing this space for our client and their home, so it has to reflect their needs, style and wants….
On one recent project, we measured a client’s oil bottles and had custom drawers made in her kitchen to fit the specific bottles. This may seem absurd to some, but to our client it was very important for her to know her new kitchen was going to function exactly how she wanted.
VE: We are willing to explore every design option. I once did three extensive floor plans and rendered options for one kitchen to start the design process and help them visualize all of the different options.
What new projects are you working on?
VE: I’m working on several large kitchen projects at the moment. Several of them stand out for the scope of the project. The first includes a kitchen and the living spaces around it in a classic older home. Another … is in a more contemporary home; we are replacing about half of their cabinets and using custom cabinets to match what they have but rework the layout and update the space to look more in line with the architecture of the home.
JC: I am currently working on several new projects for past clients. Working with repeat clients is always fun because I consider them more like friends. I already know their likes, dislikes, so it takes a lot of the guess work out of creating the initial design. These projects include master bathrooms, kitchens and even a bonus room where we are going to be doing custom built-ins.