Grace Coffman has been in the design industry for over nineteen years and worked with Cabinets & Designs for the past four years. Her experience, talent and attention to detail make her an asset to the team. Grace took some time to answer a few questions so that you could get to know her better. Enjoy!
Describe your background?
I started out in business and obtained my BBA with a concentration on Human Resources. I did work for a couple of years in retail credit in a supervisory capacity and realized I really didn’t like telling people what to do. (My husband would probably dispute that.). So, I took a break, had my first child and was a stay-at-home mom until he was 18 months old when I decided he needed more friends than just his mother. He went to daycare/preschool and I enrolled in North Harris Montgomery County College, now Lone Star College to pursue interior design.
How did you get into the industry?
In my last semester of studies the head of the department clued me in on an opportunity to work for one of the kitchen designers here in Houston. The designer needed someone to fill in for her design assistant while the assistant was taking a few weeks maternity leave. Two weeks turned into a year and a half where I learned all that I could about kitchens and baths, working with the other trades and professionals in the industry, and gradually developing a real desire to specialize in the field. From there I worked with another kitchen designer, and then moved onto an interior design business in the remodeling side of that firm. At the firm I worked closely with the in-house builder and learned a lot about construction and managing projects from design phase to installation phase.
What is the best advice you could give to clients?
Take the time prior to seeking out a design professional to really think about what it is you want in your kitchen, bath, closet, etc. Go through magazines, create a file of ideas and products, and have all your research with you when it’s time to finally sit down at the planning stage. This helps to convey what you want to the designer.
What has been your favorite project so far?
My favorite project occurred long before I came to Cabinets and Designs. I was one member of a design team that included the builder and the interior designer. An elderly gentleman who, unfortunately, had a terminal illness came to us wanting to have a new kitchen to enjoy at this time in his life. It wasn’t a large project – the kitchen/ breakfast area was maybe 25’ x 15’. His kitchen turned out to be the most perfect little space, everything in just the right spot. Periodically thinking about that project keeps in focus that we’re not just selling and installing a product, but that we’re being invited into the private domains of peoples’ lives in an effort to create something that gives them a greater sense of wellbeing – – we’re creating something just for them and their families they will ultimately enjoy for a long time.
What was a difficult design challenge for you and how did you overcome it?
The most difficult design challenge was putting my first custom closet together in a space full of angles. It takes a great deal of concentration to put the components together anyway but this was a situation where a lot of math came into play – – “Trig-type” of math. In the end, though, it came out great and the clients loved it.
What is your favorite addition to Wood-Mode/Brookhaven cabinetry as far as features go?
I do love the closet/wardrobe items Wood-Mode now offers. When you plan for everything to have just the right home in your closet, you know where to find everything and you know where it goes at the end of the day.
Do you have a favorite wood specie or finish?
In working with Wood-Mode I learned that wood species, finishes, or stain colors I would not have initially liked can look great in someone else’s home. So I can’t say that I have a favorite.
What is next for you?
I just hope to continue on in the kitchen and bath business as long as I can.
If you were not a kitchen designer, what would you be?
Whatever it is, it would be in an art- related field. I used to paint and I love going to museums. I always enjoyed my textile classes – maybe a fiber artist?
Call or visit Cabinets & Designs to set up a meeting with Grace or one of our other designers.
We look forward to meeting you!