Designer Profile – Janice Teague, CMKBD

Drury Design Team

Any notable trends in what your current customers are asking for?

Multiple colors on cabinetry and warmer tones. Some form of blue seems to be prevalent now but moreover, the combination of natural textures and sleek finishes are popular.

How would you describe your overall approach to what you do?

Establishing a collaborative relationship with my clients is everything! Asking questions and listening from our first encounter and throughout the design and installation process is the foundation of a successful project. My approach is to thoroughly understand my client’s needs as they develop and change, and present appropriate solutions – complete with pros and cons – so they can make an educated decision on what works best for their lifestyle. After all, it’s their space and their vision… I’m just the conduit that helps make it a reality.

What’s notable about your most recent kitchen project?

My most recent kitchen project began as a smallish kitchen with an adjoining breakfast room. My clients had raised their family in this house, recently retired, and decided they wanted to stay in the neighborhood for the long term. They entertain a lot and the existing space did not support large groups of people; they wanted to join the 2 spaces to make one big room. A 2-island plan was chosen and the more-than-average number of appliances were situated to create balance in the 25-foot long space. The layout worked well for their lifestyle.

What is notable in this project? The beautiful finishes, yes. The storage capacity, yes. The functionality of the space for empty nesters to large groups of people, yes. The pride the homeowners feel in their newly-remodeled kitchen – priceless!

What’s a movie, TV show or place to visit that features fantastic design?

Definitely Diane Keaton’s house in Beverly Hills. It was featured in Architectural Digest.

Any design-related obsessions?

Definitely. For me, it’s the functionality and storage options for any newly remodeled space. It’s amazing how much more one can store in a cabinet that has the proper dimension, operation, and/or accessory. I often tell my clients that they have to go shopping to fill up their new cabinets!

Any non-design-related obsessions?

My three chow chows! This breed caught my attention long ago when my husband found one without tags, wandering around a busy intersection in Dallas. He called to ask if he could bring a friend home for dinner and it was love at first sight. They bring us much joy!!

 Take us through a favorite bath project… any particular design features or accomplished goals that stand out?

This was several years ago – a primary bath (that was part of an entire first floor remodel) for a 1980s home stands out. The bathroom was long and narrow and the space was cut in half with a wall and door separating the vanity from the tub, shower, and water closet. It felt very small and certainly outdated.

For the remodel, most of the fixtures remained in their same locations as there was no benefit to moving them. The wall between the two sections was removed, the vanity was lengthened, and the shower enlarged.

This client was adamant about having no grout lines on the shower floor, so an easy-care, cultured marble shower pan with a low curb was installed in a Kohler color. All finishes were classic and timeless.

About four years after the remodel was done, my client called and told me her husband recently had back surgery. She specifically called to tell me how appreciative he was for the shower design. While it was nothing terribly fancy, the low curb allowed him to enter the shower without too much pain and he was able to sit on the bench, access the shower caddy, and use the nearby hand-held shower with ease. Something so simple can turn out to be so important! 
Describe an unexpected bump in the road and how you handled it

I was working with a couple who lived in a 100-year-old home. One main objective was to omit the soffits in the kitchen to make the room look larger. Other contractors they interviewed told them they could be removed with no problem. Not so. Upon further inspection with our Operations Manager, we found ductwork throughout that could not be removed without a major expense.

The client had a very specific budget and wish list that did not include reworking ductwork. This could have been a big setback in the scope of work that my client had been saving for and possibly even a delay in starting the project altogether. Fortunately, we came up with a plan that allowed us to tuck the ductwork behind shortened soffits and the crown molding of the cabinets. The soffits were then extended further into the room, creating a tray ceiling effect that actually looked better than no soffits at all! This was an inexpensive solution that enabled my client to maintain her wish list.

What’s your favorite “other room” (non-kitchen, non-bath) project and why?

A fireplace and dry bar in an 1891 Victorian home. I dubbed the original fireplace as the “Davy Crockett” fireplace as the face was an old, jagged brick with a cherry mantle on top. I suppose it was perfect at the time!

We covered the entire width and extended the height of the fireplace to the ceiling with rustic black paneling and added special trim details under the mantlepiece and on the legs. A faceted, handmade ceramic tile was installed around the firebox and Lemurian Blue granite was used for the hearth. It’s beautiful, classic, and very much looks like it belongs in this vintage home. 
Any tips, tricks & advice for customers as they head into a project?

Do as much research as possible, speak to as many design/installation firms as possible, and ask a lot of questions before making any decisions. It’s important to work with a reputable company and equally important to connect with the designer who will be at your side helping to achieve your vision.

I would also add that as you are planning your project, incorporate as many features as you are able. Some clients returning for additional remodel projects in their home have made comments about features they wish they had included but didn’t. Try to include elements that make you feel good every time you walk into the space.

What’s your favorite part of the design process?

My favorite part of the design process is when discussing a feature or benefit to a client and a light goes on in their eyes that tells me, ‘yes, that’s exactly it!’ Another is when presenting materials to a client or choosing a beautiful stone slab and the words come out: ‘I love it!’ It goes without saying that celebrating a remodel completion is also rewarding.

What have you learned from your years of being a designer?

Two things: first, I’ve never met a person who has an unlimited budget for their project regardless of their state of wealth. The key is understanding what the client wants, prioritizing the wish list, and educating them on what their investment will buy.

Second, as much as we all strive for perfection, nothing is ever perfect. Drury Design is fortunate to have a great support staff and installation team that is dedicated to excellence on every project and our clients are overwhelmingly pleased with the final results

About Drury Design Kitchen and Bath Studio

Founded by Gail Drury, CMKBD in 1987, Drury Design’s Client-Focused Design™ approach integrates design recommendations, materials selection, and construction management into one seamless customer design, project management, and build experience. For kitchen, bath, and home remodeling ideas view Drury Design’s design portfolio or stop by the studio at 512 N. Main Street in downtown Glen Ellyn, Illinois.