I asked Andrea what her top “must-haves” were for a kitchen, thinking she would tell me about a bunch of hot new design items or storage solutions. She laughed and aptly replied “Sunshine”. I had to agree completely. It’s also the perfect word to describe Andrea herself. It’s easy to tell that she loves what she does. Her face lights up when you start to talk shop.
“I love meeting new people, listening to their dreams and making them a reality,” she said. “I enjoy every aspect from the first meeting, to design, and finally managing their project to see the final result and the smiles on their faces as things start to take shape.”
Andrea has been in the business as long as she can remember. Her parents started a cabinetry company in Winnipeg and ran it for over 30 years, and Andrea spent her summers as a kid working in the shop with her dad while her mom designed kitchens. From those early years applying edge binding (hot iron, no steam!); to later building, finishing and installing kitchen cabinets; and finally her current design role, she has an innate understanding of every step. Even down to the studs, Andrea knows what she’s talking about. With a contractor for a grandfather and tons of experience renovating her own homes on a tight budget, she understands the benefits and complications of major renovations.
“I think my past experience really gives me a unique strength. Not only do I understand the design aspects, I also know exactly how each piece will fit together, how it will be installed, what the limitations are, and how I can adapt them to give you the kitchen you want,” she said. “Sometimes it’s tempting to create incredible-looking designs that just won’t work easily, not without a lot of changes. Catching those trouble spots during the design process prevents a lot of headaches later on.”
“Hiccups are part of the job”, she explained to me, “They often happen, but I regularly check in with our tradespeople to try to catch them before they happen and figure out solutions to keep the job moving along without missing a beat.”
As if three generations in the industry wasn’t enough, a love of design appears to have rubbed off on a fourth. Andrea’s daughter, Jessica has recently joined the Gateway Kitchen and Bath family, and I’m sure I’ll be here writing something about her soon enough!
If you’re considering starting a new project, Andrea has a lot of guidance to make the whole process move as smoothly as possible.
“Start by going online and creating inspiration boards on websites like Houzz and Pinterest. Make notes on the images you save about exactly what it is that you like about it (cabinet door style, handles, floor, etc).” She said. “When I work with my clients, it’s helpful to see what they have collected and I do my best to ‘check off the boxes’ when I put the design together.”
“Also,” she added, “You need to know how much you are willing to invest in your project, not just in terms of budget, but time too. Things always take longer than most people think they will, but I can give you a good idea.”
Knowing what style you’re looking for is also important. Andrea has built and designed all different styles and is always looking for ways to make her clients’ spaces unique to them, using personal touches and unexpected details.
“My kitchen at home is Urban Rustic/Farmhouse,” she said, “I love incorporating reclaimed items and special pieces into new spaces, and it’s so much fun for me to experiment with all the different styles of kitchen cabinets. Whether you are looking for a more traditional design or ultra-modern contemporary, my job is to make your space reflect YOU, and give you a unique space you love and enjoy for years to come.”
When she’s not designing kitchens, Andrea can be found spending time with her husband Jon, in their recently empty nest. They enjoy seeing their two kids (and their significant others), gardening, doing puzzles and watching Netflix (hobbies are tricky during a pandemic). Oddly, cooking is most definitely NOT a treasured pastime, and she’s thrilled that her kids are off on their own and she doesn’t have to feed them.