Kitchens By Design
Name: Maureen Hodor
Family: Husband, John; sons, Jackson, 18, Stetson University, Grant 11, sixth grade, St. Francis Xavier and Reid, 7, second grade, St. Francis Xavier
Years in the Golden Isles: 15 years
School: University of Delaware
Occupation: Kitchen and bath designer; co-owner of Kitchens by Design, with Lane Applegate
Favorite landmark in the Golden Isles: I really love Jekyll Island Club, specifically, the Crane Cottage is very special to me and my husband John. When we were originally thinking of moving to the area, we stayed there and had the best dinner in the dining room. Then, we sat in rocking chairs, overlooking the courtyard while sipping wine and imagining our lives here. I have a soft spot for all the beautiful homes in historic downtown Brunswick, too. I love to imagine what life was like here in the 1800s and 1900s.
How would you describe your style? My style is grounded in traditional design, but over the years I have incorporated more of our coastal color palette into our home. I definitely can pick things for my clients much easier than I can for myself. I guide clients to make classic choices for cabinetry specifically. That way, when styles and trends change it can be easy to update hardware or light fixtures to make the space feel current. It’s much easier to make adjustments in those areas than with cabinetry.
Where do you get your inspiration from? Definitely other allied professionals! Since what Lane and I do is such a niche part of overall design, we quite often work with other interior designers. I think we have probably worked with just about every designer on the island and they all inspire me in different ways. Some inspire me to incorporate bold pops of color, others to be comfortable embracing quirky site conditions, some to use more organic textures, others to create more eclectic spaces. However, I would say I get most of my inspiration from Lane Applegate! Every day I sit next to her I become a better designer. She is constantly pushing herself to find new ideas, try new details, and learn what is trending or on the way out. We are so fortunate to be able to have the friendship, collaboration and mutual respect for each other that we have. We make a great team. Some clients have a relationship with either her or me, but there isn’t a single project that we don’t work on together behind the scenes.
What is the first thing you should do when remodeling a kitchen? Know your budget, embrace it and be realistic about it. I can’t really design a space without knowing that information. I’m not designing to the dollar but rather keeping in mind that if we want to spend a little more on a “wow” design detail or if we might need to keep things simpler and make the pop with tile and light fixtures. It’s like buying a car; you can buy one for $20,000 or $100,000 – it is a matter of what features are important and what someone is comfortable to spend.
What is one essential item in every kitchen you design needs? Function first! Getting the space laid out strategically with logical locations is absolutely the most important piece of the puzzle. Then, making it beautiful is the easy part! We love encouraging clients to choose a statement hood that can be a memorable and unique focal point. And, don’t underestimate the impact of great hardware, tile, or pendants. A very simple kitchen can look amazing if any or all of those elements are eye-catching.
What has been the latest trend that Kitchens by Design has been loving? We love the super high gloss lacquer look!!! Our Cabico, Elmwood Series, the manufacturer does an amazing finish called Diamond Gloss. Not many companies can do it because it will show every flaw in the wood below the paint but when it’s done well it can be jaw dropping. It’s got this great reflective quality. The diamond gloss on a dark stain for a bar or butler’s pantry, for example, can look really moody and dramatic. On white it looks very contemporary and sleek. On a vibrant color it can make a small vanity or laundry the space everyone will remember. And, on a rich shade of blue it is immediately classy and elegant.
Tell us about your favorite things to do in your free time: Being that our kids have been out of school since March, every single night is family movie night and I LOVE IT! We have taken advantage of the slowed-down pace and lack of extracurricular commitments. I also really enjoy reading a good book while sitting at the pool or beach.