Cheryl Kees Clendenon, a California transplant to Northwest Florida, has been in the design industry for eleven years and continues to learn something new every day. She credits an education in the fine arts for helping to shape her perspective and how she views spatial relationships.
Her award-winning designs have graced the pages of over 50 national consumer magazines. She has won multiple prestigious national design awards for kitchens, baths, and closets. Cheryl’s most recent industry recognition includes being a 2010 National Kitchen and Bath Association design competition finalist and receiving a Merit award in 2010 Kitchen and Bath Business design competition.
Tell us about your business.
In Detail, Pensacola, Florida-based kitchen and bath design firm, is a 3000 square foot boutique design showroom which focuses on design and furnishings for kitchens,baths and interiors. The In Detail team consists of an Interior Designer, two interior decorators and three showroom specialists, and they are all the BEST at what they do.
Each kitchen or bath I design is unique and most importantly, is a reflection of the individual client’s personality, lifestyle and taste. I think communication with the client, sub-contractors and the builder are the building blocks to a successful project. Sometimes it is easier to just agree with a client and to get to go home, but the day I start to take the easy route is the day I quit the business. I truly care about the end result and so does my staff.
Our website which features the In Detail’s design portfolio is my greatest calling card. Any designer who is remiss in putting together a stunning design portfolio website is missing out on a huge [marketing]potential!
My blog is a personal reflection of my daily encounters in the design world which I inhabit as well as a diary of the events I encounter as a small business owner.
What inspired you to pursue this business?
I think my drive to create was inherent from birth. I’ve always been creating something in some way or another my entire life. Starting with shadow boxes as a six year-old! Come to think about it, I always LOVED playing “store” and “library” with my siblings so I guess I was destined to own my own business too! Plus, I really suck at being an employee!
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I find my inspiration in unlikely places. I like to travel and can find all sorts of ideas from other businesses that may or may not be similar to mine in nature. I also love taking non-traditional products and using them in a more traditional manner. The furniture we have started designing has evolved from this idea….love taking antique furnishings and putting very modern fabrics on them or taking a piece of furniture with modern lines and trying to add some classic materials to it.
Tell us about a favorite home decorating or remodeling project.
One of my favorite projects (shown in photo above) was a kitchen design project for a wonderful woman who I admire immensely. She is a crazy gal too! She loved ideas…and using products in non-traditional ways. I had a blast working on her home and feel she really respected my creativity and let me run with ideas that others might have balked at!
What’s your favorite color?
Gosh, my favorite colors change weekly! This week is steely brown-grays, bright white and red or pink. Cool backgrounds with hot flashes of color!
What are your five favorite pieces of home décor from your home or elsewhere?
My favorite pieces of home decor in my own home are: a white Jonathan Adler vase, my Phillipe Starck Victoria Ghost chairs, a Lalique crystal candy dish I won as sales person of the year way back in another lifetime, a twelve foot long (yes!!) pine pharmacy piece I use for books and storage, and any and all of my books. My books define my space as much as any piece of furniture or home decor. No kindle for me! I must be surrounded by books to be happy.
Cheryl dishes on her favorite things (left to right): “Stone forest sink. Black granite. Gorgeous. Also paired with modern faucet from Sigma, “Nuance” but in traditional finish…dark oil rubbed bronze…I love doing this! Love glass countertops!! These are from Curvet- color is Met copper. Brizo RSVP faucet in chrome-. LOVE chrome!” Love the Miele coffee center with our custom pull out drawer beneath it…and I do not even drink coffee! But it makes great cappuccino too…kicks Starbucks butt! Love the Calcutta Gold Marble !! Especially when in-non traditional sizes…this is a 4×16 tile we used for the backsplash. Also LOVE a company called Mixed up Mosaics- they did the mirrored tile in the niche! “
What’s your favorite room at home? Why is it your favorite?
Well, I live in a very small beach house! So my favorite room is easy- my kitchen/dining/living space. I love the smallness of it, truly, and I enjoy being in the same room as my family when cooking, cleaning or just hanging out.
Who are your favorite designers?
I’m not sure I have a favorite designer, really, but I am in awe of [kitchen designer and author] Johnny Grey and have been since I read his first book in 1994.
What’s your personal design style? Has it evolved over time?
My personal design style would probably be classified as classically modern. I love everything Danish but could not live with all Danish furnishings. I like to mix it up and since I live on the beach, it’s like an anything goes attitude! I really like my old pine pieces, an old coffee table I have had since 1995 and the little rocking chairs that flank each side of it. I bought the little rocking chairs for my now teens when they were one and three years-old, and they still sit in them -and guess what? They are 5ft 11 and 6ft 1!! I also love my ghost chairs and modern rugs, so my personal style is pretty eclectic in a classically modern way! How does that sound?
Many of us have a product we bought for our home-that now makes us think-”what was I thinking” - do you have one?
Oh gosh! Yes, I have a piece of “art” I bought at a festival for twenty bucks! It is a rock with these long metal stems coming out of the rock that have some sort of chime on the top…so when you hit them they jingle. It is hideous. I bought it on the way out of the festival because I saw nothing else I liked and I did not want to go home empty handed!! My husband won’t let me get rid of it and loves to make it chime each morning on his way out of the house! He torments me with it!
Describe your dream room.
For this one…maybe we can wait and see my dream bath!! (Cheryl’s dream bath design for her Style Maker Look Book .)
What are your favorite blogs or home design/improvement websites?
I have about thirty blogs I go to and I think they are all wonderful! Of course I love all of the #blogger 19 blogs and read them regularly. But here are five I especially like!
- Kitchen and Residential – Paul is hysterical and timely and I enjoy reading his posts.
- Paula Grace Design – Paula always has gorgeous photos and really good advice for consumers.
- Colour Me Happy - Maria also is just a great designer. She is the “go to” color source.
- Decorology -A good all around design blog with great ideas and information.
- Surroundings by Linda Merrill – Is a new one for me and I think has a lot of great info!
What are your favorite books, design shows and/or magazines?
Favorite design shows: None. Sorry when at home, I try not to work!
Favorite magazines: Elle Decor, Metropolitan Home, BHG Kitchen and Bath Ideas, Australian Vogue Living, Kitchen Trends and Bath Trends, and House Beautiful.
Favorite books: Books written by Johnny Grey and Susan Susanka,
Do you have a decorating, design or remodeling tip you’d like to share with The Decorating Diva.com readers?
My remodeling tip would be to hire a designer from the beginning [of the design project] if you are building or doing a major remodel. A good designer can help you tremendously with decisions that will come up along the way (don’t think that your architect or builder has it all covered – they don’t! ).
The Decorating Diva, LLC would like to thank Cheryl for sharing her brilliant kitchen and bath designs, her sage design tip to seek the assistance of design experts and for her charming and bubbly personality that made this such a fun interview.