Chicagoland Firm Wins Showroom Design Honor

Barrington, IL— Designing a space with tight dimensions is a challenge for any designer. For Lisa McCauley of McCauley Design, based here, the challenge was all about having a fun, modern design.

“The project was loads of fun for my entire team; [doing it] felt like we were back in design school,” she says.

McCauley, who has been designing for over 20 years, won Dacor’s recent showroom design contest with a design which confidently blended three visually diverse styles.

The appliance manufacturer launched the contest in search of an innovative and visually appealing design for a series of vignettes to be installed in the Dacor Showroom and Culinary Center in Schaumburg, IL. The contest was open to members of the National Kitchen & Bath Association.

“It was exciting to see how these talented designers envisioned our showroom. We reviewed so many exceptional designs and it was a challenge to select only one winner,” says Marcia Ianno, manager of the Dacor showroom
in Chicago.

“Dacor is heavily invested in the designer and specifier community and we wanted to provide them with a platform to showcase their talent for everyone to see – so they can be recognized by their peers as well as their current and future clients,” she states.

Designers were invited to submit drawings, along with estimated costs and a list of materials required. Entries were evaluated based on creativity and originality, visual appeal and integration of their vignettes into the overall flow of the showroom. A panel of judges made up of kitchen and bath industry professionals selected McCauley’s design from dozens submitted by Chicago-area designers.

A Tight Fit

“I love a challenge,” McCauley says. “We found out the about the contest at the last minute. I’m definitely motivated by that kind of challenge.”

After learning of the contest from her Dacor representative, McCauley and her team, a pair of designers from her firm, visited the showroom to take down the dimensions. They quickly formed a plan, despite the late start.

“We realized right away that fitting in everything the guidelines indicated would be the real challenge,” McCauley says.

Contest guidelines specified that a selection of wall ovens, warming drawers, cooktops, dishwashers, ventilation hoods and microwaves from three Dacor product lines would all need to be incorporated in order to make the design eligible for the contest.

“We had to create a space that included three different kitchen styles that offered a bit of eye candy to properly showcase the products,” she adds.

What does McCauley think convinced the judges?

“In the small space, we really got three very different looks. And, from whichever angle you look at our design, you’re getting a look at a Dacor product,” she says.

McCauley prefers designs that hit a potential client right between the eyes:

“I wanted there to be some ‘POW!’ right when anyone walked into the space, as well.”

Into Reality

The designer worked to show the products in separate atmospheres – they are the only unifying part of the design. The surrounding design was inspired solely by a desire to show them in today’s trendiest looks.

“When we were talking about how to approach the project, I just asked myself, ‘Hey, what’s now, what’s happening?’” says McCauley. “I wondered, ‘how can I give this the ‘wow’ factor?’”

There is a traditional kitchen called “Devonshire” in the plans, a transitional piece, and an “Edgy Traditional” style, meant for a younger demographic who desires a traditional look, but with a more modern spin.

“Edgy Traditional is all-white with silver backsplash tiles,” McCauley adds. “It’s still for the traditional lover in terms of cabinetry style and layout, but with a younger, airy feel. It’s not your grandma’s dark traditional kitchen – it’s edgy.”
Other areas of the design feature cabinetry in a cherry finish, while the Devonshire vignette has a painted glaze finish.

All cabinetry was custom built and was designed by McCauley and her team. Distinctive touches include a Calcutta marble countertop to accent the white cabinetry in the Edgy Traditional vignette, and ornate crown details in all three settings.

For her efforts, McCauley was awarded an all-expenses-paid trip to the Kitchen/Bath Industry Show, and had her design built into the Dacor Showroom and Culinary Center, which was unveiled when the remodeled showroom space reopened in late October.

McCauley has a degree in architecture and is v.p. of McCauley Design, which she runs with her husband John. The firm has been in business in the Chicago area for over 20 years and includes both a full-service kitchen and bath showroom and tile showroom.

McCauley Design, run by McCauley and her husband John, has been in business for over 20 years. The firm is a three-time winner of the Sub-Zero Design Competition, winner of the Raymond Enkeboll Design Competition among others, and has had its kitchen designs appear in consumer magazines and on HGTV.