Welcome to our second Clarke Designer Spotlight, where we go behind the scenes with some of the finest design minds in New England to learn about their inspiration and personal aspirations.
Meet Heather Kahler, Design Director at Dalia Kitchen Design. Heather recently won Second Place for Traditional Kitchen Design in the Clarke Kitchen Design Contest at Clarke's Designer Appreciation Night. However, that is not her only recent achievement. Over the past six months she also gave birth to twin boys and works full time in a job that takes creativity and leadership. She's an inspiration to all young women who adeptly balance work and home life. Heather works for and with Dalia Kitchen Design owner, Dalia Tamari, on a wide variety of projects.
Clarke: How long have you been in kitchen design and with Dalia?
Heather: I have been designing kitchens and working at Dalia Kitchen Design for 16 years. I had just graduated college and was moving from Savannah, Georgia to Boston when I started at Dalia’s.
Clarke: What's your role as Design Director at Dalia Kitchen Design?
Heather: I oversee the designers and design support staff at Dalia Kitchen Design. The designers I work with are very talented and self-sufficient so it makes my job easy.
Clarke: What is your proudest accomplishment both inside and outside of work?
Heather: Inside work, I would say I am proudest of the relationships I have built over the years with clients and designers. Most recently, of course, winning the Clarke Kitchen Design Contest ranks right up there. I was really thrilled to be honored in this way. Outside of work, I am proudest of my kids. I have two 6-month-old twin boys, Jake and Mike, and my daughter, Ella. The past year has been great for me.
Clarke: What is you favorite material to use in kitchen design and why?
Heather: I love quartz on kitchen countertops for the durability and unique finishes. I love natural marble, but the “marble like” quartz slabs are a great alternative to natural marble and require a lot less care.
Clarke: Which Sub-Zero or Wolf appliance is your favorite and why?
Heather: I love the Sub-Zero Under Counter Refrigerator Drawers (ID27-R.) In a Kitchen, these can serve many functions from a beverage center for the kids, fruit and veggie storage on a prep island, built into a breakfast hutch or storage for adult beverages. I am looking forward to using the New Generation 24”, 30” and 36” widths.
Clarke: Where do you get your inspiration when you start a project?
Heather: A lot of time my inspiration comes from the first meeting with a client. You find out about their lifestyle, cooking preferences, designs they pulled from magazines, interior and exterior images of the house and all the kitchen desires they share. This first meeting is a great source of inspiration for me and starts the process of designing the kitchen.
Clarke: What project haven't you designed that you wish you could?
Heather: Hmmm, I would love to design a kitchen in a luxury yacht. I don’t think I could make that the only kind of space I design in my career, but I wouldn’t mind the challenge of working in a defined space with restrictions that make designing a layout to function and look great even harder.
Clarke: When you travel, what's your favorite destination?
Heather: I was born and raised in Australia, so I had the opportunity to travel to many interesting places. I have a fascination with Europe and each country's different history and culture. Two of my favorite places are Paris and Barcelona.
Clarke: When you turn on music, what do you like to listen to?
Heather: I enjoy most music, but right now it feels like I am consumed with nursery rhymes and children’s music.
Clarke: At Designer Appreciation Night, your team took the 1960s theme in a unique direction...who had the idea for the flight crew costumes for the event?
Heather: Jodi, a designer in our office, gets all the credit on the Pan Am flight crew idea. About a week before the event, she said, "Let's dress up as a Pan Am flight crew." That Saturday she made hats with her sister and the rest of us started buying parts and pieces of our costumes on Amazon.com. Nobody had the same costumes as Dalia Kitchen Design that night...we had a great time!
Photo: Clarke's Debbie Grillo Burke stands amid the entire Dalia Kitchen Design Pam Am Flight Crew at Designer Appreciation Night.
Congratulations to Heather on her Clarke Kitchen Design Contest win (and those twins!) and we look forward to seeing more of her work in the future.