NKBA 30 under 30 designer profile: Kristin Whalen

In July, the GE Monogram Experience Center in Louisville, Kentucky, hosted the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s 30 under 30 designers. These designers were nominated by their peers and have already shown impressive results in their careers. And they are a lot of fun!

We interviewed each designer to learn a little more about their background and design experiences so far. Today’s profile highlights Kristin Whalen from Holyoke, Massachusetts.


Kristin Whalen, NKBA 30 under 30 designer

Kristin Whalen, NKBA 30 under 30 designer


SRFD: How did you become interested in design?

Kristin: For as long as I can remember, I had a passion for interior design and imagining how my own place would look like in the future. I would constantly rearrange my room and watch HGTV nonstop. While attending Bay Path University, I realized how much I loved kitchen design in the sense that it incorporates both function and aesthetics. A kitchen becomes truly luxurious when it is designed to fit your clients’ lifestyle.

SRFD: Tell us about a project you really enjoyed.

Kristin: I am currently in the middle of a renovation with one of the sweetest clients I have ever had. Her name is Gigi, and she just celebrated her 99th birthday. The first day I met her she told me, “Well, you are probably wondering why someone like me is renovating their kitchen. The answer is simply because I can.” She has been an absolute delight to work with. She was familiar with all of the current trends and knew exactly what she wanted to incorporate into her kitchen. She brightens my day and I cannot wait for her to see the end result (after she is done vacationing in London!). I hope to be as marvelous as Gigi one day.

SRFD: A trend you’re over?

Kristin: The design of the kitchen itself is becoming less ornate. Heavy, detailed moldings, trims, vent hoods and cabinet doors are gone. Clients are attracted to more clean lines, integrated appliances, convenient storage and simpler countertops.

SRFD: A trend you’re excited about?

Kristin: Fewer wall cabinets – As the saying goes, less is more. Fewer wall cabinets leave more potential for such options as: larger windows for more natural light, wall-mounted light fixtures, full scale backsplashes, and open shelving. Storage can be gained by replacing lower cabinets with functional drawers and pull-outs, or by adding a separate pantry. So go ahead, buy those new dishes you’ve been eyeing!

SRFD: What did you learn in Louisville?

Kristin: This was my first time in Louisville and I instantly fell in love with the city’s character and charm. Louisville, Kentucky, may be known for horse-racing and bourbon, but it’s also food and art central. Honestly, this has probably been the “tastiest town” I have ever been to! Not only did we learn about the city of Louisville, we also learned that GE Appliance Park is a ‘city within a city’ (did you know they have their own zip code?)! GE Appliances is at the forefront of building innovative, energy-efficient appliances that improve people lives. Let me just tell you about my favorite GE appliance: The Advantium speed cook oven! A brilliant combination of a speed cook oven, true European convection oven, sensor microwave oven, and warming oven: it delivers oven-quality results up to eight times faster than conventional cooking methods with no preheating. Impressive! With over 175 pre-programmed settings, ease of use is a breeze. We made the most delicious grilled cheese, frozen pizza, grilled chicken, and steak in a fraction of the time. I keep telling friends that my future kitchen will be designed solely around this product.


Kristin having fun cooking in the GE Monogram Experience Center in Louisville, KY

Kristin having fun cooking in the GE Monogram Experience Center in Louisville, KY

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