Kitchen and bath designer remodeled her home, then career
Nancy Jacobson had a twenty year career at AT&T before taking her passion for kitchen remodeling and turning it into a business. | Jackie Pilossoph—For Sun-Times Media
Kitchen Design Partners, Inc.
3159 Dundee Road
Updated: December 23, 2012 6:15AM
NORTHBROOK — Nancy Jacobson always wanted to be an interior designer. But, when she got to college, she majored in business because it seemed more practical.
Fast forward 20 years. Jacobson and her husband were working on an addition to their Northbrook home, and Jacobson said her interest in interior design returned more than ever.
“I fell in love with the process and was staying up all night looking at samples and designing and planning,” said Jacobson, who had a 20-year career in marketing at AT&T.
Jacobson took her passion for design and remodeling and opened Kitchen Design Partners, Inc. in 2005, a kitchen and bath remodeling business that specializes in countertops, cabinets, backsplash, tiles and cabinet hardware.
She said that working on a remodeling project as a consumer, and seeing firsthand how most kitchen and bath dealers operate, helped her realize how she wanted to run her business.
“I set out from day one to be different because I had gone through the process and it was frustrating,” she said.
According to Jacobson, Kitchen Design Partners doesn’t market in the traditional way of most kitchen and bath dealers. In other words, they don’t do a lot of advertising.
“We get a lot of clients who already have a contractor, but who need someone to provide a custom design for the contractor,” she said, “But, we also proactively develop relationships with builders, interior designers, and architects, and we collaborate with them and their clients. We become part of their team.”
Mark Carlson is a home builder who has worked on more than 50 projects with Jacobson, and said the reason he continues to work with KDP, and why he’s constantly recommending Nancy to his clients, is because it makes his job easier, and gives the consumer a better product.
“The key is teamwork,” said Carlson. “There’s a comfort level we have with Nancy, we know the pricing is going to be fair, she delivers when she says she’s going to deliver, and if there’s a problem, she’s there to fix it right away.”
“Because I’ve already developed the relationships with the builders and designers, there’s a great deal of trust in both directions,” said Jacobson. “Plus, the clients trust me because they were referred by a person they’ve already hired.”
Kitchen design Partners is also unique in that they don’t have design studio hours. Everything is done by appointment.
“When I meet with clients or potential clients, all of my attention is spent on them and designing a custom kitchen or bath,” said Jacobson. “There’s no one walking in the door, so they have my undivided attention.”
Lynn and Phil Barras. in the process of remodeling their kitchen, went to Kitchen Design Partners to see a cabinet sample that the company carries. They never expected to turn into a client.
“We had been to five or six kitchen cabinet places,” said Phil. “We walked in and we could tell immediately that Nancy was passionate about what she did. She had a design flair and we just felt so comfortable with her.”
Phil also said he liked that she worked by appointment only because he never felt rushed or pressured to make any decisions.
“People don’t see a kitchen as just a room,” said Jacobson, who credits her long career at AT&T for knowing how to develop good business relationships, “They see it as a place for family gatherings, celebrations and life events. Those events are emotional for people, and I help them achieve those dreams.”