Tree Frog designs baths and kitchens

The finished product of one of Behncke
The finished product of one of Behncke's favorite bathroom design
— image credit: Courtesy of Tree Frog Designs

Kristine Behncke had worked on almost every kind of interior design, but it wasn't until she started designing kitchens that she felt she had truly found her niche.

"The thing about kitchen design is that there's rules you have to follow for good design," Behncke said. "There's certain things that every kitchen's going to need, and you have to plan for that."

Behncke isn't worried about working within limitations. She rises to the challenge.

"I think it's more fun than to not have any guidelines," she said. "It pieces together like a puzzle."

Though kitchen design tends to be more structured than designing a living room or bedroom, there's still room for creativity.

"Client's tastes are so different. And I like that." Behncke said. "You don't get pigeonholed into doing the same design over and over."

"Even if you have two clients that have similar tastes, the kitchens a lot of times come out very different," she said.

Between variations in layout, and the assortment of items to choose from, each room takes on its own look and feel.

Since Behncke has been doing design work for almost 12 years, she has the system down.

Although most of her latest experience is with kitchens, she also specializes in designing bathrooms.

It all starts with the customer. In the initial meeting with a client, Behncke measures the job site and brainstorms ideas with the client. She addresses everything they'll need for the project at the time, and everything they'll need down the road.

Behncke's goal is to make the project as quick and painless as possible.

"If someone's going through a kitchen remodel, it's going to be stressful. That's just the way it is," Behncke said. "Our lives revolve around it."

After the initial consultation, an auto-CAD drawing of the kitchen or bathroom design is made. It is then presented to the client along with pricing, and they discuss whether or not it meets all of the client's needs.

In addition to keeping a close relationship with the client, the designer said it's also important to have a good relationship with the contractor.

"It is our responsibility to be there for the contractors," she said.

It wouldn't be a bad idea to have the contractor present at the design presentation.

"You want to be on the same page as whoever is doing the installation," Behncke said.

"If the client doesn't have a contractor, I'm happy to recommend a contractor to them. If they do have a contractor then I'm happy to work with that contractor," she said.

The next step is ordering and putting everything together.

Tree Frog Designs distributes Huggy Bear's cabinetry. Behncke describes them as an affordable high-end cabinet. She said it's hard to find a cabinet line that offers everything they have to offer.

Many times, the plumber will order the appliances so they canfeel comfortable with the installation.

Behncke is versatile in her work, no matter what the job may be.

"It doesn't matter if it's going to be a new construction or a remodel. I've done them both," she said. "I've walked onto job sites and measured while it was still stud to stud."

The project doesn't have to be an entire room construction or remodel. Whether it be a consultation, design work, or product recommendations, Behncke is happy to do it.

"No job is too small, or too large, for that matter," she said.

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