“Insights Into Design” is a Riggs series on local designers highlighting the process, style, and inspiration that drives impactful design. Each post will feature a local designer and their designs to gain an inside perspective into the work and imagination of their kitchen projects. This edition features the designer Catherine Colmet-Daage, of With+In.

Tell us a little about your background. What factors contributed to you becoming a designer? How did you decide to become a designer?

I knew I wanted to become a designer from an early age. I was always making spaces under the dining room table draped in blankets/sheets, making furniture out of cardboard to put in my doll’s house and tents outside under the trees in the back yard, divided into rooms with lots of details. I was always interested in experimental design, architecture and space planning. I love the challenge of figuring out all the pieces of the puzzle and making a coherent design. My first studies after high school were in fashion design and garment construction. I love working with color and fabrics and had my own business constructing made to measure wedding dresses and accessories. I then started to make jewelry, but soon realized that my passion was in interior design. I no longer purchased fashion magazines but architecture and interior design articles. I then decided to go back to school and complete an interior design degree.

What is your process like when you approach new projects? What would you like new clients to know about your design process?

As designers, our job is to help make decisions, guide them, yet be patient and understanding to change. Working with the strict building and planning codes of the area, we needed to make sure we are on top of everything ensuring safety, energy efficiency and sustainability. Listening to the clients’ needs and building up trust between the homeowners and designers allows team work to evolve and address all the design goals. The most obvious compliment from a client, after the project is completed, is hearing the delight, peace of mind and optimism of the homeowners and them sharing this with their family and friends as well as giving us referrals for new projects.

How does living in the West Coast affect your design practice and your design thinking?

Living on the West Coast offers so much. There are the obvious advantages of weather, indoor/outdoor living, diversity from many cultures and food. Real estate in the area is expensive square footage. It’s not about the quantity but the quality of life, embracing the smaller things and making use of every inch of living space indoors and outdoors. Sustainability, energy efficiency and easy to maintain products are also essential to the design practice and thinking in California.

Tell us about your 2015-16 Sub-Zero and Wolf KDC entry. How did the addition of Sub-Zero and Wolf enhance the design?

One of the most important cooking appliances for the homeowners is the convection steam oven. As a health-conscious, young family, they were very excited about not needing a microwave. The convection steam oven provides them with an easy alternative to reheating foods, keeping the flavor and appearance fresh. Asian cooking, with lots of steamed fish and vegetables is one of their favorite meals, so the convection steam oven is perfect for their needs. The other important cooking appliance is the induction cooktop which we decided to flush mount for easy cleaning. They love that the cooktop is energy saving, highly efficient andsafe with children. The integrated refrigeration was also on the priority list for the clients. Keeping the contemporary, simple look of the kitchen streamlined and seamless enhanced the design. The over and under unit disappears while keeping the food fresh and also saves energy.

If you were to give your younger self advice in regards to a career in design, what would it be?

Follow your heart and don’t be scared to take risks and try something new. Recognize the passion you possess about design, form, and function. Embrace the feeling inside you and create in everything you do.

Tell us something fun about yourself: Any hobbies about with you are passionate? Most recent book that you finished reading? Up next on the Netflix queue?

I love to use my senses of hearing, taste, smell and touch. I enjoy hiking, often alone because it connects me with nature and calmness. I love cooking, especially for those I love and gardening because I am tending to another living thing watching it grow. I am quite an inquisitive person, always wanting to learn new things and above all, finding a calm within and doing things right.