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Design Life: Take Two

I apologize for the long silence.

For the past year, I’ve been sole caregiver to my designer mother.  This August, she died of complications from years of smoking. For over 35 years, she dedicated her life to designing. Kitchens were always her first love and even with our busy schedules, she always found time to reach out to others. I remember her contacting members in the early years of the Garden Web and other forums, helping them behind the scenes.

She was with the National Kitchen and Bath Association (N.K.B.A) in the early years when it was still the American Institute of Kitchen Dealers (A.I.K.D.) and started her design business in 1978. Three years later, she and my father started their own cabinetry showroom. She got her CKD and CBD in the early 1990s and went on from there.

This wasn’t all of her life: she was a talented artist in everything from pen and ink to oil. I remember when I was barely 5, I wanted her to color with me. We got my favorite coloring book out and grabbed the crayons. I had Oliver Twist playing with a puppy, I think. (I stayed within the lines, a big accomplishment for a 5-year-old.) She had a scene of the orphans looking through a window. She had the glow from the lights inside spilling onto the orphans’ faces, the ground and the windowsill. I threw down my crayons and never asked her again, haha.

I never had the type of artistry and vision she had to create one-of-a-kind design–at least not without several years of design training under my belt, but not really. I remember one of her repeat clients saying, “I know you’re going to cost me money, Carol, but I’m too scared to change it, because it’ll be gorgeous.”

And like my late father, she takes all the skill and talent with her. And her laughter and sense of amusement. Like all mother-daughters (and designers), we didn’t always agree.

I leave you with some of her sayings over the years:

“I don’t presume to spend peoples’ money. I give them all the pros and cons so they can make up their own minds.”

“Always buy the best you can afford. If you amortize the number of years of enjoyment, it really works out to pennies a day.”

“No education is ever wasted.”

Let me leave you with a fun little interview that I did with her in 2012.

Rest in peace, mom.

Carol Morisseau, CMKBD, CID

Retirement party, 2015

Until next time,


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