Meet Jessica of Cara Kitchens

April 2017

Meet Jessica of Cara Kitchens Lifestyle Renos & DIY
Meet Jessica of Cara Kitchens Lifestyle Renos & DIY
Meet Jessica of Cara Kitchens Lifestyle Renos & DIY

Meet Jessica of Cara Kitchens Lifestyle Renos & DIY

Jessica installing our kitchen, day 1!

As you guys know we are deep in the renovations of our new place and I have to say that the kitchen has been the most difficult yet exciting part of the entire process! I was so torn between a white kitchen and a colourful one and literally did not pick my paint colour until days before Jessica was ready to spray them!!! Jessica is our lovely cabinet maker, her company is Cara Kitchens and boy am I happy we found her – she has been so patient with me and my flip flopping of ideas lol. She has been such a breeze to work with and come through on every custom idea I had and make it a reality. Cara Kitchens is local to Ontario, Canada and Jessica is currently doing work all over Ontario from big cities to gorgeous Muskoka cottages.

Storage was of utmost important for us as well as functionality – we have been through quite a few kitchens now and knew exactly what we wanted out of our new house in the heart of the home. The kitchen is where we spend the most of our time as a family, it’s the hub and with me doing more and more recipe work for the blog it meant even more time in there. Jessica helped in so many ways for us to finalize our design plans while also making my Pinterest dreams a reality. I had a specific look in mind from a variety of inspirational photos, all of them mashed together into my dream – she was the best person to figure all of this out with. If you are following me on my Pinterest you will have seen my kitchen pinning board called “The Heart of the Home”, I am drawn to whites, golds, woods, blues & greys…and of course, marble! I wanted a kitchen that had specific custom features (that you will see in the reveal) and I cannot wait to show you how AMAZING Jessica’s work is. I mean we knew she did great work but since her first install we have been floored with the quality and craftsmanship – we’ve had two cabinet designers visit to walk through and were so impressed with her work. It’s no surprise she is booked months and months in advance! Jessica understood my vision from the start and we have very similar taste which truly helped. These images she has shared with us today are from her own home, a gorgeous grey washroom vanity as well as her own kitchen. You will be seeing a whole lotta Jessica on my blog over the next few months I can promise you that, we have so many projects in the works together for the new house – she does not only do kitchens guys!! What I love especially about Jessica is that she is so cheery and positive to be around and creative, she gets it when I throw a design idea at her and truly helps with my indecisiveness. She also does every thing from start to finish and to the finest detail from hand crafting the corbels to installing every bit of cabinetry. So far we are 3/4 way through our kitchen install, next is our countertop perimeter install and then Jessica can add in her final touches and then our backsplash goes in and she does another visit for final installs…it’s quite the process I must say! I am so happy we went custom however, this is our very first time and I am so thankful we have worked with Jessica. She is so passionate about her work and you can honestly see it. I decided to do a little q&a with her so you could get to know her a little more and her take on her work. You can find Jessica on Facebook {here} or on Instagram {here} where you can also see some more of her work and her website is currently under construction. I seriously cannot WAIT to share our new kitchen with you guys!!!!!!!!!!!

I’ve added in some of my kitchen inspo images from Pinterest below for you to check out and pin as much as your heart desires!

1- Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you find your way into Cabinet making?

Growing up I definitely did not think I would have a career in the trades. I always loved art and design as a youth and was working on perfecting my pencil portraiture skills. I was top of my art class and yearbook editor for my high school. I was accepted to a couple university’s where I planned to study Graphic Design. I decided to go to the York/Sheridan design program. I ended up dropping out in the second semester because I realized it just wasn’t for me. This was a super hard part of my life. I felt lost because all I had ever known was art and design and I didn’t think any other career would fulfill my need to create.  I ended up taking a free course at Georgian college about changing careers and found myself intrigued by their cabinetmaking program. I really liked the idea of using my artistic skills to create something functional and beautiful and get to learn how to use power tools! 

2- What is your favourite part about your job?

My favourite part of the job is the start and then the finish. I love getting to a new job with fresh eyes and design a space that is unique and functional. I am always so excited to meet new customers and visualize their new space.  And then the final result – after all the hard work of building and finishing and installing, I get to sit back and look at this masterpiece I have made that my customers will enjoy for decades. It gives me so much joy and it definitely is the driving force that keeps me working so hard.

3- Have you experienced any obstacles in your field? Any specifically because of your gender?

I sometimes think there are more benefits to being a woman in my position. Working as an employee I had a boss that treated me like one of the guys and expected the same type of work out of me as he would my male counterparts. I was never harassed or paid less – although I know many other women in the trades that have faced that kind of treatment. Working for myself I find a lot of my customers like working with me (especially because it’s normally the wives that take charge of the kitchen reno) and are not worried about me skills being subpar because I am a woman. Because , actually, there are a lot of people that see women as more articulate and design conscious and think they pay more attention to detail. Although this isn’t always true, that stereotype works in my favour. 

On the other hand I always get questioned as to why I do the physical labour and don’t hire a (male) cabinetmaker to do it for me. And simple answer is – just think about it – a male cabinetmaker who loves making beautiful things would never be asked that question. You would assume he does the physical labour because he is a cabinetmaker and loves his trade – and that is the same with me. It is very rewarding to build something by hand and I never want to give that up.

4- What is your absolute favourite piece of a kitchen Reno to work on (specific) i.e. (hood range, islands etc)

I really like designing islands! They are my favourite part of the kitchen. I would put one in every kitchen if you can fit it! Islands are the heart of the kitchen where all your prep work and entertaining happen. And I always make sure they are decorative and beautiful!

5- Let’s switch things up, what is your favourite food?

Definitely old cheddar cheese. Oh man I can never pass up a good cheese tray. I could pass up cake any day, but never cheese.

6- Your favourite pass time?

I’m a very social person so I love hanging out with friends any time I’m not working. I also love renovating and decorating my house. I am also obsessed with traveling – I have to hop on a plane every couple months. There is just so much to see in the world! Next place on my list is Greece!

7- Tell us about your family i.e. (husband, 2 dogs)

I met my husband Cody at 19 and married at 20. We knew we were going to get married after one month of dating. He is the only reason I am where I am today and we will be celebrating 6 years of marriage this fall! I followed his entrepreneurial example and with his financial support and motivation I was able to quit my full time job and pursue my business. I love him so much for always supporting me. Cody is by far my favourite human being on this planet- he is currently diving in Honduras with sharks and I am extremely jealous! I miss him so much because we normally never travel alone but I am so swamped with work and I didn’t want him to not go just because I couldn’t go. Together we have 2 German shepherds. A boy named Braun and a girl named Lulu who we affectionately call Lu or Lewis. They are best friends! 

8 – What stands out in your mind in a quality made kitchen

When I walk into a kitchen I always look first at the layout and see if it was done in the best way possible. Next I look at inside of the cabinet – I never judge a box my its cover. Nice doors won’t hide cheap quality boxes or flimsy drawer slides. I always use 3/4″ material and never melamine or particle board. Always think about what’s on the inside! 

9 – What is your favourite colour of kitchens?

I love white kitchens! Simply white by Benjamin Moore has been my most popular colour for a couple years now. But I’m definitely into switching up colours for an island or doing some stained wood pieces to bring some warmth into the space. Greys look great on islands. Try Coventry Grey for a light blue hue that looks great with Marble or white Quartz.

10 – Do you do any cabinet work beyond kitchens?

I do! I can do any sort of cabinetry but my second favourite project to do besides kitchens are wall units. And what’s great is a lot of people have open concept homes where both their living rooms and kitchens are in view of each other. This way you can have matching built in cabinetry around the whole house!

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