Western MA Mid-Century Kitchen Remodel – Remodelista

Western MA Mid-Century Kitchen Remodel – Remodelista

Western Massachusetts Mid-Century Kitchen Remodel 

Remodelista has just closed its entries for professional and amateur design, for its the 2018 Remodelista Considered Design Awards.  I entered my recently completed Kitchen Remodel – the finalists will be announced on July 9th. Cosmo, our greyhound, and I thank you for taking a look!  And to see all the photos, go to my portfolio on this web-site.

To see my entry, click here.

The IFDA EF Valerie Moran Memorial Grant Winner for 2017 – Karen Dzendolet!

The IFDA EF Valerie Moran Memorial Grant Winner for 2017 – Karen Dzendolet!


Frank Lloyd Wright – Martin House Interior – Photo by Biff Henrich – www.darwinmartinhouse.org

I am pleased to announce that I was awarded the 2017 Valerie Moran Memorial Grant, from the Educational Foundation of IFDA:



• Karen Dzendolet, an interior designer in Western Massachusetts, has won the $3,000 Valerie Moran Memorial Grant, enabling her to visit and study major 20th century historic homes in the Northeast. This grant, supported by IFDA’s New York Chapter, is given annually to a design professional and IFDA member seeking enriched experience through educational programs, focused travel or trade-show visits. Dzendolet says this grant will enable her to “maintain my creative inspiration, which comes from understanding the past and experiencing great design and art first-hand.”

I look forward to visiting and writing about historic 20th century properties this year!!

The first visit is to the Gropius House in Lincoln, MA.

Western Mass Chair Designs for IFDA New England’s 2017 Take A Seat – Daily Hampshire Gazette

Western Mass Chair Designs for IFDA New England’s 2017 Take A Seat – Daily Hampshire Gazette

Thanks to the Daily Hampshire Gazette for publishing an article about Johnny Geraghty and me and our participation in IFDA New England’s Take A Seat series of events!  We enjoy collaborating and working with clients, and are proud to be members of IFDA New England and supporting the Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development through the auctioning of our chairs, and other work!

Link to the article on-line – Daily Hampshire Gazette: Take A Seat Article

Johnny’s Grain of Thought Facebook Page

Two area businesses create unique chairs for charity

By Scott Merzback – Staff Writer


Karen Dzendolet of Pelham seated in “Suave Swivel.” Elaine Fredrick—Submitted Photo

  • John Geraghty of Southampton standing behind “Grain of Thought.” Elaine Fredrick—Submitted Photo

Friday, May 26, 2017
Owners of two local businesses have created unique chairs that are part of an auction that will raise money for Boston-based charities.

Karen Dzendolet, principal and owner of KDZ Designs in Pelham, and John Geraghty, founder of Grain of Thought Furniture Design and Woodworks in Southampton, made the pieces for the “Take a Seat” design exhibition.

The exhibition and auction is put on annually by the New England Chapter of the International Furnishings and Design Association and encourages designers, crafstpeople and builders to make what are known as “upcycled, one-of-a-kind chairs”

Geraghty used wood to build what he calls the “Grain of Thought” dining chair, while Dzendolet created the “Suave Swivel” that mimics a vintage 1960s swivel-base chair with updated fabrics.

The gala and auction will be held at Royale Nightclub, 279 Tremont St., Boston, Thursday, June 1st from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.

The proceeds from the auction will benefit Friends of the Children-Boston, the Lyceum Fellowship and the Women’s Institute of Housing and Economic Development.

For more information on “Take a Seat,” go to www.takeaseat.ifdane.com or www.facebook.com/takeaseatifda

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.

IFDA New England’s Take A Seat 2017 – “Suave Swivel” Supporting the Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development

IFDA New England’s Take A Seat 2017 – “Suave Swivel” Supporting the Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development

Join IFDA New England at our Gala, at the Royale on Tremont Street in Boston, on June 1!  Find details and general registration information at the above link.  To bid on any of the 23 chairs, prior to or during the auction, including mine, Suave Swivel, go to this link.

Tyler Campbell, from the Women’s Institute, joining me during IFDA NE’s Take A Seat Chair Photo Shoot



It’s spring in New England, so it’s time for the third annual IFDA New England Take A Seat series of events!  We have 23 chairs this year, to auction to benefit 3 charities!  I up-cycled a 1960s chair that was stored in a basement, and unearthed by The Trading Post in South Amherst, MA. It went from relic to cool retro!  And it absolutely swivels!  My chair’s auction proceeds will go to the Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development – I am honored to represent them with my chair!

“Soave Swivel” transformed…


The chair with its original upholstery.



Style: “Mad Men”Don Draper (Jon Hamm)


I was inspired by men’s suits of the period… and of course, Mad Men!  Fabulous work by my upholsterer, Haviland Justice whose company,  Made:Cozy is in Amherst, MA.

Timely Clothes Ad – 1960https://www.pinterest.com/pin/340795896785235684/ 

Thanks also to Robert Allen and Rachel Koenecke, the Boston Showroom manager, for working with me and supplying my fabric selections:

Back of chair and seat cushion: Wool Suit in Chestnut

Chair interior: Tamacheq in Carob

Lumbar pillow and seat cushion welt: Zelda Stripe in Carob

Hart Schaffner and Marx ad from the 1960s 


Tyler seated!!


IFDA New England is showcasing three wonderful charities this year, including the Women’s Institute, and supporting all three with the proceeds of our auction at the Gala on June 1st, at the Royale in downtown Boston:

The Mission:
To promote economic resilience and stable homes by developing and preserving high quality affordable and supportive housing, with an emphasis on under-served populations.
The Women’s Institute creates quality affordable housing as a developer or developer consultant, and offers over 30 years of experience in all stages of development. They provide a wide range of expertise.
The other two wonderful charities are:
Friends of the Children–Boston is an independent 501c3 nonprofit chapter of a 
nationwide organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of generational poverty 
through salaried, professional mentoring. The original Portland chapter was founded in 1993. 
Our chapter was founded as an independent nonprofit in Boston, Massachusetts, in 2004. 
Learn how our model works and about our history.
The Lyceum Fellowship’s mission is to advance the profession of architecture by engaging students in design and travel. It was established in 1985 to advance the development of the next generation of talent by creating a vehicle for stimulating perceptive reasoning and inspiring creative thought in our field. Through a unique structure of design competition and prizewinning travel grants it seeks to establish a dialogue through design among selected schools of architecture.
How to work with an Interior Designer….

How to work with an Interior Designer….

I am so excited to be hosted by the Women’s Business Owners Alliance of the Pioneer Valley on April 4th, 2017, to talk about interior design and what it’s like to work with an interior designer.

There are so many things to cover, and I touched on a number of areas.

Here’s my presentation!









From IT to ID – My Career Switch to Interior Design

From IT to ID – My Career Switch to Interior Design


Karen Dzendolet talks about lighting in a home she designed in Amherst. Carol Lollis Photo – Gazette

Scott Merzbach interviewed me about my interior design business for the Daily Hampshire Gazette and the article was published on July 24!  The article is also noted below, and Scott kindly referred to me as a software engineer;  alas, I never was that, but instead worked as a product manager and then project leader in software engineering as noted.

Also, here’s the text of the article (below):

From software engineer to interior design for Pelham woman


Staff Writer

Sunday, July 24, 2016 PELHAM — Inside a century-old American Arts and Crafts-style bungalow on Harkness Road, each room is meticulously designed to carry a consistent theme throughout the 4,500-square-foot home. From the picture and crown moldings placed on the walls and ceilings to the light fixtures installed over the dining room table, and from the slab marble used in the bathrooms and the curtains hanging in the windows, the living space is intended to be unified. For interior design consultant Karen Dzendolet, who operates KDZ Designs from her home on Arnold Road, the bungalow marked an accomplishment by achieving what her client requested: a clean, open interior floor plan that combines form and function and uses design concepts of serenity, harmony and rhythm.

“It’s really taking what the client wants for the building I’m working in and filtering that through my own sensibilities,” Dzendolet said. “It was about how to honor the envelope of the 1915 bungalow with a contemporary inside.”

Returning to her hometown from Boston, where she had worked in the computer industry for 15 years, Dzendolet, 58, opened her business in 2009 and has since engaged clients in the Valley in what she views as a collaborative relationship to achieve their desires. “A lot of thoughtful analysis has to happen,” Dzendolet said. “It’s looking at things and taking the client into consideration.”

In the case of the bungalow, completed a few years ago, Dzendolet began her work as soon as homeowner Mollye Lockwood hired Wright Builders of Northampton to handle construction. This allowed Dzendolet to focus on planning space and working closely with the contractor before construction was underway, and meant that her designs would not conflict with the interior work, such as in the master bedroom. In that room, Dzendolet encouraged the builders to narrow the windows so that the bed and end tables would fit on one side. Dzendolet describes her work in homes as being “about flow and finishes and furnishings.” For example, she took the appearance of the prominent columns in the colonnade separating the dining room and living room and carried this throughout the bungalow. The column look is replicated in the main posts of the staircases, and beneath the marble countertop island in the kitchen.

Lockwood said Dzendolet likely saved the project thousands of dollars by working closely with the architect and contractor to track construction plans and manage installations to ensure all complied with the design she wanted. “Karen Dzendolet created space that immediately feels warm, welcoming, and relaxing when you walk onto the property and into the home,” Lockwood said.

A 1976 graduate of Amherst-Regional High School, Dzendolet earned a degree in economics at the University of Massachusetts before working in corporate software engineering, serving as a project manager and leader with Digital and Compaq. At those companies, she learned how to work a schedule and complete projects. “As much as I liked that, it didn’t have a creative component,” Dzendolet said. Married to “Chef Bill” Collins, the couple was living in Beverly when she went back to school and earned a master’s degree in interior design at the New England School of Art and Design at Suffolk University in Boston, in 2006.

With the growing popularity of television programs focused on home design, including several broadcast on cable channel HGTV, Dzendolet said there may be many who think the work of a designer is both quick, and a luxury. Neither is true, she said. “The end result is you’ll get a better product, you will probably save some time and possibly save money, as well,” Dzendolet said. For major projects, like the Pelham bungalow and a new project she is undertaking in North Amherst, where residents are seeking her expertise, she begins by reviewing what she can offer and undertaking an exacting process that begins with a written proposal estimating the time – which ranges from a few hours to months – and cost. Dzendolet said she does have a base hourly rate for her work, but the cost is typically determined in consultation with her clients. “I prefer to talk with each prospective client individually about the costs of my services,” Dzendolet said. She keeps a number of spreadsheets going at one time, with information about each element of a project.

Once she begins, no day will be exactly alike, with some spent examining the spreadsheets and talking to the clients, and others visiting showrooms such as the Boston Design Center, where she is familiar with numerous manufacturers of interior furnishings, or local places like Fly by Night in Northampton. That she has connections in Boston and Western Massachusetts is a hallmark of her business. “I feel I can offer the best of urban offerings with the best of what the Valley has to offer,” Dzendolet said.

Once the installations start, Dzendolet provides oversight so that the contractors installing tiles and marble in bathrooms or putting the cabinets in the kitchen are doing work according to her specifications. As an interior designer, other problems may arise due to structural challenges. For example, the owners of the Pelham bungalow originally wanted ceiling lights in the basement hallway, but that would have meant lowering the ceiling. Instead, Dzendolet suggested wall sconces. “In the case of a project, it’s not so much what problems will come up, it’s how you solve them,” Dzendolet said. “It’s so satisfying to work on a whole house and have the length of time to work with the client to understand their goals,” Dzendolet said.

Though the full home projects are highlights, Dzendolet said she also takes on smaller projects consulting for people simply looking for the right paint colors or fabrics for curtains. She publicizes her business through social media, including writing a blog, and most clients find her through her website, www.kdzdesigns.com/. “I’m just trying to network as much as I can,” Dzendolet said.

Dzendolet is also in her third year as president of the International Furnishings and Design Association’s New England chapter, which keeps her current in designs and connected to the urban area. As part of that role, she completed a chair for its Take-a- Seat project, that helped raise $19,000 for the Women’s Institute for Housing and Economic Development. Dzendolet bought a chair at the Trading Post in Amherst and reupholstered it prior to the auction. Dzendolet said she appreciates that interior design is about making homes better for those who will live in them. “My goal is not to make anyone feel uncomfortable. I’m there to help people get where they want to go,” Dzendolet said.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.