Artistic Flair Meets Practical Kitchen Design

Our Beloved Kitchens Plus Designer Sarah MacIntyre Recently Featured!

Meet Sarah MacIntyre, a passionate Mantra Kitchen Designer based in the vibrant city of San Diego. With a profound love for the arts and a keen eye for home renovation, Sarah has seamlessly woven her creative spirit into the realm of kitchen design. Her enthusiasm for transforming spaces is evident in the projects she undertakes, where every detail is meticulously curated to reflect her client’s vision. Whether it’s revamping a cozy corner or completely reinventing a culinary haven, Sarah brings her unique blend of artistic flair and practical expertise to each endeavor. Join us on a journey through the lens of Sarah’s design perspective for a recent project she completed using Mantra Cabinetry.

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from, family, hobbies, anything you’d like to share!

I come from a very large family based in Colorado, filled with a wide variety of big personalities and a surprising amount of creative professionals. Being raised to be extremely independent, we all have different interests and live all over the US as well as internationally. My design work has been partly influenced by my family, with careers including photography, furniture design, wood working, metal work, glass work, and the business-side of the home décor and furniture industry.

I received my Bachelor of Arts in Missouri, where I had the great opportunity to play around with varying mediums like oil painting, pottery, jewelry design, photography, graphic design, print-making, and some very fun scuba adventures that fed my love for the ocean. My path led me to San Diego, where I have lived for nine years and started my career and life with my husband and our two dogs. In my free time, we love taking boat rides, relaxing with family, traveling when we can, having fun experimenting with my art, and I’m a major sucker for a vineyard. We have a love/hate relationship with remodeling the home we bought two years ago, and as any homeowners know, it is an endless stream of projects. Getting to put our personal style into the home is so rewarding, and gives me an opportunity to test out design elements that I don’t always have the opportunity to do with my clients.

How long have you been a designer? How long have you been designing with Mantra?
I have been a kitchen and bath designer for almost five years, and have been designing with Mantra since 2020.

What are some of your favorite features of Mantra?
By sticking to the basics and keeping low lead times, Mantra has allowed us to fulfill the needs of many different clients whose projects required more of their budget to be allocated to construction. I also really appreciate that the brand takes current trends into consideration when expanding the color palette.

Finish Names Left to Right : Snow, Graphite, Beachwood, Mineral, and Admiral all on the Omni Doorstyle.

We really loved how you made the Mantra Cabinets look so high-end! Can you tell me more about this design? What did the client want to achieve in this space that she didn’t have previously?
First of all, thank you! This client wanted to open the kitchen to the living and dining rooms to make sure they can keep their toddler within eyesight while working in the kitchen. Adding in as much countertop space as possible so that she can bake, and have seating at the island were must-haves as well. They were extremely easy clients to work with and like most, just wanted a better use of the space overall.

The previous kitchen was completely walled in and cut off from the main living areas. They now have three access points to the kitchen and easy walkways from the front bedrooms to the back bedrooms.

Taking out a structural wall left us with a necessary post. Integrating it into the island and building the cabinets around it allowed for the island to stretch to the edges of the space and eliminate the need for extra flooring transitions.

Before Images

Do you have any design tips or tricks that you’d like to share?
Seeing a layout from a bird’s eye view in our design program is where most of my layout problems are solved. Don’t be afraid to close a window or doorway and open one in another spot if the current layout is prohibiting the design from making sense. The beauty of using an online program is that it allows me to play around with my ideas and see what feels right before presenting my ideas to clients. Having a program that integrates with our cabinet lines is such a time saver as well as a peace of mind that what we are designing, is actually available to order.

Mantra’s website has an interactive Kitchen Visualizer Tool that we highly recommend navigating during your research phase. Experimenting with cabinet color, room materials, and layouts gives a 3-D perspective to anyone who needs that extra visual aid.

What are some of the biggest design challenges you have faced?
My biggest design challenges are also my favorite – reconfiguring a space when the flow doesn’t work for my clients is a fun puzzle to work out. I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to move entire kitchens to other rooms in clients’ homes, reverse the master-suite layout in a 1920s home that opened into the middle of a kitchen, build pantries into unused bay window corners, and in most projects the need to maximize storage and function within the existing space is a high priority.

In this particular home renovation, Sarah used Mantra’s Omni door style with a Painted Mineral finish name combination. This classic shaker’s timeless simplicity and clean lines make it a versatile and enduring choice, seamlessly complementing any space with its understated elegance while providing a canvas for a variety of design styles. The Mineral finish is a mid-tone gray and is popular in kitchen designs for its ability to strike a perfect balance, offering a modern and sophisticated aesthetic while simultaneously concealing everyday wear and tear, making it a practical and stylish choice for a timeless kitchen.

For homeowners wanting to start a project of their own, what steps should they consider?
For a homeowner, finding the right contractor and designer for your project is number one. I am extremely blessed to work at a Design/Build company that has designers, like myself, on staff and has built an exceptional reputation in San Diego with 37 years in the business. When starting a kitchen renovation, a wishlist vs must-haves is important to establish the priorities of each client. Compiling a collection of images is also very helpful for us to get on the same page with the design.

When making our material selections, we will either start with the cabinetry or the flooring, then move on to countertops, tile, and finishing touches. Most clients have a good idea of what they envision for their space but often surprise themselves by selecting materials they didn’t expect to like until they see them in person. Seeing physical samples of all material selections and full slabs of stone is vital for this reason. When it comes to kitchen layouts, I will typically draft two floorplans. One that is based on the ideas that the client had in mind, and a bonus one with a layout they may have never considered possible. The end result is usually a collaboration of both the designer’s and the homeowner’s vision.

We also urge our clients to prepare a space in the home as a temporary kitchen while the remodel is in progress to help maintain sanity and some routine. Remodeling is a moving target and while some clients have completed one before, most will be experiencing major construction for the first time. We do our best to communicate what to expect throughout the process and always check in with the client to make sure that the work being done is something that they will love for decades to come.

Artistic Flair Meets Practical Kitchen Design