Student Design Symposium 2019

Speakers and Course Details

KEYNOTE 10:00am: Elma Gardner, CMKBD

Elma Garder, CMKBD

Bio: Elma Gardner earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication at Charles Sturt University , NSW, Australia. She received her her Applied Arts degree and Professional Certificate in Interi-or Design from American River College, Sacramento. In 1995 Elma became a National Kitchen and Bath Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD), a Certified Bath Designer (CBD) in 2004 and a Certified Interior Designer (CID) in 2006. In 2009 Elma earned her Certified Master Kitchen & Bath Designer (CMKBD) designation, achieving the highest certification available through the NKBA.

As the inspiration behind the award winning firm, By Design Studio, Inc owner and principal designer, Elma brings more than 20 years of design experience and industry expertise to every project. Focused exclusively on residential design, Elma works closely with every client on space planning, interior design specification and exterior architectural detailing for both new construc-tion and remodel projects, collaborating with architects, contractors and developers on all aspects of the design & construction process.

Elma was awarded the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s First Place for Large Kitchen’s & Best Overall Kitchen in 2017 at KBIS in Orlando.

11:00am Breakouts

Speaker: Janis Manacsa
Topic: Power of Effective Communication in Design

Janis Manacsa

Bio: Janis is an award-winning designer currently at the Gilman’s Kitchen+Bath Mountain View location who leverages her passion for design with a keen sense of creativity that allows her to consistently exceed her client’s expectations. Taking a personal approach to her design projects, Janis works with each client to bridge form with functionality and beauty. Having adopted a personal mantra from the quote, “Design is an opportunity to continue telling the story” by Tate Linden, Janis creates designs that are a true reflection of each client’s personal story and lifestyle. Growing up in Japan and having traveled to multiple cities across the globe, Janis has been exposed to different cultures and appreciates a variety of design aesthetics and philosophies.

Topic Description: Understand the value of effective communication in order to maintain client satisfaction from conception to completion. Tips and tools to increase client engagement, gain trust, and build a reputation worth following.

Speakers: Doug Mszanowski and Kai Jensen
Topic: What the Project Manager Expects from the Designer

Doug Mszanowski

Bio: Doug and Kai have each worked in construction and later as Project Managers for prominent design/build firms throughout the Bay Area, and have decades of experience to share with student designers. Doug is currently with Case Remodeling in San Jose, and Kai is with Harrell Remodeling. and

Kai Jensen

Topic Description: An interactive and informative talk will present the expectation from the perspective of the Project Manager with respect to the Designer(s), required information for a Permit set of plans, required information for the build plan set, and the information the carpenter needs to accurately build the Designers ideas. Q&A is encouraged.

1:00pm Breakouts

Speaker: Therese Lahaie
Topic: Lighting Color Quality Essentials for Designers

Therese Lahaie

Bio: Therese Lahaie is a lightologist. As a practitioner of light, Therese has presented her AIA and IDCEC approved “Innovators in LED Lighting” trainings to more than 3000 design professionals. Her educational product demonstrations capture the attention of designers in an era of information overload.

Therese managed custom lighting for companies including Translite Sonoma, Philips, Lightolier and Morrison Lighting, and uses LED lighting in her public art projects. As a result, she learned first-hand of many of the technical challenges and issues with the new technology. Her passion for light led her to form Apparatus Design.

Today, Therese is an independent consultant who connects lighting designers and manufacturers with LED lighting solutions. In addition to her Lunch and Learn trainings, Therese serves as program advisor for the light and architecture conference Lightspace California, juror for the architectural lighting competition 40under40 North America, and is co-instructor for a new AIA Lighting Layers class.

Therese also has an active career as an artist working in the medium of light. Some of her projects include the public art installation Crossing Signal Mosaic, and sculptural pieces in the permanent collections of the Crocker Art Museum and the DiRosa Collection in California, the Corning Museum of Glass Contemporary Collection in New York, and the Glasmuseet Ebeltoft in Denmark.

Learn more at and

Topic Description: It doesn’t matter how much money your clients invest in wood furniture, walls and floors or saturated colored fabrics and finishes. If those wavelengths of color are not in the light source, you will not be able to render the richness of the finishes.
In this class we will review how quality of light in LED Lighting is defined by knowledge of color temperature, and color rendering, and how this knowledge is essential for a successful final design project. We will use slides, and product demonstrations to show how finishes are impacted by color temperature, and color rendering index. Please bring sample boards with saturated colored finishes to use for our demonstrations.

We will also demonstrate the benefits of color-tunable LED lighting for office, school, retail, and hospitality application and how color tunable light mimics our favorite lightsource daylight. The class will end with a discussion of why California is the only state in the country with a 90 CRI minimum for residential applications.

Class is 50 minutes long including 10 minutes for questions & responses.

Speaker: Joe Cain
Topic: Designing with Metal

Joe Cain

Bio: Joe Cain has been President of Mio Metals for 15 years and has worked on projects for luxury homes, restaurants and other venues all across the country. Mio Metals produces hundreds of custom range hoods, countertops and other metal items each year. With an eye on sustainability, Mr. Cain works with designers to make their visions a reality within the boundaries of budget, capabilities and timing. He has spoken numerous times at KBIS and presented webinars for the NKBA.

Topic Description: Learn how to make a project pop with metal. From raw materials to finishes, construction methods and finished products, this course will cover the basics you need to incorporate metal into kitchen design or to design custom items. Includes a special focus on copper, brass and zinc with many photos and samples.

2:00pm Breakouts

Speaker: Martin Vavuris
Topic: Kitchen and Bath Storage Options

Martin Vavuris

Bio: Martin Vavuris, a native of Palo Alto, became a woodworker directly out of high school. After more than 30 years as a cabinet-maker he moved to a new career with the largest distributor of cabinet hardware in California. His 9 years at Charles McMurray Company have kept him at the forefront of innovation in the cabinet and woodworking industries.

Topic Description: Martin will be discussing trends in storage requests, what is popular kitchen and bath storage, why a designer may choose one type of storage over another in a given space, and new items coming in from major manufacturers Rev-A-Shelf and Kessebohmer. Students will be able to leave with catalogs from each company.

Speaker: Anna Cronin
Topic: Sustainable Kitchen and Bath Design

Anna Cronin

Bio: Since 2004, Anna has been working as an independent designer in the San Francisco Bay Area. She had been educated and trained at the University of Denver and later teaching high school students in art and other programs. She graduated Canada College in 2003, and during her schooling attended numerous classes and seminars on sustainable design. Anna was also an instructor at Canada College until 2011, teaching a course in sustainable design.

Topic Description: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle are the tenets of sustainable design. We will be looking at kitchen and bath projects where green design concepts were implemented. By practicing sustainable design we can reduce our carbon footprint and global warming.