2020 Design Hall of Fame: Kathy Israel

Kathy Israel,

Owner of Accent on Cabinets

Kathy mixes 25 years of kitchen and bath design experience along with an expert intuition to create award-winning kitchens and baths throughout the United States. Using ingenious solutions to make dreams become reality for her customers’ homes, Kathy focuses on each client and project from concept to completion. Kathy strives to use products that are manufactured in the USA, and she believes that low-carbon footprints are vital to our future.

Photography by Megan Lorenz


SLHL: Where is a place in St. Louis that inspires you?

Kathy: St. Louis has so much history and architectural inspiration, it is hard to pinpoint one place. During the 1904 world’s fair, St. Louis was the 4th largest city in the country! Just walk around Forest Part, Union Station, Tower Grove, etc. As a designer, I can find so many different eras to be inspired by; I usually gravitate to what I am working on at the time, and I do not have to look too far to find inspiration in St. Louis because it is everywhere!

SLHL: How has the industry evolved recently?

Kathy: Now more than ever, it is important that we love the place that we live! People are having to be creative with the space they have. Our home is more than a home; it is a school, office, patient’s office visit for zoom appointments and world headquarters! Because we need to eat, the kitchen is a core space of gathering and feeding our body and soul. We spend countless hours in our homes and especially our kitchens. We need spaces that are multi-functional and purposeful to meet our everyday needs.

What advice would you give to someone just starting their career in the design world? Kathy: Be patient! Rome was not built in a day! I think every new designer wants to go out and make their mark, and rightfully so. To make it a long-term career, you need to enjoy the process and be flexible to change. I try to go by the 3 “L” philosophy. Listen, learn and love. Listen to your clients and mentors, learn from your mistakes and from others, love the people you meet along the way.

Pro Tip: Your whole house should feel harmonious. Do not try to force something. Usually, when you try to force something, you end up spending more time and money to change that look.