Our Home Remodeling Design Team
Jennifer Callanan, Director of Design
Jennifer joined the Sun Design family in September of 2020. She is a Licensed Architect in DE, MD & VA and has acquired extensive experience in residential architecture, production homebuilding, and design-build business models. As our Director of Design, Jennifer is responsible for maintaining design standards while keeping projects on schedule to create a “wow” experience for our clients. Further, she creates a collaborative and harmonious environment within the department to ensure target volumes are met. Jennifer is eager to build mutually beneficial relationships with Sun Design’s clients and internal team members.
Jennifer earned her Bachelor of Architecture and BS in Environmental Design from North Dakota State University. She is both NCARB (National Council of Architectural Registration Boards) certified and a member of American Institute of Architects (AIA). Her experience within her field ranges from owning and operating her own residential design & consulting incorporation, to being the Director of Studio Operations at Bowers Design Build in McLean, VA. She brings over 30 years of experience, in multiple capacities within the industry, and as such is skilled in all phases of design.
When asked how she views her role at Sun, Jennifer answered: “My job is to listen. I ensure we hear our client’s needs and desires, explain the Sun Design process…and guarantee fairness and honesty in all my interactions.” In her free time, Jennifer enjoys baking, cooking, and discovering new music of all genres.
Lead Designers are accountable to the Design Team Manager for interpreting and fulfilling the design vision of our client and working cooperatively with both our sales and production teams to ensure that vision is accomplished from concept to completion. A Lead Designer is to obtain complete understanding of the scope of work, budget, design concept and clients’ expectations. Additional responsibilities include coordination and management of comprehensive project schedules within design, between departments and with our client. The purpose of these meetings are to brainstorm and design preliminary sketches for discussion to ultimately get to refinement of the design concept, preparation of plans, elevations and renderings as necessary for presentation to our client.
Jon Benson, Designer
Jon joined Sun Design in 2012 and has spent 21 years in the remodeling and construction industry. Before joining Sun Design, he was a kitchen and bath designer for The Kitchen Guild where he was in sales, design and project management. He was the company’s top designer in sales volume. Before that, Jon had his own kitchen design and construction firm – Benson Fine Woodcrafting – and sold kitchens and built-in cabinets directly to homeowners.
At Sun Design he is responsible for presenting innovative designs that exceed our clients’ expectations, but also staying current on industry trends, building codes, products, and practices. Jon is a recognized expert in woodworking – the author of a book called Transforming Your Kitchen with Stock Cabinetry: Design, Select and Install for a Custom Look at the Right Price, and two other books on woodworking. He has published dozens of magazine articles on woodworking and conducted woodworking seminars as well as college courses throughout the country. Jon has won six design awards. He has a Master’s of Fine Arts Degree in Furniture Design from Rhode Island School of Design and a Bachelor of Arts in Art and Design from Iowa State University.
He says, “When I was looking around for a new position, I started by looking at companies that I would want to work for rather than just looking for openings. I came across Sun Design and I was impressed with the projects that were on the website. The ‘Best Companies to Work For in Virginia’ award was also very important. As I learned more about the position it seemed like a great opportunity for me to utilize my skills and continue to grow and do interesting work.”
In his spare time, Jon is still an avid woodworker. “I have a shop at my home where I build furniture and wood sculpture in my spare time. I also continue to do some writing and teaching related to woodworking and furniture design and I enjoy spending time with my wife and two daughters.”
Ericka Williams, Designer
Ericka joined Sun Design in 2015, bringing almost a decade’s worth of experience in residential design and remodeling from her personal design business – G. Street Interiors, Inc.
A graduate of the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale’s School of Interior Design, Ericka excels in space planning and problem solving, helping clients design spaces that accommodate their lifestyle needs with the goal of exceeding their expectations.
She says, “I was attracted to Sun Design primarily because when asked, employees’ comments about the company’s culture were consistently positive, and also because I love renovation and remodeling – taking what’s existing and creating a completely new, beautiful and functional space.”
She adds, “When I’m not designing, I enjoy exercising, wine tastings, and spending time with my cool kids.”
Chris Donaghy, Designer
Chris brings to Sun Design 24 years of upscale kitchen and bath experience. Earning his MBA from James Madison University, Chris specializes in both commercial and residential remodeling and stays current on the latest trends, particularly for the innovative cooks of the home. Chris has appeared on numerous segments of HGTV and is quoted regularly in newspapers and design/home magazines such as The Washington Post and Kitchen and Bath Design News.
As a Designer Chris works with clients to understand the scope of their project, their design ideas, and budget expectations. He prepares visual aids for review with the client, helping refine their design concept for their desired objectives and ultimately construction plan sets for the project to be built from.
“It is a dream to come to work each day knowing I work with such supportive people, and we all serve as sounding boards for each other.” Chris says. “The most important thing I heard during my discussions with Sun was “we strive for life balance.” That is a rare thing to hear in the construction industry and is a balm to my soul.”
Chris and his family have found a haven of “the quiet wild” along the Potomac River in Mason Neck. He enjoys kayaking, golf, skiing of all types, reading, cooking, and supporting his community outside of work.
Maggie Wills, Designer
Maggie joined Sun Design in 2013 as a Design Intern and quickly has moved up the ladder as a Lead Designer. She has been a part of multiple award-winning projects that vary from interior remodeling projects to outdoor living spaces. Prior to coming on board, Maggie was a junior designer for Houseworks Interiors in Alexandria, VA as well as JR Design Coordinates in Pennsylvania. Maggie received her Master of Interior Architecture & Interior Design from Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, earned her LEED Green Associates certification, is NCIDQ certified and studied abroad in London, England.
Maggie says, “What really drew me to Sun Design was the team approach. At the end of the day, the client really is getting exposed to a lot of expertise from so many talents within our staff, it is extremely gratifying to know that I am a part of it.”
Maggie loves to bake, and her office mates loves that she loves to bake.
Morgan Arehart, Designer
Morgan joined Sun Design in 2014 as a Specialty Designer and since then has been promoted to a Lead Designer, participating in 8 award-winning projects. Prior to joining the Sun Design team, Morgan was an intern at Margaret Carter Interiors working as a Design Assistant. Morgan attended Florida State University where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree. While in school Morgan was on the Dean’s List and she was a student member of a number of Interior Design Student Organization.
Morgan says, “I enjoy working at Sun Design because of their loyalty to customer satisfaction. We exist for the customer, and at the end of the day, the quality of what we produced is measured by their satisfaction. This has always been highly important to me, and it’s great to be a part of a company that thinks so too.”
Being new to the area, she enjoys exploring DC, Northern Virginia and Maryland. Trying new restaurants, visiting museums, and discovering new towns have been joyful adventures. In her spare time Morgan likes spending time with friends around the pool or catching up on a good TV show.
Christine Done, Designer
Christine came to Sun Design in July of 2019, following her years designing at multiple architecture firms across the nation, from Rochester, NY to Laguna Hills, CA. Most recently, she was the Lead Architectural Designer at Melton Design Build, in Colorado. Her unique skills and experience as an Architectural Designer allow Christine to support our clients while they define their home remodeling goals. She maintains each client’s project schedules while in the design phase, and brainstorms ideas with them based on her drawings and concepts. One of Christine’s top priorities is to remain within the client’s scope and budget throughout every phase of the remodel, while also creating a space unique to them.
When asked about her role at Sun Design, Christine said: “I just love helping people’s dreams come true.”
Christine attended Golden West College, where she was certified in Architectural Technology. She was also a student at the Construction Specifications Institute and left with her certification in Construction Documents Technology. She enjoys creating opportunities for fun around the studio and is always there for her Sun family with a pie and a smile. In her spare time, Christine loves to cook, read, and spend time with her husband.
Specialty Designers are responsible for working closely with clients, guiding them through the selections process. Working with the Lead Designers, vendors and Design Consultants, the Specialty Designer makes sure that all finishes and fixtures adhere to the design program, budget and project time frame. They also oversee the design studios, keeping all samples and product information up to date and organized. In addition, Specialty Designers create design boards and other visual tools that help clients understand and visualize all of the elements of their remodel before a project begins.
Jenny Maceira, Interior Designer
Jenny joined Sun Design in 2016 and works with us as an Interior Designer. She has over seven years of experience working closely with people in Northern Virginia and DC, to make their dream homes a reality. Her projects include everything from a small kitchen pull and replace, to a whole house remodel with multilevel additions; all the while improving the function of the space and adding value to each home. Jenny seeks to understand each of our client’s unique tastes and styles to come up with design solutions that fit their individual needs. She does this by working very closely with our client’s, using patience and a trained sense of space, to steer them toward the selections that are consistent with their vision.
Prior to joining the Sun Design team, Jenny served as a Design Assistant at Bartolomei & Company, an Interior Design firm in Georgetown. She received her Associates in Interior Design from Northern Virginia Community College, making design her second successful life-career. As well, she has been an instrumental team member on several of Sun Design’s award-wining projects. Outside of work, Jenny enjoys restoring furniture, acrylic painting, and spending time with family and friends.
When asked why she chose Sun Design Jenny said, “Sun Design is my work family. Every unique personality here adds to the joy and pride that I have in my job. The atmosphere here is one of fun, mixed with professionalism and integrity. For these reasons, my desire to go above and beyond starts with the clients and carries over to my fellow Sun Design employees.”
Julia Ripple, Interior Designer
Julia began working for Sun Design in the summer of 2019 as one of our Interior Designers. Her role involves working closely with our clients to help them choose their final selections, specifically within their kitchen and bathroom remodels. Her trained eye for detail and aesthetic makes Julia an essential part of the design process. Our clients are given the full-service treatment and are always assisted in these decisions that range from which walls to tear down, to selecting the finishing details!
Julia brings with her to Sun Design over four years of experience as an Interior Designer. She worked with Daltile Design Studio and Bath Plus Kitchen as a Design Consultant, and earned her Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. When asked why she chose Sun Design, Julia said, “Sun Design offers a sense of community and teamwork, knowing that the company is filled with genuine people who want you to succeed. The projects excite me and challenge me to be a better designer and progress my personal growth.”
Julia says that honesty, hard work, self-growth, and teamwork are the values that drive her to be successful and give our clients the best she has to offer! During her time at Daltile, Julia was able to build a home with Habitat for Humanity, which she also found to be very rewarding work. In her free time, Julia enjoys going hiking with her husband and their dog Buddy, as well as checking out the local cuisine and working on her DIY projects at home.
Nicolette Drescher, Design Associate
Nicolette joined the Sun Design team in January of 2018, as a Design Associate, where she supports our Design Team in their work by making sure everything is running smoothly behind the scenes. Nicolette’s role is to provide effective assistance with presentations of residential design concepts, while incorporating each client’s requirements, to exceed their very own remodeling objectives. Further, Nicolette organizes, prepares, distributes and files materials and data to help establish and maintain efficient communication within the design department. Nicolette’s ability to multi-task seamlessly creates an ease throughout the Design Team to make sure that everyone has what they need; therefore, guaranteeing client satisfaction!
Nicolette has a degree from Virginia Tech in the field of Residential Environments and Design, which is an accredited program with the NKBA. She holds integrity, honesty, and respect to be the driving values that she seeks to utilize every day at Sun Design.
“I chose Sun Design for multiple reasons. One being that I saw the opportunity for professional growth in the field of design; they encourage their employees to never stop growing and continuing to learn. Another reason was because they are a family-oriented company, and by that I mean, there are many events which feel like family events such as: happy hours, picnics, parties, etc. These allow us to connect and bond outside of the workplace. I also wanted to be closer to home, which this allowed me to do.”
In her spare time, Nicolette loves to play soccer, and enjoys spending quality time with her husband, son, and dog.
As an Architectural Designer their goal is to achieve or surpass the target to begin design production, which includes checking drawings for accuracy, consistency and clarity. The Architectural Design Department is accountable to the Director of Design for supporting the Lead Designers in assisting in due diligence and documentation of all existing conditions through site measure and preparation of as-built drawings. This includes preparing plans for RFP (request for pricing), Trades Walk, Estimate Review, and Contract and Permit submission. In addition, the Architectural Design Department continually improves and maintains Sun Design drawing standards.
Phil Bentley, Senior Architectural Designer
Phil joined Sun Design in 2017. As a Senior Architectural Designer he brings with him over 15 years of experience designing high end residential remodeling projects. He uses his structural and architectural knowledge to create detailed 3D renderings that we can use in multiple different ways. He takes time to understand each of our client’s visions and then brings them to life.
Phil received his Master’s in Architecture from Tulane University, where his drive and passion for architecture truly started. He sees each and every project as if they were his own home, and said, “each home is a spiritual space for someone and therefore I try to approach each project as if I am working on something sacrosanct.” At Sun Design, Phil specializes in the more detailed aspects of remodeling by combining creative solutions for your home through 3D renderings and plan sets.
Phil says, “I create an instruction manual to execute the dream.” In his spare time Phil enjoys travelling, running and yoga.
Joe Barnard, Senior Architectural Designer
Joe joined Sun Design in 2016, as a CAD Designer and has since grown into one of Sun Design’s Senior Architectural Designers. As a Senior Architectural Designer, Joe enables our clients to visualize all of the details of their design by developing accurate “before and after” renderings of their project, both 2D and 3D, using Chief Architect software. This process involves many moving parts, such as producing complete and precise construction plan sets, using Chief Architect software, to meet project-specific milestones and deadlines, coordinating with geo-tech and structural engineers as required per project, performing project-specific due diligence research, and more.
Joe’s twenty-seven years of experience in CAD design and over twenty years of experience in construction have him well-fitted for the role. His central focus has been on structural design and timber framing. Having said that, he is always looking for new creative work to expand his artsy side and grow professionally. Joe received his Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from Pensacola Christian College.
When asked why he chose Sun Design Joe said, “I like living spaces, and professionally helping others remodel theirs. Sun Design does an amazing job and has fun with it. There’s a lot of compassion about our work, and it’s exciting to not only do my job but to learn new skills and contribute to a great team.”
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