Our Home Remodeling Design Team
Kim James, Design Team Manager
Kim joined Sun Design in 2014 after a diverse career in sales, marketing and education. She is also a former NFL cheerleader, a motivational speaker and author. As design team manager, she is responsible for coordinating the company’s design process to keep projects on schedule and help communicate client needs to the design team. Before joining Sun Design, Kim was director of sales for Capital Yacht Charters in Washington, D.C. where she handled private charters and public ticketed events and trained and supervised the sales staff. She is founder and former president of the Dream in Color Foundation where she handled scholarships, proposal writing, fundraising and supervision of staff. She was assistant director of Grasshopper Green School in Annandale, VA, a theater arts teacher, a varsity dance team director and a life coach. Kim earned a BA in speech communication and theater arts with honors from Hampton University in Hampton, VA, and participated in the extended studies program in secondary education at George Mason University.
She chose to join Sun Design because, “As the design team manager who does not come from a design/build background, this role allows me to utilize my life coaching background to build relationships with the Sun Design team; doing my part in nurturing a work culture that inspires creativity and stimulates “Next Level Thinking”. I also consider it an honor to be a part of a team that exemplifies the qualities that I most value in my personal life “Truth, Fun and Charity”!
She adds, “I am a former dancer and NFL Cheerleader. I’m too old for that now, but once good music starts playing, I find it hard to sit still! I don’t get to do it nearly enough.”
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 wood working 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.”
Katelyn Coram, Designer
Katie joined Sun Design in 2014, bringing over a decade of experience in the Interior Design industry. She is accomplished at recognizing her client’s vision, and prides herself in her ability to deliver innovative, creative design solutions. Inspired by her background in fine arts, Katie enjoys crafting eclectic, collected interior spaces with an emphasis on architectural form, color, and detailing. Katie received her BFA in Interior Design from the Art Institute of Washington. She is an active member of the Washington, DC Chapter of ASID, and also received the Washingtonian Award for Leadership in multiple community volunteer design projects.
Katie says, “I have been working in the remodeling industry since I was a teenager and I have heard nothing but great things about Sun Design! I am so lucky to be a part of a team that works hard, plays hard, values integrity and treats each other like family.”
You can usually find Katie out meeting new people at networking events, trying out a new brunch spot, or at the gym lifting very heavy things.
John Benedetto, Designer
John brings to Sun Design over 15 years of experience designing residential additions and custom homes. Prior to joining Sun Design, he ran an architectural design and drafting business for almost a decade, through which he has designed over 100 successful residential projects in the DC Metro Area. At Sun Design, his focus is shifting to the more detailed aspects of remodeling and interior design.
John enjoys finding creative solutions to design obstacles and strives to bring clients’ dreams into reality. He considers his role as a designer an opportunity to learn about people’s individual needs, and to help improve their lives.
“I see design as a service to help others improve their quality of life.” John says. “Sun Design has such a great sense of comradery and friendship. I am excited and grateful to be part of this awesome team, and I look forward to growing with them.”
In his spare time John can be found cooking, enjoying photography, and spending time with his four children.
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.
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.
Maggie Bailey, Specialty Designer
Maggie joined Sun Design in 2013 as a Design Intern and member of the design team. Prior to joining the team, 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, 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 Hutchinson, Specialty Designer
Morgan joined Sun Design in 2014 as a Specialty Designer and member of the design team. 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.
Jenny Somers, Specialty Designer
Jenny joined Sun Design as a Specialty Designer. Prior to joining the Sun Design team, Jenny served as a Design Assistant at Bartolomei & Company, an Interior Design firm in Georgetown. She brings with her several years of design experience and her love for creating luxury oasis’s in clients’ homes.
Jenny says, “I have learned a lot already at Sun Design – that is my favorite part. Everyone here excels in their field and care about the work we’re doing.”
She received her Associates in Interior Design from Northern Virginia Community College, making design her second successful life-career. Outside of work she enjoys restoring furniture, acrylic painting, and spending time with family and friends.
Pamela Barrientos, Specialty Designer
Pamela brings to Sun Design 11 years of experience in residential design, specializing in Kitchen and Bath for more than five of those years. She has been one of the top designers in the market for Home Depot and Lowes (Ranking #1 in sales as a designer for Home Depot and amongst the top 10 in the region in Lowes Kitchen Designers,) bringing exceptional talent to the team.
“Since joining Sun Design, I’ve learned many new things – I love it! Everyone here is friendly and team oriented, and the company supports my personal growth.”
She studied Architecture and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design from the Architecture School at Universidad Mayor de San Simon in Bolivia. She is a proud mother of two daughters, and enjoys spending time with her family and friends. Outside of work she loves traveling and exploring new places.
Ann Wu, Design Assistant
Ann joined Sun Design as a Design Assistant, bringing with her over 12 years of experience in residential design. Working out of our McLean Office, she sought a career which could maximize her potential in space planning and accessible design.
Ann received her Master’s Degree from the University of Oregon in Interior Architecture, having studied Architecture and Economics for undergraduate. In addition, Ann is an NCIDQ Certified Interior Designer, skilled in AutoCAD, 3D Modeling, and Photoshop. She was selected as one among 8 individuals to review and rate cut scores for the NCIDQ (National Council for Interior Design Qualification) tests in 2016.
“I love the family friendly environment Sun Design provides, “Ann said. “I have learned a lot already from the design team approach and am excited for what more’s to come!”
Outside of work Ann enjoys teaching and coaching the younger generation through church and school involvement. She also enjoys cleaning, organizing, and spending time with her family.
As a CAD Designer their goal is to achieve or surpass the target to begin design production, which includes checking drawings for accuracy, consistency and clarity. The CAD Design Department is accountable to the Design Team Manager 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 CAD Design Department continually improves and maintains Sun Design drawing standards.
Joe Barnard, CAD Designer
Joe brings to Sun Design over twenty-seven years of experience in CAD design and over twenty years of experience in construction. 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 professionally grow. Joe received his Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from Pensacola Christian College.
“I like living spaces, and professionally helping others remodel theirs. Sun Design does an amazing job and has fun with it,” Joe says. “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.”
Outside of work you can find Joe engaging in fitness and sports; anything from roller hockey to cycling.
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The beauty of working with a design-build firm is the ability to customize each home to family needs. When this Clifton family came to Sun Design seeking a basement remodel they had very specific requirements for their space. When they met with us they shared that they were going to be installing a swimming pool…
”About 5 years ago, you added a sunroom to our home. You were the only company that we could find who could produce the room we wanted.”Bill and Marion