Fulbright Scholar and Haas School of Business MBA Kevin Casey is founder and CEO of New Avenue Inc. (newavenuehomes.com). New Avenue is a free software service that provides the best design/build experience to any homeowner starting a major home improvement or construction project. New Avenue’s mission is to make every existing home more dynamic, more valuable, and more sustainable. It focuses specifically on the changing needs of baby boomers and millennials. New Avenue software keeps homeowner, architect, and contractor all on the same page—literally—with its online project management tools and master planning page.
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Garden designer/author, Lila B. Design, San Francisco, California lilabdesign.com
Based in San Francisco, Baylor Chapman is an innovative creator of living botanical art. She designs one-of-a-kind arrangements for homes, hospitality settings, photography studios, and special celebrations. A childhood spent on a farm and years working on an eco-friendly estate have lent a natural edge to her design aesthetics. It is those, together with Chapman’s personal approach and relaxed formality, that have yielded clients from many sectors. One of note: a major international hotel chain sought her out to collaborate on their worldwide botanical strategy.
Chapman is the author of The Plant Recipe Book, which features more than 100 lush photographs of creations similar to those she made for Lila B., her green-certified, flower- and container-garden design business founded in 2007. Chapman’s work has appeared in Sunset and Better Homes and Gardens. She has been a guest on PBS’ Growing a Greener World and a DIY expert on HGTV’s online network, and she speaks nationally on how to beautify the home with what she calls “living centerpieces”. She can often be found gardening and creating in the urban-industrial neighborhood where her growing grounds and studio reside.
It would be no stretch of the imagination to say that Jonas DiCaprio was raised in residential design and development. His parents owned a design, build, and development firm long before it was a common thing in the industry. They built well-appointed, but modestly priced homes in the Minneapolis suburbs. DiCaprio grew up on these jobsites and was at first babysat and later mentored by these trades so it was natural that he would pursue a career in architecture.
After attending Boston Architectural College in Massachusetts, he focused on historic preservation work in both Boston and on the small island of Nantucket. Designing and working on homes from the 1700’s and 1800’s taught him about true craft and how design should be of its time. To DiCaprio, the relationship between architecture and construction seemed obvious, but he wasn’t seeing that same connection in the architectural firms he was working for, so in 2009, at the very height of the recession, Jonas broke out on his own to start Design Platform. What began very modestly as a way to bridge the two professions has become in five years a 22-person firm doing nationally recognized residential and commercial projects. Design Platform’s focus is modern architecture, construction, and fabrication.
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Founder and Creative Director, Elsie Green Concord, California elsiegreen.com
It’s Laurie Furber’s job—and passion—to look for ideas, inspiration, and products to make America beautifully green, one house at a time. Furber’s lifelong love of home décor, great design, and art has translated into a rewarding career in home furnishings. After spending 12 years running the mail-order division for Pottery Barn, she launched her own sustainable brand, Greenhouse Design Studio, in September 2011. To more closely reflect its roots as a small, family-run business, Greenhouse Design Studio became Elsie Green in March, 2013.
With both ventures, Furber and her husband, JP, seek to provide beautiful, affordable, and sustainable products for the home as well as a green networking resource for like-minded individuals. Furber, who travels to Europe to source items for the shop,
believes in buying products that are handcrafted in small batches; in giving vintage items new life; in using sustainable materials; and in engaging with socially responsible companies that give back to their communities, all while generating as little waste as possible.
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Home Editor, Sunset Magazine, Menlo Park, California
Joanna Linberg is Sunset’s home editor. Each month, she scours the West for inspiring, innovative homes to feature in the magazine. She loves discovering and publishing young designers, but the best part of her job has to be daily access to Sunset’s Test Kitchen. Prior to coming to Sunset, Joanna was an editor at Better Homes and Gardens. She lives in San Mateo with her husband.
Homepolish West Coast creative director Orlando Soria is an interior designer who lives in Los Angeles, California. After starring on an HGTV show with Emily Henderson and working alongside her for four years, Orlando joined the ranks of Homepolish in 2013. A graduate of Cornell and The University of Pennsylvania, Orlando spends his free time writing on his design and lifestyle blog, Hommemaker.com.
Gina Wicker is the Creative Director for Sunbrella® fabrics with oversight of all creative elements related to the Sunbrella brand, including photography, advertising, collateral, website design, and fabric sampling. With more than 20 years’ experience in the textile industry, Wicker began her career as a textile designer and design director before moving into a marketing role. She earned a BS in textiles with a concentration in design from NC State University and an MBA from Duke University.
A self-described home décor and garden enthusiast, Wicker is happiest when surrounded by beautiful fabrics and furnishings, abundant plants and flowers, and friends and family.