Northern Michigan kitchen designer Sara Busby is the 2007 president-elect of the National Kitchen and Bath Association based in New Jersey. The position means that she will become president of the association in 2008. Busby will juggle her new responsibilities while managing her company, Sara Busby Design – where she combines her background in architectural design with her passion for kitchens.

Tell me about your design philosophy.A kitchen should reflect the lifestyle of the clients. Somebody better not walk in and say, "Sara Busby designed this." They’d better say, "This looks like you."

Where do you get the inspiration for your designs?We have such beautiful locations up here, so the natural environment inspires me. It might be pulling the color out of the maple leaves in the yard or from the color of the water.

How do you customize designs to fit your client’s lifestyle?We talk about how they live in the kitchen. If they want a social space, we’ll probably put in wider aisles where people can stand and talk. If they’re serious cooks, we’ll put in a lot of workstations and maybe a low counter so kids can help out with the cooking.

Does remodeling a kitchen improve the value of a home? National statistics say you can get a rate of return anywhere from 95 to 120 percent on kitchen remodels. There are studies that show a remodeled kitchen not only gets a better return, but it helps a house sell faster.

Want to learn more? See Sara Busby Design in Elk Rapids, 231-264-9511,

Katie Holland was an intern at Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.

Note: This article was first published in January 2007 and was updated for the web February 2008.