Linda Evans: Making Projects Sing
When Linda Evans was just ten years old, her parents undertook a renovation on their family farmhouse—an experience the Portland area designer calls a “memory milestone.” After helping her mom lay out their dream kitchen—which included the selection of copper appliances and wallpaper—Linda was hooked. From that point on, she knew exactly what she wanted to be when she grew up: a designer.
Today, Linda (CKD, CBD, CAPS, LBPR) heads up L. Evans Design Group Inc., a design-build firm in West Linn, Oregon, that has put its mark on many custom homes, kitchens, baths, and home renovations. Honored with multiple awards, featured in national publications, and with many happy clients to its name, the company is flourishing thanks to Linda’s approach to design: “I design for the client’s lifestyle and respect their family traditions,” she says. “I encourage homeowners to share information regarding cherished items or special family functions so I can thoughtfully consider what may be of importance for their new plan. I often say, ‘It has to sing to you when we’re finished.’”
NT: How do you make sure a project “sings” to a client?
LE: When starting the process of design and material selection, I advise clients to put a folder together of items that they like. This helps me zero in on the perfect elements for their scope of work and cut some of the guesswork.
NT: How do you incorporate sustainability into your process?
LE: We are conscious to recycle or repurpose what we can from work sites, and we stress sustainable product selection to fit the scope of work whenever possible.
NT: Do you have a favorite project you’ve worked on?
LE: Yes, I had the pleasure of working with clients on their new vineyard and home estate, Bella Vida Vineyard. The original structure was a single-story barn that became the foundation for the new three-story sustainable wine tasting room, home and business. I loved working at a beautiful setting to help the owners realize their dreams. The new structure allows them to work and live in a sustainable home in gorgeous surroundings. The views are breathtaking and the wine superb.
The master suite tones are soft and airy; in this room, you feel like you’re floating in the clouds with a 360-degree view. Throughout the property, we used a mixture of metals, with copper tones as a primary focus for the main level to reflect the red hills of the surrounding vineyards. The Native Trails Redondo Grande copper sink was selected for the tasting bar and was the catalyst to the tasting room color scheme. We carried that sink around to a lot of showrooms to pull the colors together. It was a very fun project, and in the interim I learned a lot about the business of making wine.
NT: What led you to select the Redondo Grande copper kitchen sink?
LE: I love the warmth of copper, how Native Trails brings cultures together for the sake of design, as well as its sustainable qualities and creative use of materials—very cool. More recently, I specified the Morro concrete sink for a powder room.
NT: Do tell!
LE: The powder room was just a small portion of a multifaceted renovation, and this was a very important one to me, as my client and his children had lost a wife and mother due to a long illness months prior. Going in, I had to be very sensitive to items we were removing and wanted to make sure that when selections were made it was a family vote and everyone would approve the changes. It was a new beginning for the family, and I was so happy they trusted me for the project.
The powder room would be the main bath for guests when entertaining, so the owner wanted to make sure we introduced a conversation piece and liked the combination of stone, concrete and wood. We found a beautiful “fusion” remnant slab in a granite junkyard, and the concrete vessel sink was the perfect complement. My client loved craftsman style design. His furniture, moldings and lighting all patterned after a lodge that he and his family spent a lot of time at. He had just purchased a custom-made walnut dining table with maple pegs, so when designing his powder room vanity, we continued the use of walnut and duplicated the maple peg detail on the leg for continuity.
NT: Do you have any particular source of creative inspiration?
LE: The beach. I breathe in the fresh ocean air and love to watch the waves—it clears my head and helps me formulate ideas that may work themselves into one of my designs.
NT: OK, it’s time for rapid-fire Q&A. What’s your signature style?
LE: Curious determination.
NT: Favorite colors for the kitchen?
LE: White and gray.
NT: Favorite color for the bath?
LE: Gray with a splash of color.
NT: Favorite décor piece?
LE: Gertrude Degenhardt’s “Farewell to Connught” wall print. I picked it up through my travels. She is an amazing artist who splits her time between Ireland and Germany.
NT: Favorite kitchen accessory?
LE: My Silpat oven mat. It protects the bottom of my oven and saves cleaning the spills that can get baked on. It takes the strain off oven cleaning, saves wear on your range-heating elements, and it’s easy to remove, wash and reuse after it dries.
NT: Favorite bathroom accessory?
LE: It has to be a magnifying mirror—can’t live without one.
NT: Any other favorites?
LE: Of course, Native Trails products—I love everything about them, their story and what they stand for!