Before she gives you tips on remodeling your kitchen, Trivonna Irwin wants to get to know you. She also wants to see the “before” — the kitchen you want remodeled. “I don’t expect you to bring me dimensions and have me make decisions off of them,” Trivonna said. “I want to come out to your home, talk with you in your space, and see what you like and don’t like about it.” Then Trivonna, who has been designing kitchens and other cabinet packages for 16 years, will create design suggestions – often several different designs.
A trait that separates Cabinets by Trivonna from other cabinet shops is the personal service. With each remodel, whether it’s a kitchen, a bedroom, a living room, a library or an office, Trivonna includes the personal needs of the customer. One family had a daughter who was extremely allergic to wheat. Trivonna’s solution was to include several breadboards in the design.
“The thing I bring to the table is that I’m a woman, having cooked for 40 years,” Trivonna said. “I’ve gone from not knowing how to cook when we first got married to having kids (under foot, or learning to help) to being empty nesters. I understand all those phases.” That experience has taught her what works, and what doesn’t. Trivonna blends her experience as a homemaker and a designer with a customer’s wants and needs. “I’ve learned to manage space,” Trivonna said.
Today, Cabinets by Trivonna, co-owned by Ross and Trivonna Irwin, has a beautiful and spacious showroom in Lacey where one can see a plethora of displays, wood samples, door-styles, and accessories. There are scattered around the showroom many pictures of both new homes and remodels (with before and after shots) to inspire and communicate ideas. In one “before” shot, there’s a cluttered kitchen. The counters were stacked with dishes and pans. Along a wall in the kitchen there were piles and piles of material for the wife’s hobby. In the “after shot,” all the clutter is gone, put away neatly in beautiful cabinets. It was an incredible makeover.
The design options seem endless – and that’s where an experienced designer like Trivonna helps the home owner narrow down the choices. But not just for kitchens — also for baths, libraries, home offices, entertainment centers, craft rooms, etc.
The Irwins got into the cabinet business almost by accident: In 1995, Trivonna had been hanging wallpaper for about ten years when she was doing a job in the cabinet display area of a “Box Store” in southern Oregon. As she finished the job, a corporate executive offered her a job as a kitchen designer.
Trivonna’s response: “You don’t want me.” But that didn’t deter the offer. “He said he had watched me for three days and he could see that I loved people. He liked the way I interacted with them, and he added, ‘I can’t teach that!’” But he could teach her the rest, about cabinet styles, designs and costs. By the end of 1995, Trivonna was the last of four employees in the cabinet sales department. The others either quit or were fired. That left Trivonna to manage a mammoth load of work.
“I called it bootcamp for kitchen designing,” Trivonna said. “This was a big store. Every special order for cabinets, plumbing, lighting, and floor coverings went through my desk.”
In late 2000, the Irwins left Klamath Falls and moved to Olympia, where Trivonna designed for another cabinet company and Ross taught at Northwest Christian High School. Six years later, they opened their own cabinet showroom. They celebrated the store’s fifth anniversary in October – Quite an accomplishment in today’s housing market!
Ross’s vision: “We will continue to create nurturing environments because life takes place in the kitchen!”
Address: 4444 Lacey Boulevard
Hours open: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.