who we are

kimiko designs is recognized in the furniture industry for its dynamite team of knowledgeable experts. From offices across the United States and Canada, our team offers a vast range of furniture-centric specializations, technical experience and strategic vision. We maximize our clients’ furniture assets and projects, bringing a level of expertise and attention to client service that’s rare in the industry. And we pride ourselves on giving our all to every project we undertake.

Click the markers on the map below, or continue scrolling, to learn more about our team

dianne murata, yadira hernandez zavala, rachel johansen, sessily norris, sarah white

Houston, TX

ginger cookson

Nashville, TN

amanda farrell, valerie jones

Dallas, TX

amanda epplin

Karie heathcoat-kieffer

Conroe, TX

tamara campbell

Cabot, AR

melissa staats

Knoxville, TN

lisa haugen

marissa brehm

denise anderson

amber mccullough

victoria guillory

little rock, ar

ashley engel

bismarck, nd

kelley stout

lizzi layer

our leadership

dianne murata

Furniture Chief
Houston, TX
Bachelor of Interior Design, University of Manitoba

Dianne founded kimiko designs in 2000 after putting out fires at a furniture dealership and realizing a need for comprehensive furniture expertise. She is our furniture chief and champion of thinking outside the cube. Her lifelong obsession with excellence, service and creativity translates into a company culture that empowers our kimiko crew to focus on helping our customers do more with less.

FUN FACT
Dianne was a bartender in Canada, Australia and the Cayman Islands before getting a “real job” in Texas.

ginger cookson

Furniture Maestro
Nashville, TN
Bachelor of Arts, Interior Design, University of Oklahoma

Ginger is the Maestro of all things furniture. She has been a furniture planning conductor at kimiko since Y2K, and was in the industry back when Paula Abdul still topped the charts. She is an industry leader in planning, strategizing, value engineering and training people about furniture. She also loves mentoring designers and developing their strengths to help them create a life they love, even in the midst of furniture tidal waves.

FUN FACT
Because Ginger loves people, she is a reality TV junkie. She’s also a card-carrying member of over achievers anonymous.

meet our team

denise anderson

Furniture Guru, NCIDQ #019687
Liberty, MO
Bachelor of Science, Interior Design,
Harding University

Denise is both a problem solver and a team player. From working out complex furniture plans to becoming a certified/registered interior designer in two states, Denise draws on her diverse skillset and life experiences for success. Growing up, her military family moved often, stateside and abroad. Professionally, Denise possesses technical expertise with top furniture brands and specification software. This furniture guru’s savvy approach to the plot twists of life prepared her to confidently guide clients through their own.

FUN FACT
This soccer mom of three is an avid gardener and wishes there were a way to grow her own chocolate to share with furniture friends everywhere.

marissa brehm

Furniture Guru
West Des Moines, IA
Bachelor of Arts, Interior Design,
University of Northern Iowa

Marissa’s dream of working with a great team in this field is only natural. She grew up in Dyersville, IA*, played team sports, and earned a BA in Interior Design from CIDA-accredited University of Northern Iowa. Marissa’s engaging manner plus top-notch skills in AutoCAD, furniture planning/specification/ rendering, and creative design software make her an all-star on #teamkimiko projects.

FUN FACT
Marissa’s hometown of Dyersville is the location of “Field of Dreams”.

tamara campbell

Furniture Guru, Allied ASID
Cabot, AR
Bachelor of Science, Interior Design, University of Central Arkansas

Tamara is jazzed about learning. She adopts tech trends and cool apps like some of us collect shoes! This passion has led her to be invited to speak as a power user at annual industry conferences. An active member of ASID since college days at Central Arkansas University, Tamara is the Chair for the South Central Chapter. She loves being an influencer, especially onboarding and training new designers and is always looking for a new or better way to improve environments for clients as a kimiko furniture guru.

FUN FACT
Super-techie Tamara prefers a paper planner over a digital one. It’s been the Happy Planner brand for this happy furniture planner for the last 5 years.

amanda epplin

Furniture Guru, NCIDQ #023211
Oklahoma City, OK
Bachelor of Science, Interior Design, Oklahoma State University

Amanda is an Okie with Texas ties. With experience as both an Interior Designer and a Sales Representative, she can manage any project with confidence (and most likely an intense color-coded system). She has an uncanny ability to be detail-oriented, but not lose sight of the big picture. Fueled by organization and commitment to clients, she will execute every project with persistence and joy!

FUN FACT
When she is not cooking up projects, you can find her creating custom cookie sets for local events.

ashley engel

Furniture Guru, NCIDQ #35536
Bismarck, ND
Bachelor of Science, Interior Design,
North Dakota State University

Ashley traces the origin of her interest in furniture and interior design to her early obsession with Legos. She sees similarities in the versatility and way components work together to create something altogether new. As an analytical problem solver, Ashley loves the technical aspects of furniture, but delving into the aesthetic side provides creative balance. She drew upon both to pass the NCIDQ exam and earn certification. Ashley and her husband enjoy living on the edge at their lake cabin right on the ND-Canada border.

FUN FACT
Ashley shares creative expression with her two cats, Echo and Tars. She has an especially ornate sleeve tattoo and they are Bengal cats, known for their exotically patterned coats.

amanda farrell

Furniture Guru
Bedford, TX
Bachelor of Science, Interior Design, Abilene Christian

With 15 years’ experience as designer and project manager, Amanda enjoys twice the satisfaction from a beautiful job/job well done. As kimiko’s Double-Duty Dynamo, she captures critical site info with field-to-desk keenness and uses it to inform the project process. Clients appreciate the continuity she brings to her dual roles in aesthetics and functionality as the designer, and in order entry and installation as the project manager.

FUN FACT
Despite her right-brain/left-brain skillset of design and project management, Amanda is strictly left-handed, and so is her Mr. Right.

victoria guillory

Furniture Guru
Little Rock, AR
Bachelor of Arts in Interior Design, University of Central Arkansas

Victoria is an Arkansan, born and raised in “The Natural State.” She’s an avid environmentalist and enjoys hiking and camping. Victoria shines on the technical side of commercial interior design, and is intent on developing expertise in one specialization: furniture. She earned interior designer certification from NCIDQ and is an active member of ASID, in which she recently served as Chair for the Central AR Design Community Board. This furniture guru has lots going on and we’re happy to be part of the action.

FUN FACT
Victoria was homeschooled in grades 3-12 and active in 4-H throughout, including winning a prophetic competition in “Home Furnishings.”

lisa haugen

Furniture Guru
St. Louis, MO
Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies, University of Nebraska – Lincoln

Lisa has the drive and talent for understanding the nuts and bolts of all the things, especially if they’re furniture-related. In true furniture nerd fashion, she gets a thrill from project challenges and thrives on developing clever solutions. Using a wealth of client-facing skills, Lisa has led high-profile projects, planned and managed complex corporate facility moves—and managed dealership design, showroom and marketing. Known for her great sense of humor and highly organized style, Lisa is well-suited as a Kimiko furniture guru.

FUN FACT
Lisa worked at Blockbuster Video during high school. Nowadays you can find her bingeing TV while “quality testing” furniture items.

karie heathcoat-kieffer

Furniture Guru
Conroe, TX
Bachelor of Arts in University Studies, Southern Illinois University Carbondale Associate of Science in Interior Design, Vincennes University

Karie’s inherent skillset was matched for interior design and commercial furniture from the very beginning. The analytical side of her brain loves the puzzle of space planning and building furniture from parts and pieces, while the creative side imagines all aspects of a project coming together. She is known for her incredible attention to detail, accuracy, and efficiency, as well as her sense of humor. Karie is one of kimiko’s CET software champions and a certified Herman Miller Living Office Placemaker.

FUN FACT
Karie has been practicing yoga over half her life and can finally do a headstand!

yadira hernandez zavala

Furniture Guru
Houston, TX
Bachelor of Interior Design, Monterrey Center for Higher Learning of Design, Mexico

Yadira brings a dash of international spice to Team Kimiko. Her interest in commercial furniture was ignited by an opportunity with a major manufacturer in Monterrey, Mexico. As subject matter expert to dealer-design teams in Mexico and Kuala Lumpur, Yadira was liaison to some of the largest dealerships in the USA. She applied this unique experience to a position with one of the largest furniture dealerships in Houston, TX. Yadira is proficient in design and specification software including 20/20 CAP and Configura CET Designer.

FUN FACT
Yadira longed to play the piano since childhood and becoming a computer keyboard whiz did nothing to satisfy the dream. Now she’s happily taking piano lessons alongside her 6-year old son.

rachel johansen

Furniture Guru, LEED AP
Houston, TX
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Interior Design, Savannah College of Art and Design

Rachel contributes her knowledge and passion for interior and sustainable design to the Kimiko team, based on a foundation formed at architectural firms. She loves to research and ask questions to solve intricate furniture puzzles – she has a true hunger for knowledge. Rachel strives to inspire others with innovation, responsibility and most of all, compassion – which is why at kimiko, she leads the ‘free furniture’ efforts; connecting used furniture donations to non-profit organizations.

FUN FACT
In her spare time, Rachel is crossing countries off her bucket list – 14 down, 181 to go!

valerie jones

Bookkeeper
Dallas, TX
Associate of Arts, Dallas Community College

Val is the special projects captain that keeps the kimiko ship sailing. From the helm in North Texas, she steers our invoicing, internal processes and keeps the engines running. Working for non-profits in her other life, Val loves helping others better the world and is an expert in navigating complex logistics.

FUN FACT
For 2 years, Val lived on the road in a bus, with 10 other people for 5 months at a time.

lizzi layer

Furniture Guru
Ferndale, MI
Associate of Applied Science, Interior Design, Baker College

With a decade of experience, Lizzi works from a dual base of knowledge in the design and dealer sides of our industry. She possesses the organizational and technical skills kimiko furniture gurus are known for and also has a love for aesthetics that is key in specifying ancillary furniture and materials. Lizzi says that’s where a client’s space comes to life. Lizzi and her husband live in an eclectic Detroit suburb where they enjoy walking to parks, nightlife, and the arts.

FUN FACT
Lizzi’s weirdest project to date involved an inventory of used private office furniture with an inordinate number of custom components. Over 50 additional specials were required on the project, testing (and showcasing) this furniture guru’s determination and attention to detail.

amber mccullough

Furniture Guru
Cincinnatti, OH
Bachelor of Arts, Interior Architecture, University of North Carolina

Amber considers the user experience of key importance to a furniture nerd. She is ever mindful that spaces and furnishings must support ergonomics, wellness, and social needs of the end users. Amber enjoys a range of interior architectural interests including hospitality design as well as the variety of project types available to a dealership designer. She tends to her work/life balance as a hobbyist gardener, painter, and singer, and promotes a positive, intentional design impact on her projects at home and at work.

FUN FACT
Amber and her fiancé are taking the ultimate pre-marital test: remodeling a vacation rental property in the trendy 19th century Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of downtown Cincinnati.

sessily norris

Furniture Guru
Houston, TX
Bachelor of Arts, Interior Design, The Art Institute of Houston

A native Texan, Sessily played all the sports and joined every club her small-town high school offered, preparing herself for multiple projects and responsibilities of a busy Kimiko furniture guru. Having earned a BA in Interior Design from the Art Institute of Houston, Sessily built her career in commercial design, furniture planning, and project management. We’re so glad she joined Kimiko Designs and puts all that energy to good use on our clients’ furniture planning projects.

FUN FACT
Sessily’s mom bought a Barbie house to focus her little girl’s obsession with rearranging furniture in the homes of their family’s friends. A furniture nerd was born.

melissa staats

Furniture Guru, NCIDQ #029281
Knoxville, TN
Bachelor of Science in Interior Design, University of Tennessee

Melissa earned her BS in Interior Design from CIDA-accredited University of Tennessee in Knoxville.  She worked to achieve meaningful credentials during her career: LEED AP, NCIDQ Certification, and Registered Interior Designer in the State of Tennessee.  Early experience in architecture and construction laid a strong foundation for Melissa’s career in the contract furniture and design industry.  Her love of furniture, art, and design and her proficient technical skills are great assets to her clients and Team Kimiko.

FUN FACT
Melissa is a TN-licensed cosmetologist.  Color-coding floor plans or coloring hair, Melissa’s got style to spare.

kelley stout

Furniture Guru
Ripley, TN
Bachelor of Science, Interior Design, Northern Arizona University

Kelley says a good challenge is the best antidote to boredom. She’s applied her skills and tenacity on some toughies for over two decades in the commercial furniture business. This furniture guru loves to space plan with the computer, using all the cool technology and programs available. Kelley has a big heart for helping people in need, especially children, the homeless, and service men and women. With her husband, she is restoring a 1902 Victorian home as they raise their six pupsters age 5 weeks to 9 years.

FUN FACT
Kelley invoked her mantra “actions speak louder than words,” when a 1,000 piece ancillary order arrived with no tags. The installers couldn’t discern a color-coded plan, so she traveled to the project site and directed every single piece to its correct location.

sarah white

Media Maven, Allied ASID
Houston, TX

Bachelor of Science, Home Furnishings Merchandising, University of North Texas

Sarah shares the coolest obsessions with team kimiko—a love of problem solving, furniture, puzzles and design. With a BS in Home Furnishings Merchandising from the University of North Texas, Sarah has impressive technical skills and style to boot. Besides managing kimiko’s admin and social media worlds, Sarah deftly serves as right hand to the Chief Happiness Officer.

FUN FACT
While living in Qatar, Sarah experienced the thrill of dune bashing—high-speed slipping, sliding, and spinning across the desert dunes in an SUV.

daisy dog

BFF (Best Furniture Friend)
Houston, TX
Masters in Sniffing

Daisy is the in-house furniture testing expert at kimiko designs and lover of all things soft/cushy. She is a kind-hearted senior Saint Bernard and was rescued from a shelter in Arlington, TX. She now spends most of her days under Dianne’s desk or walking around the block during conference calls. She is one of the inspirations for kimiko’s charitable giving during the holiday season.

FUN FACT
Daisy has been on the television show Good Day Houston not just once, but twice; supporting local animal rescue groups!

kimiko designs

We understand the furniture industry from the back to the front and all 360° surrounding it. Our clients trust us for expert furniture planning, technical specification, and capturing their imagination in this 24/7 digital world.

Contact Us

Address: 1030 Gardenia Dr, Houston TX 77018

Phone: 817-874-5172