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, cheryl barta, rachel johansen, anastasia thormahlen, sarah white

Houston, TX

cora esela

Springfield, IL

ginger cookson

Nashville, TN

amanda farrell, valerie jones, jill mcbride

Dallas, TX

matthew glavac

Grimsby, ON, Canada

yvonne pawlowski

Lake Country, BC, Canada

brandy pellegrini

St. Augustine, FL

kevin wu

Lake Country, BC, Canada

amanda epplin

Karie heathcoat-kieffer

Conroe, TX

tamara campbell

Cabot, AR

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

cheryl barta

Furniture & Move Coordinator
Houston, TX
Bachelor of Business Administration, Sam Houston University

Cheryl’s organizational skills spark not only joy but also energy, efficiency and enthusiasm.  She uses the leadership skills of a Certified Professional Organizer and her project management logistics experience to coordinate complex move management projects.  Cheryl’s interests and passions are as intriguing and diverse as her skillset: Child Advocates recruiter, Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo member, and life member of PTA – including President 6 terms in 3 schools.

FUN FACT
Though Cheryl has performed project management or move coordination services for the relocation of 145 clients throughout Texaxs, she and her family have been firmly rooted in the same house in Houston for over 30 years.

cora burge

Furniture Guru
Springfield, IL
Bachelor of Science, Interior and Environmental Design, Illinois State University
Masters of Business Administration in Project Management, Keller Graduate School

Cora has mastered a variety of design positions including flooring sales, kitchen & bath design, and even granite fabrication, but her true passion is commercial furniture planning.  She is a strong technical designer and project manager.  What makes her unique is her uncanny ability to juggle a multitude of details within a project from start to finish.

FUN FACT
As a little girl, Cora would lay out floorplans using shoestrings and then “design” the floorplan with Barbie furniture. For real!

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, NICDQ #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.

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.

matthew glavac

Furniture Guru
Grimsby, ON, Canada
Diploma in Architectural Technology, Mohawk College

Matthew is Kimiko’s International Man of Intrigue and pulls from both a manufacturing and software background in the furniture industry. He has worked as a designer, project coordinator and manager, technical product specialist and design team leader. He’s even been a DIRTT bag.  His combination of mad furniture skills and broad experience allows him to be the Edward Scissorhands of furniture for his clients.

FUN FACT
In his spare time, Matthew likes to flex his culinary muscle with his smoker and will bbq almost anything!

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
Denton, 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.

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!

jill mcbride

Furniture Guru
Richardson, TX
Bachelor of Business Administration, Marketing/Advertising Art,                      University of North Texas

Jill’s analytical mind thrives on attention to detail – the perfect skillset for a furniture guru. Over her 20+ year career, Jill has skillfully handled hundreds of furniture projects of all types and sizes. She masterminds solutions for everything from custom products to multi-phase reconfigurations. Jill digs the nitty-gritty detail of complex systems projects, and kimiko digs Jill.

FUN FACT
As a state-ranked high school athlete, Jill played tournament tennis in Texas. Later, she advanced to the national scene as an ace furniture guru with kimiko designs.

yvonne pawlowski

Furniture Guru
Lake Country, BC, Canada
Bachelor of Applied Arts, Interior Design, Ryerson University

Yvonne is kimiko’s International Woman of Intrigue. She spent the first 20 years of her career working at one of Canada’s largest furniture dealerships. During her years in Toronto she led (some secret) projects for corporate and government agencies. Her 007 assets include loyalty, a strong work ethic and laser-focused accuracy; plus other things that we can’t tell you because of her top secret clearance.

FUN FACT
Yvonne didn’t speak a word of English when she moved from Poland to Canada in her twenties.

brandy pellegrini

Furniture Guru, NCIDQ #018300
St. Augustine, FL
Bachelor of Interior Design, Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

As an NCIDQ certified interior designer, Brandy has experience in managing multi-location projects with a broad scope of responsibilities. She has a high level of proficiency with large and complex projects, and is a mastermind in total project execution from initiation to completion. She brings a passion for service and attention to detail that will blow you away.

FUN FACT
Brandy interned in college creating faux finishes in a mannequin manufacturing plant.

anastasia thormahlen

Furniture Guru, RID TX 09396, NCIDQ 015611
Houston, TX
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Interior Design, University of Houston

Anastasia harnesses her 28 years of design industry experience to execute furniture planning projects with thoughtful detail and precision. Whether crafting realistic budgets, coordinating with the furniture dealership, serving as a corporate facilities planner, or as an interiors project manager; Anastasia’s experiences have always included her passion for finishes and furniture.

FUN FACT
Anastasia has a passion for rescue, which encompasses rescuing project schedules, furniture budgets and lots of cats for a local non-profit.

sarah white

Assistant, 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.

kevin wu

Furniture Guru
Vancouver, BC
Diploma in Interior Design, British Columbia Institute of Technology

Kevin is kimiko’s Commander Can-Do thanks to his optimistic outlook, techno-smarts, and tenacity. He uses those talents plus a handy range of experience from Steelcase and Herman Miller to expertly turn “no way” into “way cool.” Kevin’s mastery of CET software can flip any furniture problem right-side up. He wishes for the superhuman ability to fly, and clients say Kevin soars with his furniture planning skills and technical troubleshooting wizardry. 

FUN FACT
A grommet is a kid who likes to play around on a skateboard – that was Kevin. He went on to become an accomplished, sponsored skateboarder, and now, an accomplished grommet specifier. 

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 so our clients know the things they don't know before they become the crisis thing they wish they never knew. We specialize in all things furniture. All things, that is, except selling it.

Contact Us

Address: 1030 Gardenia Dr, Houston TX 77018

Phone: 817-874-5172