Meet The Team
CEO / Principal Designer
Kristen is a Kitchen and Bath Designer with over 15 years experience transforming spaces. She began her career in the theatre, where after graduating from college with a degree in Technical Theatre she served as a Props Master and stage carpenter in the local D.C. community. She transitioned to kitchen and bath design in 2013, where she worked for several local design/build firms before starting Green House Designs in 2019.
Pursuing a love of vegetable and herb gardening, she became a Master Gardener in Prince George’s County, MD in 2013. “Green House” Designs is a play on words, as a nod to both Kristen’s love of gardening and the natural world as well as her commitment to sustainability.
While she has a strong personal style, Kristen believes in creating spaces that are true reflections of their owner’s personality and lifestyle. She has a keen eye for the practical as well as the artistic, and her aesthetic infuses warmth into sophisticated spaces. She loves a challenge and enjoys working with clients who have a unique artistic vision.
What she truly enjoys about designing kitchens and baths is the magic that is created when she transforms spaces. She believes kitchens are the true heart of the home, and that they should reflect the families who inhabit them. As you will often catch her saying, she can make any space beautiful, but it must be functional FIRST to be successful.
A North Carolina native, Kristen has lived in the DC area since 2008.
She resides in Mt. Rainier Maryland with her husband John, two spoiled house rabbits and a recently adopted cat. While she has too many hobbies for one person, she’s currently enjoying playing table-top roleplaying games with friends near and far, as well as continuing to build her horseback riding skills at a Silver Spring stable.
She identifies as Queer and Non-Binary and is incredibly proud to have created an inclusive and welcoming company that reflects her values.
Assistant to the Designer
Rifka MacDonald an experienced project manager who brings a wealth of nonprofit management experience as well as practical carpentry & construction experience. She works as the assistant to the designer, where she is essential to managing the logistics associated with renovation projects.
Rifka is a fifth-generation carpenter who hails from the Pacific Northwest. Prior to working in carpentry and construction, she worked for advocacy organizations and non-profits. A student of Anthropology and History, she has worked as an educator on topics ranging from the Arts to Holocaust education.
Rifka loves building and creating, which drove her to join her father’s construction firm in Bellingham as a carpenter and ultimately as a project manager. She is very comfortable with a toolbelt on her hip, and has strong opinions about the merits of different types of saws. She is also an excellent communicator and an active and engaged listener. These “soft skills” combined with her practical carpentry and renovation experience help her to stay on top of multiple projects, making sure that clients, contractors, and vendors are all on the same page.
Her typical days with Green House Designs include visits to job sites, managing product orders & deliveries, and helping Kristen to stay on task with our clients.
Rifka moved to Northwest DC three years ago with her partner who is a Civil Rights housing attorney, so they like to say that housing is the family business. She enjoys the outdoors, and like Kristen has gotten into bird-watching in recent years. Some of her interests remain stereotypically Pacific Northwest: craft beer, coffee, hikes and dogs.
Director of Business Development
John Manning joined Green House Designs as our Director of Business Development in Spring of 2022 but has worked “behind the scenes” since our inception in 2019. He wears many hats to support the growth of GHD, and he brings a wealth of skills and experience that often compliment Kristen’s “design brain”.
If you’re a new client, John will meet with you before the project begins to review the process and make sure we’re on the same page. If you’re an awesome contractor or vendor, John may be one giving you a call to discuss how we can work together to help our clients. He is most excited to be developing new ways for Green House Designs to serve the needs of its clients, from small “DIY” projects to full-service design and project management.
John brings a wealth of management experience from the non-profit sector, having worked in Development for organizations like Habitat for Humanity and the American Kidney Fund. He’s equally comfortable building a new database or meeting with clients to assess their needs and make recommendations for their design plans or materials selections.
Over the course of his career, John has been responsible for making spaces functional and appealing in settings ranging from exhibit halls to co-working spaces to farmers markets. He enjoys applying this experience to residential projects, and helping homeowners create spaces that improve their daily lives. He’s working on cultivating his own personal design aesthetic, and eagerly consuming books and media on inspirational designers, architects, and artists. His trips to Miami nearly always feature a tour of Art Deco architecture, and he’ll talk your ear off about the Art Nouveau furniture collection at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.
He and Kristen have tackled many “big dumb projects” (our affectionate term for DIY projects that should have been outsourced to professionals) to improve and personalize their home in Mount Rainier, MD. In his spare time, John can be found sailing the waters near Annapolis.