Meet the Design Team

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Heather Wood

Favorite step in the remodeling process?

My favorite step is at the end when all the beautiful materials and products are featured together in the space we have built. Sometimes our homeowners have been dreaming of their new room(s) for years, and the final reveal is so exciting. Our customers are surprised when the designers tell them “Don’t worry, the design will come together as we go through the selection process. You don’t have to have the materials selected a head of time. Trust our process.”

Favorite way to be inspired?

Restaurants and hotels are my favorite place. Although the rooms in these public spaces are usually much larger than our projects, you get great ideas from them but need to apply them in the appropriate scale. Usually interesting lighting, tile and millwork designs catch my eye.

Best part about working with our clients?

My favorite part is the relationships we establish. Working in someone’s home is tough – it’s emotional for many customers. It’s their personal space and people are very particular, and they should be. Our goal is to gain our homeowner’s trust so they can transfer their stress about the design choices to us and let us fuel ideas and help guide them to make the best decisions for their lifestyle and budget. When this collaboration happens, we have established a great relationship which equals “Clients for Life.”

What is the biggest challenge that comes with remodeling?

The biggest challenge for us, the remodeler, is the same challenge that is for our homeowners. They are living through a remodel and don’t get to see the finished project right off the bat. They see all stages and there are times in the remodel process that are in the pre-teen stage and not always the most fun or attractive. Unfortunately, it’s not like on TV when the homeowner goes away for two days and comes back to an amazing surprise such as a beautiful space in two days. As consumers, we don’t get to see our beautiful new automobile being built or our entrée at an restaurant being prepared, but in remodeling the homeowner is right in the middle of it seeing their home being torn apart and it is scary and emotional. Good communication is the best way to combat this.

What is your personal style/aesthetic?

I like all styles if they are done right. My personal style would be traditional with a nod to mountain lodge style. Lots of wood, metal, and warm earthy colors. In decorating I like a room to have a “global” approach with mix of antiques from around the world. Old oak sideboard from England, antique end tables from China, Indonesian coffee table, pottery from Italy, and rugs from Mexico. I love mixing patterns in fabrics – there isn’t a plaid, stripe and paisley I don’t like!

Just for fun…

Having my first career in the hotel/catering business, my dream would be to own a small inn. My idea of the perfect job would be to design and decorate the inn and oversee the kitchen as well.


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Johnyne Donnelly

Favorite step in the remodeling process?

My favorite step in the design process is the initial meeting with the client. I enjoy their excitement when they share their ideas and remodeling vision. My goal is to make their vision a reality and this is the starting line.

Favorite way to be inspired?

My favorite place to be inspired is when I walk into a new place, and my eyes capture the vision for the first time. It can be a new view of the ocean, a hotel lobby, restaurant or antique store – anyplace that makes me enjoy what I am looking at. What we experience and take in around us makes us learn and that sparks creativity. I enjoy being creative and innovative; it makes me happy.

Best part about working with our clients?

My favorite part about working with our clients is building a relationship, getting to know them and learn about their lives. Clients are people I may never have crossed paths with if not for the remodel project and association with Mountainwood Homes. Sharing my life with people through experiences (and remodeling is an experience) is what makes life interesting and worthwhile. The design process and the personal nature of being invited into a clients home to assist them with their home goals has allowed me to develop new friendships which makes our mission of building clients for life a reality.

What is the biggest challenge that comes with remodeling?

The biggest challenge that comes with remodeling is to keep the clients focused on the big picture, a few weeks into the renovation, when everything is not yet complete. I want the clients to enjoy the journey and let me take care of all the detailed needed to reach our design goal. When we follow our design plan and process the outcome will arrive.

What is your personal style/aesthetic?

My personal style regarding home and remodeling design is very contemporary with a touch of art deco thrown in. I like the clean uncluttered lines of contemporary art with a surprise of something connected to the past.

Just for fun…

I have always been interested in design and homes and even starting touring models homes when I was a child when my father worked for the largest builder in the world. When I go on vacation, I always view neighborhoods and enjoy seeing homes for sale. A home can tell a lot about the city, its history and what is important to the people that live there. I enjoy art and like to paint pictures, however I am always running out of wall space for them so I rotate them around to always creating a different look in my own home. I guess you could say I am always changing, and that is what keeps life interesting.


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Jean Johnson

Favorite step in the remodeling process?

This takes place both at the beginning, when homeowners excitedly share their vision and hopes for their particular project, and then at the end where all of our collaboration and working though the details transforms that vision to the “wow factor.” Of course I’m just part of our great team that gets us to this stage.

Favorite  way to be inspired?

The opportunity of traveling to different places and noting architecture, history, culture and the arts is always inspiring to me. Getting outside and studying good old mother nature for color and texture, impacts design ideas as well. New home tours, the Houzz website and observations in hotels and restaurants are great places to get ideas especially for the Pacific Northwest region we live in.

Best part about working with our clients?

Each homeowner has such an interesting background/life experience which has influenced their sense of personal style. I find it enriching to meet each of them to learn how this in turn impacts their vision for their remodeling project.

What is the biggest challenge that comes with remodeling?

During a major kitchen remodel, our homeowners are temporarily displaced and have to prepare foods by grill, electric skillet or microwave. The refrigerator gets a new home in the next room over, so it can be trying for all in the family. We like to say “it’s kind of like camping,” and remind them that in the end it will be worth the imposition and they will enjoy their new kitchen for many years to come.

What is your personal style/aesthetic?

My personal style blends my background of family, travel and experiences as well as my many years in both the art and design field. Together with my husband, the style of our home has certainly evolved over time (that’s the fun part), and currently it is a comfy/transitional blend. He often asks “which room are we painting next?” I do love to play with paint color.

Just for fun…

I come from a large extended family and we get together frequently for one celebration or other. I enjoy playing in my yard, also known as ‘gardening.’ My next personal remodeling project will be transforming our spare bedroom into an arts & craft room – I can’t wait!


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Lauren Ellis-Russo

Favorite step in the remodeling process?

I love meeting clients at the tile showroom. It’s fun to collect tile selections for one room and really visualize the outcome; and the options are endless!

Favorite  way to be inspired?

I have been inspired simply by walking into some restaurants. They can have pretty trendy designs or things I haven’t seen before.

Best part about working with our clients?

We enjoy working with our clients to help them navigate their way through a design, knowing we are making a positive contribution to their everyday lives that they will continue to appreciate. It feels good to make a difference.

What is the biggest challenge that comes with remodeling?

I have trouble finding time to get everything done! With so many jobs going, I wish there were more hours in the day, but I really can’t complain – I’d rather play in the chaos than suffer from boredom!

What is your personal style/aesthetic?

Personally, I lean more toward the contemporary style; I’m attracted to clean, straight edges and certain modern characteristics.

Just for fun…

I love animals and before I decided to go into the Interior Design program at Oregon State, I wanted to be a veterinarian!

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