Great Spaces: Kitchen possible

Mary Kathryn Reese, below, and her partner Jennifer Sherrill founded Snappy Kitchens which helps clients pick materials and looks for their kitchen including backsplash and countertops. (Photos courtesy Ruda Photography)

One local couple can take the nightmare out of revitalizing your kitchen into a dream

By Rich Lopez

When you cook that extra special dinner for your loved one or family, you want to feel inspired as you go through the recipe. But you need much more than the pretty picture in that magazine and those drab cabinets aren’t helping. The kitchen is the heart of the home but if it’s causing heartache, well, something must be done — and it may not be as daunting as you think.

“Before people think about remodeling their entire kitchen, they should consider a facelift,” Mary Kathryn Reese says. “What we’re doing is basically that, an aesthetic update, but we also try to enable the consumer to define for themselves what they like to do with their kitchen.”

Reese and Jennifer Sherrill, her partner in both business and life are founders of the seven year-old Dallas-based company Kitchen Design Concepts which focuses on full-scale higher-end redos. That comes with more involvement and process. But the ladies discovered a niche market where people were interested in updating their kitchen without breaking ground or the bank. Some touch-ups here and there or maybe a new sink and they would have been happy. This became an aha moment for the team and Snappy Kitchens was born.

“What we’ve learned is that people are interested in doing some of it themselves,” she says.

They just need that push to get them going and that’s where Snappy Kitchens comes in. The couple created an online portal where people can design their new look all on the web with a wizard model and get an estimate of the cost. Once the client is happy with the results of both the selections and the prices, an appointment is set with the company to verify measurements and costs and begin the journey to a brand new kitchen.

“It’s basically a do-it-yourself redesign,” she says. “People can do it at their own time and pace and there’s no cost for the estimate. Plus, this gives clients all the power in their own hands and they can edit the cost. Sometimes people are embarrassed to say ‘I can’t afford this.’ This model lets them narrow down the cost.”

The company has two designers on staff who then help the customer streamline their facelift.

“People want some confirmation that what they selected looks good,” Reese says.

Reese and Sherrill debuted Snappy Kitchens in March, but have been at work on it since lasy July. The service opened to a warm reception at the Home and Garden Show in Dallas and even in its infancy, business is buzzing.

“The response has been fabulous and we’re doing about a proposal a week,” she says.

She says they are working out some kinks and doing all the web tools to maximize visitors to the site. However, the site runs smooth enough and easy to follow. By clicking the “Estimate My Kitchen,” button, the Snappy Kitchen Wizard appears and you’re on your way to that kitchen facelift. First the kitchen shape is determined followed by cabinetry, countertop measurements and options and then sink, faucet and backsplash. Since cabinets make up a big design element of most kitchens, you’d think that would be the most popular of the selections. Wrong.

“The most common request people want for their kitchen is a new countertop and then new appliances” she confirms. “Backsplash and then painting cabinetry and replacing hardware.”

You are in good hands with this team. With their primary company, the couple has realized their dream. But Sherrill is also one of 31 women in the industry to have certified remodelr designation from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry or NARI and that’s huge. Reese is also a hobby chef and Cook’s Illustrated recipe tester, so her knowledge of the kitchen adds a perspective to the redesigning beyond just looks.

And although Snappy Kitchens is their new baby, as any proud parent, they got big plans for it.

“Of course, KDC is our first business there is a different approach to services, different level of intimacy,” Reese says, “but even though Snappy Kitchens costs less for the customer, the quality is the same. We’re going full throttle with this and because it’s web-based, we even hope to franchise it.”

Likely everyone else does to, so make it snappy.

For more information or to begin your kitchen’s facelift, visit

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 15, 2011.

—  John Wright

Bellying up to the bar: Leatherman Payne and partner dive into club ownership with Eagle

MEN OF DENIM | Ostmeyer, Payne, Johnson, Frazier and Roy now all own the Dallas Eagle.

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor

Until about a month ago, everything Jeffrey Payne knew about a bar was how to order a Sprite in one (Payne doesn’t drink). Maybe how to cruise a guy during happy hour. That was it.

That’s changing. Fast.

At the end of January, Payne and his partner David Roy became shareholders in the Dallas Eagle.

“David and I have been speaking about it for a few years. We toyed with starting our own bar, had looked at other bars that had come up for sale in the meantime but never found what we were looking for,” Payne says.

Then last year Mark Frazier, one of the owners of the Eagle, approached them. “He heard we were looking,” Payne says, and asked if they would be interested in investing. Things progressed fairly quickly from there.

“I really didn’t know what to expect,” Payne says. ”Working with Mark and Cully Johnson and Jerry Ostmeyer, who are the other owners, we all bring something different to the table. We’re all active. There’s no silent partner, no one standing on the sidelines. Lot of changes have either happened or are about to happen. The DJ booth is now against the side; new countertops are being put in; and we have an updated draft [beer] system.”

Payne’s history with the Eagle is notable. He was named Mr. Dallas Eagle in 2008 — the first step on his way to Mr. Texas Leather and finally International Mr. Leather, a title he held from May 2009 to 2010 and for which he received widespread acclaim throughout the community for his leadership.

“Having been around the world like I have been, getting to know the hugely supportive gay community — not just the leather community — I wanted to be more involved,” he says. “The Eagle was just the right thing we were looking for. It’s a Levi/leather bar, but it doesn’t stop there: The bears, the court, the drag queens, softball teams, the bowling league — it’s not limited to just one sector of the community. It’s a wide array of people. Even straight people who are involved in the gay community hold activities there.”

“Bar owner” joins Payne’s other job titles of late, which also include running a court reporting service and serving on his non-profit Sharon St. Cyr Foundation, which raises money for hearing aids and sign interpretation for the deaf community. Payne is going deaf, although it has not progressed as fast as his doctors had predicted.

“It has gradually gotten worse but I’ll hang on to every day I can,” he says. ”Understanding is escaping more and more. David said something to me this morning and what I heard and what he said were on two different planes. Mine was much funnier.”

His hearing impairment also figures into his work at the Eagle — in some not-to-predictable ways.

“Sunday was the first time I worked behind the bar,” he says. “When I’m at the Eagle I don’t wear my hearing aids so people were placing orders and I didn’t hear them.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 4, 2011.

—  John Wright