The Bristol native and East Tennessee State University alumna says the joy of her life is the four sons she raised while living on a Jonesborough farm and a cottage on Boone Lake.
Whitaker has been designing commercial and residential spaces since 1991.
Dog or cat: “I am an animal lover, but definitely a dog person.”
Favorite quote: "We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give," Winston Churchill.
Ideal getaway: “I am in love with the charm and beauty of Charleston, South Carolina.”
HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOUR JOB TO FRIENDS AND FAMILY MEMBERS?
Having the ability to envision what a space could be regardless of its existing condition is key to being an interior designer.
My sons used to joke that I shopped for a living, which is a part of my job, but being an interior designer who has experience with commercial and residential projects that encompass many different types of projects, describing my job is difficult, because each design project is unique.
My job at times could be project manager, coordinating many contractors, or a purchasing agent, finding the perfect furniture, rugs, accessories at the best possible quality or price. I’m also a space planner, who ensures building codes and ADA requirements are met while laying out extensive workstations.
As a professional interior designer I usually follow a set of informal "rules" based on design principles and elements. These elements include space, line, forms, light, color, texture and pattern and the ability to keep them balanced is the key to creating an aesthetically pleasing interior.
But being aesthetically pleasing is only a small part of the process. It also includes making sure the space is functional for the client, that the items selected are durable and appropriate for their use and that they are within the client's budget.
It is most important to work with the client so that the space is a reflection of their tastes and personality.
WHAT'S THE BEST PART OF YOUR DAY?
My morning tea walk. I love to walk and enjoy nature while having my morning hot tea.
HOW DO YOU UNWIND?
Enjoying the outdoors in our beautiful mountains and lakes of East Tennessee by hiking, biking, kayaking or riding my jet ski. I also love to work with my hands with refinishing furniture, painting and sewing.
WHO HAS HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON YOUR LIFE?
My dad, John Ervin, was the person who I most admired. Although he has passed, his life of caring for his family, community and all people he encountered and his integrity certainly lives on. I continue to strive everyday to live my life in a way that would make him proud.
HOW DO YOU GIVE BACK TO THE COMMUNITY?
I am very fortunate to belong and am active in some wonderful organizations that give so much to our community.
The past five years I have been a board member of Holston Habitat for Humanity, and served as president of the board from April 2018 to May 2019. Holston Habitat for Humanity is building its 300th house in our area. Habitat partners with families to build affordable housing, giving these individuals a hand up, not a handout.
Knowing how important a home is to a person's well being and how Habitat's projects bring so many different groups in our community together, I am grateful to have been a small part of this wonderful organization.
I am president-elect of the Johnson City Morning Rotary Club. Being a Rotarian is an honor as Paul Harris, the founder of Rotary, brought community leaders together to work for the good of their communities and this has continued to this day. Our local Rotary clubs give so much to the community and am proud of all they have accomplished.
I am also a member of The Monday Club, and was chairman of the yard sale committee. I currently serve on its arts committee. The Monday Club has a rich history in Johnson City, with its founding members establishing the Johnson City Public Library. Since it's beginning, the club has brought together its members to support projects in our community.