This story was originally published in Builder.
Ellen Cheever, Certified Master Kitchen & Bath Designer, principal of Ellen Cheever & Associates, and former Director of Educational Services for the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) has donated her life’s work, “The Ellen Cheever Kitchen & Bath Collection 1971-2018,” to the Virginia Tech Center for Real Life Design in Blacksburg, Virginia.
Ellen Cheever gained national recognition in the 1970s and 80s for her textbooks and training programs conducted across the U.S. and internationally. Cheever was named to the inaugural KBDN Innovator 50 list in 2017, and currently runs both a private consulting business and residential design business shared with her husband Pietro Giorgi, CMKBD, in Wilmington, Delaware.
“Ellen is a big name in the kitchen and bath industry as a designer, writer, and educator,” says Dr. Julia Beamish, head of the Virginia Tech Apparel, Housing and Resource Management department. “She helped to conceptualize our center and set up its advisory board in the 1990s.”
The Cheever collection includes all of Cheever’s original consumer and trade publication columns, original textbook editions, and training programs in digital or digitized form, as well as 11 binders of kitchen and bath industry material spanning almost 50 years. The collection will be stored alongside the historical files of the Apparel, Housing and Resource Management department in the Center’s new Cheever Design Library, which was opened and dedicated on November 1st.
“I hope my experiences, both personal and professional, will help someone reading my story or studying these materials be better prepared for their professional life ahead,” Cheever said during the dedication. “With all of life’s ups and downs, I learned from many great people over my career and this is my way of giving back.”
The Center, which serves as a residential design and tech laboratory for students and professionals, contains six operational kitchen models representing various price levels, space designs and family needs and configurations. The library space, designed by Cheever, features products from Plain & Fancy Cabinetry, Corian Quartz Surfaces and Hafele America.
“Ellen Cheever is truly inspiring and the donation of her body of work is a gift to us all,” says Suzie Williford, executive vice president of industry relations and chief strategy officer of the NKBA. Ellen’s meticulous and transformative collection of works and teachings will be studied for years to come.”