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VOL. 125 | NO. 252 | Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Kitchens Unlimited’s Kassen Wins TriStar Award

By Taylor Shoptaw

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Karen Kassen of Kitchens Unlimited has won a TriStar Award for Residential-Singular Space in the 2010 Tennessee American Society of Interior Designers Design Competition.

(Photo: Lance Murphey)

Work Experience: I began working at Kitchens Unlimited as an intern in 1992, and purchased the business with my family in 1998. So, I have worked at the same firm for the last 18 years.
Husband, Joe, who is involved in our business. Two sons: Hays, 11, and Wynn, 8.
Why did you pursue a career in kitchen design?
Although I began school in architecture, a kitchen designer friend got me interested in the specialization. While kitchen design involves a very technical side of interior design, I still get to work with finishes, materials, decorative arts and architectural planning. It is the best of both worlds.
What does winning the TriStar Award from ASID mean to you?
I was very proud to share this award with a talented interior designer, Julia Finnell. She and I collaborated with an involved and passionate client to create a winning kitchen in a home that had been contemplated for years. There is no better confirmation than having someone in your profession praise your work for being the best.
What do you consider your greatest professional accomplishments?
I am the only designer in Memphis to achieve the certification of Master Kitchen and Bath Designer, and one of only three people in the state of Tennessee. Last year, I was selected by National Kitchen and Bath Association and HGTV to be featured with one of my kitchen projects in a short story commercial that aired on HGTV and DIY network.
What do you most enjoy about your work?
I get to be creative every day. I love that designing a kitchen or bathroom can be so impactful on the lives of my clients. It’s so rewarding to see a project transform from a sketch to real working and functioning space. Best of all, I enjoy the collaboration of working on projects with other designers, architects and my colleagues.


Kirk Caraway of the law firm Allen, Summers, Simpson, Lillie & Gresham PLLC has been selected as a Mid-South Rising Star in the field of labor and employment by Law & Politics for the third year in the row.

Dr. Toan Nguyen has joined UT Medical Group Inc. as chief of gastroenterology. Nguyen also has been named the Orren W. Hyman professor of medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.

Kurt Van Cleave has received his certified wound care associate designation from the American Academy of Wound Management. Cleave is a case manager and registered nurse at Methodist North’s Comprehensive Wound Healing Center.


Mark Benfield has joined Apperson Crump PLC as of-counsel. Benfield has been a partner in Bailey Benfield PLC since 2001. He served for several years in the U.S. Navy as a Judge Advocate General attorney and also has worked as a prosecuting attorney.

Former Tennessee Supreme Court Chief Justice Adolpho A. Birch Jr. has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee.


Amy Chambers has joined Pickler Cos. as operations director. Chambers has more than 10 years of experience in financial operations and client services. She most recently served in an operation leadership role at Cargill Cotton.

Larry Rice of Rice, Amundsen & Caperton PLLC has been named a Super Lawyer by The Best Lawyers in America. Nick Rice and Jennifer Bellott have been named to the Rising Star list.

PROPERTY SALES 124 481 17,865
MORTGAGES 127 530 20,565
BUILDING PERMITS 195 891 36,836
BANKRUPTCIES 52 262 11,426