We’re a team of design experts with over 35 years of combined residential design industry experience. We align our studio toward the practice of personalized design, meaning that we don’t follow our own in-house aesthetic. Throughout the process, we empower you to advocate for your own sense of style or we can help you discover and explore it for the first time.

Our independence from product and sales pressures and our unique dedication to highly detailed design plans, afford us the ability to meet you where you are through collaboration and partnership so we can make your dreams a reality. We strive to provide design solutions that exceed expectations, so you feel taken care of, listened to, and able to enjoy your new space(s) as personal expressions of your family.

how is our firm unique?

we’re experts

As a team of designers with extensive experience in the specialties of kitchen, bathroom, and interior design and remodeling, we offer a comprehensive approach to design for our clients.

collaboration and partnership

We partner with you, our clients, using our expertise as a catalyst inspiring your aesthetics and creativity to shine. Our mission is to be a conduit so you can explore your own tastes and style, giving you space to discover what excites and inspires you about your home. Our goal is for you to own your style unapologetically, loving it, and believing that this uniqueness makes you and your spaces special. Design then becomes a collaborative art form where our knowledge and skills meet your aesthetics and creativity, rising to transform a space into something more than just a remodel.

personal design – your style is our style

The foundation of our design philosophy is the belief that your home should be as unique as you are. Projects covering an eclectic and diverse range of styles, looks, and types of spaces fill our portfolio. No two projects are alike reflecting the wide spectrum of the aesthetics and backgrounds of our clients. Whether it’s mid-century or transitional, eclectic or industrial, contemporary or farmhouse, or even an undefined style, we provide you with superior, personal design solutions and exceptional service for you and your home.

make no little plans

Planning is essential to our design process. Before construction begins, determining and mapping out design solutions in greater detail for your project both shortens project times and increases your spaces’ usability. We work through every step of the design, selections, and details to determine as much as possible before anyone swings a hammer. Consideration of every detail is our goal: from grout selection and tile layouts, to where you’ll store your pet’s food, how you’ll live without a kitchen for 8-12 weeks, and many other details both big and small, are all an integral part of our process.

independent

That interior architecture and design services should be independent of specific products or vendors is the founding principle of this company. We offer independent design services that allow us to partner directly with you, helping you find exactly the right products and materials for your needs. Before starting emma delon, we had many experiences with clients who wanted to work with us but our product lines couldn’t meet their needs, constraining our ability to provide the best service.

On the invoices of traditional kitchen, bath, and furniture showrooms, along with many interior design firms, the costs of cabinetry, furnishings, materials, and other purchases you make include the costs of design services. This situation creates conflict in both directions: for you working with a particular designer or firm, it means having to buy the cabinetry or other products they offer, whereas for designers, working with a particular client or project means selling you on the product lines they carry.

From these experiences we saw an unmet need, knowing it was time to make a change: we would sell interior design services independent of the influence or necessity for the sale of any products. This was a new, unique experience for us, our clients, and our collaborators. We still occasionally run into skepticism from other design professionals, especially as an independent firm. Working with and within an industry that has historically been sales-driven and inventory-based, the design is often an afterthought or is a value add, not the primary purpose.

designers are problem solvers

We focus on the design, layout, and details first, partnering with you to find out:

We then search for and source the right products, materials, style, and aesthetics that fit your criteria.

empowered by design

Our training and combined experience mean we can walk you through the entire design and construction process. We serve as your go-to resource for information about materials, suppliers, and services, empowering you to make the best choices for your needs with advice backed with experience not only on what’s available but also what products can best solve your problems.

Caroline Shillito

founder, owner, principal designer

Caroline has over 16 years of experience as a professional kitchen, bath, and cabinetry designer with an Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer certification from the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). Her expertise includes kitchen and bath design, space planning, product/material knowledge, and color theory.

She graduated from the Interior Design program at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC with a bachelor’s degree. After college she worked in Asheville, Chicago, and the Sandhills region of North Carolina, focusing on kitchen, bath, and cabinetry design.

She founded the firm near the end of 2009 so she could do more for you than just sell cabinetry. Having grown up in Chapel Hill, attended college in Boone, and lived in different parts of the Research Triangle, she is very familiar with local style trends. This experience with local culture helps her anticipate your needs and desires.

When not at the office, Caroline is often at home in Durham with her husband Tim (see below) and their three cats, spending her free time gardening, cooking, and socializing with her family and friends.

Monica Hyde

associate designer

Monica Hyde has over 5 years with us, growing from a novice designer fresh out of school, starting as Caroline’s Design Assistant, to a seasoned professional and a vital member of the team with an aptitude for project management and coordination.

Even before design school and her career, Monica always had a passion for interior design. Her first taste came as a child watching her Dad remodel their home. Helping him with odd jobs, both in their home and for others as she grew up, turned her interest into a passion that led her to seek interior design as a career.

She spent her childhood in upstate New York, only moving to Apex, NC with her husband in 2008 to stay close to family. Relocating to the Triangle gave her the opportunity to attend the Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham, where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design. Monica continues to further her knowledge and expertise as she pursues professional accreditation in kitchen and bath design from the NKBA.

Cassie Smith

design assistant

Cassie grew up in Durham, NC, attending a local community college before transferring to Western Carolina University. There she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design in 2016. Cassie continues her education pursuing professional accreditation in kitchen and bath design from NKBA.

After college, she started her professional career in hospitality design before transitioning to residential design when she joined our team in February 2017. Her organizational talents help keep our team and our projects running smoothly while her beautiful 3D renderings can help you envision your dreams. In her free time, she loves weaving, knitting, and spending time with her family and friends.

Tim Swezy

media & marketing manager

Tim wears a lot of different hats throughout the day. This includes social media posting, updating our website and portfolio, forecasting promotional pushes, designing stationery, the occasional tech support question, and more, as needs arise.

Tim grew up in transit through the continental US, moving about 2 dozen times until he settled in Durham, NC with his wife, emma delon Founder, Owner, and Principal Designer Caroline Shillito. Following short stints at the School of Visual Arts in NYC and Appalachian State University in Boone, NC he graduated with a BFA in Illustration in 2007 from the American Academy of Art in Chicago. After graduating art school and a subsequent move to the Triangle with his then girlfriend Caroline, he had a 10-year career in web, mobile interface, and user experience design before joining emma delon in 2017.

When not trying to find new ways to stick the emma delon flower on things, Tim enjoys making art, specifically drawing with pen and ink. He has an extensive interest and educational background in the humanities and the fine arts, enjoying reading, writing, watching odd/art films, and listening to music. Otherwise, he spends his free time hanging out with his wife and their 3 cats or with his extended local family.

One more thing: in 2009, he helped Caroline found emma delon.

Abby Faulkner

business manager

A native North Carolinian, Abby Faulkner was born and raised outside of Durham, NC. She has associate degrees in Business Administration and Electronic Commerce, joining our team in January 2019 with over twenty years of business management experience.

A creative soul at heart, Abby joined the emma delon team after 16 years in the corporate world with a Fortune 500 company. Here at emma delon, Abby handles a wide variety of tasks including accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, taxes, sourcing and procurement, and internal reporting.

Outside of work, Abby enjoys spending time with family, being outdoors, art, experiencing music and studying rocks, minerals, and plants.