Cheryl McCracken: Renovation Design Specialist

Cheryl McCracken business photoFrom hiding oversized televisions to finding the right area rug, Cheryl McCracken works hard to design functional spaces for clients in the middle of renovations. 

Thanks for joining us, Cheryl. Tell us a little bit about how you got your start in interior design?

I was a design assistant after graduating from Endicott College for a few years, then went to work for a whole sale kitchen company where I learned how to design kitchens and bathrooms. Then went off to work in a plumbing show room that helped me to start my own company 28years ago. Clients were sent in by their builders to choose the plumbing and before they left the appointment I usually was hired for the interior design. Since then my specialty has been many building and renovation projects.

You live and work in New England. What are some New England themes you carry into your design. Is there a prevalent nautical influence in area designs? Which elements do you use?

Many New England clients are traditional with a little eclecticism thrown in. However if it’s a beach house on the cape it could be shabby chic and colorful with some nautical or it could be a condominium in the North end that is very contemporary. It’s all what the client’s needs and wants are. They hire me to make their house a home.

All spaces are unique, but in New England you must find that there are design features every client wants. Which are most popular? Any type of furniture or finishing you find dependable in pleasing your client? 

As far as a design feature, comfortable pieces of upholstery are always important. Finding a fabulous accent piece in case good furniture or a special rug always makes the space unique.

My challenge in many rooms today is hiding the over sized flat screen television.

If a carpenter is involved it might be adding wainscoting or crown molding.

Custom window treatments always complete a room along with the right accessories and art.

What are you first priorities when meeting a new client in a new space? How much are you matching their needs to your design experiences and current forms of inspiration.

To understand what their wants and needs are in the space. Look at anything they currently own and ask if anything they have will be incorporated. If it is a yes on certain items I start my design plan with those pieces in mind.

I create a master plan for the room or rooms, ask for some sort of budget.

Then begin with a furniture floor plan and research fabrics and furniture and present.

New England has plenty of homes from the 19th and 18th century and with that comes nice hardwood floors, and eventually area rugs. Tell us how you use area rugs in your designs.

With area rugs I prefer to design the room first with fabrics and furniture, unless the client already owns the rug. Once the room is complete and waiting for the right rug, I can usually bring in half a dozen rugs and end up keep the perfect rug for the room.

Do you have a type of area rugs that you lean on most? Or is it a case-by-case basis?

Rugs are always a case-by case decision. Every room is different, every job is different, it is always the clients preference in pattern, color and price with my guidance.

Is there a price limit on what you’ll spend on the area rug? 

Price is not up to me so the answer is I don’t have a limit. It depends on the client and their budget. I have sold rugs from $500.00 to $30,000.00.

Any words of design advice for the wannabe’s out there?!

Educate yourself! There are a lot of furniture and rugs that the prices are too good to be true and usually the quality is lacking. Always have a master plan before you start to purchase. It’s worth it to hire a Design professional because if you hire the right one you won’t make mistakes. Decorating is an investment the last thing you want to do is make a mistake.

Where can readers see your work, or make an appointment for consultation?

Please visit my website at, also on Facebook ,Houzz and Pintrest.

Thanks for your time! 

Thank you!


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