The 2019 Rising Stars of the Home Industry

Beautiful, diverse group of women and men

Meet Atlanta’s Top 10 and Fantastic 5 professionals in the fields of Remodeling, Interior Design, Real Estate, and More.

After thousands of votes, you have selected the best and the brightest under 40.

These Top 10 trendsetters are paving the way in fields such as architecture | interior design | remodeling | real estate and more

Cover Winner

Handsome, well-dressed male
Nick Lamonte

Nick LaMonte | Real Estate
Realtor with Harry Norman, REALTORS®

Hard work and integrity are character traits that were instilled in Nick LaMonte by his father at a young age. Today, the driven realtor has utilized those skills to quickly rise to the top of his field and was even named Harry Norman, REALTORS® 2018 Rookie of the Year. When he isn’t closing deals, the 26-year-old can be found mentoring youth at Woodson Park Academy.

What is the biggest trend you see in the industry right now?
Ranch homes, especially in Brookhaven and Buckhead, are so popular right now because it is all about a reasonable price point. They also provide all the things that are important to buyers—a move-in ready/updated home and a yard where pets can run around. People really value their pets so a backyard for them to play in is way more important than a two-story home.

How do you approach your craft in a way that is different than those who came before you?
I am different because I don’t try to be someone that I am not. My clients know and trust me and I believe they appreciate that the most. My drive is on another level compared to other people in this business right now. For example, when it comes to staging homes, I use IMOTO photo primarily. This new technology allows you to take professional photos of the space and then it superimposes furniture and accessories that look realistic. You can also add and take away lighting and really make the space look its best.

Home exterior with lush lawn and garden

Who helps you be your best professionally?
Family and friends, without a doubt. Getting into a business like real estate with no connections or guide to follow is something that really pushed me. Establishing myself in this arena was the toughest part. My family, Dave LaMonte, Gina LaMonte, and Gianna LaMonte, have been my biggest support group when it came to starting my real estate business and they have been with me every step of the way. Go-to people in Atlanta would be my best friends, Greg Hernandez, Vinny Barone, and Kyle Renfroe. I have so much trust and respect for them in every avenue of my life.,




Young woman in burnt orange blouse

Star Student

Lauren Hoke | Interior Design
Design assistant at Innovative Construction

As a student at Georgia State University studying interior architecture and design, Lauren Hoke’s signature is to interweave her passion for health into each of her projects. The 22-year-old GSU interior design organization president is also skilled at adapting. When the opportunity to lead the design department at Innovative Construction presented itself, she stepped up to the challenge.

If you weren’t in the home industry, what would you want to do?
To be honest, even when I was little, I wanted to be an interior designer. My mother and I were obsessed with HGTV. If I wasn’t in the design industry, I would be doing something with health and wellness. It is a huge passion of mine to combine health and wellness with design to create healthy environments.

How do you approach your craft in a way that is different than those who came before you?
Health and wellness really inspires me to design and create new spaces. I like researching better building materials or companies that have taken initiative to not only be green and help the environment, but to also consider the clients’ well-being. I believe designers have the responsibility to create spaces that are smarter, healthier, and more beautiful. It is my mission to educate the consumer on how to incorporate these types of designs into their homes.

Contemporary kitchen design

What has been the most difficult part of your career so far?
When I was hired on as a design assistant for my company, the woman I was assisting left for maternity leave about three weeks after I started. I was suddenly in charge of the entire design department. I am so incredibly grateful for this position and have learned more than I ever thought possible. I have really had the chance to prove myself and continue to do so.,





smiling male with hand in pocket
Tim Keepers

Give-Back Star

Tim Keepers | Architecture
Founder of OrchestraONE Studio, design leadership and project manager at BLUR Workshop

From a young age, Tim Keepers aspired to be like architectural greats Frank Lloyd Wright and Frank Gehry. At 35, he has already left his mark on Atlanta. Whether designing benches for the Atlanta BeltLine, crafting modern residential spaces, or volunteering with nonprofits, Keepers ensures our city is better and more beautiful each day.

Why do you have a passion for the home industry?
I am interested in the full gamut of design, fabrication and construction. It is the process of getting to know the client and designing something that will surpass their expectations that I love.

What happens when you get stuck creatively?
The first step is realizing that I am actually stuck. The second step is just pushing through it. One of the greatest assets you can have as a designer is to be able to push forward when you don’t feel like designing or don’t have the ‘spark.’ At the end of the day, your clients don’t care if you aren’t feeling it, you still need to produce quality work, which is what they are paying for.

Exterior of modern design house

How do you give back to the community through your profession?
I am the program director with the Museum of Design Atlanta’s (MODA) young professionals group called Toast MODA. I also am involved with Atlanta Habitat for Humanity, and The Pillyr Foundation, which is a nonprofit that serves the Atlanta community with public art and mobility projects. I also serve as a design studio juror with Kennesaw State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology’s schools of architecture. I do all of this because I love connecting great people with great design. Giving back to the community through architecture is a passion of mine.





Smiling young woman seated on a white chair

Hannah Howland | Remodeling
Production and administrative assistant at Benjamin Andrew Construction

The minute Hannah Howland could hold a hammer, she was helping her dad with projects around the house and joining him at work as a window/door salesman. Now 22, Howland is learning every part of the remodeling business, including design, installation, and administration. In her spare time, you can find Howland using her skill set as she volunteers with friends and family to paint, do yard work, and carpentry at Covenant Presbyterian Church.

Why do you have a passion for the home industry?
I love how creative and broad it is. Specifically in remodeling, I love being able to take something old and make it new and beautiful—the whole process to get there is so enjoyable to me. Every job is different with its own set of challenges, which keeps work exciting.

Living room with brick fireplace

Describe a project that you are most proud of to date.
The kitchen I remodeled for my mom. It was the first job I designed and managed myself. I was definitely challenged in keeping up with every detail from staying on budget to increasing storage and entertaining space. The part I was most proud of was adding tile that resembled brick above the cabinets and using it as a backsplash—it was the first time I had tiled. In the end, it was the most satisfying project I’ve done.

What has been the most challenging part of your career so far?
With every day there are new challenges. The hardest thing I’ve had to overcome is my fear of heights. The first week on the job, my boss had me on an extension ladder installing shiplap, so I had to get over it pretty quick!,






Handsome African American male

Myles Cardenas | Construction Management
Land development manager for McKinley Homes LLC, owner of EDGE+HILL LLC

As a kid, Myles Cardenas, 24, promised himself that one day he would design and build his own home, which led to pursuing a degree in construction management. The Kennesaw State University graduate was the recipient of the 2018 National Association of Home Builders Student Chapters One to Watch Award. Now as a construction manager, his sights are set on offering affordable housing for low-income Atlantans.

What advice would you give to those hoping to start a career in the home industry?
The home building industry is looking for the next generation of talent to lead the charge. The biggest thing now is creating a bridge between the current and future leaders via more internship programs, apprenticeships, and mentorships.
My advice is to visit new communities, meet the builders, network with professional organizations like the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association, and do hands-on community service with organizations geared toward housing.

Open concept kitchen design with big island-bar

How do you approach your craft in a way that is different than those who came before you?
My goal is to enhance historic communities without pushing people out. Using my business, EDGE+HILL LLC, I am working to buy and rehab real estate to offer more affordable housing in Atlanta. To me, it’s about rebuilding communities, creating a better environment, and impacting the future in a positive way.

What sparks creativity for you when you are feeling stuck?
Sharing ideas with my family, mentors, and people that challenge you to step outside of the box always sparks creativity for me. There’s inspiration all around. Sometimes I’ll drive through different neighborhoods and it automatically sparks an idea or concept.,



beautiful woman wear a pretty, sleeveless dress

Giovanna Berrios Laucella | Showroom Management
Showroom manager and owner of Giovanni’s Tile Design, Inc.

It’s all in the family for Giovanna Berrios Laucella. From working part time with her father at his tile design business to going on family vacations and commenting on the tile, faucet, or marble seen at locales, she has been a part of the remodeling industry since she was 13. Now, as the owner of the store she grew up in, Laucella, 31, brings designs from all over the world to Atlanta homeowners.

Where did you get your training and education to be in this industry?
I can proudly say, ‘I was born into the home industry.’ My dad’s passion for tile design inspired me to continue the family business. I studied International Economics at Georgia State University. The tile business mostly deals with international trade so with my background, I can also be the purchasing manager for our business. I’m eager to continue my education and get a certification in kitchen and bathroom design.

What advice would you give to those hoping to start a career in the home industry?
Love what you do. Be patient with people’s inability to decide on a color, pattern, style, etcetera. They come to you because you are the professional, and they are investing in you. Treat their design as if it were your own—your name is going to be on it anyway!

bathroom with tiled shower

How do you approach your craft in a way that is different than those who came before you?
A difference I find between my dad and I is technology. I love using computer-aided design programs to create projects, whereas my dad still draws everything by hand. I believe in interacting with the clients on a personal level, this helps foster the relationship between the designer and the homeowner. I accomplish this by utilizing tools like Houzz and Pinterest.,



Male in blue suit sitting in a black chairRahul Panchal | Custom Building
Co-owner of Luxetom Builders – Design|Build

After studying for high school exams, as a teenager, Rahul Panchal was getting his hands dirty working on home renovations with his uncle, Faizal Supariwala, in Toronto, Ontario. Fast forward to getting his degree in civil engineering, today, the 29-year-old has his own design-build company in Atlanta that provides the latest technologies to clients.

Why do you have a passion for the home industry?
The home industry allows me to create something tangible through teamwork and challenges me to be creative at every step of the project. Delivering a finished product to a client and seeing their vision come to life makes every hurdle and challenge worth overcoming.

Describe a project that you are most proud of to date. What about that project challenged you?
We recently created a 27,000-square-foot custom home for a client fully equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including geothermal HVAC, full home automation, and more. The sheer size of the house along with its specific feng shui layout presented many challenges, as we were constantly in communication with the contractors to ensure the correct placement of each element.

Exterior of 27,000 SF house

Who are your mentors?
David Wyse, the [late] owner of The Reno King, a high-end renovation company in Toronto, Ontario offered me a part-time job and taught me all the trade secrets.
Radhika Vydianathan from [the Atlanta-based] Kalaa Chakra Interiors, LLC, has been very helpful by generously connecting me to other industry professionals from time to time.,



Young, smiling male

Kris Griffin | Remodeling
Owner of Prestige Construction & Remodeling, LLC

Craftsman Kris Griffin, 31, believes in doing things the old-school way. His recipe for early success includes a deep knowledge of trade skills, hard work, and integrity. New methods and technologies aren’t lost on this traditionalist though. Griffin also takes time to continue his education in the field and offers fellow industry professionals the chance to do the same.

Where did you get your training and education to be in this industry?
I grew up learning carpentry from my Dutch grandfather who used to build yachts in the Netherlands many years ago. From that time, I have always had an interest and passion in working with my hands. I worked in the industry throughout high school and went on to Gwinnett Technical College for my degree in Residential Construction Management.

If you weren’t a remodeler, what would you want to do?
I plan someday to open a true apprenticeship school for construction trades, focusing initially on residential construction and expanding from there. I am passionate about this industry but there are so few new people to replace the older generation—those who are skilled and retiring at a rapid pace. If it keeps going like it is right now, there will continue to be a major shortage of skilled workers.

Exterior of a home addition - garage, library and sitting room

How do you give back to the community through your profession?
I joined the National Association of the Remodeling Industry about a year ago. I am on the speaker selection board for The Cutting Edge: Remodeling Education Expo, which is a yearly expo attended by professionals to get continuing education unit credits for their licenses. There is a whole day dedicated to educational speakers, and vendors in a lot of different fields of expertise. I also recently joined the Gwinnett Technical College Advisory Board for its Residential Construction Management program.





Young lay in pretty pink dress

Cassy Mathis | Interior Design
Interior designer at Haven Design Works

Every day presents an opportunity for growth for Cassy Mathis. The 32-year-old designer is the 2019 recipient of the National Association of Home Builders Professional Women in Building Council One to Watch Award. She is also involved with professional design organizations and currently serves as an executive board member for the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association Professional Women in Building Council.

Where did you get your education to be in this industry?
When I started with Haven in 2014, I had a marketing degree. I didn’t realize how much I would gravitate toward interior design. So, in 2018, I earned my Interiors associate degree from Gwinnett Technical College. I worked full time while going to school, and although it was one of the hardest periods of my life, it got me to the place that I am today, and I couldn’t be happier.

What advice would you give to those hoping to start a career in the home industry?
The industry and design world are ever-changing, and those in the industry have to be able to grow and change with it, be adaptive and connect. I also recommend joining organizations to learn in real time what the latest trends and developments are here in Atlanta, as well as nationally.

Elegant living room design

What are your go-to brands and showrooms, and who are your favorite home professionals around Atlanta?
I love going to the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center to pull for projects and presentations. Whenever I visit, I’m also inspired by the latest textiles and wall coverings offered by brands like Kravet Inc., Schumacher, and Robert Allen Duralee Group – RADG. I’m also inspired by other designers like Kelly Wearstler, Nate Berkus, and Shea McGee.,




Elegant kitchen design with cambria countertops
Rosa Moreno, Rosa Moreno Kitchens

Rosa Moreno | Kitchen Design
CEO of Rosa Moreno Kitchens

Rosa Moreno, 36, creates beautiful spaces for her clients and their families to make memories in. The former visual merchandiser was called to kitchen design seven years ago and hasn’t looked back since. In January 2018, the NKBA Certified Kitchen & Bath Designer® stepped out to start her own business.

What was your inspiration to enter the home industry?
When I stopped learning at my job as a visual merchandiser, I knew in my heart, I was ready for a change. So when I had an opportunity to work and learn at [the now shuttered] Kitchen Design Korner, I didn’t think twice. I am happy to say that a little over a year and a half ago, I started my own company.

Who are your mentors?
I have been fortunate to have so many great mentors in the industry! My first and most important mentor is kitchen designer Terrie O’Keefe. She believed in me and held my hand as I learned the basics of kitchen remodeling. The team at
LCS Residential Construction Services, Jody Struminger of Design Firm, Lisa Brooks of
Lisa Brooks Designs, and Cliff Thompson of Thompson Cabinets were all impactful teachers.

Elegant kitchen design with Cambria countertops

Who or what helps you be your best professionally?
The desire to accomplish the dreams of my clients always pushes me to do more. Also, partnering with the best showrooms, general contractors and brands in Atlanta like CR Home Design Center, Cambria®, LCS Residential Construction Services, Cabico, Hardware Resources, Matthew Quinn Collection, Sewell Appliance, Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery, and many more!,



The Fantastic 5

Voting results were so close that we wanted to recognize these next in line Fantastic Five.
They elevate the interior design community with their talent, depth of knowledge, and top-notch techniques.

Five beautiful beautiful young women
(L to R) Haley Carroll, Radhika Vydianathan, Ilona Karneyenka, Sarah Jordan and Angelita Zouiten

A special thank you goes out to our promotional partners, which include the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association, the National Kitchen & Bath Association Georgia Chapter, and the Atlanta chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. We would also like to thank Big Sky Buckhead for hosting this year’s Cover Winner Reveal Party. And a huge shoutout goes to lilli Midtown for hosting our winner photo shoot, Krys Alex Photography LLC for photographing all of our winners, and The Green Room Agency for beautiful hair and makeup. Finally, we’d like to thank Chicken Salad Chick and Tiff’s Treats for all the delicious food provided during the event.

Beautiful, young woman in pretty pink jumpsuit
Haley Carroll

Haley Carroll | Interior Design

A 27-year-old with an eye for design, Haley Carroll enjoys using her talents to give back. In 2015, she was the brains behind a modern, yet tropical church design in Costa Rica. Since then, she’s worked at award-winning companies such as CR Home Design Center and John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods. And in January 2019, Carroll forged her own path by establishing her design firm, Haley Renee Interiors.





Smiling young woman

Ilona Karneyenka | Interior Design

The Belarus-born Ilona Karneyenka discovered her passion for design after coming to the States. A mere two years after obtaining her Interiors degree from Lanier Technical College, she established her own company, Orange & Orange Interior Design. Whether Karneyenka, 35, is pulling the entire color scheme for a room from a client’s favorite work of art or simply incorporating teal cabinets in a kitchen design, pops of color are her signature.





Young African American woman
Angelita Zouiten

Angelita Zouiten | Interior Design

Angelita Zouiten knew it was time for a change after working as an architect in Brazil for seven years. She packed her bags and headed to the U.S. in 2010. Four years later, she graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design. Zouiten, 36, now puts her knowledge to work at Home ReBuilders, where past projects have included picture-perfect aging-in-place designs.





Beautiful woman in black jumpsuit
Radhika Vydianathan

Radhika Vydianathan | Interior Design

This international ingénue has done it all. From putting her mark on residential and hospitality design in Mumbai, Singapore, Malaysia, and now, here in Atlanta, Radhika Vydianathan is a global genius. Through her company, Kalaa Chakra Interiors / KCI Design, you can find the 35-year-old outfitting houses with colorful luxury fabrics and worldly furnishings. Vydianathan’s stellar designs can also be seen at Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts.







Beautiful smiling woman in blue long sleeved blouse

Sarah Jordan | Remodeling and Interior Design

After working as a design center manager at Ethan Allen® for 11 years, Sarah Jordan made the jump to residential remodeling in 2015. Since then, the eclectic designer has established herself as the design manager for Construction Ahead, Inc. The 38-year-old standout leader exceeds client expectations by crafting cozy spaces that meld repurposed items with new pieces.

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