Prior to starting Unique Kitchens & Baths (UKB), Tanya Smith Shiflett, a Baltimore Native, was a full-time medical sales representative and the loving stepmother of two daughters.
“I found myself helping my husband, David Shiflett (a builder and the owner of Esinay Contracting since 2000), with his kitchen designs,” she says.
“I moonlighted with him on full-house renovations. No matter my vision, he would make it come true.”
The husband-and-wife collaboration culminated in 2017 by the establishment of UKB in a 500-square-foot showroom in Halethorpe—and the couple hasn’t looked back.
“Starting off, it was literally just myself and David. We would work 12 to 15 hours a day, not turning down a single job” Tanya says. “My mission from early on was to accomplish the goal of creating a beautiful, affordable kitchen without taking forever. We can create a fully functioning custom kitchen in as little as four weeks!”
With David building UKB cabinets and overseeing their installation, Tanya is free to dream, design and grow the business. UKB’s charming showroom, which is filled with styled displays of their cabinetry, has grown to 3,500 square feet. There is a second location in the works in Tysons, Virginia.
The design team-of-two has also grown, with lead kitchen designer Olga Reznichenko and also kitchen designer Loren Tomas, who used to work at Architectural Ceramics.
Tanya speaks of two other design collaborations: one with hostess of HGTV’s “Best House on the Block,” designer and author Lauren Liess; one with DC-area blogger and interior decorator Alison Giese.
“With these lines, we’ve added fresh aesthetics, with respect to colors, styles and finishes,” adds Tanya of the collaborations.
“We’re excited about launching a new in-house UKB line this spring. It focuses on organic woods and earth tones,” she says, adding, “A lot of people are going back to the natural beauty of wood, respecting the integrity and purity of specific types. No more filling of knots or heavy staining. We’re really excited about it.”