Ruth Barnes – NKBA


Ruth Barnes

Hatchett Design/Remodel

Virginia State

Thirty Under 30: Ruth Barnes

Ruth Barnes is one of the outstanding young professionals in NKBA’s Thirty Under 30 Class of 2024. 

By Donna Heiderstadt

“Like father, like daughter” is pretty much the story of Ruth Barnes’ journey into residential interior design. Her architect dad, Jeffrey Lees, inspired her more than she realized. “I grew up around his profession — attending meetings, stopping by job sites, measuring, drawings, product catalogs, design magazines, more drawings, more meetings,” she explains. “I remember going straight to the kitchen displays any time we went to Lowe’s or Home Depot and taking home way too many paint chips because there were so many pretty colors.”

During an art history class at Virginia Tech, Ruth discovered the school had a kitchen & bath design program. From there, her future fell neatly into place and she graduated in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Residential Environments & Design. Ruth started her career at Coastal Cabinets, earned a Certified Kitchen & Bath Designer (CKBD) certification from the NKBA in 2021 and today, at age 28, is an interior designer with Hatchett Design/Remodel in Virginia Beach, VA. “I’m really excited to now be designing the entire space in addition to the cabinetry,” she says.

Ruth, who currently serves as Membership Chair for NKBA’s Virginia State Chapter, says her personal design preferences “lean more towards timeless than trendy.” She appreciates many looks, although she admits “coastal and contemporary styles speak to me the most — but I’ve always thought Art Deco was fun!” She describes herself as “dedicated,” and perhaps a bit of a perfectionist. Her motto? “I don’t give up and it’s not done if it’s not right!”

“I don’t give up and it’s not done if it’s not right!”

Ruth is also a newlywed. She and her husband, Joe, married in May 2023 in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and since then have strived to create the optimal work-life balance. “This summer my husband pointed out one night that I shouldn’t look at my phone after hours because I get sucked in,” she explains. “He suggested I put it on do not disturb and I ended up setting a do not disturb schedule every weeknight from 6:00 pm to 8:00 am…Best thing I’ve done!”

The couple has two cats, Pebbles and Sox, and enjoy spending time with friends and family, taking evening walks, going to the beach and snowboarding. Ruth, a Baltimore native, is also a  loyal Ravens football and Orioles baseball fan — “Go birds!” Travel is a passion, too. She and Joe honeymooned in Hawaii this fall and are looking forward to visiting Europe, where Ruth studied aboard while in college. After that? Starting a family, says Ruth, and, of course, building their dream house.

Class of 2024

Sophia Amiano

Amiano & Son

Mid-Atlantic Chapter

Ruth Barnes

Hatchett Design/Remodel

Virginia State

Anna Blinova


Manhattan Chapter

Ashley de Boer

Ashley de Boer Interiors

Vancouver Chapter

Rachel Burger

JL Design

Tennessee Chapter

Valerie Furazhenko

Viola House

Jake Hohman

Moen Incorporated

Ohio State Chapter

Kelsey Kinniry

Delta Faucet Company

Indiana State Chapter

Samantha Kunka

Bolyard Lumber

Victor Lebegue

VL Builders

Rocky Mountain Chapter

Kaitlyn Martel


Olivia McMurtrie

Ferguson Enterprises

Virginia State Chapter

Brittany McQueen

Hometown Homes

Prairie Provinces Chapter

Sydney Melnyk

Redl Kitchens

Prairie Provinces Chapter

Isaac Musket

C&K Custom Remodeling

Columbia River Chapter

Chrystalla Neocleous

The Breakfast Room Ltd.

Metro New York Chapter

Danielle Noah

AJ Madison

Metro New York Chapter

Alexis Novacek

ZLINE Kitchen & Bath

Sierra Nevada Chapter

Kiersten Reed

Monmouth Building Center

Northern New Jersey Chapter

Priscilla Saucedo

Ferguson Enterprises

Southern California Chapter

Lyndsey Seddon

Seddon Design Co.

Northern New England Chapter

Thomas Setnan

Rustic Kitchen & Bath

Sierra Nevada Chapter

Cortney Smith

Torgy's Home Design

Katie Sneed

K. Sneed Design

Abigail Stojke

Peacock & Company

Jamie Stoneking


Chicago Mid West Chapter

Luke Sweigart

Green Forest Cabinetry / Indigo Strategic Holdings

Virginia State Chapter

Kristin Tabor

TABOR Design

Central Florida Chapter

Abby Via

Mosby Building Arts

Missouri/Southern Illinois Chapter

Devorah Werner, CKBD


Metro New York Chapter