About Us

It’s only fitting that a renovation design company started in a home. Emily launched You-Neek Designs in 2016 from her own house, sharing an office with her husband. It wasn’t long before Emily needed a space of her own, opening You-Neek Designs’ first studio on Willow Avenue in Castle Shannon. Five years and three newly hired teammates later, more square footage was required to accommodate our materials library, workspaces and client product storage. In April 2022, we moved into our current studio on Painters Run Rd. This gorgeously designed headquarters for You-Neek Designs allows us to spread out, share inspiration and better serve our clients. Plus, the couches are very comfy.

Do You Know

  • … If your dream is feasible?
  • … Where to start?
  • …What is a real budget?
  • …Who to hire?

Our Team

We are creative problem-solvers who specialize in renovation design. We take inventory of how you live and work in your space and deliver solutions that are ingenious, arresting and comfortable. We truly love what we can do for you. In fact, the only people more excited than you will be with your renovation is our team at You-Neek Designs. Take a minute to meet them.

Emily Klapkowski

Owner, Visionary, & Chief Design Officer

I absolutely love my job.

Emily is the founder of You-Neek Designs and is best known for bringing one-of-a-kind solutions to every project – a true validation of the firm name. Emily started her journey at the University of Kentucky where she majored in Interior Design and was valedictorian of her class. While there, she added to the depth of her education by training at a commercial architecture firm. It was this blend of design and architecture that eventually whet her appetite for more creativity and inspired her to start something that was truly unique to the design industry. Hence, You-Neek Designs was born.

Emily is extremely passionate for her work. She gets to know every customer personally, not only understanding their needs and wishes, but helping them visually and structurally interpret what they want out of their home renovation. She believes that the blend of functional programming and aesthetic detailing are the key to dream-home results. 

A self-proclaimed “construction junkie,” Emily takes a very hands-on approach.  You will often find Emily on-site throughout the entire renovation making sure every last design detail is properly executed. When she’s not spending time in her customers’ homes, you can find her in her own home, entertaining and watching sports with family and friends on her patio. She also enjoys golfing, yoga, concerts, comedy shows, and traveling with her husband and son.

Vicky Acerni​

Interior Designer

I love seeing our drawings come to life.

Vicky’s passion for design started at the age of 14, when the elaborate sets of a Broadway musical opened her eyes to how dramatically design can transform an environment. She carried that fervor with her to LaRoche University, where she majored in Interior Architecture & Design while simultaneously interning at an architectural firm. After graduation, she spent nearly a decade building her experience and her portfolio in residential and commercial design, honing her project management and 3D modeling skills.

Older historic homes are Vicky’s favorite projects, the older the better! She ultimately thrives on being part of a team that truly improves the lives of their customers through thoughtful design. Her creativity throughout the selections process is second to none.

Vicky has become known as the resident barista of the You-Neek Designs’ studio, whipping up custom espresso orders for her co-workers and customers. Outside of work, she leans into her adventurous side, traveling to new places and experiencing new cultural cuisine. She also enjoys kickboxing, camping, live music, and spending time with her husband, daughter, and three dogs.

Trisha Kerstetter
​

Interior Designer

Demo days are my favorite.​

For Trisha, looking at a space and figuring out how to use it in a new and different way is like piecing a puzzle together. Being able to visualize and create in this way is a unique talent, and just one of her many skillsets that she started to hone during her college years while majoring in Interior Design at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. After graduation, Trisha further grew her experience and skills, working in interior design across the retail, medical, and hospitality industries. For You-Neek Designs, she puts this all to work through an expertise in space planning and construction drawings.

While Trisha enjoys every aspect of her job, she particularly loves two things: building up and tearing down. The building up comes in the form of collaborating with the rest of the You-Neek Designs team to bring out the best ideas for their customers. Tearing down is exactly that … demolition, which ultimately is a means to a big change for the better.

Married to her high school sweetheart, Trisha and her husband have two sons and a dog. When she’s not at work, she’s chilling with her family, listening to music, or getting dirty in her garden.

Brooke Rakowski

Business Operations Manager​

This is my creative outlet.​

While most people see project management and business operations as black-and-white, Brooke gets the unique perspective of doing this role in an extremely creative environment. She has a 20+ year career in management consulting, which was focused in software implementation prior to joining You-Neek Designs.

Brooke earned her undergraduate degree in Business Management from the University of Kentucky, then went on to get her Master’s in Business Administration from William & Mary University. She is the catalyst for keeping things moving at You-Neek Designs, managing budgets, bookkeeping and technology so that her team can focus on renovations and design. While she loves the orderliness of project management, she thoroughly enjoys watching the creative process of the You-Neek Designs team getting to know each customer and bringing their unique vision to life.

In her spare time, Brooke enjoys yoga, traveling, reading, going to concerts, and hanging out with her husband and two daughters.

Awards/Accolades

You-Neek Designs is honored to be among the top renovation design teams in the region. We’re known for our out-of-the-box solutions to space reconfiguration, tasteful design, and start-to-finish involvement in everything we do. We’re  grateful for the accolades our clients have helped us receive:

Best of the Burgh – nominated 3 years running

Best of Houzz – 4 time winner

Kitchen & Bath Design Award Finalist 2022 – Steel Dreamin’ Project

Mount Lebanon Magazine – One stop renovation

Pittsburgh Magazine – Home or Resort

Kitchen & Bath Design Magazine – Tranquil Tones Ultimate Storage Solutions

Houzz Article – 10 most popular kitchens

Quote in Pepper Home  – Styling Thatcher Collection

“Emily transformed our office space from boring to stylish! She really listened to what we wanted and brought it to life. We were amazed at how quickly the project was completed and how easy she made everything come together for us, especially at a very busy time for our business. We were thrilled with the finished product.”

– Kelly