Our Team

Our team is talented, creative, and resourceful. With diverse backgrounds in design, art, and construction management, we are perfectly suited to ensure your project realizes its most creative end result. We work closely with our clients and their builders to act as a guide through every step of the design process: from the initial meeting, through conceptual design, construction, and installation. We use a series of detailed project schedules to streamline communication and ensure accuracy between parties. This comprehensive service, combined with our partnerships with the industry's best, is what sets us apart from other design firms.


Taylor Stein is a 2016 graduate of Alexandria Technical and Community college with a degree in Interior Design. Along with her educational skills, she brings a strong creative flair to every project. She loves the challenge that design brings. Her ultimate goal is to create a design the client will love and be able to enjoy for years to come. Taylor's interest in design sparked from helping and observing her dad with his carpentry work as she grew up. Taylor is a rural Courtland native. She keeps up-to-date on trends by reading design blogs in her free time. On the weekends you can find her up north, relaxing at the lake.

Lighting Specialist

Sara Ruffing has been in the lighting industry since 2008 and enjoys working with clients and contractors to help them find the best options for their projects.Sara is certified as a Lighting Specialist by the American Lighting Association and has taken courses in Interior Design. Sara enjoys learning all aspects of lighting and keeping up with new technology.


Megan Rolloff is a graduate of Minnesota State University with a degree in Art Education. Her art studies took her into patterns, color, form, and design. She has been working in the design industry since 2004. Megan strives to make each project the reflection of her client's tastes and personality. Her client's satisfaction is her ultimate goal.Megan's passion for art is evident through her involvement in her community. She has been a board member for The Grand Center for Arts and Culture in New Ulm since 2009. She also enjoys working on her own art projects whenever time allows.

Design Assistant

Debra Steichen has transitioned from Designer to Design Assistant. Her 20 plus years of design experience give her the edge needed to work with customers and vendors. Debra's creativity and sense of style enable her to support the design team with everything from research to placing and follow through of orders. Debra is a graduate of Minnesota State University – Mankato with a Bachelor's degree in Design and The Human Environment. Her interest in photography has been a great fit for supplying us with progress photos of our projects.


As the owner of The Design Element with over 25 years of experience in the design industry, Margot has built her reputation on a professionalism that comes from melding the client’s personality with great design and unexpected elements to create a unique space her client will love! She strives to not only keep current with new design trends but to be a trendsetter, and through regular attendance at national trade markets she remains on the forefront of things to come. Margot loves to work from blueprint stage on a custom home or remodel and follow through to furnishings and the finishing touches! She also has an extensive background in commercial design and enjoys the challenges unique to that market.

Margot was the lead Designer for the Mankato Design Center building project and invites you to stop by the showroom to view her work.


Designer Melissa Tellijohn has had a presence in many areas of the design world. She was a floral designer for 12 years, while working independently as a interior designer, before coming to us in the fall of 2017. She pays attention to detail, obsession for quality and a love for crisp design. Using her experience as a floral designer and her art background she has a well trained eye for quality, craftsmanship, furnishings and textures. One of her favorite parts of design is pulling together the furnishings and seeing all the finishing touches bring the space to life. In her free time she enjoys painting, catching a concert, or spending time with her family.

Cabinetry Expert

Cabinetry expert Lauryn Schindler is the manager and primary kitchen and bath designer for Cabinet Lab at TDE. Originally from Mankato, she has been deeply rooted in the community through her work in special education and is enjoying her transition to a more creative field. She works one-on-one with clients in the showroom and assists the interior designers from The Design Element and their clients in fully realizing kitchen and bath projects through cabinetry renderings.

As a lover of nature and the arts she attends concerts, bikes and hikes the great outdoors, and nurtures an array of indoor plant life in her cherished free-time.

Lighting Specialist

Ian Laird enjoys the technical side of lighting and assisting customers with their lighting needs. His graphic design skills have made him a major contributor to our marketing projects. He is a certified Lighting Specialist.Ian is a graduate of Minnesota State University – Mankato with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drawing/Printmaking and a minor in Art History. Ian has been involved with various arts-related organizations in New Ulm and numerous community arts projects, keeping him connected to his passion for art.


Heather Buisman graduated with a degree in Interior Design from Minnesota State University - Mankato and is now an award-winning designer with 10 years of experience in the industry. Her enthusiasm working with customers gives her the passion for full interior design service - from window treatments to whole-house remodels.