When homeowners are considering embracing a new kitchen or bath design, they often look to Web sites and magazines for ideas. However, when it comes to true inspiration, they often leave their comfort zones and venture into the showroom.
What they experience in the showroom will ultimately determine the final decision. While knowledgeable, talented designers, courteous staff and even home-baked cookies all help the process along, it is often the atmosphere and special amenities that the showroom has to offer that push the homeowner to give the final approval.
The six firms featured in this look at innovative showrooms all take a different approach – one that sets them apart from their competition and keeps customers coming back for more.
For husband-and-wife design team Ronald Purcio, CKD and Debbie Harte, a change in direction was a boon for business. The couple’s daughter Carrie Harte, who now works with them and a team of designers and support staff in the family-owned company, suggested opening a retail showroom where clients could find everything they were looking for.
While the planning and opening of Styles Kitchen and Bath in Basalt, CO in 2010 coincided with the decline in the economy, the strategy has paid off for the firm, which caters to the affluent Aspen community.
“Shopping in our area is limited, and most people want to enjoy their time here doing other things like skiing or hiking,” notes Harte, CFO and office manager for the company. “So, we created a complete home design center with virtually everything they will need to create their new or remodeled home.”
“We feature everything – from cabinetry, wine rooms, countertops, appliances, tile, lighting, kitchen and bath fixtures, faucets, hardware and much, much more,” she adds. Names such as Bentwood, Ronbow, Sub-Zero, Viking, Silestone, CaesarStone and Grothouse Lumber are found throughout the 6,000-sq.ft. showroom. Plumbing lines include products from Toto, Graff, AquaBrass and MTI Whirlpools.
Almost everything in the showroom is live, from the kitchens to the showerheads and tubs. Two working kitchens – the Modern Kitchen and the French Country – often act as sets for cooking demonstrations and other events.
Designed by Purcio, the showroom features an open mezzanine that “gives it a ‘wow’ effect from the entrance,” says Harte. Special attention was given to every space or display, she adds, citing the 300-year-old beams in the French Country Kitchen.
an artistic touch
At Ispiri, good design is in the details. So believes owner Jason Fabio, CR, and the rest of the showroom staff.
Based in the east metro area of the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN, the 2,500-sq.-ft. “inspiration center” invites visitors to touch products before they buy.
“Our showroom is meant to provide our clients a place to create ideas for their homes,” notes Fabio. “They will be allowed to touch and operate the products; the refrigerators work, the dishwasher drawers operate, as does an oven and range.”
The most unique aspect of this space, according to Fabio, is a fully functioning operating kitchen. “Here we can host instructional demos, cooking classes or industry-related seminars,” he reports.
Surrounding the working kitchen are a number of vignettes – complete with attention to detail and artistic touches – featuring a range of products. Ispiri is a Dura Supreme cabinet dealer, and also has 13 different countertop manufacturers on display including Cambria, Eco-stone, Heritage Wood, Paper Stone and Rinato. Plumbing brands include Toto, Kohler, Delta and Rohl. Five different appliances brands are on hand, as well.
In the end, “we want our clients to feel special and appreciated. Remodeling does not have to be stressful and hectic,” says Fabio.
Walk into the Keener Kitchen showroom in Timonium, MD, and there is no mistaking its location. The showroom, a second location tied to the custom cabinet manufacturer’s spot in Pennsylvania, was designed to make the locals feel at home.