Town & Country, MO — It was once said that “all men’s gains are the fruit of venturing,” and Alex Elzein seems to agree.
After all, Elzein, owner of Graniterra Kitchen, Bath & Stone Design Studio, a full-service natural stone importer and fabricator based in St. Louis, MO, has ceremoniously led the firm into the kitchen and bath remodeling business with the opening of a new design studio and showroom in Town & Country, MO.
“[At the new showroom] we offer full-service kitchen and bath remodeling – from project planning through installation,” Elzein states.
Designed through a collaboration between Steve Fritz of Wood-Mode and in-house interior designer Marilyn Vollet, the new 7,000-sq.-ft. showroom showcases full kitchen and bath displays.
“The site for the showroom was chosen because of its West St. Louis location, accessibility to our target market and the proximity to showrooms in related industries,” Elzein explains.
Operated by John Moench, a former architect who now serves as vice president for Graniterra, the space caters to what Elzein calls “sophisticated consumers, designers, developers and builders.”
The new Graniterra showroom employs a staff of seven associates, including three kitchen and bath designers and an architect.
Giving the firm’s designers space to create on their own terms is a key consideration, according to Elzein. “We encourage our designers to work in the way in which they are most comfortable,” he comments. “We have some designers who prefer to do hand drawings, and we also have designers who utilize 20-20 design software.”
Hand designs are also done “to create the initial presentations to clients during brainstorming sessions,” he offers.
To commemorate the new space – the firm’s second location – Graniterra held a grand opening cocktail party, which was attended by approximately 150 industry colleagues, including designers, contractors, builders and architects, among others.
“There was a jazz combo playing and a sparkling bar with a signature cocktail modeled after one of our pieces of marble, dubbed ‘The Fantastico.’ Guests could also take guided tours of the showroom,” he remarks.
The key to the new Graniterra showroom is its breadth of offerings, both in product and service, says Elzein.
“The new showroom is one of the most elegant in the Midwest, supported by fine cabinets from Wood-Mode, appliances from Sub-Zero and Wolf, and Kohler plumbing and accessories,” he reports.
There are approximately 20 full displays in the showroom, with many additional bath vignettes. Also featured is a fully functional modern kitchen.
“We encourage customers to try any and all of the functional parts of our displays,” offers Elzein, who notes that fully working displays enhance the hands-on experience.
Graniterra will also play host to many events in its new expansive showroom, such as cooking classes, design seminars, cocktail hours and lunch-and-learn sessions, according to Elzein – both as a way to promote education and to attract visitors.
Plans are in the works to offer cooking classes that all current and former Graniterra clients will be invited to attend. The classes, events and seminars will also be open to the general public.
The firm’s lead architect will also be presenting design seminars on logistics and building codes in the future.
Additionally, the space has been used by outside companies for events. A local design magazine recently held a launch party at the showroom.
Everything at Graniterra is custom designed to fit the specific client’s needs, according to Elzein.
In keeping with the trend toward green, “we have access to many sustainable materials such as bamboo, and recycled solid surface options,” he reports.
Accessible design options also have a place at Graniterra. “For clients with disabilities, everything can be custom tailored to the individual to make sure the design is completely functional for their lifestyle,” he says.
The firm also spotlights other-room designs, and features displays showcasing closet systems, entertainment center solutions, office spaces, laundry rooms and hearths. All of these other rooms are featured in a home-like setting.
“That way, our clients can get a real feel for what they are planning,” says Elzein.
The firm offers free estimates and design consultations to all visiting prospective clients.