Showroom Geared for Design Professionals

Troy, MI— A showroom designed by designers for designers was the idea behind the Beaver Tile and Stone’s new showroom in the Michigan Design Center, located here.

Based on the principle that all people view design from a slightly different perspective, Blackstone Interiors, L.L.C. used a combination of small vignettes, functioning displays, several small “floorpad” designs and multiple concept boards to appeal to a wide range of discerning design professionals – while also maintaining a consumer friendly atmosphere so designers could easily bring their clients in.

Lauren Misch, Alaina Cross and Rhonda Regan of Leonard, MI-based Blackstone Interiors designed the new showroom, with the project overseen by Phyllis Schoenherr, v.p. of Beaver Tile and Stone.

The original space had previously been a furniture showroom and had dummy walls, carpeting and separate office space before the remodel.

To create a space more conducive to a kitchen and bath showroom, all of the interior walls were knocked out and the carpet ripped up. That left only the bare bones of the space – including a slab floor and perimeter walls – as a canvas. Fortunately, two of the walls were made of glass, providing a striking view into the Michigan Design Center.

Because the interior space was being dramatically increased, the design team was able to incorporate a variety of displays to promote the myriad products, room concepts and design solutions that are among their offerings.

Abundant Displays

Indeed, as a part of the Michigan Design Center, Beaver Tile and Stone received the chance to expand its previously 1,500-sq.-ft. showroom to a space that includes some 3,500 square feet.

The larger space allowed the company to create the showroom it had desired for over 25 years. As a result, the showroom now contains 65 separate displays and vignettes showcasing showers, a powder room and even a working kitchen, which allows the firm to cater large-scale events hosted in the showroom.

Due to the expanded space, vignettes were designed to be more detailed and comprehensive than in the past, while various tile display areas are also incorporated into the new space.

The tile lines are subdivided by material including specific sections for ceramic tile, porcelain/commercial grade tiles, metals, glass and mosaic, among others.

Major lines displayed throughout the showroom include Artistic Tile, Oceana Glass Sinks, Linkasink, Marianne Jones sink consoles, and Olympia Tile, Beaver Tile’s parent company. Beaver Tile and Stone offers custom-built products, as well, and its staff works with designers to cultivate an idea from concept to finished design.

The showroom is staffed by four employees, including showroom manager Jan Grudzen and Julia Kudzia-Serilla, a showroom consultant and designer, with all of the designers specializing in tile and stone design, according to Grudzen.

Double Duty

Serving as both workstations and selection centers, individual tile products are placed on boards around the showroom with the intent of presenting the client with a number of options.

Misch explains that the rationale behind using integrated displays and vignettes was to set the showroom apart by incorporating different materials.

Accessibility is also important to the firm. For that reason, not only is the showroom ADA compliant and the public restroom facilities designed for universal access, but consultants are available on-site, ready to help a client chose the best universal style to accommodate any kind of special needs.

Beaver Tile and Stone also focuses on promoting “green” design options and offers lines from many manufacturers that provide high-end environmentally friendly products, including Encore Ceramics, EcoDomo and Sandhill Industries’ 100% recycled glass tile. The firm also carries larger-format tiles in keeping with the current international trend.

While the official Grand Opening took place last month, the showroom actually opened its doors to designers and architects back in December of 2007.

Since then, the showroom has been looking at new marketing measures to attract potential clients, and is planning an upcoming newsletter, various seminars, networking events and quarterly CEU-credit courses to educate design professionals.
Marketing is important to the firm, and, in fact, Beaver Tile and Stone has been the recipient of several market awards from the International Furnishings and Design Association for its showrooms.

Of course, what really sets the showroom apart, according to Misch, is its ability to show designers and their clients cutting-edge design, and plenty of design options.

“No more do Michigan designers have to travel to New York and Chicago to see any of the newest trends,” says Misch. “The trends are right here in their backyard.”