Duluth, GA— Steve Lindstrom, CKD, is not a fan of walls.
“We built walls only where absolutely needed,” he says, adding that the only doors in his open-plan showroom are the doors to the restrooms. The proprietor of Kitchen & Bath Studio Inc., Lindstrom wanted to place not just his displays, but also his business, as far into the open as possible.
“I absolutely did not want to be hidden in some small or specific area where nobody knows you exist unless they are looking specifically for you. I wanted to encourage window shopping,” Lindstrom adds.
With the 2,700-sq.-ft. showroom sporting 45' of frontage with 13'-high glass windows, he may just get his wish.
“We’d like to be the place that gets potential clients thinking about a kitchen or bathroom remodel. They may not be in the market today, but if I get them to start planning, in six months or so, when they have established a budget, they will remember where they saw that great kitchen or bath and want to come back,” he says.
To celebrate the showroom’s opening, Lindstrom and his team worked with the Westye Group, the local distributor of Sub-Zero and Wolf, to plan and cater two events. The first was a neighborhood cocktail party to introduce the new business and network with other local establishments.
The second event was a gala event for the formal grand opening. The event featured a chef preparing items in K&B Studio’s live kitchen. Invitations went out to community homeowners as well as area builders and designers.
Kitchen & Bath Studio is located in a high-traffic shopping area, near high-end shops and restaurants. “I didn’t want to be tucked away in a small strip center, or bunched into a design gallery with other competitors,” says Lindstrom, who has a background in architecture and was responsible for creating the showroom’s initial plans. Jo Rabault & Associates of Atlanta was then brought in to modify and finalize the design.
The goal of that design, according to Lindstrom, is to foster a collaborative effort between the staff designers and their clients.
“It’s set up to look and feel like an artist’s studio. The intent was to make the space feel open and inviting, much like a loft,” he adds.
That loft-like atmosphere was a direct response to other showrooms Lindstrom had visited. “The last thing we wanted was a bunch of small vignettes trapped in a maze of tiny spaces.”
The result of that effort is 13 large spaces including seven kitchens, four baths, one media room and a butler’s pantry that are all either full-sized or nearly so.
The design includes a media center with widescreen television and DVD player which shows, on aloop, photos of completed projects. One of the kitchen displays is functional and stocked with Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances, including a steamer, fryer and induction cooktop. The intent is to invite chefs to showcase their cooking talents during scheduled events.
The bonus of including appliances that customers might not have used before or considered for their own homes, says Lindstrom, is the educational value of watching an expert use the equipment, which has the potential to convince customers to include it in their own homes.
Set up in a circular pattern, the showroom encourages customers to move in a natural counterclockwise motion through the displays. “We worked quite a bit on designing a space that encouraged the customer to walk through each one of the vignettes,” says Lindstrom
From his experience elsewhere, Lindstrom felt that flooding the Kitchen & Bath Studio showroom with as many product lines as it could fit would “water down the selection,” so he researched various lines and decided to offer only a few in each category.
Kitchen & Bath Studio offers Hampshire Custom Cabinetry, Medallion Cabinetry, Ward’s Cabinetry as well as Cuisines Laurier, and Bristol & Bath for pre-manufactured bathroom cabinetry. The showroom displays Rohl, Whitehaus Collection and Cucina fixtures and appliances by Wolf, Sub-Zero, Bosch, Thermador and Electrolux Icon.
Designs are done in a mix of computer generation via 20-20 software, hand drawings and autoCAD where appropriate. “I want to let the designers work in the medium that they are most comfortable with and will do what I can to provide them with whatever they need to succeed,” comments Lindstrom.
Four full-time employees are on staff, including Lindstrom who is a member of the NKBA, two resident designers who are Certified Kitchen Designers, and a project manager who also has CKD accreditation and is a member of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). Additionally, the appliance company with which K&B Studio partners has a representative on hand to help in the selection process.
“We wanted to make the showroom a place for learning,” adds Lindstrom. “We’d also like to highlight things that people have an interest in, but have not had the exposure to yet. To that end, we’re scheduling a lot of events to target many different audiences. We’ll be hosting several parties and classes intending to attract homeowners.
“For independent designers, we want to create a program where they can utilize the showroom as their own, and will even provide them a workspace to design when needed,” he concludes.
In addition to its educational efforts, K&B Studio plans to launch a quarterly newsletter to send out to current customers and display in the showroom. This will not only inform its readership of upcoming showroom events , but also offer simple remodeling tips and design ideas. The showroom further markets itself through its Website, located at www.kandbstudio.com.