Situated to serve both the Cleveland and Columbus metropolitan areas, Mark and Matthew Schag’s Luxe Kitchen & Bath Design Center is the result of three generations of work in the industry. The original company, The CounterTop Shop, was founded in 1982 by their parents and grandfather. The Schag brothers bought the company from their parents in the spring of 2006, and set out to design a new, high-visibility showroom.
“This location provides a lot of drive-by traffic that wasn’t possible at our factory showroom location,” says Mark Schag, who provides the customer design services. Matthew Schag, by contrast, handles the materials acquisition and technical support for the firm.
The brothers sought out a central location and oversaw the design and installation personally. “The showroom was just a shell. We handled everything from lighting to interior wall construction to flooring. I think the overall feel of the showroom is more unified because we had the chance to build it from scratch,” says Schag.
With 1,200 square feet of space, Luxe has 10 full-sized kitchen displays that range from traditional to European contemporary. “We want to offer something for everyone,” says Schag.
The showroom’s market is broad, and targeted not only to educating consumers, but also to welcoming in professionals. “We want this to be a place where builders can confidently send their clients, where designers can meet with their clients to coordinate finishes, flooring treatments and wall colors and where consumers can come to learn more about what is available.”
Shaping a Timeless Style
Mark Schag is proud that Luxe doesn’t outsource any of its woodworking. All work is done by in-house craftsmen.
Between the two locations, The CounterTop Shop/Luxe Kitchen & Bath Design Center has a staff of 30, including master woodworkers, the installation crew and the sales team. Schag is confident that this in-house approach is the way to go.
And, he adds, “Our designs and products are timeless.” However, he is quick to add that timeless doesn’t mean solely traditional. Innovations include new hardware such as the bi-fold door lift system in the company’s signature cabinetry line, Allen Cabinetry. “We encourage people seeing our products for the first time to open up everything, because you don’t know what’s behind it until you do,” says Schag. This “hidden treasure” approach reveals elements such as a Dacor warming drawer concealed behind bulk storage bins in the island in one kitchen; another has a Sub-Zero refrigerator disguised as an armoire.
Another kitchen features surfaces made of lyptus wood, which is a “green” wood product grown in sustainable forests.
“We’ve completed a number of projects with this wood, which resembles mahogany. We offer it at a very competitive price because we want to support sustainable products,” says Schag.
In addition to its green design efforts, Luxe has also done work on designing for greater accessibility. “Since we are a custom shop, the opportunities to accommodate persons with disabilities is really limitless,” says Schag. This includes raising dishwashers and creating handicap-accessible sink areas.
Luxe only sells Allen Cabinetry, its exclusive line of custom cabinetry, which includes laminate cabinetry, European frameless cabinetry, as well as traditional framed cabinetry, all manufactured in its 55,000-sq.-ft. factory.
In the showroom, the firm displays Sub-Zero, Wolf, Dacor, Electrolux, GE Monogram and Frigidaire appliances; Element Design metal doors and door hardware by Emtek and Hafele. The company also sells and displays Visual Comfort lighting. Luxe has been a certified Corian fabricator for over 20 years, and offers Corian Zodiaq, as well as a broad selection of granite, stone, tile and slate. One kitchen displays a soapstone countertop Schag says “just blows everyone away.”
To celebrate Luxe’s grand opening, the firm is offering discounted granite: “I’d like to see those who hadn’t considered granite an option to be able to afford it. For me, great design isn’t about spending beaucoup bucks,” adds Schag. “It’s really about getting the feel and language of the house right and making the budget.”