Designer Couple Creates 'Homespun' Showroom
By Denise Vermeulen
Cheri Antozak, CKD, CBD, and her husband, a licensed builder, had no intention of actually moving into the 80-year-old colonial they bought to renovate. The original idea was to create a unique showroom for "Interiors by Cheri," one that would replace their existing showroom, which had been located in a strip mall since 1986. Cheri Antozak says that they wanted to create the "illusion of having it alldaring customers to reach for their dreams."
In their spare time, the Antozaks renovated the
2,800-square-foot main floor of the colonial home over a five-year
period. They also purchased and renovated several neighboring
apartment buildings for investment purposes during that time. All
of the properties purchased had fallen on hard times, and area
residents welcomed the renovations. They soon began encouraging the
Antozaks to move into the neighborhood.
The idea of a home and showroom rolled into one struck the Antozaks as unique. The pair always seemed to be there in their spare time anyway, completing most of the renovations themselves. So, about a year ago, the Antozaks moved into their new home and showroom permanently.
"People remodel because they want the end result not because they are interested in the nuts and bolts," observes Cheri Antozak, who also has a builder's license. She explains that she doesn't want her customers to feel like they are shopping. Rather, she wants them to feel like a guest in her home, being shown throughout the house. In fact, the Antozaks have all the rooms in which they live open to their customers. "No room is off limits," explains Cheri Antozak.
The showroom/home includes 13 rooms: A living room, library, dining room, office, multi-purpose room that includes laundry facilities, kitchen, four bathrooms and three bedrooms. According to their extensive Web site, which includes a color photo tour of the colonial, "The rooms are connected by doors and hallways, to allow for a smooth, circular tour around the house." Each room is decorated by Cheri Antozak and showcases the various talents of the husband-and-wife team.
Cheri Antozak counts among her talents "the ability to organize and be neat" and a "God-given ability to create beautiful rooms." The planning and design that went into the rooms prove her right. A multi-purpose room includes a laundry center with four roll-out hamper baskets, a gardening area with a pull-out table extension, recycling bins and a craft storage area.
The kitchen includes a sink that is located in front of a pass-through to a well-appointed dining room. A countertop on the dining room side offers extra space for buffets. A china cabinet holds the Antozaks' collection of antique crystal.
The bathrooms are smaller than many of today's more luxurious
appointed plans, but they showcase effective utilization of space
something many clients appreciate. The Antozaks even included an
elaborate hot tub in the master bedroom. The house also features
five different painting techniques (with two more in the
While this all-consuming philosophy toward business might be overwhelming for many, this couple thrives on the experience. In fact, Cheri Antozak says that she always tries to have something cooking on the stove or in the oven when customers arrive. "I've greeted more than one customer with an apron on," she says, referring to the cookies, popcorn, bread and chili she's prepared for showroom guests. When appointments arrive at the "Interiors by Cheri" showroom, the Antozaks make sure that the place looks and smells good. They even put on music.
Who are these lucky consumers who arrive on the Antozaks' doorstep, ready to be fed and dazzled? Careful tracking of their consumer base allows Cheri Antozak to be very specific. "We have a medium- to medium-high-end client base," she explains. Customers tend to be couples with two incomes, between the ages of 35 and 65. The majority of her customers are people who own their own businesses.