“Faucets and fixtures are a means of clients expressing their individual taste and personality,” says Henderson. “It’s almost like great jewelry for an outfit. The task of making these selections can be somewhat daunting to many, and we find that by providing attractive and diverse lifestyle suites, we can help lessen the trepidation about making the wrong choice.”
To encourage additional confidence, Banner Plumbing Supply created a reference book – which lists paint colors, tile, even where towels and props were purchased – so clients can duplicate a particular look if they desire a turnkey approach to kitchen and bath design.
During construction, much consideration was given to several design elements, including color, lighting and layout. Simple white showcases faucet towers, and mini vignettes are contrasted with rich, chocolate brown to make products “pop.” Lighting, with color-corrected lamps, provides the truest color display. All faucet towers feature back lighting, and working sconces evoke the feeling of a real bathroom. Adding stone or tile instead of standard paint or laminate to the walls makes the displays stand out. Henderson also painstakingly shops for just the right accessories and props to make a display feel like home.
Clean, open sight lines emulate a museum environment. “Clients can see that gorgeous faucet they fell in love with while they’re standing at the sink that it will be paired with,” she says. “Many manufacturers have tried to get me to place tubs or other displays in random locations, but I dig my heels in to maintain the integrity of the space to carry that open museum-like feel I was striving for.”
To maintain relevance, the company seeks to stay ahead of the curve to give clients a look at the latest and greatest products. “Another focus has been to incorporate attractive products geared toward our Baby Boomer population to show how easily you can make a bath age-appropriate, while looking great at the same time,” she offers.
Recently, Henderson has also been dabbling in custom designing furniture pieces with various manufacturers. “Our clients are looking for something special, something different,” she says. As such, one of the latest installations features a reclaimed barn wood console designed with Native Trails. A handmade, glazed clay vessel is topped with a Brizo faucet in a Venetian Bronze finish that resembles twisted iron. “I really enjoy pairing the unexpected together,” she says.
While Tague Lumber is a 100-year-old, family-owned building materials distributor in the metro Philadelphia area, it didn’t have a showroom until three-and-a-half years ago when it opened its new 10,000-square-foot space.
“There really isn’t anything like this in the area, especially anything that showcases kitchens and baths,” says Kim Moyer, senior kitchen designer. “It gives people the ability to touch and feel [products and materials]. While they can do a lot of research online, coming to the showroom provides interaction. Plus, it gives us face-to-face contact, which I think is key to making a sale.”
The showroom, which was designed by Ellen Cheever, CMKBD, ASID, CAPS, coordinates 10 kitchen and five bathroom displays – two more are in development – with additional housing needs, such as interior and exterior doors and windows as well as hardware and mouldings. One kitchen display is live, providing the ability to host events, including those for local industry association chapters as well as the chamber of commerce and publishing companies.
“Our showroom is a great place for designers and architects to bring clients to see more than one thing,” she says. “It’s very convenient for them. A majority of the builders in this area send their clients to us.”
The open floor plan allows customers to easily walk through the space. Polished concrete floors provide a warm ambiance, while an extensive lighting system allows each display to be illuminated individually with task lighting, in-cabinet lighting, undercabinet lighting, etc. “You can turn everything on or off at different times,” she says. “It helps provide a true feeling of how lighting would be in a client’s home.”
A color scheme of neutral grays with pops of color, including red, lime green and warm gold, is popular. “Gray seems to be the new beige,” she says. “And we’re still finding that white is a popular color for cabinets.”