We're sometimes asked why we do not have a showroom, especially for bathrooms and the short answer is, they are very expensive to set up and staff. The long answer is that we looked into it and by the time we purchased a storefront, remodeled and bought it up to code (as it is a public space) and then did a complete build out, we were looking at investing almost a cool half million. $485,000 to be exact. Then on top of that, we would have the ongoing operating costs and staffing and update costs as fixtures, styles and trends changed. And all of these costs would have to be added to each and every project we built. Over the last decade, we've seen a number of bath and kitchen showrooms come and go. And often times they go, as maintaining as store front is a significant cost burden as I noted above.
The trend that I have seen here on Cape Cod, is bath and kitchen showrooms are been opened and operated by companies with deep pockets and more importantly are just one part in the companies overall business. One example of this: Botello Lumber in Mashpee built a new showroom that displays kitchens, windows, doors and building materials. (But no bathroom displays.) FW Webb, Ferguson, Supply New England and Simons all opened showrooms in the last several years and all are primarily suppliers for the plumbing and electrical trades. This strategy seems to make good business and financial sense. On one hand, this is great for the homeowner looking to remodel their home, bathroom or kitchen. They can go look, touch and choose cabinets, fixtures and fittings.
Yet on the other hand, when it comes to actually having the work done, oftentimes the showrooms/supply houses may suggest the names of local contractors that you can contact directly. The role of the showroom staff is often limited to providing design services and suggesting products. They rarely take an active roll in managing a project from start to finish. (Which is the primary mission of @designREMODEL) With that said however, having local showrooms where our clients can look and touch is invaluable.
Recently I took a field trip of a sorts to check out two new kitchen and bath showrooms that opened in Falmouth and to see what they had to offer. First up is Supply New England's Kitchen and Bath Gallery of Falmouth. They relocated from Main Street Falmouth recently and now reside in the old Falmouth Ford location. From the exterior, you would expect to see a fairly large showroom yet, once you step inside you realize that the space is not as big as it would seem. The majority of the building is given over to the supply house. However don't let that deter you from visiting as the showroom is actually very attractive as you can see in the picture below.
Upon entering the showroom I was greeted promptly and with enthusiasm by the staff. I browsed around for a bit looking over the numerous displays of bathtubs, vanities and the like. I looked at the kitchen cabinet display area which was also smaller then I expected. Overall, I was impressed by the showroom and the displays many which feature Kohler products. (Which as an aside, we prefer and specify on many of our projects) I checked in at the designer's desks and I spoke at length with Ann Hebsch who was friendly and attentive about the new Kohler Tailored Vanity Collection Which is new for 2014. This new line of cabinets, which we are very thrilled about, feature choices, colors and options that cannot be found anywhere else! Ann showed me some of the cabinets that were on display and even provided me with a rarer then rare (at the time) copy of a catalog for the Kohler Tailored Vanities.
One of the displays that caught my eye as you can see below, was the Kohler Artifacts showcase which shows all of your choices and options for shower controls, faucets and other fittings commonly used in a bathroom. The display was brilliant and beautiful!
Another display I looked at, got me to thinking about soap/shampoo alcoves like the one shown in the picture below. Creating or incorporating a soap/shampoo alcove that looks good and fits into a space can often be a challenge. I like this for its clean lines, simplicity, tons of room and easy to keep clean.
All in all, a trip to Supply New England's Kitchen and Bath Gallery is well worth it. With lots to look at, friendly staff and a welcoming presence, I'll be visiting again and again with my clients.
Located at 343 Dillingham Ave, Falmouth MA. Showroom Phone 508.457.9720 Hours 10-5 Tuesday-Friday 10-4 Sat. Closed Sunday and Monday.
In near future, I will share my trip and thoughts about the newest showroom in Falmouth. Frank Webb's Bath Center located just up the street from the Kitchen and Bath Gallery.