Kitchen & Bath Design News

JAN 2019

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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Visitors can also download the company's Define My Style app, which helps them identify their design style. The result- ing information can be printed, shared with their designer or posted on social media. The company has also created several 'how-to' YouTube videos for tasks such as measuring spaces and adjusting hinges. The firm's My Inspiration Collection app, which is similar to Pinterest, allows visitors to select images from the KSI gallery and save them to their Inspiration Collection, which can then be shared with their designer or friends on social media. URBAN KITCHENS Oklahoma City, OK Jo Meacham, principal designer, Urban Kitchens, has worked in the kitchen/bath design business long enough to know what her clients want, and for her, that isn't an expansive showroom with a vast array of elaborate displays. Rather, what works for her is a relatively petite 1,550-sq.-ft. design studio in the city's historic commercial district. She shares the space with two other industry professionals, including Castle Rock Countertops, which supports her clients by maintaining an inventory of hundreds of quartz samples they can peruse. "Our design studio is right in the middle of the city's his- toric district neighborhoods on Western Avenue, which runs from the downtown, then north through the neighborhoods and on to Nichols Hills, a beautiful city-within-a-city with roll- ing hills and historic mansions," she says. Meacham notes that the location affords them the opportunity to take advantage of Oklahoma City's revival, which has spread from downtown to its historic neighborhoods over the past 20 years. Meacham's path to her current location began with some shared similarities…a small showroom in the historic district. However, that original showroom ended up simply being a place to answer phone calls and schedule home visits. Next, she partnered with a lumber company where she enjoyed a large showroom, but experienced little traffic. This prompted her to move her business to her home, before transitioning to a 2,000-sq.-ft. showroom with eight displays on a busy street. "But even when I opened on Saturdays, I could never get that much traffic," she says, noting that after about six years, she moved to an office building before relocating to her pres- ent location. "For whatever reason, Oklahoma City homeown- ers are not inclined to visit kitchen showrooms. I have tried multiple times, in different locations, and traffic was so slow, I never felt I benefited from the amount of investment I put in. It would be nice to have great displays again, but it has been my experience that the traffic here is so limited, it's hard to make them pay off." Working in a smaller studio with just three displays, Meacham chooses to concentrate more on people by designing a space that makes them feel at home. "We are here to welcome people into the studio," she says. "We encourage them to sit down in a comfortable chair and tell us their ideas. It's like coming to our living room and hav- ing a cup of coffee. We talk about why they are thinking about a project and what they hope to accomplish. I guess I feel more comfortable getting to know our clients first, before we start opening drawers and showing them pull-out trash cans." Meacham indicates that this approach helps build relation- ships, which are important for her continued success. "I believe that trust is the most important thing we can establish," she explains. "People buy from people they like. I want our potential clients to know us enough to like us so we can move on and have a better chance at being hired." [Top and middle] Working within a small showroom, designers at Urban Kitchens concentrate on people by designing a space that makes clients feel at home. [Bottom] Urban Kitchens shares showroom space with Castle Rock Countertops, which supports its clients by maintaining an inventory of hundreds of quartz samples they can peruse. Photos: Michael Downes January 2019 • 45

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