Kitchen & Bath Design News

AUG 2014

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August 2014 ForResidentialPros.com | 37 does not require valances. He also utilizes the latest versions of software to cre- ate realistic renderings for his clientele. CREATING A DELICATE BALANCE When Portland-OR based Neil Kelly Co. branched out into the Seattle, WA area in 2011, it fully expected to have a showroom completed within the frst year. Instead, it took three years to fnd just the right location, fnally cel- ebrating its grand opening in January 2014. The 3,000-sq.-ft. showroom is located conveniently near the Seattle Design Center which serves the area's interior design community. The showroom features an open design where visitors can take it all in and decide in which direction to start their tour. Although there are few partial walls, it is divided into nine distinct areas including two bath displays (one that serves as a functioning bath for visitors), two kitchen dis- plays (including a working demo kitchen) a meeting area (that is also used for evaluating home energy ef- fciency), a multi-functioning island display, a conference room, reception area and the Design Lab. The latter is sup- ported by an Internet library where designers and clients can locate the perfect light fxtures, bar stools, plumb- ing fxtures and appliances. The live kitchen serves as the focal point for showroom events, featuring a fat top grill that encourages 'social' cooking as well as state-of- the-art appliances including a steam and convection oven, an induction grill and a pro- grammable chilling drawer. But it's the Design Lab where the real design action takes place. "It is an interac- tive, hands-on space where designers can work with cli- ents to put together materials for their projects," explains Kathleen Donohue, CMKBD, Neil Kelly Co. and designer of the space. "It is also attractive to the casual showroom visi- tor in that it is not a static 'put together' display, but rather an area where loose samples can be arranged, touched and placed together with foor- ing, countertops, hardware and cabinet samples to give visitors a personal, unique combination they can visu- alize in their own homes. It starts conversations and physically involves the show- room visitor." While the showroom was ultimately created to show- case the company's abilities, it was also designed to ac- commodate those who work in it. "Any designer from our Portland, Eugene or Bend of- fices could function in the new showroom comfortably," she says. "This is an impor- tant consideration because some designers have clients with multiple homes and/ or they relocate within the Northwest and would prefer to work with 'their' designer who knows their taste and has earned their trust." It was also important to include the designers' thoughts into the plan. "This is their 'tool,'" she says. "If we built a showroom the design- ers felt was foreign territory, it would just be an expensive space. It has to work with the designers, showcase their abilities and be fexible enough to adapt to the chang- ing cycles of business and the changing trends of the kitch- en and bath industry. It was also important to use materi- als and fabricators [that our] designers favor, while trying not to follow trends. Instead, [the goal was to] identify what would be used again and again to keep the displays as fashion forward and timeless as possible…a very delicate balance indeed." OPEN-SPACE LAYOUT When it was time for an update, Kitchen Distribu- tors went all out, completely transforming its 5,500-sq.- f t., t wo-stor y show room in Littleton, CO. The year- a nd-a-h a l f-long pro ce s s will culminate with a grand opening celebration to be held this September. "It was time for an update," says Morgan Mackay, marketing director. "The new showroom ⬅ The kitchens at Neil Kelly Co.'s Seattle showroom serve as the focal point during showroom events, but the Design Lab is where all of the design action takes place. It includes highly organized sample areas that can be changed out easily to accommodate new samples/ materials when they become available. There are layout spaces, both vertical and horizontal, for pinning up plans and fabrics; cabinet door samples; drawers of tile samples; bookcases for catalogs, and a large island for laying out designs. There are also places to plug in laptop computers and/ or iPads to facilitate Web searches. The functioning guest bath features a bidet conversion toilet with heated seat and an eye-catching modern vanity area. ➡ The centerpiece of Kitchen Distributors' Littleton, CO, showroom is this kitchen display featuring an imported French range and rotisserie with a 12'-long onyx island and globe pendants (right). On the other side of the wall is a fully-live kitchen that features an induction cooktop with touch screen and a marble backsplash (below). Photos: Neil Kelly Co. Photos: Scott Hasson Photography

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