August 2, 2016
Designing a showroom can feel like designing a home for a whole region of varying styles and tastes. For Jayme Adams, manager of showroom development at Expressions Home Gallery in Southlake, Texas, her design for a newly opened showroom took into account everything from Pinterest boards to nearby competitors for a local appeal.
Setting the Space
Finding the location for the 12th Expressions Home Gallery was simple. Based primarily around Texas and southern California, the company needed a waypoint for areas outside the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
“We chose the location because of its easy access to the highway, as well as neighboring businesses,” said Adams, adding that it is also close to several local youth activities where the target clientele frequents. “Since we’re also central to the Dallas-Fort Worth metro, our location allows for easy access to a large population.”
With the location set, the next step was deciding what to show and how best to show it. In order to accomplish the right look and feel, the design team spent time interviewing customers to find out what they found important in a showroom – like customer service, methods of display and product choice. Visiting competitor’s locations and vendor’s showrooms also gave the team ideas and inspiration for this particular space.
“We combined all these elements that we found successful [in other showrooms] into what you now see at Expressions Home Gallery,” said Adams.
As a primarily kitchen and bath showroom, the team worked to create a hands-on environment with many fully functioning and interactive displays. As well as full kitchen and bath displays, Expressions also decided to include large rooms of products in each category, from hardware to lighting and plumbing.
“The most important design element we considered when creating the showroom was to allow for the customer to walk into our space and see everything right when they enter,” said Adams, adding that their primary goal was to unclutter and make the space flow in a logical and unobstructed way.
Since the first fixture installed in a house is the plumbing, bath and plumbing products are the first category guests see when they enter the showroom. Several eye catching bathroom window displays – like a bright green tub and an artistic light fixture – also play on this method.
Inside the gallery, these bath products are set up in different types of displays that best showcase them without confusing the client. One bathtub display staggers several different tubs – each facing a wall with mounted artwork or mirrors – so the difference between products is more evident. Other bath displays are set up like small bathrooms, complete with a vanity, toilet and tub with accessories and hardware to match that particular room’s style.
“There is always a challenge when designing a showroom to make sure you are using elements that are simple to switch out and blend in the local market style,” said Adams. “It’s vital that the finishes in the showroom appeal to the local market.”
To solve the question of local taste, Adams looked at the Pinterest boards of nearby designers and consulted local vendors about trends in the market. Although national trends do have a place in the showroom, some trends should have more emphasis because of the location of the gallery.
“For example, within the Dallas-Fort Worth area, we sell more copper sinks in Fort Worth than we do in Dallas,” said Adams. “It’s important to know these things before opening the showroom so your products will appeal to your specific market.”
A transitional style appeals most to the locals, so displays like stainless steel kitchen appliances and mosaic tile backsplashes showcase examples of contemporary design. A line of elegant kitchen faucets – mostly stainless steel with a few bronze finishes – drain water into a striking stone trough. In the center of the showroom, an open space filled with a vast variety of ceiling chandeliers and pendants lights up the gallery.
“Placement is everything,” said Adams. “Our lighting fixtures are strategically placed in the middle of the space because customers are drawn to the intricacy of the lights.”
Adams explained that the lights act like an anchor to draw customers through the showroom. Mixing wall and display heights like this, as well as keeping the lighting high, keeps a clear line of sight and helps the customer not feel lost in the showroom.
“Our design intention is that customers start at the front of the showroom with plumbing and work their way back,” she added. “Our goal is then to provide the best experience for everyone that walks through the door.”
Designer: Jayme Adams, Expressions Home Gallery
Photographer: James Wilson
Schaub and co