If you have ever hoped that you could “test-drive” a house before buying, your wish has just about granted. Although homes themselves are not open to auditions, the multitude of showrooms in and around Atlanta can make the home building and remodeling experience one filled with testing, sampling, and imagining.
New educational showrooms are popping up everywhere. The more helpful don’t just hold the products but include live vignettes in which visitors can roll up their sleeves and bake cookies, wash laundry, and sauté shrimp. Showrooms come in all sizes—from 3,000 square feet to 40,000 square feet. Provide a place for homeowners to see the working products, from appliances to cabinets to flooring. It helps them more easily make decisions about what will best suit their needs at home.
Within the walls of Insperience Studio in Buckhead, homeowners are encouraged to try out the kitchen and laundry-room appliances from Whirlpool and The National Kitchen & Bath Association. The 12,000-square-foot facility features refrigerators, dishwashers, ovens, ranges, laundry products, and countertop appliances within seven kitchen vignettes and the Family Studio. Guests can make a meal or do some laundry on-site to test the machines. The experience begins with a consultation with a “selection consultant” who helps assess the family’s lifestyle and culinary needs. Next, guests are taken through a guided tour of the appliances and permitted to try them. While Insperience does not sell devices directly, countertop appliances and home-related products are available at Insperience Studio Store, along with a bridal registry.
Cooking takes place during the tours. Experience also hosts events like cooking classes and demonstrations. Such as pasta-rolling so guests can get an idea of making the most of their new equipment. Experience recently appointed Executive Chef Joel Saxon, formerly of Cherokee Town and Country Club. They will be leading a collection of hands-on classes.
Opened in the summer of 2003, the Sub-Zero/Wolf Showroom and Culinary Center in Duluth includes a live demonstration kitchen. The wine-storage gallery, laundry room, billiard room, and outdoor barbeque area. Besides, eight kitchen stations, fully functional and decorated in various styles from traditional to modern, feature Sub-Zero refrigeration and wine storage, Wolf cooking appliances, Asko dishwashers, laundry appliances, and Independent and Best range hoods. More recently, Sub-Zero/Wolf Showroom has added KWC water appliances, bath, and shower systems, which are high-end products manufactured in Switzerland. The addition of the new line has sparked a new room—one dedicated to KWC.
The 14,000-square-foot showroom also has an executive chef on staff and holds a variety of cooking classes. During tours, the chef teaches guests how to make just about anything, including melt chocolate.
Culinary lovers will feel right at home in a HADCO showroom. The Suwanee location has been open eight years, and a gallery in Roswell opened in April 2004. HADCO began in 1952 as an appliance service provider; those roots are still present in the events that take place at the showroom. Particularly in the “care and use” classes, which instruct appliance owners on caring for appliances. The techniques for cleaning stainless steel and grills and the best cookware for machines. HADCO showrooms are dedicated to kitchens and have an entire wall of ovens with more than 150 appliances on display in each location.
Cabinets and countertops
Cabinetcraft, a local manufacturer that handles everything from design to installation, retains showrooms in Duluth and Smyrna. Visitors can wander through vignettes, open and close doors and drawers, compare countertop colors, and tour the manufacturing operation. Vignettes also feature a range of design styles and features, such as the Vintage Maple display with a warm ginger stain on maple with accent glazing, a granite island with a stainless steel under-mount sink, and a Moen faucet with decorative corbel accents. Seeing the cabinets and the other room features brings ideas to life, even for the imaginatively challenged.
“People love to browse magazines to get ideas,” says Suzann Thompson, sales and marketing manager for Cabinetcraft. “Our vignettes and the hands-on experience of visiting our showroom give [visitors] the optimal visual experience of seeing the finished product.”
In addition to seeing cabinets, homeowners can “test” various countertop options at G&L Marble on Armour Drive. Relocated from their well-known Miami Circle showroom, which they outgrew—the new gallery boasts 40,000 square feet. A Remote Location: The basement as a hideaway for fun and relaxation like a kitchen area for countertop viewing. A waterfall with onyx, lights, and slate can substitute for a fireplace, arched doorway openings, and a conference room with a blue sodalite table. For peace of mind during browsing, G&L Marble also has a children’s play area (not made with Marble!).
Renovation and remodelling
Renovation and remodelling specialists have jumped on the showroom bandwagon, finding that a showroom is a superb way to highlight their talents and abilities. Cornerstone Design is a kitchen and bath design firm with a 3,000-square-foot showroom with contemporary, transitional, and French country areas, making the atmosphere one of a home more than a museum.
“We did all the design work in the showroom,” says Anne Keene of Cornerstone. “This is a good representation of what we can do.” The showroom even includes a Whirlpool tub with working plumbing. However, no one has yet volunteered to take a dip.
In addition to translating the design, showrooms can be especially helpful for anyone who has a hard time imagining space. At Southern Styles’ gallery, it’s easy to decide whether to choose between a standard 42-inch walkway or a more narrow one. The showroom’s primary function is to aid clients in making decisions about everything from tiles and carpet to countertops and paint. Usually, a homeowner would have to visit many different stores, but the showroom provides a one-stop-shop.
It seems the days of simple paint wheels and squares of carpet might be coming to an end. With the variety of showrooms open in Atlanta, homeowners today can make educated choices about what will work best for them and their homes.
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