Kitchen and Bathroom Design and Sales Options On Display at Princeton Home Center Showroom
FUNCTION, FORM, AND FLAIR: “We provide kitchens and bathrooms both for new houses and renovations. An updated kitchen or bathroom are also very helpful if you plan to sell the house. The kitchen and bathroom are the best return on an investment if you are selling the house” says Kate Furman, COO of Princeton Home Center, who is standing by a transitional style kitchen display featuring walnut cabinets, subway-style backsplash, and “Lattice” polished quartz countertops.
“If you can dream it, they can make it!”
Kate Furman, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Princeton Home Center, is referring to the amazing advances in kitchen and bathroom design today. The choices in cabinets, countertops, organizing systems, flooring, and hardware are so plentiful and attractive that almost any need or taste can be accommodated.
“When customers come to our showroom, they experience every option there is: modern or traditional, rustic, sleek, elegant, or informal,” says Ms. Furman. “We have something to offer for every taste and style.”
Opened in November, Princeton Home Center, located at 746 Alexander Road, offers a spacious showroom (5,000 square feet), and is filled with a splendid array of sample kitchens and bathrooms. Up-to-date in every respect, the samples display every style, color, and exciting new look available in design today.
The company previously operated online for 15 years, focusing on bathroom vanities. It expanded its emphasis to include kitchens, “basically because of an unhappy kitchen renovation experienced by our owner,” explains Ms. Furman.
“He was remodeling his own kitchen, and had a terrible experience,” recalls Ms. Furman. “There were delays, mistakes, no-shows, etc. Unfortunately, this was not unusual, he learned, and this led him to open his own company with a new focus on kitchens as well as bathrooms. The company’s goal was to turn a personal disappointment into an opportunity to benefit many different families. That’s why we created Princeton Home Center, because you shouldn’t have to choose between price, quality, or design. We saw a need for good customer service in the kitchen industry.”
Princeton Home Center is a full design and sales center, she adds. “We offer one-stop shopping for customers. We provide everything except appliances. We are there for every step of the project, including installation, and we have amazing contractors, who meet our high standards.”
Ms. Furman is very encouraged with the enthusiastic customer response since Princeton Home Center opened. Clients are from all over the area, and include singles, couples, and families.
“Also,” she reports, “if older people are downsizing and moving to a smaller home, they still may want to enlarge the kitchen or bathroom. Recently, one couple came to us just two hours after closing on their new house. They wanted to redo the kitchen right away!
“When starting on a project, we go to the house before, during, and at the end.” she explains. “First, I measure, take pictures, and do a design, which we go over with the customer.”
Budget, of course, is the first factor, and this determines the scope and ultimate choices for the plan. “We are as honest with the customers as they are with us,” points out Ms. Furman. “Once the budget is decided, next we can select cabinets, organization systems, countertops, and so on. Then, what style, what type of door, what color. I guide people through the process, and I will show them what is available in their price range. This is a big investment. We also determine the customers’ lifestyle. In the case of the kitchen, are they serious cooks? Do they entertain a lot? These are important lifestyle considerations.”
Heart of the Home
Ms. Furman, who enjoys cooking, observes that for people who do spend time cooking, practicality, function, and convenience are important. “They want the kitchen to make sense and be convenient. We also want to make sure the surroundings are happy for them.”
Indeed, the kitchen is often called the heart of the home, a place where — whatever its size — family and visitors like to congregate. Today’s kitchens tend to be bigger and better than ever, and size is one of the major motivations for a remodel, reports Ms. Furman. “The main reason is storage, storage, storage! People want more room and space.”
And so many organizational systems are available now, with all kinds of hide-away spaces that can take all the clutter off the countertops and store it out of sight where no one can ever see it. There are pantry organizers, in-cabinet garbage bins, double-sided drawer storage, pot and pan organizers, lazy Susan-style organizers that rotate and pull out, double-layered flatware organizers — the list goes on and on.
“Another reason kitchen renovations are so popular today is the desire for the open concept,” adds Ms. Furman. “Homeowners are taking down walls, and people want the kitchen to flow into the family room, etc.”
Islands of all kinds are in demand, she continues. “There are varied looks in island countertops, including a leather-like finish (which is very popular) or polished style. You also see a lot of mixing and matching: for example, an unpolished island, but then polished countertops elsewhere. It gives a mixed look, which many homeowners like.
“People really like islands. Some serve as an eating area, with chairs and stools, some have built-in micro-waves or cook tops. The choices are amazing.”
Soapstone and Quartz
Another thing, points out Ms. Furman, “The biggest movement is getting away from traditional granite countertops. Instead, soapstone and quartz are favorites. Quartz is more durable; nothing can damage it. There are so many designs and colors, and both dark and light are popular.”
Ms. Furman also notes the increasing interest in the new ceramic floors that are wood look-alikes. Ceramic has also evolved to look like natural stone, and even carpet. In addition, tile floors continue to be popular both for kitchens and bathrooms.
Gray and white cabinets are in demand today, she adds, including a lot of mixing and matching. For example, a combination with gray at the upper level and white below.
Shaker doors on cabinets are a popular look now, and oiled bronze hardware on cabinet doors is in demand. In particular, the contrast between white cabinets and oiled bronze hardware is a very handsome look.
Backsplashes are in every possible design and style, including mosaic, classic ceramic, natural stone, and a special subway “3-D” style
Larger bathrooms are also the trend today, and again, as Ms. Furman points out, “People want to maximize storage. Families with multiple people, including not just kids, but in-laws, etc., want larger bathrooms. The bath is now often an extension of the house. People are bringing furniture into it, often including a matching decor.
“Gray is frequently the color of choice in the bath, and also a ‘cashmere’-beige color is becoming very big. It’s a beige-type warm tone. In addition, we see walled showers, floors, and ceilings in marble or quartz.”
Baths generally are tending toward a more traditional look, she adds. “They’re less trendy and not so big on colors like purple or orange. We also see an antique look, with big Victorian vanities in darker wood. The ‘distressed’ look in vanities is also a favorite, as well as the traditional boxy vanities, and those with a sleek modern style with clean lines.”
Jacuzzi tubs are found in many bathrooms, and steam showers are highly popular, reports Ms. Furman. “They have multiple shower heads and jets. It’s like having a spa in your own home, and they are becoming more affordable.”
Important brands at Princeton Home Center include Oliveri sinks from Australia, which offer accessories for pasta strainers, cutting boards, etc.; also the complete Wolf line of cabinets and Hanssem cabinets, (both made in the U.S.), and Sunnywood cabinets from abroad; also, Mandeli vanities, sinks, and accessories; and James Martin high quality vanities.
For those interested in a “one and only” look, top-of-the-line solid copper kitchen and bathroom sinks, tubs, and such from Premium Copper are available. In addition, Oliveri offers high-end gold and gun metal kitchen sinks.
These all certainly make a statement, and as Ms. Furman points out, “You don’t need a giant kitchen to make a statement. What we can offer is a complete selection to meet your individual needs and taste. Our customer service is special, and I enjoy the interaction with our customers so much. Helping guide them to the outcome they want is my biggest pleasure. We know it can be hard to choose and make decisions. We will help in every way. We want people to feel comfortable in their home.
“And I want them to know that they can count on us. If we say you will have cabinets in three days, you will have cabinets in three days!
“So many people complain that the biggest hurdle in general today is to get someone’s attention,” continues Ms. Furman. “That’s not how it is here. Every customer who comes in, regardless of their budget, is our biggest and best customer!”
Princeton Home Center also offers financing. Hours are Monday, Thursday, Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (800) 245-8756. Website: www.princetonhomecenter.com.