Written by Riley Collins
Originally published in Great Lakes by Design an SVK publication
Before a design project begins to take physical shape—whether interior or exterior—the right materials are chosen to create the personality of a new space. The concept of the showroom was created to present these options in a variety of layouts highlighting different themes, materials, and palettes to spark inspiration in visitors and assist them in imagining the full potential of their project. While many showrooms leverage performance or visual exhibitions that showcase products; others create understated atmospheres that promote wonderment, conversation, and comfortability.
One such showroom is that of Lakeside Surfaces Inc. in Kentwood, Michigan, which operates on the notion that the showroom experience should, in itself, be designed to achieve clients’ goals in a comfortable, communicative, and caring manner. Upon entering the showroom, designed in 2016 by Grand Rapids, Michigan-based architecture and interior design firm, Via Design, Inc., visitors are greeted with low ceilings, warm display lighting, and a variety of seating areas in different nooks of the space—and even an intimate wine bar—in which they can view portable swatches and small photo galleries.
The unimposing and comfortable atmosphere is one aspect of the Lakeside Surfaces Kentwood showroom that Lisa Koger, design gallery manager, said attracts guests to the showroom at 3792 29th St. SE, and assists them in finding the right product.
“I always want the customer to lead the way so that it doesn’t seem forced,” Koger said. “My team and I greet them, learn about their project, see what aesthetic they’re trying to achieve, and then we’ll begin pulling down samples. We try to narrow it down to three selections or less before they leave. Then we’ll discuss the edge profile options and answer any questions they may have.”
When initially beginning a consultation, Koger noted that along with finding a surface that matches their needs, guests are concerned with price and process, or what happens from the time a material is picked to its installation and life thereafter. The solution is an educational approach through every step of the consultation process, which Koger said separates the Lakeside Surfaces showroom from others.
“My team and I are always welcoming and make sure our guests feel comfortable as soon as they walk through the door,” Koger said. “We ask what type of project they are working on and what they envision design-wise for the space. We provide endless education about Lakeside, the products we offer, our fabrication process, and also assist our guests with finding their perfect quartz or granite. We will cover all of the steps involved from the product selection to the edge profile detail.”
Re-configured roughly twice a year to swap out larger slabs, the Inspiration Gallery within the showroom features new options such as the newest quartz option from MetroQuartz called Bianco Aspen, a durable white quartz featuring delicate taupe ribbons of color. Within the gallery, a feature wall reserved for captivating wild stones provides an inspirational touch to help visitors imagine possibilities for their surfacing needs. With products that speak for themselves, Lakeside Surfaces has designed pricing systems to promote the enjoyment that comes with being inspired to pick a particular product.
Pricing groups one through nine—one being the lowest—are listed on each showroom surface to allow guests to view all of their personal possibilities without having to discard any. In price group five, Bianco Marina, by MetroQuartz, is a white quartz varietal featuring soft grey veins in powdery patterns; and in price group nine, Calacatta Vagli by MetroQuartz is a grey-and-brown-veined marble-like quartz.
Koger found a personal favorite in Lakeside Surfaces exclusive design, Marin, a quartz product consisting of warm and cool tones swirled into clusters to create a unique rocky appearance. The quality of each unique design mirrors that of Lakeside Surface Inc.’s expert fabrication and careful install process by on-staff technicians, and the service provided by friendly and knowledgeable on-site showroom consultants.
Lakeside Surfaces Inc. is a Midwest countertop material fabricator and installer built on 25 years of cutting-edge fabrication technology, cultivated service standards, and relationships with a varied network of designers, architects, and retailers. From beginning to end, the process of choosing and integrating new surface materials into the home is designed to be low-stress, enjoyable, and educational for clients as they craft the personality of a space.