Your Business: Kitchen and bath cabinetry with a difference
By CATHY DOBSON, The Observer
May 14, 2011
To succeed in the Sarnia market, a new designer of kitchen and bath cabinetry must bring something extra to the table, says Cassandra Nordell-MacLean.
"And we're doing that in a number of ways," she said, sitting in the new showroom of William Standen Co. Exquisite Design & Fine Cabinetry.
For starters, Nordell-MacLean uses only eco-friendly materials.
The new venture she's launched with husband Patrick is the only cabinet supplier between Sarnia and Toronto that is certified environmentally-friendly by the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturer Association, she said.
"My biggest concern is healthy spaces for people. Most people have no idea how much formaldehyde and other chemicals are in their homes. They can make you sick or become irritants for people with allergies."
William Standen Co. also has indoor air quality certification that guarantees everything provided to the customer is formaldehyde-free.
"We're not just saying we're eco-friendly. It's something we really believe in," said Nordell-MacLean.
She began her career in Toronto where she worked for an award-winning kitchen and bath firm, doing new build and remodelling designs.
When she returned to Sarnia and started building houses and co-ordinating renovations with her husband under the name Nordell Design Build, she found an increasing demand for custom cabinetry.
William Standen Co. was founded so that Nordell-MacLean can bring clients to a showroom where they can see samples and discuss their design in a comfortable studio.
The retail showroom also makes it possible for contractors and customers other than Nordell Design Build customers to work with her.
Since opening in mid-April, it's filing quickly with the latest in counter tops, kitchen and bath fixtures, cabinet samples, wallpaper, paint and more.
Between 80% and 90% of the products offered by William Standen Co. is exclusive to the company.
"We are bringing in products like certain types of countertops that aren't available anywhere else in Sarnia," she said. "I spend a lot of time on market research, figuring out the trends in Europe that will arrive here soon."
For instance, the William Standen showroom has 19 new colours, all shades of grey, that Nordell-MacLean said is the next big thing for kitchen and bath décor.
Her showroom also features high-gloss cabinets, which are growing in popularity, replacing the flat expresso cabinetry that has dominated kitchen design for years.
Most customers order solid oak and maple cabinets but William Standen Co. also offers more eco-friendly bamboo or lyptus, which looks similar to maple, costs about the same, but renews just as fast as bamboo.
As for countertops, quartz is by far the biggest seller, said Nordell-MacLean.
"But concrete and glass are becoming popular too." She also has a new recycled countertop material made from crushed bottles, mirror, stone and corn-based resin that looks like quartz.
Business has been steady since the showroom opened. After slowing for a couple of years, the economy is improving and a lot of Sarnia residents are upgrading their homes, Nordell-MacLean said.
Numerous clients draw on her training in barrier free home design using ergonomics for the physically challenged.
William Standen Co. Exquisite Design & Fine Cabinetry is located at the corner of Highway 40 and McGregor Side Road South. For more information, call 519-337-7999.