Complementary Skills of Owners Enhance Design
by Anita Shaw
RICHMOND, VAJust as the use of complementary but different colors
and styles often leads to the most cohesive and attractive room
designs, complementary but different skills, when combined, often
yield the best results when running a design business. Such is the
case for the owners of Kitchen Designworks, who recently opened an
expanded showroom in the Dumbarton Square shopping center located
The grand opening cocktail reception drew more than 250 guests,
including clients, suppliers, friends and family. Designer Scott
Stultz, Pat Corsi of Corsi Cabinetry and Geoff Martin of Neff were
all on hand for the event. As part of the celebration, a donation
was made in honor of each guest to the VCU Massey Cancer
At Kitchen Designworks, owners
Marvin Daniel and W. Brian Pilgrim, CKD, CBD, operate as a team.
The fact that they have very different strengths only enhances
their working relationship and their ability to meet client needs,
both aesthetically and technically, they point out.
“There are so many aspects of kitchen design that it is almost
impossible to be an expert in every phase of a project,” Pilgrim
The pair started Kitchen Designworks five years ago with the
idea of offering the best kitchen design possible through the
combination of their individual skills.
“I prefer the technical aspects of the ‘hard design’ of a
project,” Pilgrim explains. “Marvin prefers the sales end and the
aesthetic details of the overall project.”
Daniel and Pilgrim, with the Kitchen Designworks support team,
oversaw every aspect of the showroom’s installation. It was
designed to be “homelike” in its function and feel, according to
The showroom, which has grown from 3,000-sq.-ft. to
5,200-sq.-ft., features a total of 16 displays double the original
showroom’s offering. Each of the displays, which includes kitchens,
bathrooms and a study/library, is a completed room that is fully
equipped with cabinetry, working appliances, plumbing and other
“When designing the layout of the showroom, I wanted clients to
be able to see realistic size displays that they could relate to
their homes,” Pilgrim relays. “I also wanted to show complete
kitchens. It’s much easier to visualize in one’s own home when a
display has all of the required appliances. We also felt it was
important to have live displays with working appliances to allow
clients to ‘test drive’ some of the equipment before getting them
Appliances featured in the showroom include: Sub-Zero, Wolf,
Viking, Miele, Best, Asko, Zephyr and Fisher & Paykel. Kitchen
Designworks is also the full-line distributor of Le Cornue in the
state of Virginia.
All of the cabinet lines are locally exclusive to Kitchen
Designworks, and include: Neff, Quality Custom Cabinetry, Corsi,
Greenfield and Cabico. Countertop lines featured are Pyrolave,
Corian, Caesarstone and Craftart.
Plumbing fixtures include Waterworks and Franke.
It’s this wide range of products, as well as the showroom’s
emphasis on customer service, that define the company’s tagline “No
Where Else.” As the firm explains it, “The showroom features unique
use of materials and showroom layouts that make it like nowhere
else in the Mid-Atlantic.”
In addition to principals
Daniel and Pilgrim, five other professionals are part of the
support staff. One of the two owners is involved on every project
the company does.
While the staff uses technology to access vendor information, it
puts an emphasis on hand drawings for clients. “The team has found
that a generic CAD program does not help with the unique design
issues that happen with most kitchens,” Pilgrim notes. He feels
more creative with a pencil in his hand, and believes that it is
easier to show a customer small detail changes using a pencil.
To draw in customers, Kitchen Designworks advertises locally in
Richmond Magazine, and also attracts a statewide audience with its
full page advertising in Virginia Living, the company notes. The
firm also employs a very active grassroots marketing program that
includes advertising in local school auctions, hospital benefits
and other charity events.
The showrooms two large demo kitchens can be used for cooking
classes and other special events. In fact, the site is used as the
location for Susan Eckis, a local culinary expert, to teach her
quarterly cooking classes. “The showroom serves as an inspirational
setting for the classes and other events,” Pilgram concludes.