MANHASSET, NY — With a history spanning over 85 years, Long Island design firm Showcase Kitchens is the very definition of a family business. Founded in Brooklyn during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the business resold lumber, brick and other construction materials salvaged from demolished buildings. But as economic conditions improved, the company’s focus shifted.
“As customer demand developed, [the firm] evolved into kitchen and bath design,” President and CEO John Starck, Jr., PKBP, ACSD explains. Starck is part of the fourth generation to continue the family business, and the fifth generation has already gotten involved – “[my] daughter Brianna has just come aboard,” Starck announces.
Despite its roots in the past, the company stays current by readily embracing change. Under Starck’s leadership, the family business moved from Brooklyn to the upscale hamlet of Manhasset on Long Island’s North Shore. The firm now boasts two full-scale showrooms in Manhasset and Massapequa, as well as a New York City subsidiary. Showcase Kitchens’ sister company, Showcase Baths, also has a showroom in Manhasset.
The firm may have gotten its start in the early 20th century, but the Starck family’s dynamic approach has kept the company on the cutting edge of the kitchen and bath design world – and people have definitely taken notice. “Our clients include celebrities, professional athletes, business leaders [and] media personalities as well as discerning clients who appreciate a well-designed kitchen or bath,” Starck notes.
PAST AND PRESENT
In many ways, Showcase Kitchens embodies a harmonious melding of the old and the new. In order to cater to clients’ diverse tastes, the firm embraces all styles of kitchen design, from traditional and transitional to ultra-modern.
Even their clients’ homes inhabit both past and present. “Here on the North Shore, there is very little new construction,” Starck says. “Therefore, the vast majority of our work is to existing kitchens doing redesign and renovations.” He notes that many of the older homes in the area feature very compartmentalized designs, with small, separated kitchens and living spaces. Some kitchens are just a few years outdated and in need of an update, he explains, while some historic pre-Colonial homes require a delicate touch and an eye for the décor of the era.
Reshaping existing spaces to suit modern clients’ needs and tastes is a particular specialty of Showcase Kitchens and Showcase Baths. Many of the firm’s renovations to older homes involve removing walls in order to improve traffic flow and create more appealing sight lines. “We tend to do a lot of alterations that involve opening up kitchens to the living areas, creating luxurious great rooms,” says Starck.
The team’s unique two-stage design process also incorporates the best of both past and present. Designers hand-sketch their preliminary drawings, creating beautiful traditional renderings. The next stage of the process utilizes digital design software to produce detailed plans and give clients a complete visual representation of the finished project.
Design is just one service Showcase Kitchens offers. The firm prides itself on being a “one-stop shop,” according to Starck. “[We] can either do the entire design – or would happily collaborate with a client’s own decorator, architect or contractor.” The team also offers a variety of support services to ensure that the project runs smoothly from design to completion, including supervising the jobsite and sourcing appliances and installers.
Cabinetry and furniture can be designed and manufactured to maximize the utility and visual appeal of any space, Starck notes. The company has created a number of unique and innovative cabinet solutions, including one notable project in Westbury, NY in which exterior windows were incorporated into two of the cabinets, creating striking windowed cabinets. Other spaces have been designed specifically to display the owners’ art collections, Starck points out.
The company’s preferred cabinet brands are Signature Custom Cabinetry and Premier Custom Built, although in order to accommodate a wide range of budgets, Starck adds, “we do carry more affordable brands as well.” Favored appliance brands include Sub-Zero, Wolf, La Cornue and Viking. In addition, the Showcase Baths showroom boasts “a large selection of hard-to-find European tile, countertops and flooring.”
Showcase’s expertise doesn’t stop at kitchens and baths, however. The design team has also designed custom entertainment cabinets, furniture to suit specific dining area needs and bars. The company’s portfolio also includes outdoor cooking and entertainment spaces, and the showrooms carry such outdoor appliance brands as Hestan, Coyote and Capitol.
Over the years, Showcase Kitchens has expanded its client base by letting the work speak for itself. Starck credits the company’s reputation with clients for its considerable referral rate, noting that, “95% of our jobs come in via referrals.” He adds, “In many cases [we] do multiple projects for the same client.” Indeed, the firm’s website features numerous testimonials from satisfied customers, with every individual member of the team receiving their share of praise.
Showcase Kitchens maintains active social media pages, and Starck remarks that he “[enjoys] staying connected with [our] audience through them.” Both Showcase Kitchens and Starck himself have received a fair amount of media attention, as well, having been featured in publications such as House Magazine, Dream Kitchens & Baths, The Wall Street Journal, and Long Island Pulse.
Giving back to the North Shore community is also important to Starck and his family business, as the company often participates in fundraisers and sponsors Little League teams. Starck is also a member of the Designers & Builders Alliance of Long Island, which unites home-trade professionals in order to raise money for local causes. ▪