Design Firm Brings Modern Twist to American
By John Filippelli
BONITA SPRINGS, FL For Carina Stephenson-Stach, v.p. of Rotpunkt
Kitchen, Inc., 70 years of success in Buende, Germany meant just
one thing: It was time to pursue new frontiers in this case,
following a path to America.
The design firm which also manufactures its own cabinetry line
was first introduced to the U.S. market in 1999, but more recently,
Stephenson-Stach decided the time was right to expand Rotpunkt’s
offerings and design expertise into the U.S. market.
This would not only gain greater exposure for both the firm’s
design skills and its own cabinet line, it also would allow her to
better access her target clientele: high-end homeowners and
builders of luxury spaces.
“Our [U.S.] headquarters are located just North of Naples, FL,
which is one of the fastest-growing areas in the U.S. Naples and
the Fort Myers area attract an affluent clientele and, as a result,
the projects [we get] are usually much larger in volume and price,”
Therefore, with a 3,000-sq.-ft. showroom space based here, a
3,500- sq-ft. showroom in Miami and another showroom planned for
the Atlanta area by the end of this year, the U.S. division of the
company is poised to showcase its talents and cabinetry line to a
growing U.S. audience, she believes.
The firm carries a variety of product offerings, including the
Rotpunkt cabinetry line; appliances from Thermador, Sub-Zero,
Bosch, Küppersbusch, Wolf, Best and Gaggenau; Franke sinks and
faucets, and a variety of countertop materials, including granite,
wood and concrete.
The company offers 10 full displays in its showrooms which vary
from contemporary to traditional and include a large array of door
styles, door colors, handles and countertop samples.
In keeping with the desire to offer a diverse array of choices
to consumers, the Rotpunkt cabinet line features a variety of
styles ranging from sleek European contemporary to “Old World”
traditional styles, as well as traditional North American doors and
thermofoil doors selections. She notes, “We offer more than 100
choices in door styles and colors.”
She continues: “Our cabinetry also offers more than 20 inside
carcass colors that can be matched to the outside of the cabinet as
part of its standard program.”
But, more importantly, helping the company stay competitive is
its ability to also offer full design services, she believes.
“Rotpunkt is a full-service kitchen design studio that specializes
in all areas of the house, such as kitchens, bathrooms,
entertainment centers, closet systems and outdoor kitchens [among
others], from conceptual design to installation,” she
The firm thrives on unusual designs and creative cabinet
innovations; she cites one kitchen project where the company, in
conjunction with a local interior design studio, created
see-through cabinets that hang from a clasp on the window pane
effectively letting the owner see clearly out to the home’s outdoor
Indeed, as Stephenson-Stach notes, her own greatest joy and the
company’s greatest success comes when a project calls for the
firm’s cabinet and design prowess to be combined in a special and
In the end, however, Stephenson-Stach believes that her firm’s
successful is due to its ability to be flexible in its philosophy
and adapt to customer demand.
She explains: “We are really a modern kitchen company [at
heart], but since we have arrived here in the U.S., we have found
that most of the work is Mediterranean style and Moroccan style.
Therefore, we have accommodated that market by coming out with some
specific doors for this market, including traditional door panels,
with hand-painted finishes and moldings.
“Our philosophy is to create highly functional and beautiful
designs while providing a very high level of service,” she
“We show kitchens, bathrooms, offices and closet systems. [I
believe] it helps prospective clients to visualize their own
projects,” she adds.
Citing a growing demand
for kitchen remodeling in the Miami and Southwest Florida area, she
notes that the company moved to the U.S. in 1999 with
Stephenson-Stach taking the reigns in America and company
president, Horst Rabe, running the company’s Buende, Germany
Stephenson-Stach even jokes that when the company first moved to
America, customers had to adjust to the company almost as much as
the company had to adjust to its new market.
“In the beginning, the clientele had a hard time pronouncing
‘Rotpunkt,’ which means ‘Red Dot’ in German but at the same time,
we secured a good position in the Lee County market.”
But, she quickly points out, the way the company overcame the
language barrier was by “having the clients’ needs and desires in
mind while creating beautiful, highly functional and
To meet that demand, she explains, the company offers a unique
design approach which now includes new-construction projects, as
“We have three designers, including a CKD, and what we do is go
out and get the business by approaching the builders.
As a result, 90% of our work is done through builders,” she
“Our designers go out to the builders and approach them and do
the introduction at the builders’ site. We will even bring door
samples [so builders can see our product offerings],” she adds.
“Ninety percent [of our projects] are new construction jobs [we
get a lot of projects such as] high-rises and spec homes and 10% of
our projects [come to us directly from] the clients,”
“However, the whole process [of building our business has been]
about creating a relationship with the builders. Once you are in
with the builder and they like your product, you have a good chance
of repeat business.”
For instance, Stephenson-Stach describes a recent collaboration
with a builder that went so well, that the clients are continuously
referring the company to their neighbors.
“There is a little referral system going on where people work
with the builder, and then the builder works with us,” she remarks,
quickly adding: ” [We are not] like your regular business because
we have to go out and introduce our product to the builders and
make them come to us.”
She notes that the company is extremely proactive about reaching
builders and building a strong referral base through satisfied
For instance, the company which is a licensed distributor of
Küppersbusch will entertain builders and designers a few times
during the year at one of the company’s showrooms. The firm has
even held cooking demonstrations featuring professional chefs to
enhance its visibility in the community and stir up interest.
The company also runs radio ads and advertises in the Yellow
Pages, newspapers and trade magazines to further promote the
business, Stephenson-Stach notes.
While kitchen and bath design
is a key facet of Rotpunkt’s business, according to
Stephenson-Stach, the company also needed to extend its line of
product offerings to more fully cater to its U.S. clientele.
She notes: “When Rotpunkt introduced its cabinetry in the U.S
for the first time having a very contemporary line in a very
traditional market we had to accommodate our line by adding new
traditional door styles. Having a very high-tech inside, [mixing]
the latest in Germany’s and Italy’s innovations together with a
traditional look on the outside, makes our cabinetry unique.”
And that, she believes, bespeaks success in any language..