Designer Couple Creates ‘Homespun’ Showroom
By Denise Vermeulen
Grandville, MI All across America, the trend toward working at home
continues to gain steam. Here in downtown Grandville, Cheri and
Paul Antozak have taken the idea to a new level, building both
their lives and their businesses around the concept, to
Cheri Antozak, CKD, CBD, and her husband, a licensed builder,
had no intention of actually moving into the 80-year-old colonial
they bought to renovate. The original idea was to create a unique
showroom for “Interiors by Cheri,” one that would replace their
existing showroom, which had been located in a strip mall since
1986. Cheri Antozak says that they wanted to create the “illusion
of having it alldaring customers to reach for their dreams.”
In their spare time, the Antozaks renovated the
2,800-square-foot main floor of the colonial home over a five-year
period. They also purchased and renovated several neighboring
apartment buildings for investment purposes during that time. All
of the properties purchased had fallen on hard times, and area
residents welcomed the renovations. They soon began encouraging the
Antozaks to move into the neighborhood.
The idea of a home and showroom rolled into one struck the Antozaks
as unique. The pair always seemed to be there in their spare time
anyway, completing most of the renovations themselves. So, about a
year ago, the Antozaks moved into their new home and showroom
“People remodel because they want the end result not because
they are interested in the nuts and bolts,” observes Cheri Antozak,
who also has a builder’s license. She explains that she doesn’t
want her customers to feel like they are shopping. Rather, she
wants them to feel like a guest in her home, being shown throughout
the house. In fact, the Antozaks have all the rooms in which they
live open to their customers. “No room is off limits,” explains
The showroom/home includes 13 rooms: A living room, library,
dining room, office, multi-purpose room that includes laundry
facilities, kitchen, four bathrooms and three bedrooms. According
to their extensive Web site, which includes a color photo tour of
the colonial, “The rooms are connected by doors and hallways, to
allow for a smooth, circular tour around the house.” Each room is
decorated by Cheri Antozak and showcases the various talents of the
Cheri Antozak counts among her talents “the ability to organize
and be neat” and a “God-given ability to create beautiful rooms.”
The planning and design that went into the rooms prove her right. A
multi-purpose room includes a laundry center with four roll-out
hamper baskets, a gardening area with a pull-out table extension,
recycling bins and a craft storage area.
The kitchen includes a sink that is located in front of a
pass-through to a well-appointed dining room. A countertop on the
dining room side offers extra space for buffets. A china cabinet
holds the Antozaks’ collection of antique crystal.
The bathrooms are smaller than many of today’s more luxurious
appointed plans, but they showcase effective utilization of space
something many clients appreciate. The Antozaks even included an
elaborate hot tub in the master bedroom. The house also features
five different painting techniques (with two more in the
While this all-consuming philosophy toward business might be
overwhelming for many, this couple thrives on the experience. In
fact, Cheri Antozak says that she always tries to have something
cooking on the stove or in the oven when customers arrive. “I’ve
greeted more than one customer with an apron on,” she says,
referring to the cookies, popcorn, bread and chili she’s prepared
for showroom guests. When appointments arrive at the “Interiors by
Cheri” showroom, the Antozaks make sure that the place looks and
smells good. They even put on music.
Who are these lucky consumers who arrive on the Antozaks’
doorstep, ready to be fed and dazzled? Careful tracking of their
consumer base allows Cheri Antozak to be very specific. “We have a
medium- to medium-high-end client base,” she explains. Customers
tend to be couples with two incomes, between the ages of 35 and 65.
The majority of her customers are people who own their own
Mrs. Antozak emphasizes, “We are a small business,” explaining
that they complete some 12 kitchens and 12 bathrooms annually. They
also do a variety of decorating and remodeling projects, and are
known for their fearlessness with regard to remodeling old homes.
They are likewise known for their willingness to work with the
do-it-yourself type customer.
Though the Antozaks used to do home shows and some advertising,
they no longer bother, except for a small ad in the Yellow Pages.
“Our referrals are almost totally from word of mouth,” says Cheri
Antozak. While little paid advertising is done, Cheri Antozak does
look for opportunities to publicize the unusual showroom she and
her husband have created. And, the local media has been quite
Cheri Antozak is also very active in the Grandville community,
having served on the local planning commission and various civic
and arts groups. This community service has helped the business,
she explains, since “It has put my name in front of lots of
The couple also attributes their success to the fact that they
typically have control over a whole project. Paul Antozak is able
to do most of the renovations and installations, while his wife
plans and decorates. In this way, customers find that they get
continuity, and the project moves forward nicely. When a project is
completed, customers are asked to fill out a survey that is later
included in a book used as a sales tool.
Cheri Antozak describes her showroom home as “tasteful,
traditional and creative.” And, no doubt those who visit her there
would agree: “There’s no place like home.”
Interiors by Cheri
LOCATION: Grandville, MI
PRINCIPALS: Cheri Antozak, president; Paul Antozak, vp.
SHOWROOMS: One, 2,800 square feet.
HOURS OF OPERATION: By appointment only.
EMPLOYEES: One part-time bookkeeper.
MAJOR PRODUCT LINES: Merit Kitchens, Jay Rambo, Dura Supreme,
Thermador, Whirlpool, KitchenAid, ASKO.
DESIGN SOFTWARE: 20-20.
SPECIALTIES: With a broad background in design, decorating and
renovating, the Antozaks coordinate a total room or offer a group
of services. They’re known for remodeling old homes.
BUSINESS PHILOSOPHY: “We’re here to inspire people to live the life
they dream about. We help them break out of their shell and be more
creativebe more daring.”