Family Firm Turns Design Tradition Into an Art
By John Filippelli
HUNTINGDON VALLEY, PA It may be said that any particular design is
a “work of art,” but at AA Perry & Sons, you can be assured
that it is true.
After all, the firm which is led by company president Paul J.
Perry prides itself on continuing the design tradition begun by
Perry’s father, Art Perry, CKD, who started the firm in 1962.
To that end, Art Perry notes that knowing exactly what clients
want especially considering the ever-evolving availability of
product is the key to design longevity.
“I have seen a tremendous amount of change over a 40-year span.
After all, who would have considered wooden countertops five to 10
years ago? Design [and product] sophistication just keep moving
forward month after month,” he explains.
It is with this in mind that the staff (which includes Paul
Perry’s wife, Nancy) approaches each design, Paul Perry notes.
“Our philosophy is to approach each project with the desire to
present the best possible solution to a problem and be willing to
make changes that a client may desire,” he offers. This approach
tenables the firm to take on a diverse range of projects, he
“Most of our business focuses on design build renovation of
kitchens and baths, with 30 percent of our volume derived from new
construction and 10 percent from special projects, such as
entertainment centers or corporate board and meeting rooms.”
He continues: “We also have a relationship with two interior
designers, two architects and three custom builders that generates
other projects as well, such as libraries and whole-house
Paul Perry adds that the company’s recently established 1,200
sq.-ft. showroom has been a boon to the firm, as well.
“We had established a modest reputation in our initial location,
but we decided to expand and relocate. A new and larger location
was found which has increased our yearly volume of business
four-fold,” he says.
He adds: “Now, personal recommendations create [most] of our
Summarizing, Art Perry says: “I can’t think of any changes or
magic formula that would alter our way of doing business. The
economy still dictates market activity, so you can only give 100%
and hope that you continue to get your fair share.”
According to Paul Perry, the firm has a very specific client
“Our clientele are professional people in the mid- to upper
range of income who come referred by someone we have serviced, or
who has seen our finished work,” he offers.
But, Paul Perry notes, in order for the firm to help these
clients, the clients themselves must become an active part of the
“We encourage clients to browse magazines and literature and
save photographs [of projects they like and dislike],” he says.
He continues: “Also, through meetings during the design process,
we ask that the clients present optional design solutions [that
will enhance our drawings] so that we can arrive at the best design
proposal for them.”
To that end, he notes that all perspectives are hand drawn
“because we feel our clients get a more professional set of
documents and a truer understanding of their project.”
Art Perry adds that this close interaction virtually guarantees
a seamless design process with the lowest risk of error.
“Our operation is controllable,” he says. “We keep five to eight
installation personnel active so we can avert costly errors that
may cause disruptions to our schedule.”
With such attention to detail, Paul Perry notes that quite
often, the firm will require a design retainer for their
“The retainers range from $500 to $2,500, depending on the scope
of the work and the budget established for the project,” he
In fact, Perry points to one recent project that he believes
proves the benefits of having a close relationship with
“We converted three apartments into three, two-story penthouses,
which included a full kitchen, two baths and a powder room,” he
He states: “We are not in kitchen sales per se, but we listen to
a client’s needs, wants and expectations, and create an environment
for them to purchase.”
A good show
According to Paul Perry, the company’s 1,200 square-foot
showroom is all about options.
For instance, he notes that it features six full kitchen
displays, two bath displays and an entertainment center to help
clients in their selection process.
The showroom also offers product lines from such manufacturers
as Hillcraft Euro Custom Cabinetry, Elm Custom Cabinetry, DACOR,
Bosch, Sub-Zero and Viking Range Corp.
“We have attempted to carry a wide variety that gives our
clients a choice of styles, finishes and budget options,” he
The showroom which features a transitional design theme also
gets a boost from its location, situated in a quaint upscale
shopping village, which naturally leads visitors through its
Loud and clear
Although the firm relies heavily on the reputation it has
created, it is not about to rest on its laurels, Paul Perry
In fact, the firm has an active marketing campaign that includes
participating in a local designer house and taking out ads in
“We also have letters written by clients available expressing
their satisfaction with the finished product and, most importantly,
the courtesy and performance of our installation department,” he
AA Perry & Sons At a
Location: 2531 Huntingdon Pike, Huntingdon
Principals: Paul J. Perry, president; Nancy Perry,
secretary and design consultant; Joan Woltemate, drafting and
design support; Art Perry, CKD (semi-retired), consultant
Number of employees: 5
Showroom: One, approx. 1,200 square feet
Hour of Operation: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Mon. through
Fri.; Sat. and evenings by appointment
Business philosophy: “Approach each project with
the desire to present the best possible solution to a problem and
be willing to make changes that a client may desire.” Phyllis
Diller, Kathy Ireland and Yoko Ono, among other notables.