Firm Takes One Step at a Time to Satisfy
By John Filippelli
GLEN ELLYN, IL It has been said that a journey of a thousand miles
begins with a single step, but for the staff at Drury Design
Kitchen & Bath Studio, based here, it actually takes four.
These are the sentiments of president Gail Drury, CKD, CBD, and
company v.p. Jim Drury, who note that the firm combines a
partnering philosophy with problem-solving capabilities to ensure
that a client’s project is seamless from concept to
This is achieved, Gail Drury notes, by offering a comprehensive,
four-step process that concurrently gleans information, helps
develop a budget and ultimately ensures that clients are satisfied
with their purchasing decisions.
“The whole process of designing a kitchen or a new home can feel
extremely overwhelming to your average homeowner. Our goal as a
design firm is to make the process as seamless and uncomplicated as
possible for our customers,” she explains.
To help her cater to her primary clientele upper middle and
upper class suburban families who are renovating older homes Drury
employs six senior designers and six assistant designers, all of
whom are encouraged by Drury to earn CKD certification if they do
not already have it.
To further entice her desired clientele, the firm boasts a
well-located, 7,000-sq.-ft. showroom that comes complete with a
working kitchen, and is filled with wares from Wm Ohs, Inc.,
Grabill, Ovation Cabinetry, Inc., Leicht, UltraCraft Cabinetry and
Beckerman, as well as a variety of countertop materials and
high-end appliances. “We have displays showing kitchens, vanities,
libraries and offices,” she says.
“Even though we have a beautiful showroom,” she reports, “we
attribute our success [more] to the reputation we have built over
the years.” That reputation, she believes, was created by her
client-driven philosophy which has been essential to the firm’s
success since it first opened its doors in 1987.
“We consider ourselves more than just kitchen designers. We are
problem-solvers, as well. We look at each project completely out of
the box, and try to come up with multiple solutions to the design
dilemmas presented by the individual project,” she says.
Step by step
According to Drury, the firm
implements a unique four-step process to ensure a project is done
correctly and to the client’s satisfaction.
Upon consultation with the client, a summation of the entire
design process is offered, as well as the establishment of a
“We do that by showing our portfolio of work and verbally
painting a picture for our clients of what we can do for them. At
that point we go through a budget analysis, giving the client a low
to high end [estimate] of what the project might cost,” she
explains. “We also go over the rules of thumb as to what they
should expect to pay in relation to the value of their home,” she
Once a budget has been established and a retainer fee paid, the
staff will then gather information and measure the space, she says,
adding that her staff utilizes extensive questionnaires for each
room in the home a technique that allows staff designers to better
understand a client’s needs.
“[Once we have that information], the next step is to create
three or four rough layouts that will show multiple design
options,” she says. “The key here is to help the clients select a
plan or combination of plans that best fits their needs.”
In fact, transforming the client into an active member of the
design process not only makes the client feel more comfortable with
their designs, says Drury, but also helps avoid pesky phone calls
from clients second-guessing the layout after a project’s
Says Drury: “We brainstorm with our clients to combine the
different solutions to come up with one perfect solution that fits
all of their design and functional needs.”
She concludes: “We help the homeowners to pull the design
together by working with them on hardware, tile designs, flooring
options and architectural details. We even do extensive detailed
electrical plans and light fixture selection.”
Citing an increase in
new-construction projects in the area, Drury notes that the company
has not necessarily benefited from this as much as it has been
challenged in its design capabilities.
“Our market area is very high-end traditional, but we also do a
considerable amount of more contemporary and transitional kitchens
especially in downtown Chicago,” she offers.
She adds: “We do a lot of traditional or Old World kitchens in
the unfitted style, using cabinetry that looks like individual
pieces of fine furniture, with the modern conveniences hidden away
within the individual pieces.”
For example, Drury describes a recent project where one of her
firm’s designers created a contemporary kitchen highlighted by
glass countertops with the underside of the glass painted in a
unique pattern by an artist. “The same design was also incorporated
into the glass backsplash using different colors to complement the
countertop,” she notes.
As diligently as the company
staff handles its design process, Drury just as methodically
markets the firm complete with a significant local bent.
“We are very involved with the local schools and colleges,” she
explains. A couple of times a year, we give seminars at our
showroom for interior design students. In fact, we have met some of
our best employees through the local colleges.”
The firm, she notes, will also work with area appliance
suppliers to set up cooking demonstrations that help to promote
better awareness of the different appliances available, as well as
show various cooking techniques. “We also donate our design
services and sometimes product to be sold at charitable auctions,”
But, she points out, “Our best publicity is gained from entering
design contests and the follow-up stories written about us in local
As a result of her concentration on community resources, a
majority of the company’s business is obtained through referrals,
bolstered by advertising in local papers and the firm’s association
with local charities, she concludes.