Design Firm Grows Closer to the Wright Stuff

by WOHe

Design Firm Grows Closer to the Wright

By John Filippelli

OAK PARK, IL Mitch Goldstein, owner and president of Oak Park Bath
and Kitchen, believes in growth. In fact, he’s built his entire
business around it.

His design firm, which opened its doors in September of 2002,
was born from remodeling projects that Goldstein had undertaken
when he and his wife first moved to Oak Park in 1996. Owner of The
Baronger Group, as well, a home-renovation company and builder of
custom homes, Goldstein’s expansion into a design showroom was a
natural extension.

“We worked on our house and started doing remodeling and new
homes here, as well as in North Shore. We got very busy. I had so
many people calling about remodeling that for a couple of years, I
couldn’t do it.”

The Wright Stuff
But, added motivation, he notes, came from Oak Park itself. You
see, Oak Park served as the home and studio of Frank Lloyd Wright
as well as various other famous architects. And, while the city was
rich in architectural history, it lacked one thing. “We looked
around Oak Park and there were no showrooms. So when a space became
available, it took about a year and a half, but we succeeded [in
purchasing it].”

Goldstein cites the firm’s location (less than nine miles from
Chicago and set at the corner of two busy in-town streets) and
advertising as key factors in its success, and notes, “We handle
kitchens from $20,000 to $100,000. It depends if we’re doing a
facelift or a complete overhaul.”

Not losing the sense of history the city provides, Goldstein
adds, “We try to install a kitchen or bathroom that would fit the
time period of the home, [without sacrificing the] modern

He continues, “It’s easy to design a functional space when you
completely gut a kitchen or bathroom. However, to keep the
plumbing, gas and electrical in its existing location and still
have a functional space is a source of pride for us.”
Aiding in his success, he says, are both the product lines that he
carries (the firm’s main cabinet lines are Wood-Mode, Inc. and
Brookhaven Cabinetry), and the efficiency with which he receives
them. “We are a very schedule-driven company and it’s vital to know
when the cabinets will arrive on the job site,” he offers.

Oak Park Kitchen and Bath also displays a full range of kitchen
and plumbing fixtures including: Grohe, TOTO USA, Porcher, Bertch
Cabinet Mfg., Inc., Kohler Co., Soho Corp., Lacava, Robern, Jacuzzi
Whirlpool Bath, Ultra Baths, Inc., Rohl, Bates & Bates,
Sub-Zero, U-Line Corp., BSH Home Appliances, Elkay Mfg. Co. and
Barclay Products, Ltd.

Additionally, he notes, “We carry a wide variety of limestone,
tumbled marble, granite, ceramic, porcelain and marble,” and the
company will install concrete, soapstone and Corian, as well as
other solid surface tops.

The showroom opened in November, 2002, and the firm celebrated
the grand opening of its new 4,400-sq. ft. showroom with 250
friends. “The showroom has been very well received. Visitors are
impressed with the variety of displays and products we showcase
from 50 different faucets to the latest countertops, consoles,
pedestals and medicine cabinets to whirlpool tubs,” he explains. In
fact, the showroom has garnered so much traffic, he notes, that the
firm recently began offering cooking classes for its customers.

He also believes that the showroom’s open layout and easy
traffic flow help to set his showroom apart from others. “We put a
lot of thought and planning into designing our showroom. We spread
out our displays to open up the showroom floor space and create
vibrant, attractive and realistically sized kitchen and bath
vignettes,” he says.

But, while the aesthetics of the space are important, the main
goal of the showroom and firm Goldstein notes, “is to give
customers ideas and get them interested in a fresh look that fits
within the scheme of their living space.”

Attention to Detail
Another key selling point, he explains, is the firm’s attention to
detail. With every customer that comes to Oak Park Bath and
Kitchen, Goldstein and his staff (which includes designer Heidi
Gehrke, showroom consultant, Lorraine Coppitas and partners Dan and
Bob Urbain) give a detailed schedule of the design process from the
start to the finish of their project.

“Once we start a job we are very efficient. Getting a proper
design and having the homeowner have time to look at the drawings
is key to the design process. So, I’ll give the client homework to
do [about their project]. When they see how serious we are about
it, they get serious too. It’s a nice change.”

In fact, the one thing that has not changed for Goldstein is the
philosophy he has carried from when he first moved to Oak
“Our philosophy is simple: [We strive for] controlled, consistent
growth. As our clientele grows, we’re only going to take on jobs we
can do well. [In the end] we want to make sure that every client no
matter how big or small is taken care of. If you grow too quickly,
you can lose control of that.”

Oak Park Kitchen and Bath

Location: 132 N. Ridgeland Ave., Oak Park, IL
Principals: Mitch Goldstein, owner and president of Baronger Group;
Robert Urbain, owner and operator of Allied Plumbing; Daniel
Urbain, owner and operator of Allied Plumbing; Heidi Gehrke,
kitchen designer and showroom consultant and Lorraine Coppitas,
showroom consultant
Showrooms: One
Hours of Operation:
10 a.m. 6 p.m., Tues.-Sat.
Employees: Three for the showroom; six for construction.
Major Product Lines: Wood-Mode, Inc., Brookhaven, Grohe, TOTO USA,
Porcher, Bertch Cabinet Mfg., Inc., Kohler Co., Soho Corp., Lacava,
Robern, Jacuzzi Whirlpool Bath, Ultra Baths, Inc., Rohl, Bates
& Bates, Sub-Zero, U-Line Corp., BSH Home Appliances, Elkay
Mfg. Co., Barclay Products, Ltd.
Design Software:
20/20 design software
Business Philosophy:
“We believe in controlled, consistent growth.”

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