Unique Kitchens & Baths: Custom Cabinetry Crash Course

Episode 6 February 10, 2023 00:39:51
Unique Kitchens & Baths: Custom Cabinetry Crash Course
The Interior Collective
Unique Kitchens & Baths: Custom Cabinetry Crash Course

Feb 10 2023 | 00:39:51


Show Notes

Unique Kitchens & Baths: A Crash Course on Custom Cabinetry


Episode Details.

We’ve all heard the age-old saying, “The kitchen is the heart of the home,” and oftentimes it’s also the top priority for interior design clients. Today’s guest has dedicated her business to the art of custom cabinetry and kitchen design and with over 15 years of experience, she has a lot of tips to share. Tanya Smith-Shiflett, owner and founder of Unique Kitchens & Baths, has seen and thought of everything when it comes to balancing form and function in these well-loved spaces. IDCO Studio has worked closely with Tanya on a number of projects and I recently had the pleasure of working with her and her team to bring my dream kitchen to life. Working with Unique Kitchens & Baths has been proven invaluable time and time again and I’m so excited to share a fraction of Tanya’s knowledge with you today. 

In this episode, Tanya and I discuss:





Virtual Design Services


The Austin Tudor Kitchen Design Process

The Latest Austin Tudor Kitchen Update



Lauren Liess

Lauren Liess Podcast Episode

Light & Dwell

Light & Dwell Podcast Episode

Storie Collective

Zöe Feldman

Thanks for listening to this episode of The Interior Collective. You can listen to our episodes on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube, or access all the show notes on our website.



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Episode Transcript

Speaker 1 00:00:06 Today we have the honor of talking all things custom cabinetry and kitchen design with Tanya Smith ShipIt, the owner and founder of Unique Kitchens and Baths. With over 15 years of experience in kitchen design, Tanya has seen and thought of everything when it comes to balancing form and function in the room we use most. I've had the great privilege over the past year to work closely with Tanya on a number of projects from the Idco team, managing social media content for U kb, as well as designing and developing their extensive new website, then acting as a client as u KB outfitted our new Idco office kitchenette. And most recently building the kitchen of my dreams at the Austin Tutor from start to finish. Working with Tanya and the U K B team was incredibly easy. I felt heard, listened to and valued, and the end results exceeded anything I possibly could have come up with on my own. Speaker 1 00:00:56 I feel so grateful to have gotten to work with Tanya on this. With all the time we've spent together, I've become a Tanya Super fan and if you're not familiar with her already, my guess is you will be too by the end of this episode. She's a walking masterclass in custom cabinetry and we can't wait to share a fraction of her knowledge with you. Tanya moves at the speed of light, which spoiler alert helps explain her team's unbelievable production time, her evident passion, creative solutions and ability to make you feel like you're the only other person in the room are mirrored in the way she runs her business. Every kitchen completely bespoke, tailored to the goals, lifestyle and vision of each client. Hello Tanya. I am so thrilled to have you. It's always a joy to catch up with you and now we get to do it live for everyone to get to listen in. Speaker 2 00:01:45 Hi, I am so excited to chat today. Speaker 1 00:01:48 I have lots of questions talking all things kitchen design and custom cabinetry, but I wanna go ahead and go back to the beginning. Was there a defining moment when you decided to take the leap, quit your medical sales job and open U K B? Speaker 2 00:02:04 Yes, there was. I was in medical sales for 21 years and my husband was a builder and I used to do his kitchens on the side and they started recalculating our commissions on ca on medical sales. And when they started to lower my commissions, the profitability just wasn't there to do it anymore. And I a, I loved doing kitchens and my husband's like, you know, what do you wanna do? Why don't you take a year off and decide what you wanna do? And I was like, no, I wanna open a kitchen shop. And he went away on a trip and I rented a space and when he came home I said, we're gonna go on a drive. And he said, where are we going? And he goes, please tell me. And I said, I did it. I signed the lease, was it 3,500 square foot warehouse? And we took a leap of faith and we opened up, we started finishing the first 500 square feet and within six months we had a full entire design studio with I think five designers at that time. And we finished the whole space out. Speaker 1 00:02:57 Tanya, you've never told me that, that story. That is hysterical. I would totally do the same thing to Quinn. I love that he went on vacation and you went and signed the lease. That is such a courageous, bold move and I absolutely love that. I really admire that your husband is so supportive and was giving you the grace to find your way and also was on the ride when you decided what your direction was Speaker 2 00:03:21 It it, it was a ride. <laugh> Speaker 1 00:03:23 <laugh>. How many kitchens in hindsight would you guess you have designed over the years? Speaker 2 00:03:31 Oh my goodness. We probably do here in our shop, I would say 50 kitchens a quarter. So I would probably say about 3000 kitchens in five years. Speaker 1 00:03:42 Wow, that's incredible. And so when you fast forward to today and how far you've come from moonlighting as the kitchen layout designer for your husband's construction company in addition to designing kitchens and baths, how else have you diversified your business and what other services do you offer? Speaker 2 00:04:00 So when we actually were shut down by our county during Covid, our whole life had to pivot. I am an older person, let's just say I'm in my fifties. We didn't know, I didn't know what a zoom call was. I didn't know what a virtual design was. I had younger designers that said, why don't we pivot and start virtually. So we actually started our virtual design packages and I would say that 35 to 40% of our business is now virtual designs for kitchens. We have extended it to anywhere their cabinetry is done from mudrooms to built-ins. And we work worldwide, Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico, New Mexico, and we work all over the place as far as doing designs. So I would say I pivoted during Covid to extend our business. We opened five stores since Covid, different locations and different stores. And in that we have, for example, all of our design studios are little, like little houses that are vintage and we ha sell soap and dish soap and hand towels and they're all little vintage shops. Speaker 2 00:04:56 And we started our first kind of collection shop with Loren Lease and we had a shop with her and then she decided to turn that shop into a design studio, which is fantastic. And then what we did was Lauren and I created a concept store across in the same building and we opened a shop there and it has a little shop in there and our showrooms are beautiful when you walk in. The aesthetic is it's more of a home and when you go in there you can feel it. People sit down, they don't wanna leave, they wanna have a drink, they wanna relax and then they can shop. So it's not just a design studio. But I would say through all of this, I think pivoting into more virtual was the way that we did things and change things. Since then, did Speaker 1 00:05:34 You have any of those brick and mortar vintage shops before Covid or have you launched all five of those since Covid? Speaker 2 00:05:40 I launched the first one during Covid and yeah, they've all been since Covid. Speaker 1 00:05:45 That's incredible. It's so exciting to watch how you've just exploded onto the scene and interesting how Covid allowed you to make that pivot and reach so many more people now. So you have a lot of arms of the business running smoothly and so you're clearly no longer just a husband and wife team of two. What does the rest of your team look like and can you walk us through your different teams and what that's corporate structure is? Speaker 2 00:06:11 I can, we actually have 12 in-house designers. We have two lead designers. Everyone in our industry, in our office, in our little pool either has a degree in interior design or they have been doing kitchens for probably over I'd say 10 years each. And from there we have grown our plant. We bought a plant in PA and we actually do all of our processing in millwork and pa. We used to do it in Baltimore, but we just grew so quickly that we grew out of the 4,500 square foot plant. We are Mennonite in construction, so we do things a little differently. A lot of people, and I'm glad we're having this podcast, always say, why can't I visit the plant and hopefully Anastasia you let me touch base on this. They're very private people. They don't like to have their photographs taken. They're very just, they're very talented people but they have that kind of thing that they don't like to do that. Speaker 2 00:07:00 So it's hard on us because we had to evolve from there when we opened our plant. We have 24 master carpenters there. Our lead times are actually going back to 10 weeks now instead of the 12. We do mill our cabinets 24 hours a day. We have three shifts and we work weekends. So we have regular builders and master carpenters down there that just paint on the weekends. And then we have carpenters that have full-time jobs and just wanna work a couple evenings during the week. So our staff starts at the age of 35, but most of our mill workers are over the age of fifties into their seventies. So they were master carpenters for years and now they're like little old men that build cabinets. Speaker 1 00:07:36 Oh my gosh. And Speaker 2 00:07:37 It's cute. So sweet. It's cute, it's sweet. It is. And then that's how our team looks here. Each of our design studios, I'm sorry, each have two designers in them and they also, for example, our collection in Georgetown has Sarah swab. So in that shop, Sarah Swab actually has her interior design studio. So we'll have her collection in there and then she has story collectives in there. So our staff together, we share there. So we have a kitchen designer and then she has a shop person. So that's kind of how we mill everything together as far as like working with interior designers and our collaborations and our collections and our staff is, we do a lot of interior design in our studio also with other interior designers. So for example, if they send us over our kitchen and they've selected the finishes for the lights and the knobs and the colors and then we kind of implement and then a full kitchen design. Speaker 1 00:08:20 That's amazing. So talk to me about the specific design teams. When someone, let's say we're starting with one of your virtual kitchen projects, how many designers are working on a project? Do you have junior designers? Is it one designer? Like how does that workflow go and how involved are you in each of those individual design projects? Speaker 2 00:08:42 So all of our designs start off in black and whites and we used to split them up. If we had a house that had seven rooms, we'd split them up between designers. But we found having relationships with our interior designers and our clients, the clients including interior designers, they like that one-on-one. They don't like the flip flopping around and having one designer do the bathroom. Once you learn that person's aesthetic, we keep that designer. For example, if we're working with Sarah or Lauren or Zoe, we keep one designer with them and it just makes it easier and streamlined as far as how involved, um, I am one no design can go out of our shop, the black and whites without me looking at it. And that came when I started building the brand of U kb, I just wanted to make sure it had my personal touch on it. Mainly a lot of reason is because of the construction portion of it, of what we can and cannot do. And when I overlook the designs, I think that that allows me to look at it before it goes to our millwork and before my husband touches it or gym touches it, we have to make sure that it all works together and seamlessly. So I touch every design before it goes out. Speaker 1 00:09:41 And for your designers, they'll go start to finish. You started talking a little bit about how some of your clients are interior designers. Can you talk us through what that really means? Speaker 2 00:09:52 So the interior designers, when they come to us, they come to us for cabinetry and of course they've already made their selections when they come to us. It's more the personal touch of where the client's gonna store things, how big the cabinetry should be, how we can integrate their selections into our cabinetry, whether it be knobs or pools or little like Lauren likes the little hole things for the door pullouts. It's just basically when we work with them it's making their vision come to life through our cabinetry. Speaker 1 00:10:18 Amazing. For those who don't know, I recently shared my YouTube episode covering the Austin Tutor Kitchen design that once the plans were finalized, your team of mill workers are able to produce these completely custom, beautiful handmade pieces using the finest materials and construction methods. And that turnaround time, like you said, was at 12 weeks and it sounds like you guys have already caught back up and you're back to a 10 week turnaround time. You mentioned that you have your carpenters working around the clock to, to expedite that process. Do you have a reference point to those listening? If you are at 10 weeks, what is the average kitchen build time? Because I know you're doing it a lot faster than everybody else. Speaker 2 00:11:02 So our average competition, I find that if we're taking jobs in and other clients reach out to us is basically I would say 21 weeks, 18 to 21 weeks. Speaker 1 00:11:11 We're doing it in half the time. Speaker 2 00:11:14 Yes, exactly. And how that came about just uh, this is a funny story is when Covid came, they shut us down from transporting during the day. So we had to start transporting at night crossing state lines from PA to Maryland. And the guys, when we covid was over, they were like, we wanna keep working night work, we don't wanna work day work. So that's how that all evolved into that. But then into that, our lead times used to be 18 weeks and because we were doing it 24 hours a day, we've milled it down to 10. Speaker 1 00:11:39 That's amazing. And so post having those restrictions, you just realized it was so much more profitable and productive and efficient. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. Yeah. So you're gonna just keep on with that incredible turnaround time. So let's talk actual kitchen design cuz you are so talented and you have created just the most exquisite designs across all different styles. What are some of the most popular or the most memorable custom elements your team has dreamed up and executed in cabinetry? And is there something life-changing we should all be incorporating into our kitchens? Speaker 2 00:12:13 Oh my goodness, that's a good question. Life changing into our kitchens. I don't know what's life changing in the kitchen? I feel like the kitchen should all be designed with the elements of how you live. They should really be thought out. A spice store may be exciting to us as an Insta hott may be exciting to someone else. I think today you really need to look into your appliances because there's so many appliances out there. And I think I tell our of our clients when they call in to start the virtual design process with us or the kitchen design process, choose your appliances first and choose them carefully because there's nothing worse in creating a custom kitchen, doing a fridge panel and then three years later you're like, oh my gosh, I hate that fridge. I don't wanna use that fridge anymore. So I think that the appliances are more are important. What kitchens do I or designs do I like the best? I like them all. I like the British cabinetry. I feel like with our custom cabinetry and the way that they're made, you can do modern, you can do timeless. I think there's endless ways to do it from a match sheen, a butter sheen that we use on our finish or to a high gloss. I think that the sky's the limit. Speaker 1 00:13:16 Some of my favorite elements on the kitchen at the tutor that Tanya designed were that the cabinets that sit above the countertop, the doors recess. So you have continued countertop for all of your small appliances. That was such an incredible detail and she came up with this genius in ceiling mounted range hood. So we don't have to have a range hood because our ceilings are only eight feet tall in that space. And so just the depth of knowledge you have of the different appliances you've come across with your clients to the custom millworks that you're putting into the spaces, it really is just incredible. And now I'm gonna have a tricky question. You're not gonna like this one. I want you to name your top three must-have kitchen design elements. Speaker 2 00:14:04 Top three I would say a spice drawer trashcan rollout for sure. Double trashcan and now a compost. Now we have the trashcan compost together and they're fantastic. Speaker 1 00:14:18 I love that. I'm so excited that you were able to source that for our kitchen because Austin is awesome and we have weekly compost pickup so I definitely wanted to have a nice iteration of that cuz right now it just lives under our sink and it's kind of gross so I'm super excited for that. <laugh>, on a similar note, what do you wish clients would prioritize in their kitchens? Speaker 2 00:14:40 How they're gonna bring their families together and how they're going to entertain islands are very important, but you'll find that a client will take an island and want 10 stools at it. And it's sometimes hard for us to give them 10 seating spaces where we can give 'em a lot more storage. So I think implementing a table into a island area is the most important of how that lines up. Speaker 1 00:15:03 Oh that's amazing. I love to see that combination. What would you say clients most often obsess over in kitchens that really isn't that important? Speaker 2 00:15:14 Oh my goodness, that's a good question. I would say they're kitchen sinks. Everyone wants this beautiful marble sink or these nice sinks that just are not practical and they get obsessed with these sinks. They'll come to me where I already bought a copper or sink, I already bought a gold sink, I already bought a farmhouse sink. If you have a beautiful faucet and countertops, an undermount stainless sink is the most durable and I think they need to stop focusing so much on the sinks Speaker 1 00:15:40 <laugh>. I think that is a genius, genius piece of advice. Up at the lake house we had $0, we were totally outta money and I had ordered a white sink that came and it was like that plastic composite type and I really didn't like it so I just went to Home Depot and got a stainless sink instead. Cuz we, our counters were going in and I'm obsessed with that stainless sink. I have never wanted a stainless sink and now I'm like, I don't know if I can go back. It's so easy to clean. Indestructible they're Speaker 2 00:16:08 They're durable. Speaker 1 00:16:09 Like it works so, so, so well. So working so intimately with one room of the home, you must be the first to see what kitchen trends are on their way in or out. What can we expect to see more of in the coming year and what do you think we'll be seeing trending less? Speaker 2 00:16:29 I think what you're gonna see trending more is color. I think people are getting away from the white kitchens and they're not afraid to use color. I think you're actually going to see a lot of the age brass, which I personally just did in my new home a lot less. I think you're gonna start seeing more of the polished nickel and the bronze finishes coming back. More of the moodier dark finishes. I do think the age brass, which is everywhere, is kind of gonna go out a little bit. Speaker 1 00:16:55 I think that's such a good point. And I was just selecting my hardware for your cabinets yesterday and I was weighing Polish nickel versus on eckard brass and it's a tossup. You're gonna have to see what I end up going with <laugh> <laugh>, what are the key things to always consider when designing a kitchen for a client? Speaker 2 00:17:12 The key things, listening to how your client lives and what their needs are in their kitchen. Speaker 1 00:17:20 One of the first impressions prospective clients have of your brand is your website. If you don't have a strong online presence to show off your work though you're losing out on potential clients. ICOs Studio offers a selection of limited edition website templates designed specifically for interior designers just like you. If you're looking for a more hands-off experience, you can add on implementation and professional copywriting and we'll have your new website up and running within a few short weeks visit ico.studio to choose your favorite before it sells out. So what are the questions you're asking to understand how they Speaker 2 00:17:54 Live? It starts with the appliances again. Do you want an Insta hot? Do you want an induction stove? Do you want a gas stove? I think that listening to do their kids do their homework at the island, are you just using your island for prep? Do you not cook at all? And it just has to be a show kitchen. I think the key elements is just getting to know that family. Our process with interviewing, the number one thing we ask is how you guys live. How does your family live? How many people do we need to be seating who host for the holidays? People I don't think realize designers do, but I think a lot of people out there do not realize the hours and time that go into a kitchen. It's the most expensive room in your house that you're gonna do and it's the most usable space all the way from buying a good faucet to buying the right stove to buying a big enough refrigerator. Every element of the kitchen is extremely important and it's something that you're gonna do that's gonna last a long time. Speaker 1 00:18:43 When you have people answering these questions, I've experienced this, I know those listening have experienced this, people will answer these questions one way and after working with them for a while you realize the way that they answered might not actually be truthful to how they live. Do you have any advice for designers listening to coach their clients through getting the real answers for how they live, not how they envision using the space, but what's really practical for the way they actually use the space? Speaker 2 00:19:14 I sure do. The first thing that I ask for is pictures of your current kitchen. Cuz no matter how much storage we give them, no matter how much we try and guide them, how they live in their kitchen now is how they're gonna live in their new kitchen. For example, if you see 10 piles of paper towels from the Costco run that they just made, I know as a designer I need to find a place for those. If we see things all over the countertop, then I know that I need a catchall for that. So I think the most important thing when designing kitchen is to see their current kitchen and pictures. No matter what they tell you, they're gonna make it sound pretty on paper is that's not really how they live every day. So trying to see how they live and basically designing their kitchen around how they live is important. So I would say the best way for me to do that is to see their, the way they live now in their pictures of their kitchen. Speaker 1 00:20:00 That's a really great, great, great point. And like to not be afraid of opening cabinets and looking at how they're actually filling that space. So I wanna talk more about your handmade cabinetry. I know those listening are eager to find a source for custom cabinetry that they can use for their projects all around the country because like you covid really expanded the option for virtual design for interior designers. Talk to us about the practicalities. What types of wood do you use? Are there any limitations on door styles, finishes or hinges and what really makes your cabinets different uniquely U kb? Speaker 2 00:20:37 Well I think what the number one thing is there's really nothing we cannot do. If you guys send us a picture of it, we can pretty much build anything. Our plywood construction is amazing. Our cabinetry are all wood. We, we don't use M D F unless you ask for it. Some people like the way M D F finish and paints. We use all bloom hinges. There's a million cabinet places out there. But what makes ours different I think is that we listen to our clients. The warranty is lifetime. It's amazing. We have very little, if any returns, maybe a child may break a door if they're swinging on it and we just mail out a new hinge. It's a nothing you know, that we can't replace or fix. Our butter fit is on. Our cabinetry is amazing. For example, it doesn't leave fingerprints. It's easy to clean. Speaker 2 00:21:15 There's just so much that goes into it. I think our drawer linings are amazing. Our walnut drawer inserts are great. Um, I think it's just an overall structure. It's a great cabinet all the way from our dust covers to our cabinetry. At the top of the cabinets when we do trash cans, we put a solid form across the top of it so that if your trash bags are in one or you wanna put spoons or whatever in the top drawer, it's totally blocked off from the trash can. There's just a lot of things that go into it. Our um, when our countertops are installed we have brackets for those to rest on. It's every little thing. And this goes back to my husband being a builder. All the things that happened through the years that he couldn't find when we were buying cabinetry, we made sure our cabinetry had it. Speaker 1 00:21:56 Talk to me about delivery cuz that's another thing everybody's always looking for a local cabinet maker so that it can be there. But I know that U K B has options way beyond that. So how is your delivery system different and where can you deliver to? Speaker 2 00:22:10 So we can deliver all over the s a we can deliver to Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands. Now actually we do port delivery for those. So we actually blanket wrap them and port them into a container and they're shipped by water. And the USA we actually blanket wrap, which you've experienced already. Anastasia is we have two, one or two gentlemen depending on the load that personally drives to your door, blanket wraps the cabinets, delivers 'em to you, unwraps them to you personally. We own our own freight company so we do anything internally. We do not source anything out and that all comes from no one's gonna take care of your cabinets better than you and me. Now when we wrap them in our warehouse and we put 'em in blankets and put 'em onto our truck, the love that goes from that moment all the way to your house is very personal to us. A, we don't want a lot of returns in breakage. B trucking companies sometimes unfortunately they just stack things on top of each other and they're boxed and they just don't give it the love and care. So we actually hand deliver all of our cabinetry to each client. Speaker 1 00:23:09 So Okay, that's really exciting to those who are listening. And I like you said, I've experienced receiving them and I mean every little thing, they were very nervous to have Quinn even help unload the cabinets <laugh> cause they wanted to be in charge of it. So walk us through what options interior designers have to work with unique kitchens and baths on their client projects. Do they need to completely outsource the entire design of the room or what level of design collaboration can we expect Speaker 2 00:23:35 From our interior designers? Yes, so our interior, our interior designers, when we work with them directly, all they have to do is bring to us the sources and colors they want and then we do the full design with them directly. So sometimes they'll bring us CAD drawings, we can use those CAD drawings to re you know, create our drawings in order to build the cabinetry. But the process is seamless. We can do anything with them they wanna do. Speaker 1 00:23:58 So I know you offer four different virtual design packages. Is that the place someone would start who's maybe an interior designer looking to get into full renovations or new custom home builds? Would they book something like that with you to work on the designs or would they reach out to you differently to get started? How does an interior designer start working with you? Speaker 2 00:24:18 They can buy a design packet online. Sometimes they'll have their client buy the design packet online and they'll help guide their client. Or if they have a full house renovation, they can reach out to us on our website and we'll work with them differently. Sometimes we'll do a full house design package as opposed to doing a room per room can get a little pricey. And interior designers of course they have their own fee. So we try and work with interior designers where we lower the design fee a little bit so that we can implement everything together in one package. Speaker 1 00:24:44 And so when you're saying multiple rooms, that's because you're doing the bathroom cabinetry or the built-in cabinetry in the living room, you can literally do cabinetry anywhere in the house? Speaker 2 00:24:53 That's correct. And sometimes we're asked to do custom tables or chairs or benches or things like that. We build anything that would needs to be attached to Speaker 1 00:25:03 That is amazing. So I think that pricing can be so hard for interior designers in general, but especially designers breaking into full scale renovations or custom new builds. When building out a kitchen proposal for clients, what are the key elements a designer should consider and include? How do you estimate your hours spent for the initial design plus accounting for revisions, et cetera? Speaker 2 00:25:30 So I always tell for kitchens, I always tell my interior designers to start their design process. And this is probably gonna scare some people, but usually a hundred thousand dollars for any kitchen is a fair number for an interior designer cuz that would include their time, their cabinetry, the lighting, the finishes, usually their, their all their contractors cost. I think it's a good ballpark to start at now if they're moving walls or doing additions, it's a little bit different. I think that, and this is just my opinion for interior designers, you should do an hourly rate as opposed to a package. And that's because some clients need a lot more handholding than other clients. Some clients will, you can go in, you do your full package and they love everything. Some clients'll go in and say, well can I see four different lights or five different, you know, colors in the cabinetry? So if I could give any interior designer, I would say start your budgets for your kitchen around a hundred thousand. That's a fair number for everything all in. And I would say do an hourly design rate on top of that if they kind of exceed and when a lot of changes. Speaker 1 00:26:27 That's genius. I know we talk about pricing a lot here on the show and kind of going between flat rate versus hourly. Do you have any recommendations on what a good hourly rate would be for a new designer? Speaker 2 00:26:39 I would say it would probably start off at $150 an hour. It's not, not too scary and of course it depends what state and areas you live in, but with designers we can make more money on product. You know, we have our small markups on interior products as far as finishes and knobs and faucets for being in kitchens or sofas. I think $150 to $200 is a fair hourly rate. Speaker 1 00:27:00 Amazing. Thank you for sharing that Tanya. So let's talk about managing expectations with our clients, especially when it comes to budget with your incredible depth of wisdom and experience. Do you have any nuggets or tidbits that designers can tell their clients when it comes to budgeting for a kitchen to really kind of talk 'em off that ledge when they get that initial sticker shock? What are some of the, the words that you use frequently to kind of calm them down and get them to say yes? Speaker 2 00:27:31 So that's a good question actually. I think a lot of the ki, well the kitchen's different cuz it's the most expensive room in the house. And I tell people all the time, if people come to me and they're a little leery about budget, I tell them, let's save up a little bit. Let's wait till that next income tax check comes in. Let's just sit back and save for this. And it is scary for them and I just think that they really need to think about it a lot. But usually most of my clients I'll say, listen, I know this is a lot of money and it is a lot of money. It's a big project and I think we should save up for it. They will do less in other rooms to spend more money on their kitchens. And I think the reason why is interior designs are beautiful. Speaker 2 00:28:07 I'm doing my own home now. The sofas are gorgeous, the curtains are gorgeous. You know, the are drapes, the bed linens are beautiful, everything is beautiful. But at the end of the day, they're pretty things. The kitchen has so much form and function that I just feel like that's every single day gets beaten up and it's just a totally different beast than buying a new sofa or chair. So I think for interior designers out there, they need to let their clients know that the rest of the house can come to a fruition. But if we start at the heart of the home in the kitchen, all the other rooms can feed off of it. And I think that if you tell your client that a lot of times it's an easier way to sell a kitchen, Speaker 1 00:28:42 I can say that Tanya absolutely gave me this pep doc personally and sold me on my kitchen cabinetry as well. Cuz I definitely started getting sticker shock and I just realized if the tutor is gonna be the house that I dream it's gonna be, it's all gonna matter starting in the kitchen. And the kitchen matters based upon those cabinets. So that is a very wise way to explain that. And I think you're right, you can add to those other rooms over time, but you have to do the kitchen all at once. Speaker 2 00:29:09 Mm-hmm <affirmative>. Speaker 1 00:29:11 So despite your incredibly successful business to business model, you don't exclusively design kitchens in collaboration with interior designers. Consumers can work directly with u kb to design and execute their kitchens, bathrooms, and other rooms that require custom cabinetry. So how does the process differ from your process working with interior designers? Because I know we have a lot of listeners that aren't even interior designers that are desperate to work with you. Speaker 2 00:29:36 So when we work with interior designers, our lead time for our packages are five to seven days. And if we're with a homeowner, we allow them 10 to 21 days just cuz it's a little more handholding and they don't have their selections and we allow them a little bit larger time and far as selections and finishes. So the only difference I would feel with the homeowner is we give them a little bit more time to make those selections and look at different feet finishes and colors and things like that. Speaker 1 00:30:00 So real quick, just walk us through what the phases of those virtual design packages are and let's go ahead and talk about your most top tier package so we know all the things that are included. Speaker 2 00:30:10 Package number one that we offer on our virtual design package is the $1,500 package. And that package is just basically doing your floor plan, your layout, your elevations, all in black and white. This one is great for designers, homeowners that just kind of need a quick review or builders. A lot of architects use us for this. And this is just your basic kind of just layout. Kitchen package number two is the same thing, it's black and whites, floor plans elevations, and you get one color rendering. And sometimes this is a good package for homeowners that kind of know what they want. Their builder architect has already designed their home and kind of put in the boxes for the kitchens and bathrooms and they just wanna see it visually in color. Package number three is also the black and whites the color renderings and allows multiple views. Speaker 2 00:30:56 And this one is good for someone that is a homeowner that actually is doing maybe a butler's pantry or a little bar area where they wanna see all of the room kind of come together and they want little snippets of when they're staying in their kitchen, for example, like with yours, Anastasia, of how that view is gonna look going into their dining room with that arch opening. Things like that are important. Package number four has the 2D elevations, 3D elevations, floor plans, color renderings and allows all the sourcing for the products from links to buying your knobs. This is kind of for the homeowner that can kind of do a little bit of their own thing. We do the knob sourcing, the countertops if they wanna work with us and they do have a local cabinet person or they're looking for someone local cuz they're just not comfortable with the shipping of the cabinetry, which some people are not, then if that's the case, we will do a local mill worker. This also will give you contractors in the area if you want a local contractor to work with. So this is truly the more immersed package that just offers every little thing from start to finish. Speaker 1 00:31:53 That's amazing. And so that's a really great package if you're not working with an interior designer on your home and you're really just needing help in the kitchen or the bathroom office, et cetera. So for those listening, I used package number three and I will link in the description below the link to our full process reveal. You'll go through the whole process, you'll see what those renderings look like. They're incredible and gorgeous and I was very grateful to have multiple views of the kitchen even though I knew in my head exactly what I wanted. Seeing it in color definitely changed my mind on quite a few aspects. So I really enjoyed that process a lot. Okay. So let's talk about collaborations because you have currently three stunning collections of cabinetry designed in partnership with industry leading designers, but you also, I know have quite a few in the works and there will be extended options down the road in addition to your core cabinetry selections. What are you looking for when choosing someone to design a line of cabinetry? Do you typically reach out to your ideal partner or do they come to you? Because I know designers are always dreaming of collabs. Speaker 2 00:33:01 So I'll start off with the Lauren Lee collection <laugh>. That was a funny one. I actually, um, was not really into IG at that time and another designer of mine was like, oh, you should get on Instagram and start an account. And I started going through the rabbit hole of Instagram and I came across this beautiful kitchen with Lauren Le and I was like, what do I have to lose? I'll reach out to her on Instagram. And that's kind of how the first collection started and I reached out to her and it was amazing and we meshed really well and she had always wanted a cabinet line and it just, it grew organically. And then from there we created our other lines. And the more that I got to know designers, for example, when I started working with story collectives, she was a minimalist in working with her cabinetry and seeing how her lines were just very simple. Speaker 2 00:33:43 I knew that I had a client for that. I knew when they wanted more rustic or timeless or vintage, that was Lauren. And then when clients would call and say, Hey, I want a purple kitchen, I'm like, whoa, wait a minute. We've never done a purple kitchen. And that led me to Zoe who likes to do wallpaper and color. And then I guess I can announce it now because we've all been talking about it. We have a line coming out the end of the year, beginning of next year with light and dwell. Okay. It is very, I'm so excited. It's very British. I would say very, it's, it's timeless. The colors and the door patterns and the styles that these ladies have chose all the way from the little cutouts to just the way the doors are mended and grew together is absolutely beautiful. And I like the fact that all the selections that we have are working with now and all the, the designers, they all mesh and blend so well together. So if you are an interior designer out there and you're looking to do a collaboration and you feel like you have something different than what I already offer, I would love to hear from you. I'm always about collaborating. My husband and I love making doors. It's like an art. So I would never say no to anybody else. It's very involved and if a designer's willing to give us the time, I think that it's a great thing to have. Speaker 1 00:34:51 That's amazing. You're so generous with your knowledge and your craft. It's amazing to see how well and how, how immersed you are with collaborating. I've always felt that when working with you, whether it was on your own site or on my kitchens, and I just think that anybody would be so fortunate to get to work with you and have such a beautiful product come out of it. Can you give us a little behind the scenes glimpse into what partnering with u KB is like? Like what you say, it's a long process, how does it really start? Is it that you did a kitchen for a designer and then they custom designed those cabinets and then you're like, great, let's introduce that into our line. What is the design process like and what can someone expect from a collaboration like that? Speaker 2 00:35:35 So when we first started, like I said with Lauren Lisa, our first collection, she was already ahead of the game cuz she'd always wanted to do it. She already had her doors designed and her styles with other designers. For example, story Collective. I had already done a couple projects with her, so I knew how easily she was to work with and my husband's always taught me when we do these collaborations, we're like married to these people Tanya. They're relationships. We have to get along, we have to mold together, we're gonna have ins and outs, we're gonna have arguments, but at the end of the day, it's what do we do to make this product perfect? And I think that each of the designers that I worked with in creating a line with, I had already worked with all of them before in a project. So we had those projects and I always tell someone if they come to me and they wanna do a collaboration, let's do one project together. Speaker 2 00:36:16 Let's see how our relationship looks, let's see how it works out before we get married. And I always figure it's like this is just like a little marriage and I don't believe in divorce. I always tell my husband, E, after 17 years we're gonna work this. You know what out we're not. Divorce is not an option. <laugh>. So I always tell people when I invest so much money into these collaborations, which I love doing, is that we have to figure it out together. And doing a project together is the first way, but the longevity of it is to see how we continue to work and if we work well together and it's seamless, the clients feel zero bumps. They feel the seamlessness of it, they love the collaboration. They love that Lauren Le or Sarah or Zoe can say, you know what, I stand behind this product. I know it's a great product. I've used it, I have it. And they just all run organically from that. Speaker 1 00:37:00 That's amazing. Congratulations Tanya. I always like to end a show with a little sneak peek of something that's to come and you've already spilled the beans on the light and dwell collaboration. Is there anything you are able to share a preview of for what's in store for UK B this next year? Speaker 2 00:37:22 Yes. I wrote a cookbook that is going to launch in January. Speaker 1 00:37:26 Oh my Speaker 2 00:37:27 Gosh. I'm super excited. I self-funded and actually hired a ghost writer to write it. There were a lot of different labels out there, but A, I didn't know how to get into it. So B, we decided to do it ourself. We have a stool line, a knob line, and a tile line coming out in the spring of next year. We're also opening a store in soho in Nashville. Speaker 1 00:37:46 Oh my gosh. That is a lot coming down the pipeline. That is so exciting. I cannot wait to be by your side cheering you on for that. Tanya, thank you so much for your time today. We really appreciate your wisdom and your generosity within the design community, and I can't wait to talk to you again very soon. Speaker 2 00:38:04 Thank you, Speaker 1 00:38:09 Tanya, thank you so much for joining us today on the Interior Collective. I've learned so much about creating kitchens that truly work for the way people live, and I'm constantly inspired and motivated by what you've, I think the biggest lesson I've learned from working with you is that as a designer, your job is to deliver what the client wants, even if that's not always your first choice. You've taught me to have a lot more grace in my design process and I'm super, super grateful for that, that thank you for sharing a little piece of your magic with us. And I cannot believe that by the time y'all are hearing this, I'll be sitting in my own U K B kitchen. You can follow along with Tanya at Unique Kitchens and Baths on Instagram. Visit one of her showrooms in Baltimore, great Falls or Georgetown, and learn more about the cabinetry in virtual design packages at Unique Kitchen and baths.com. Speaker 1 00:38:56 If you weren't able to write down everything you heard today, you can find all the links and other details from this episode of The Interior Collective on our website at ico.studio/podcast. If you'd love this podcast, please leave us a review. Season one proved to be a huge help to interior designers around the globe, and we'd love to continue offering this as a resource for our community. Your reviews are a big part in making that possible. If you have any questions or topics you'd like to hear next season, email [email protected] If you haven't already, get caught up on season one filled with a star studded lineup, including Jake Arnold, Kelly Lamb, Gil Davis Blairmore, Claire Jung, Lauren Lee, Beth, Diana Smith, Shay McGee, and Lindsay Borchard. Then make sure to subscribe. Until then, I'm your host, Anastasia Casey, and this is The Interior Collective, a podcast for the business of beautiful Living.

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