Raymond Girard opened a Pound Ridge-based dealership for St. Charles Kitchens, a cabinet manufacturer, in 1961. That business evolved over the decades, changing names and locations. Today, the company is known as Deane Inc. and is co-managed by Girard’s grandson Peter Deane.
With showrooms in Stamford and New Canaan and clients in Connecticut and New York, Deane Inc. has received national attention for its distinctive design aesthetics. Last year, the company was awarded the inaugural Luxury Kitchen Recycling Awards from the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) and Renovation Angel for its innovative repurposing of design materials. The NKBA also included Deane Inc. in its 2015 book “Kitchen and Bath Design Principles: Elements, Form, Styles.”
In this edition of Suite Talk, Business Journal Senior Enterprise Editor Phil Hall interviews Deane about his approach to kitchen design.
Why would a homeowner decide to seek out your services, as opposed to taking the do-it-yourself route to remodeling their kitchen?
“Our projects are not just about cabinetry. Working with our design team, who can source different materials and trends, allows you to deliver a cohesive look. All the components are methodically selected and represent hours of work. Seeing space differently and translating your needs is what sets us apart.”
How many projects do you handle, on average, per year? And how far in advance would a homeowner need to book your services?
“We manage approximately 100 projects within a given year. These projects are all in different stages — ranging from preliminary design, production or installation. A realistic timeline for planning your project would allow for approximately six weeks for the up-front design phase, three months for cabinet production and four to six weeks for the completion of installation.”
Have there been projects and assignments that you’ve turned down?
“Occasionally there are projects that are on an extremely tight timeline. Due to the customization of our designs and high-end nature of our products, their delivery takes time. Therefore, clients need to make a decision if they want to invest in this process or select stock products that are readily available. Ultimately, we want all our clients to love the finished result.”
Every home renovation show that I watch on television has an island in the kitchen. Is an island essential for a kitchen, or is it possible to forgo it?
“Designing a kitchen starts with proper space planning. If there is an opportunity to integrate an island into your new kitchen based off specific clearances between countertops and traffic flow and usage patterns, then we will integrate that into our project design. When possible, the island serves as a focal point and gathering point in the room and is a wonderful addition to any kitchen.”
What is your opinion of television programs that give the impression that kitchen and home design are easy?
“It’s deadly. We set expectations for our clients at the beginning of our process and what they can expect from a timeline for their project. Good design takes time and we never want to sacrifice quality in order to cut corners. Generally speaking, the clients who come to us are looking to make the investment in their home and have realistic ideas on how the process works best.”
Outside of work, what are your favorite kitchen-centric activities?
“Cooking at home with my wife who owns Culinary Works, enjoying time with family and friends as well as dining out for culinary adventures.”