These are tough times, especially in places like Rochester, N.Y. So a standout showroom can be a differentiator for a remodeling company. “We are a living dealer,” says Maria Dattilo, showroom manager of Bryce & Doyle Craftsmanship, which recently opened a 3,800-square-foot, try-it-before-you-buy-it showroom.

Owner Richard Doyle bought and gutted a 140-year-old building, leaving a huge open space and a 21-foot ceiling. Staff kitchen designer Shannon Cooper and Maury Cacchia of Catch Eye Interiors created a show-stopping centerpiece kitchen (shown) with an oiled maple floor and a 14-foot arced stainless steel island that holds a multitude of high-end products. In another area, a more traditional custom kitchen showcases more affordable cabinets and styles. “We were careful to not alienate the more price-conscious client,” Dattilo says, “so we show more than one type of product in a variety of price points.”

There's also a master bath with a glass-tiled shower and a large soaking tub, as well as a home theater, an “outdoor” patio area, and an elegant ADA-compliant bathroom. Upstairs is a wine room and conference room full of samples. Local artists have lent touches throughout.

Bryce & Doyle Craftsmanship's try-it-before-you-buy-it showroom has 10 display rooms and four offices.
Stacey Freed Bryce & Doyle Craftsmanship's try-it-before-you-buy-it showroom has 10 display rooms and four offices.

And it's all designed to be used. Clients can book time to cook a meal, watch a movie, or take a luxurious bath (although that hasn't happened yet). “We've set it up to be decision-friendly,” Doyle says.

The response has been positive. B&D's referrals have increased, and clients are sometimes enticed to choose higher-end products. “But,” Dattilo says, “we really wanted to manage our expectations of the types of projects we could aspire to do.”

Although putting the showroom together took more than two years and a substantial investment, Doyle says it was worth it. “Every morning I come in and smile.”