3 Things to Look for in a Harrisburg Kitchen & Bath Showroom

Are you considering remodeling your kitchen or bathroom? The kitchen, “the Heart of your Home” and your bathroom, the first and last room used just before bed, are the most expensive and most detailed rooms in your home. But where do you start?

If you’re like most, you want to see photos of beautiful kitchen and bath projects. And lots of them!

Since you’re visiting our website, hopefully you can tell that we’ve invested a substantial amount of time and effort in photographing and describing our projects. There are no “stock” or cabinet manufacturer photos in any of our galleries. Each of the hundreds of images featured reflects actual clients and the process we use to build the kitchens, bathrooms and living spaces of their dreams.

The goal of our website is, of course, to bring you as close to a project as possible. In a perfect world we’d be able jump through the screen and walk with you through each home. We would listen closely, answer questions, point out details and provide insight into how we believe our unique abilities as designers helped to make each project beautiful, functional, and the culmination of the homeowners’ desires.

Since we can’t bring you into each and every project, our 5,000 square foot showroom in Mechanicsburg is intended to replicate that experience, but on a slightly smaller scale! Indeed, we think a kitchen and bath designer’s showroom says a great deal about how they approach design, how they work with clients, and what makes their kitchen design unique – or not.

With that in mind, here are three tips to finding the kitchen and bath showrooms that will help you best create the kitchen of your dreams.

Complete Scenes, Not Out of Context Snippets

If you venture to a “Big Box” store kitchen design center, you’ll likely find an isle with hundreds of feet of cabinet samples lined up side-by-side. In the next isle you’ll find faucets and fixtures hanging floor to ceiling from metal racks. If you think about it, this presentation of “kitchen design” makes total sense. Does the “Big Box” store want to sell you a kitchen? Well, yes and no. In truth, they make their money by selling faucets, sinks, cabinets, dishwashers and tile. Offering kitchen design services is a way to sell more faucets, sinks, cabinets, dishwashers and tile. As long as you buy the bits and bobs from them, “Big Box” stores don’t really care who designs your bath or kitchen.

Having walls full of hardware and door cabinetry samples is an easy way to fill showroom. The manufacturers are happy to provide kitchen designers with displays full of product because, well, they want to sell product. But, what do these racks of hardware and hard surface samples really tell you about the creativity, skill and experience of the kitchen designer?

What I believe you should look for in a showroom are complete scenes, not individual cabinets or small snippets. When you focus on a showroom vignette you should be able to imagine yourself in the completed kitchen, just as if you had walked into the home. Kitchen design is about integrating dozens of objects, materials and requirements into a beautiful, functional design where the whole is greater than the parts. Vignettes that integrate corners, windows, wall outlets, several types of cabinetry and multiple appliances are the only way to understand how a kitchen designer solves problems, maximizes space, and brings materials together in fun and unique ways.

Many Samples Do Not a Good Showroom Make

Don’t get me wrong, we’ve got cabinet door and hardware samples in our showroom, but they are not the focus and are located primarily in our conference room or tucked away in the back. Samples shouldn’t be the highlight of a kitchen and bath showroom. Innovative, functional, surprising design should be. At MH Custom we use samples like inkblots are used on a Rorschach test. The samples we show - and your reaction to them - help us to better understand the colors, aesthetic and details that that you value. Embracing this knowledge, we can create a one-of-a-kind kitchen for you that still leaves room for unexpected or playful additions to the overall design.

Indeed, when it comes time for our clients to make choices on the hardware, fixtures and solid surfaces for their kitchen, we go with them to the various suppliers and wholesalers to help them sort through choices. We offer advice, when asked, and help clients understand how a few extra dollars spent here, or pennies saved there, can affect the budget and other choices.

Perfect Details No Matter Where You Look

It’s hard to resist opening drawers and cabinets when you walk into a kitchen and bath showroom. And you shouldn’t! There’s no better way to understand how a kitchen remodeler will treat the details in your kitchen than by looking at how they treat the details in their kitchen. Do the drawers pull out easily, without binding, and close completely? Are the cabinet doors square and tight to the frame? Are the cabinet manufacturer’s stain and paint samples, the samples used to actually pick your finish, clean and dated within the last year/ You don’t want to choose a door style that’s no longer available, or only available for an extra cost, do you? Details extend beyond the physical structure of the showroom. Does the showroom have regular open hours? When you visit, is the showroom staffed with a designer on hand who can answer your questions, show you what they have to offer, and assuming you like what you see, make an appointment to visit your home in order to provide you with an estimate? If you keep these three tips in mind, visiting kitchen and bath showrooms can be productive, pleasurable and valuable. Here are some showrooms near to the Mother Hubbard’s location in Mechanicsburg. Your mileage may, of course, vary.

Advanced Kitchens

5252 E Trindle Rd
Mechanicsburg, PA
I wasn’t able to find a website, but they do have a physical location just down the street from us on Trindle road. The displays on view from the front are a bit old, dusty and not complete. While at one time they did nice kitchen design and remodeling, the last several years it seems they have focused on Corian fabrication in the commercial markets.

Bolger Design & Remodeling

53 West Main Street
Mechanicsburg, PA
Located right in downtown Mechanicsburg, their website indicates that they are open by appointment only and that they work with Kraftmaid cabinetry.

Carter Lumber

6005 Carlisle Pike

Mechanicsburg, PA
Located on the Carlisle Pike, west of the Capital Beltway, Carter Lumber focuses mostly on builders and remodelers as clients, but has a showroom that features kitchens, windows and doors. That’s about what one would expect in a lumber store and in this sense they do not disappoint. Carter Lumber has several displays to see, along with selection centers, showing door style and stain colors. They are closed on Saturdays.

Excel Remodeling

570 South Third Street
Lemoyne, PA
The Excel showroom features several design vignettes and a large number of hardware, door, hard surface and other selection-oriented displays. This is very convenient for customers who want to look at lots of samples. Excel has regular showroom hours and people available to answer questions.

Harrisburg Kitchen & Bath

3146 Fulling Mill Road
Middletown, PA
The website features an abundance of factory photos from their featured cabinet line, Yorktowne. I have not personally visited the showroom, but those who have suggest that it has a wide range of hardware, countertop and cabinet door panel displays and several very nice bathroom and kitchen snippets. They also have an abundance of closet samples, which makes sense as they are a ClosetMaid dealer and installer.

Ed Lank’s Kitchens

313 Market Street
Lemoyne, PA
(No active website): After many years in business, Ed Lank’s recently closed and is rumored to be open soon under new ownership with new products.

John Petrie
John Petrie
John Petrie
John Petrie, owner of Mother Hubbard's Custom Cabinetry in Mechanicsburg, PA, has been designing award-winning kitchens for 25 years. John is the 2014 Past President of NKBA and is active in several national kitchen design and remodeling industry groups.