The catchphrase “Follow the money” entered the lexicon with “All The President’s Men.” Now, an acclaimed Washington-area A/V specialty chain is taking the cue quite literally by branching off into a rich new category for the home.
Gramophone, a regional destination for premium audio, video and custom installations founded 42 years ago by principal Brian Hudkins, bought out a local kitchen and bath design business and added shading, smart home, voice control and lighting solutions to further brighten its prospects.
Located in the Baltimore suburbs of Hunt Valley/Cockeysville, the new Kitchen Design Center of Maryland (KDC) also brings to the table — in this case the kitchen table — the talent and tech expertise of CEO Andrew Davis and his staff of 70.
A complete design center for consumers and the trade, KDC offers a full assortment of contemporary cabinets, countertops, furniture, bathroom fixtures and flooring, plus the CI acumen to install them.
“Over the years we have gotten involved in more and more projects where we were installing technologies such as Seura mirror televisions in baths and advanced design lighting solutions in kitchens,” noted Davis. “As a result, we’ve been more involved than ever before in the incorporation of technology in these spaces considered so important by our clients.”
Davis described the move as a natural extension of its CI business that will allow its team to get involved even earlier in the residential design process, and enhance those projects with popular entertainment, control and networking technologies.
To that end, KDC created a state-of-the-art “Lighting Lab,” where homeowners, designers and decorators can learn about the impact of different color temperatures; review ways to replicate the daylong movement of the sun inside the home; consider a layered approach to lighting design; and shop a wide assortment of premium fixtures.
Lighting brands include Ambiance, DMF, Feiss, Lutron’s Ivalo, Pure Edge, Soraa and WAC, with Crestron and Lutron providing the wireless threads for whole-home control.
The hybrid approach is in line with a new initiative by Gramophone’s longtime buying group turned trade consortium Home Technology Specialists of America (HTSA), which is promoting the adoption of high-end lighting and associated design and installation services.
HTSA executive director Jon Robbins noted that KTC “allows Gramophone to offer clients an alternative presentation of technology in areas of the home — kitchens and baths — that many hold near and dear to their hearts, but are generally unaware of the amazing influence that a well-designed lighting plan and other technology enhancements can deliver for even greater enjoyment.”
The company has planned a grand-opening celebration for the new showroom on May 31, and has extended an open invitation to the public and the trade.
Related: ProSource Sees The Light