Rock Eagle Store Fixtures home facebook twitter

Rock Eagle Featured in K+BB Magazine

November - December 2013 Issue
Featured Project: 'Lights of Oconee'

Function Meets Flexibility

A Georgia lighting showroom adds mobile, working plumbing systems to create a customized environment

By Holly O’Dell

For three years, the owner of Lights of Oconee in Eatonton, Ga., contemplated ways to increase traffic to his showroom. When he decided to add plumbing to the lighting and accessory offerings, he contacted local consultant William Roquemore for his input. Roquemore, who has worked in the plumbing industry since he was 14 on both the manufacturer and supplier side, shared his ideas for a design that was at once flexible and functional. The owner didn’t hesitate, giving Roquemore full range in the design and build out of the project, completed in June 2013.

Describing the design concept as “free-flowing mobility,” Roquemore envisioned a showroom that featured vignettes with working plumbing systems. Taking his inspiration from the best-designed showrooms he had worked with in the past, he installed an operational sauna; a steam shower; a showerhead display with multiple heads, body sprays and hand showers; and fillable tubs.

“When you try to explain how a certain tub or showerhead operates without having a working display, it is hard for some customers to understand,” said Roquemore, who now serves as the plumbing showroom

manager after the renovation. “I could just sit there and show them pictures all day long, but when customers can operate and play with tubs from different manufacturers, it’s a lot easier to grasp.”

Roquemore also wanted to rearrange the look of the showroom on a monthly basis, so he built the vignettes to be mobile. “When returning

customers come in and we have moved vignettes to focus certain products, customers think they’re new products and not the same products that have been in the showroom all along,” he said, noting that the move has increased visibility and sales. “We try to give the customers a new experience every time they come in.”

Roquemore worked within the showroom’s existing 7,000 square feet, dedicating 2,500 square feet to plumbing. The project, however, did experience a few construction challenges.

“Our showroom is on a concrete slab, so instead of having heavy construction in busting up the concrete slab to rough-in plumbing, we raised the floor with floor joists and plywood to get all the plumbing above the concrete,” he explained. “And we have made all the fixtures where they can be easily removed and replaced without having to tear out the working vignettes.”

A Focus on Function

Just as the plumbing had to be functional, so too did the rest of the showroom. Both the bathroom and kitchen sink displays showcase products along the top, under which are pull-out drawers that allow customers hands-on access to sinks.

“[The displays] give the customer a better understanding of the products they are putting in their home,” noted Roquemore. A faucet wall custom built by Rock Eagle Store Fixtures – backed by LED-lit acrylic panels that create the impression of flowing water – features removable shelves for easy matching with the vanities throughout the showroom. In the steam shower, a recessed can light does double duty as a ventilation system.

Product selection also informed the showroom’s design. “One of the goals when we were building this project was not to be like every other showroom in our area,” said Roquemore. “We wanted to make a statement, so instead of carrying 70 brands, we brought in a core group of manufacturers, and most of them are based in the U.S.”

Despite the discriminating selection, “we designed the showroom to give it a high-end feel, but not every product is a luxury product,” he added. Roquemore integrated recycled materials, such as cedar paneling and old doors left over from contractor job sites. Meanwhile, a multicolored LED ceiling showerhead and sensor faucets, both of which are manufactured by Toto, use water rather than electrical power to operate. Universal design plays a role as well. “With our entry-level shower base system from VIM, we are able to show customers this is not just for handicap or assisted-living use,” said Roquemore. “This can give the average homeowner a curbless and barrier-free shower.”

The standout of the showroom is the 600-sq.-ft. Devon & Devon room, outfitted exclusively in tile, flooring, wall sconces, vanities and tubs from the manufacturer. The clean, bright dedicated space, which Roquemore likens to a Jimmy Choo vignette in Neiman Marcus, sits behind the front window and is a major traffic draw – exactly what the showroom’s owner sought out of the redesign.