When Ashley Hyer says her Design on Tap showroom staff goes the extra mile for a client, she means a mile in any direction. “Many of our clients have a vision, and to achieve it we will look at the lines we have on the floor and beyond. We can source from almost anybody in the world,” she says. And the company is happy to do it to get the perfect bathroom and kitchen fixtures for its customers. Often that means taking on a custom job that no one else will or can. “We’ve always done a good bit of custom work,” says Hyer, who manages the Design on Tap showroom.
“Our custom projects vary— we’ve had clients who purchased a home with a sink they hated, but who didn’t want to spend thousands of dollars replacing countertops. So we created a made-to-fit custom sink. We also create custom spout lengths, custom finishes for faucets, custom stainless cabinets, custom stone tubs, and madeto- order marble and onyx sinks and pedestals,” Hyer explains. “We also know local professionals who assist with custom jobs, and we send clients directly to those skilled experts, including metal fabricators and cabinetmakers. We help our clients find the right person for their custom projects.”
Showcasing displays of the latest bath and kitchen product models and technology, Design on Tap is a division of the Cregger Company, Inc., which has more than 30 years in wholesale plumbing and is ranked one of the top 75 plumbing/ HVAC distributors in the United States. Since the opening of the Charleston showroom in 2001, Design on Tap consultants have been guiding homeowners on its wide selection of faucets, sinks, vanities, shower systems, tubs, steam, toilets, accessories, water filtration, on demand hot water heaters, hardware, water conservation products and more. Two additional Design on Tap locations, in Bluffton and Greenville, as well as a new flagship store in Columbia called The Nest, offer the same professional selection and service.
Educating the customer is a top priority for Hyer. “I love talking to people about plumbing features,” she says. “It’s my job to find out what the customer is looking for and to educate people, to let them know all the options they have and exactly what they’re buying.” As an example, she points to the showerhead displays.
“Many people come into the showroom thinking they have to buy a shower system as it is, in a displayed kit. But you don’t; you can buy it piece by piece. We can combine the body spray that’s right for you with the best showerhead and hand shower, even if that means choosing between different manufacturers to get exactly what you want,” she says. Hyer also emphasizes that it’s not necessary to spend hundreds of dollars to get a really good showerhead. “There are great products out there that are affordable. And there are some brands I won’t recommend or carry, because I know the line has issues. I know how important it is to have great, long lasting fixtures,” she says.
Clean, simple lines are the order of the day. “Even in traditional homes with lots of detail and heavy crown molding, we’re seeing sleeker, simpler baths and kitchens,” says Hyer. Hot right now are squared-off fixtures, “ribbon spout” faucets with flat handles, single-hole faucets and touchless faucets in homes. Popular shower products include advanced valve systems, while showers and tubs are jazzed up with steam, light and sound features, as more people seek to replicate the spa experience at home. “These new, high-tech digital systems, like the ones by ThermaSol, allow you to control steam, change the color of the light or add sound and visuals, including tranquility scenes,” explains Hyer.
Trough sinks are also big, as are mirrors with built-in clocks, lighting and sound. “We’re also seeing more wall-hung cabinets and toilets,” says Hyer. Some of the latest industry products include tubs with heated backs and bottoms, and spoutless ones that fill from within. Bidet seats attach directly to the toilet and remember your preferred wash and temperature control settings.
Whether it’s a new home or a facelift to an existing home, Design on Tap is ready to help clients tap into the kitchen or bath of their dreams.
M.S. Lawrence is a freelance writer based in Charleston. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.