Watermark Interview: Max Brown and Dan Farmer
The digital team at Watermark Kitchen & Bathroom Specialists interviews Managing Director Dan Farmer and Sales Director Max Brown to gain more insight into the creativity, work and passion behind the company…
Dan Q: What is the history behind Watermark and how does it distinguish itself from the others?
Dan: Watermark was actually started by my parents (Richard and Betty) as a Plumbers Merchant back in 1989. It’s become a long-standing and successful family company that concentrates on providing a personal bespoke service for every client. We aim to offer high-quality kitchens and bathrooms and all in-between.
We’re often praised for our excellent project management service.
Max Q: Can you tell us more about the team at Watermark? Do you have in-house designers?
Max: We both think it’s important to have in-house designers. All our creative minds are university graduates ranging from Illustration, Textiles and Product Design. My personal background includes Art and Design at College. As a team we all have very different approaches and styles but this certainly helps us collaborate creatively.
Dan Q: Do you think your creative background influences Watermark?
Dan: Definitely, but we also have to be mindful of upcoming trends. I know what I like, but everyone is different. It’s important to understand a client’s tastes and requirements for each project. This is why our initial consultation held within one of our showrooms (Amersham or Oakley) are such an important part of the design process.
Max Q: Having strong experience of being hands-on in project development working within the construction industry, has this played a significant role at Watermark?
Max: Having several years experience of project development enables me to communicate with the main contractors on-site regarding first fix electrics, plumbing, extraction, floor levels and most importantly the timescales that are to be worked to. The process starts by understanding what particular work needs to be completed before we arrive on-site with the new kitchen.
Dan Q: Having worked in the industry for over a decade has there been any significant changes on kitchen and bathroom design?
Dan: Kitchens are now considered the hub of the home and everything revolves around this, everything is on display, so clients want to be able to hide everything away. Islands are popular choices and bridge the gap between kitchen and family space. Zoning islands separating cooking and social areas is popular.
Clients want their kitchens to look beautiful but also want to retain all the functionality required of a busy family cooking space. Mixing and matching door finishes and worktop materials to add design flair is also very popular. Some clients for instance incorporate wooden notes to soften clean contemporary lines.
Bathroom design has now changed due to advances in products, wetroom systems, wall-hung units, free standing baths, and concealed shower systems. This makes for a much more design led bathroom. Storage solutions also now allow bathrooms to look much cleaner and less cluttered.
Digital technology is now playing its part, with being able to control heating and turning your bath on and off from your phone!
Max Q: How does Watermark source their kitchens and bathrooms? With wooden products, what does the team ‘FSc approved suppliers’ mean?
Our in-frame kitchens are made in the UK in our Joinery shop in Wetherby, completely bespoke and made to order. We also source our kitchens from two different German manufacturers depending on budget and specifications of our clients.
In terms of being FSc approved. The ‘Forest Stewardship Council is an international non-profit organization dedicated to promoting responsible forestry.This means the wood and wood based products we provide origins from FSc certified forests.
Products made with wood from FSC forests are marked with a ‘tick tree’ logo. This is an assurance that the materials you buy with this on won’t be harming the world’s forests.
Dan Q: Are recent clients looking toward more traditional or contemporary design?
The demand between traditional and contemporary design is a mix split and pretty even. Hand-painted kitchens are very popular right now and enable changes in colour and handles over the years to freshen up the look. Developers are leaning towards handle-less contemporary kitchens with all built integrated appliances.
Max Q: Can you tell us more about the recently opened Showroom in Amersham? What can I expect during a Showroom consultation?
We are part of a Design Centre, Sky House Design, which is based in Amersham. We have lots of contemporary bathroom displays and three large kitchen displays.
An initial consultation normally consists of understanding the client’s wish list and how they live their life (cooking habits, lifestyle, children, big on cooking, entertaining) all these elements help us suggest products and layouts that will compliment the client’s lifestyle. We would then move onto finishes, breaking the kitchen down into cabinetry, worktops and appliances and suggest products based on the clients requirements and tastes.
We would always need to understand the budget that the client has in order to specify the right price point of products. Based on this initial meeting, it allows us to put together a first draft design package and quotation.
Dan Q: What important aspects should those looking to reinvent their kitchen and/or bathroom consider? Does the age of a client’s property matter?
Some of the key questions we ask during the consultation are… What aspect or areas do you not like about your current set up or layout? How are you planning to use the space in the future?
Different worktops have different properties, what will you need? Do you have enough storage at present?
We always ask the Magic Wand question? If you had a magic wand and could wave it over your current room, what would be the first three things that you would change?
Max Q: What other exciting developments are there for Watermark in 2017?
We have some very large projects coming up next quarter, including a huge high-end in-frame kitchen and a number of larger development projects. We will be expanding the team to keep up with the additional business we are currently experiencing.
We will also be starting CPD session for Architects and Developers at our Amersham showroom.
We will also be renovating our head office to create a nice space to work and hold client consultations.
Watermark Kitchen and Bathroom Specialist’s Amersham and Oakley showrooms exhibit the latest in bathroom and kitchen design. Speak one of our experts today to arrange a free consultation. Contact us on 01844 338137 or alternatively fill out our online form HERE.