That’s right! This Spring of 2016, Kitchen Encounters will officially have been in business for 35 years!
Let’s flash back to 1977. After previous experience of driving interstate tractor trailers, framing houses, and customizing vans, owner Mark T. White, felt that doing something more hands-on would be a job he would enjoy. He started working for a company making custom countertops, and really liked what he was doing. He was proud of the final product and loved seeing how happy the homeowner’s were and how much they appreciated the beautiful craftsmanship. That company ended up going out of business about two and half years after starting there. However, that experience opened Mark’s eyes to some of the frustrations that homeowners were having with kitchen designers and installers, which led him to opening his own business.
Mark’s sister, Cindy (who is our Financial Manager) loaned him about $800 to buy the basic tools he would need to continue making custom countertops. He rented a friend’s basement and built an apartment in one corner, and used the rest of the space as a workshop. From there, he moved his workshop into a large garage off Hudson St. About a year later, he moved into a warehouse on Legion Ave in Annapolis, where he continued to make countertops. After some time, a cabinet dealer was looking for space to have a display in the Annapolis area, and so he offered the front of the warehouse, where the office space was located, to act as a showroom. It was then that Mark was truly inspired to become a kitchen designer.
In 1997, Mark bought a small 1950’s cottage, where Kitchen Encounters resides today, in the heart of the Annapolis Design District. The three bedroom home was transformed into a functional showroom, with our offices in the basement. The showroom maintains a home-like atmosphere, while housing about 10 display vignettes featuring different cabinet styles, features, and functions.
After years of focusing on different aspects, and offering the full package (design, construction, and installation), he realized that his strong points were in the cabinetry and design itself. Mark developed the Interactive Design Process to ensure that comfort, beauty and function merge successfully in a remodeling or new construction experience. This process has since been taught nationwide at industry events, NKBA Chapter meetings, and through developing a course at the local community college. By using numerous sketches to illustrate design possibilities, our clients are able to identify features that fit their lifestyle. The preferred design elements are then combined into the best plan for the project. As we enter our 35th year in business, Kitchen Encounters has received about 50 different awards and recognitions, has been published in over 35 different publications, with over 100 appearances, featuring almost 80 different projects, plus about a dozen projects have been featured on HGTV.
Reaching our 35th year in business wouldn’t be possible without our friends, families, design team members, business associates, clients, and neighbors. We want to thank all of you for your continued support, and here’s to another 35 years!