In Houston Texas, a large condominium complex is currently being fully equipped with eggersmann kitchens. Our interview features a conversation between Haytham Haidar of real estate developer TEMA and our local partner Evan Soltoff about how to deliver highest individual kitchen quality even in such a large project.
What is the scale of the new TEMA project in Houston? Can you give our readers a few key figures?
Haytham: There is a total of 195 condos with 12 different floor plans. The kitchens that we will install there will be very different for this reason alone. Many of them will even be unique, because of the different materials the clients are going to choose.
This is the first cooperation of TEMA with eggersmann. How did it come about?
Haytham: In June 2019, I had a meeting with one of our business partners in Houston. I described to him what worried me about our upcoming major Park Lane project: As developers, we always want to sell residential units as well and as quickly as possible. My business partner gave me this advice: If you really want to do well, you should check out this cabinetry company. So we went straight into action, selected the first kitchens and had them put in immediately.
Evan (laughs): Well, you didn't make it quite that easy for us.
Haytham: That's right. In the initial phase of the project, we took a closer look at two kitchen manufacturers. One was eggersmann, the other one was an Italian manufacturer. And both of them would definitely have come into question for me. We gave the two manufacturers eight units each in the condominium complex and said to them: “Here you go, we'd like to see how well you’re going to come out. But in the end, we will only be going with one. And we as developers are not going to be the decision makers, the buyers are going to decide that for us.
„This was received as clearly better“
And what was their reaction?
Haytham: The first interested buyers looked at both options. And the kitchens from the Italian manufacturer were excellent, too. But especially when it comes to the quality of the furniture manufacturing and the precision of engineering and installation, eggersmann is on a completely different level. This was received as clearly better. Moreover, the different choices of colors and materials caused a sensation. So, it was soon clear to us: We are going to go forward only with eggersmann.
How important is it to your customers that the kitchens are “made in Germany”?
Haytham: That’s a great comment. Why do I say that? Because here in the US market the term “European Kitchen” actually means something to many people. After all, it is well known that Italians also make excellent kitchens. For us, the cooperation with eggersmann is a great opportunity to stand out from this with a twist: These are German kitchens. This now proves to be a very important sales argument because it stands for quality and precision engineering.
Evan: It is like that: These clients could be investing upwards of a million dollars. They simply expect something that is unique. They are also savvy educated buyers and recognize fairly easily when something is premium quality. They are willing to pay for it.
There are certainly a number of factors that play a role in selling a condo. How important is the kitchen?
Haytham: When you sell a condo in the USA worth around $1 million, there are three central criteria: The kitchen is number one, the bathroom is second and the built-in closet system is third.
Kitchens are really number one? What do you attribute that to?
Haytham: The kitchen has become the central gathering place in houses and condos. It's an open space with a very warm and welcoming environment where people now spend most of their time. You come home, take a shower, change into something comfortable and go to the kitchen. As developers, we understood this early on, developed appropriate floor plans and paid particular attention to a perfect kitchen design.
Evan: The Corona pandemic has done the rest. Since people have been spending so much time at home and increasingly working in their home offices, a comfy atmosphere has become even more important to them.
„The condos are very popular and are selling well“
In the USA, condos are often rented or sold furnished. But TEMA wanted to offer its customers the opportunity to get involved in the interior design as well. What choices did your customers have in terms of kitchens?
Haytham: In our price segment, most people want to be involved in designing the interior according to their individual taste. Evan and I worked very well together there and configured the various choices. Because of this total volume of residential units and kitchens, we were not able to present the huge selection of designs and materials that eggersmann offers. We decided to limit it to a few veneers which were consistent with the wooden floor in the condos.
Evan: In our experience with projects like this, we often find that end-users appreciate it if they are offered a good pre-selection. They have choices, but don’t have to do too much decision making themselves. Of course, this works particularly well with a project partner like Haytham, who has a very good understanding of interior design and knows the customers’ preferences. In close cooperation, we have worked out different groups of materials for tall units, islands, back panels and the wooden flooring. Buyers could choose one of four “packages” according to their material preferences. In somewhat narrower terms, this is exactly the tailor-made production which eggersmann stands for. Our product systems offer the necessary flexibility for this.
Where do customers make their choice? In the condominium complex show kitchens, or in the showroom in Houston?
Evan: Both. We look at the model kitchens together and we go to the showroom together. It is very important to us that we take a lot of time for each individual customer.
The variety of materials from which the buyers of the condos can choose are stone materials, ...
... Wood Decor Pembroke Oak
... and velvet decor “Kashmir”
Example of an interior design which the kitchens should match
... a large pool area,
... and a fitness center
The attractive lounge area behind the lobby echoes a luxury hotel
The cooperation started at the end of 2019, the Corona pandemic came soon after. How is the joint project progressing?
Haytham: At first, we were worried whether the first kitchens would be delivered on time. From March to June, we at TEMA had to stop work – as a protective measure and to define new procedures. But after that things went well. The condos are very popular and are selling well. And eggersmann’s project management works perfectly.
Evan: So far, we have delivered almost 30 units. Another 10 are on their way by ship and the next batch is already in progress in Germany. Despite the customers’ individual choice of materials, we can produce in small series because of the 12 floor-plan types, which brings valuable efficiency gains.
How many kitchens can eggersmann build at the same time in such a large project?
Evan: That also works best in bundles of 10 kitchens, whereby we can produce three to four units per week. Considering the attention to detail in processing and assembly that eggersmann expects, I think that's a good pace.
How long will it take in total, from the first order to the last kitchen installation?
Evan: We expect 2 to 3 years before everything is completely finished.
And after that? What will the future service of eggersmann look like?
Evan: Of course, we will continue to be available. Some customers would like to have some smaller adjustments made after they have moved in and used their kitchen for a while. It might be, for example, an additional drawer. This is a very positive experience for the customers, because they see that eggersmann is not only a physical product but that there are people behind it who are always there for them.
How would you describe the philosophy of TEMA as a developer? And why does it fit well together with eggersmann?
Haytham: Just like eggersmann, we at TEMA also focus very strongly on the quality of our materials. This enables us as professional developers to differentiate ourselves even more for the end-user. In addition, eggersmann always looks out for the latest trends in the market. You must never stop, because development never stops.
Evan: In fact, we pay very close attention to how the market is developing on the basis of every single current order and then react quickly. At that time, for example, this already included opening the kitchen as a room and combining it with the other living areas.
Are there any other joint plans?
Haytham: Because things are going so well here, we would like to work with eggersmann again for our next project, a building complex in New Jersey. There will be a planning meeting soon in our New York showroom.
Haytham Haidar belongs to the US real estate developer TEMA. The company has offices in Houston Texas and New Jersey and is developing large condominium complex projects at various locations in the USA. Haidar is responsible for interior design at the company. He organizes the entire process from the selection of service providers and joint planning to design and furnishing.
Evan Soltoff is Vice President of eggersmann USA and manages the eggersmann showrooms in Houston and Dallas Texas. Furthermore, he is responsible for the handling of major projects and for the training of all employees in the areas of design, handling and installation at all 7 eggersmann locations in the USA.
ANOTHER DIMENSION OF KITCHEN
We are always ready to break new ground for our customers’ individual wishes. So, there is a lot to show and tell.
An inspiring glance into the lookbook – eggersmann kitchens in our customers’ real home environment.
In Houston, eggersmann is equipping an entire condominium complex. Here’s how to realize premium individual kitchen quality in large-scale projects like this.
Visiting a customer’s dream holiday home who admits being an incorrigible perfectionist – and who loves his eggersmann kitchen.
Showing a sense of style” – Food journalist and blogger Stevan Paul explains why people today like to express themselves through their premium kitchens.
The whole spectrum of possibilities – More detailed information about the properties of the various materials.
Where kitchens come from – eggersmann’s premium kitchens are also a product of Germany’s down-to-earth Westphalian attitude. A success story that relied on a little bit of chance.
“Hugely magnified kitchen furniture” – An interview with the architect of the new eggersmann showroom.