Bathroom design at Stone and Chrome, Camberley, Surrey

Having been in the bathroom design and installation industry for over 25 years, opening a showroom was always an ambition for Jim and Mel of Stone and Chrome

ADVERTISING FEATURE: Originally published in Surrey Life magazine August 2010

Having been in the bathroom design and installation industry for over 25 years, opening a showroom was always an ambition for Jim and Mel of Stone and Chrome

Tell us about yourself:I (Jim) am 45, (I daren’t tell you Mel’s age! – see photo right) We have three children, two cats, and one crazy dog!

What made you start your business?Having been in the bathroom design and installation industry for over 25 years, opening a showroom was always an ambition. I am a bit of a perfectionist, and as an installer I would spend a lot of time searching for a particular product, this was often difficult because a lot of merchants and showrooms display only what they can make the biggest margin on. We decided to create something a little different.

Describe your business and how it started:We design, supply and install ‘stone & chrome design’ bathrooms and wet rooms. Wet rooms have been around for a long time but only in the last couple of years have they started to become more popular. We have been installing wet rooms and wet ‘zones’ for years, but without a showroom it was difficult to explain how a wet room or ‘zone’ would look, so our showroom has four full sized wet room displays so our clients can see exactly what they are going to have.

How has your business changed over the last year?Well, we have been here for three years now. We put the finishing touches to the showroom last September and then the business adjoining us had a fire which caused huge damage to us. This was a very low point for us, as we had worked so hard to get everything just right. We had to close for a few months whilst we rebuilt everything. It now looks stunning (even though I do say so myself!)

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What is your business philosophy?‘The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed.’ Henry Ford

What are your motivations at work?To continue to build a successful business that will one day be run by our son and daughters.

Describe your company’s special qualities:We have carefully chosen the brands we display, they were not chosen for their profit margin, they were chosen because we believe they are worth the money. We use a lot of LAUFEN products, they are beautifully manufactured (in Switzerland) and designed with the installer in mind. We re a premium dealer for the ILUX digital showering system and have working displays for both shower and bath. We also have extensive knowledge of, and specialise in the use of natural stone. We have extensive knowledge of wet room installation and we have many different types on display in the showroom. We display and supply an exclusive range of solid oak bathroom furniture and stoneware. Our natural stone tiles are premium quality and we can produce stone surfaces to match.

What advice would you give someone starting out in a similar line of work?Be prepared for challenges you didn’t even think existed!

Where do you see yourself in five years?I really do like to work, so the aim would be to have the luxury of choosing my hours. We support a local charity ‘Second Chance’, it would be nice to spend more time on that.

How do you relax – do you find time for hobbies or interests?I enjoy fly fishing with my son, reading, films. I’m only just getting used to having my weekends back after the showroom rebuild!

Stone and Chrome, Stanhope Road, Camberley, Surrey, GU15 3BS. Contact them on 01276 61000, by e-mail at stoneandchrome@googlemail.com or visit www.stoneandchrome.com

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