For long established luxury auto dealers, bridging the generational gap between their more traditionally minded established clientele and the contemporary leanings of up and coming car buyers is an on-going challenge. To meet the challenge, dealers must create a showroom experience that not only resonates with older buyers, but also appeals to the more youthful audience that is critical to building immediate and long-term market share.
The Dimmitt Cadillac dealership in Clearwater has been serving the area since 1924, not only as a purveyor of luxury automobiles, but also as a responsible corporate citizen with a commitment to community service that includes hosting charity events and educational seminars. One of the reasons for Dimmitt’s nearly 90 years of success has been its ability to satisfy the expectations of repeat buyers while attracting new, younger buyers who ultimately become customers for life. When Richard Dimmitt retained Bonita Springs-based Vogue Interiors to create a new showroom environment, he was certain he did not want “a typical car showroom.” He wanted to create a showroom experience that would appeal to old and young alike.
“Our challenge was to create a design appealing to both markets while instilling a sense of feeling at home when entering the showroom,” said Vogue’s Janice Maskell, a State of Florida Licensed Interior Designer. “Richard Dimmitt is very community oriented and wants people to feel comfortable when they come into his dealership. We combined transitional and traditional elements to enhance the showroom experience across age lines. Soft taupes accented with aqua and soft greens work with youthful, clean-lined furniture pieces to provide an upscale hotel look rather than a showroom look. Traditional and contemporary art pieces add color. The clean lines bring a sense of youthful aliveness that is complimented by the use of more traditional sophisticated woods, the soft color palette, textured wall coverings and fabric patterns that give each area of the dealership its own identity. Overall, the design creates a very warm, inviting ambiance with just enough pizzazz to reassure younger customers.”
Maskell’s mix of sophisticated woods and colorful artwork is established in the reception area. A medium-toned wood wrapped soffit contrasts the dark stain of a beautiful desk made of exotic Sapele wood that features interesting vertical and horizontal grains and a granite countertop. A matching floor to ceiling wall behind the receptionist provides separation from a client lounge area while maintaining the openness of the design. A piece of contemporary artwork done in blues, greens and a bit of gold is mounted on the wall and makes a bold visual statement.
A stunning beamed ceiling treatment with horizontal tongue and groove inserts in the client lounge is stained to match the dark tones established in the reception area. The seating area is designed to provide clients with a space to relax and enjoy the experience. The space includes clean lined armchairs finished with plush fabric and an interesting aqua-taupe contemporary leaf design on the outside sides and back. The seating is grouped around a warm brown-toned coffee table and circular end tables and faces a built-in cabinet that has vertical cabinets with glass fronts on either side of a very large television. The combination of the warm, coordinated wood tones against the lighter taupe wall finish and the luxurious appeal of the armchairs conveys the feeling of being in a living room. Beautiful art pieces by American artists such as William Pachner, Malado Baldwin and Casey Gray are mounted on soft taupe and green fabric wall coverings that are framed by applied molding to create a niche effect. The fabric adds warmth and an additional textural element to the space. To maintain the design’s clean lines, Maskell chose to not add draperies or side panels to the room’s tall, mullioned windows.
In keeping with Richard Dimmitt’s commitment to client comfort, a cafe adjacent to the lounge provides another place for customers to relax. The cafe features a curved bar presented in espresso finished Sapele wood with contrasting linen Lumicor inserts and a taupe-toned quartz countertop. Three contemporary barstools with medium-brown toned frames and taupe-toned upholstered seats and backs offer seating while enjoying a beverage and conversation. A curved aqua glass tile bar backsplash adds pizzazz.
The transitional and traditional blend continues in the conference room where leopard-print chairs were added to an existing antique mahogany table. Textured grass-cloth wallpaper adds warmth against the television console’s high-gloss finish and cracked-glass inserts while complimenting the room’s existing light-toned wainscoting and wheel-shaped ceiling detail and chandelier. Maskell’s penchant for blending elements is also found in a seating area adjacent to the restrooms where two chairs with solid taupe-toned fabric inside and a more contemporary plush geometric design on the outside are placed in front of a wall featuring a colorful contemporary art piece.
Maskell has created the same inviting ambiance on the showroom floor where Dimmitt’s luxurious vehicles are displayed on an expansive marble inlay surrounded by taupe-toned carpeting. An existing domed ceiling detail is finished in a soft sky blue and hosts a chandelier used in Dimmitt’s original showroom that was reclaimed from a storage area to provide a connection to the dealership’s storied history. Comfortable, beautifully finished office spaces that are open to the display area line the perimeter.
“Dimmitt Cadillac’s nearly century-old commitment to community service is very important to Richard Dimmitt,” said Maskell. “He has continued the dealership’s tradition of hosting a variety of charity events and holding educational seminars that are of value to local residents. The new interior design not only provides a setting that appeals to both established and new clientele, but also offers a flowing, open space that is comfortable, visually appealing and perfectly suited to hosting a wide variety of events.”
Founded in 1979, Vogue Interiors has earned numerous national, regional and local awards, including three consecutive Aurora Awards, the highest award presented by the 12-state Southeast Builders Conference. From corporate offices at 24520 Production Circle in Bonita Springs, Florida, Vogue Interiors provides design services and model merchandising to residential and commercial clients in the United States and abroad. Visit Vogue Interiors online at vogueinteriors.com.