In that sense, Lockard sees the role of his company not as the exclusive originator of remarkable remodels and creative new construction, but rather as the conduit by which homeowners can see their ideas come to fruition.
“It is, ultimately, the client who’s going to live with it,” Lockard says of the kitchens and bathrooms his company helps to craft, blending functionality with imagination.
From custom cabinets crafted of arresting woods to attention-getting countertops and even sculptural stone elements, the role of Kitchen and Bath Designs, its owner says, is to help “the artist within our clients come out.”
The process of building a dream kitchen or bathroom, either from scratch or as a remodel, begins with education, Lockard says. As he describes, a person typically buys a new house or remodels an old one only every 12-15 years; in other words, the average American has purchased three cars before they’ve bought or remodeled a kitchen. A lot can change in that time, from innovative new products to contemporary design elements. And unlike buying a new car, visualizing and then constructing a new kitchen is relatively intangible – a kitchen or bathroom doesn’t exist, except on paper, until it’s built – which can prove challenging for people unaccustomed to thinking and dreaming in two dimensions. That’s where Lockard’s Kitchen and Bath Design staff come in.
“A hundred different questions need to be answered when designing a typical kitchen,” Lockard says, noting that style, use of space, and budget are just a few of the elements that factor in when creating a new room or remodeling an old space.
Kitchen design is especially important since its functionality should ideally meld with its role as the hub of most households. “When entertaining, everyone gravitates to the kitchen,” says Lockard, noting that a kitchen’s design should reflect its owner’s style.
Attention to detail is, then, the cornerstone of the company’s ethic. This is a reflection of Lockard’s own background as a fourth generation violin maker – “The only kid in the neighborhood with a violin shop in his basement,” he says, noting he had already retired from the business of building some of the industry’s finest and most prized instruments by the time he was 20. He then channeled that skill into building cabinets for a high-end cabinetry company in Seattle.
“I love working with wood – I love wood finishes, seeing the textures of wood and its colors, its styling,” he says.
It was Lockard’s love of kayaking and ice climbing, though, that brought him to this corner of Colorado in 2004. He ultimately settled in Ouray where he worked as a custom woodworker, and then later purchased the old Biota plant building with the intention of making it into his new Kitchen and Bath Designs workshop. He has since evolved that space into a kayak factory, where he crafts composite carbon fiber kayaks.
It used to be that homeowners came to Lockhard looking to redesign a kitchen so they could flip their house. Nowadays, people are coming to him because they realize they may not be selling their house any time soon, and want to enjoy a custom-designed kitchen in the meantime. It is perhaps for this reason that Lockhard has seen his company grow despite the down economy, and has managed to keep all of his staff employed since opening his store in Montrose in 2008 and later, opening the Telluride branch in 2009.
“We continue to grow,” Lockard says of the company, “but I feel like the company isn’t really about me – it’s really about my employees. I have a really great staff,” he says, adding tongue-in-cheek; “That’s really all I’m good at: Hiring good people.”
For more information about Kitchen and Bath Designs, visit www.kitchenandbathcolorado.com.