Many companies talk about honors, prizes won, articles published, etc. Stuart Kitchens’ experienced, credentialed people have done all these things. What we think more important though, is how customers feel about our work.

I am writing to express our belated but no less sincere thanks to the Stuart Kitchens team and, especially, designer Terry Mulhern. Our new kitchen and bathroom are beautiful. In fact they are just what we wanted (though we had little idea of what that was when we began the process) and, especially in the case of the kitchen, works so very well for us.

The journey that brought us to your company was relatively long, circuitous and stressful. We began with a group whose designer described her vision in superlatives but delivered a proposal that was uninspired. We took a break. Then we connected with a company who, unbeknownst to us, was heading into bankruptcy. We took another break. With understandable trepidation, we began another search, hoping that the third time would be the charm – and it was.

Stuart Kitchens was a name we had heard from many sources. In particular, friends with high standards recently had begun the design process with one of your designers, and were impressed with his capacity to hear what they wanted and translate it into a creative design. My husband and I arrived at the Baltimore location without an appointment. Terry welcomed us, and offered a comfortable balance of letting us independently wander through the showrooms, and checking in with us to answer any questions and offer information that we were learning we needed to know. Her warmth, encouragement and humor combined with an obvious depth and breadth of knowledge convinced us that we were in the right place and that she was the right match for us.

At the beginning, my only certainty was that I wanted a hidden trashcan and a bigger sink in my kitchen, a tile shower in my bathroom and a clean, more modern design. My husband wanted the right of refusal at each decision point. Not a lot for a designer to go on. Throughout the development process, Terry asked the right questions and carefully listened to our answers. She challenged us to reconsider what we thought we wanted when her aesthetic, financial or market sense suggested that a choice we were considering might not be wise. She was patient when I was ambivalent and understanding when we changed our minds.

The result was a design that was unexpected, creative and near perfect. What a relief. But, little did we realize that this was just the beginning. The choices to come seemed endless, but Terry was dependably upbeat and encouraging every step of the way. She always kept in mind the big picture when I was mired in too many choices at a particular moment, framing each element as contributing to or competing with the overall design concept. She tirelessly searched for products that were both attractive and functional, and helped me appreciate considerations that had never occurred to me. I am especially fond of her recounting her insistence that I safely try to remove a casserole dish from the microwave/convection oven with which I was enamored. Not possible, but I never would have realized it until it was too late.

We also chose to utilize the Stuart team for the construction phase. We were aware of how much we did not know and felt that our peace of mind was worth the price of your experts. We were right. You collected and inspected all of the materials in your warehouse before beginning the actual construction. Moreover, unlike the experiences of some friends who chose other companies and struggled with months of unanticipated delays and mess, you gave us a timeline around which we could plan and upon which we could depend. Your site coordinator, Mark, was an excellent manager, a skilled craftsman and a kind man. When we experienced a life-threatening family crisis, he joined with Terry in assuming responsibility for everything job-related that had been on our own to-do list, freeing us to focus on what was most important. All of the workmen produced quality products and willingly answered all of my questions. John, the plumber, certainly went above and beyond, “rescuing” my cell phone from the storm drain as I was leaving to go out of state.

Our remodeled kitchen and bathroom are truly beautiful. At first, I felt as if I were walking into a model home. As I lived with and used them, they have lost their unreal luster and became what they have continued to be – luxurious but practical rooms in our home. As Terry knows, they have triggered a design domino effect. We have made comparatively more minor changes in our spaces so that they are a better fit.

We consistently receive compliments on our kitchen and bathroom design. I have recommended Terry, without reservation, to anyone who will listen. I look forward to working with her again when we remodel our other two bathrooms.