S.W. Collins designers bring home awards

14 years ago

By Barbara Scott
Staff Writer

The S.W. Collins, Co., with stores in Caribou, Presque Isle and Houlton, has once again earned bragging rights thanks to two of its employees, Cindy Dufour and Marcy Whipple, both whom work at the Caribou location.

BU-designers-CLR-dc1-ARSHPT-48Aroostook Republican photo/Barb Scott
Cindy Dufour, left and Marcy Whipple, kitchen and bath designers at the S. W. Collins Co., in Caribou, recently captured five out of a possible 21 design awards during the recent meeting of the Maine Chapter of the National Kitchen and Bath Association.

During a recent meeting of the Maine  Chapter of the National Kitchen and Bath Association, held at the Central Maine Community College in Auburn, Dufour and Whipple submitted entries to the NKBA Maine Chapter Design Contest. Categories of the competition included new construction kitchen; before and after kitchen and bath; best overall design; and most extreme makeover, each of these groups containing sub-divisions. Of the estimated 42 entries 21 winners were selected, with the S.W. Collins designers capturing five of these awards.

Dufour, a certified kitchen designer since 1991, won third place in the Before and After Medium Kitchen;  and second and third place in the Before and After Small Bath division.  

Whipple, an associate kitchen and bath designer since 2009, and has been employed at the S.W. Collins Co. since 2003 was awarded first place in the Large Bath design; and first place in the Small Kitchen division.

The submitted designs were judged by a panel of three non-affiliated individuals and the entries did not reveal the names of the designers.

Sam Collins, president of the family-owned business stated, “Our designers again have proven that they are among the very best in the state, we are proud of our talented K and B team.”

Whipple said, “The working environment here at S.W. Collins is great, we have a lot of fun, everyone works together and it’s nice to be able to bounce ideas off another. Sam is always very supportive of us (designers) going to the NKBA meetings,” added Whipple. “These sessions are an important part of our training, education and networking. You don’t just get certified and be done with it,” continued Whipple, “a designer’s certification has to be maintained by completing a certain amount of recertification hours — it’s an on going process. The majority of trainings/meetings are in Bangor or as far as Portland, other designers are always amazed that we travel that distance in order to take advantage of the trainings, etc. Our attendance is a big reflection of Sam’s encouragement and support and the work we do.”

“We design kitchens and baths for our clients for those who are building a new construction or for those who have decided to have their space remodeled,” said Whipple. “We work directly with contractors, plumbers, electricians — we are there with our clients from the initial design to the very end of the project. We can find the right cabinetry to fit your likes and we work within the budgets that our customers put before us and their likes and needs regarding the space we are creating. We almost become a part of the family, we ask questions like, are they left or right handed; do they have children; or who is the primary cook in the family. We bring a certain level of confidence to these projects. The biggest part of our job is sitting down with a customer, finding out exactly who they have in mind, putting it on paper and making sure the project adheres to NKBA recommended standards. I enjoy coming to work every day,” she added.

“I enjoy my customers — no two kitchens or baths are the same and I love the creative challenge that this job brings,” she said.

Whipple also stated that she feels it is an honor to be able to work with Dufour, “such a wonderful designer, who brought a tremendous amount of experience to the S.W. Collins, Co. Cindy’s design ability and personality are the foundation of her well-known reputation.

At the Nov. 16 meeting of the NKBA Maine Chapter, the keynote speaker was Rebecca Falzano, the managing editor of Main Home & Design magazine. Falzano is the former associated editor of an architectural lighting magazine and before that a marketing editor at a multidisciplinary architectural/engineering firm.

Dufour, Whipple and Barb Michaud, who works in the Presque Isle location, are the only certified designers north of Bangor, according to Collins.