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The Challenge of Casegoods: Customized, Made in USA, Budget Friendly

The Challenge of Casegoods: Customized, Made in USA, Budget Friendly

With the increase of new hotel and resort projects, as well as robust remodeling, owners and construction project managers are re-examining how they fulfill the millwork and casegood category of their building projects.

r.o.i. Design describes millwork as casegoods that are fixed to the architecture. Casegoods (typically described in the furniture category) and millwork are amortized differently on the balance sheet and quite often supplied by different sources. This area of procurement is a challenge but also an opportunity.

Aside: The debate about buying US or non-US continues, but the more foreign manufacturers merge their offering with state side distribution, the point of manufacturing is becoming less of a political, economic issue. We all need each other, globally to make our businesses work, within reason. Logistics and the chain of ownership continues to be the defining component to value and control.

r.o.i. Design can contribute to this dialogue with these observations:

  • Understanding: When the customer understands that the total cost of a product includes, freight, handling, staging and delivery-the criteria may change. The age old mantra, “you can have 2 of the 3 – 1. design, 2. price or 3. schedule” still holds true.
  • Flexibility: And when the project team is willing to look at qualified suppliers outside their list of typical vendors, value can be realized.
  • Cost Analysis: Overseas products may show up with a reduced unit price, but the cost and risk to get those products to the site, as designed and on time is not always as manageable. We see this situation being improved incrementally and by situation, but as of October 2015, we don’t make price or lead time promises on overseas product without considerable confirmation and agreement.
  • New Materials and Technology: While process and manufacturing styles for US manufacturers are consistent, their emerging ability to use new materials and technology are offering a value that competes with the “all in costs” of overseas manufactures.
  • Design-Assist: When project budgeting can take advantage of qualified suppliers, early in the process, value is realized. Sharing the designing of products with the makers of the products only makes sense to our customers.
Textured Melamine

Textured Melamine

New Materials

In the last few years, r.o.i. Design has specified “new materials” with great success.

  • Textured melamine panel products offer a huge advantage for larger projects.
  • The big names in laminate (Formica, Wilsonart, Pionite and Nevamar)  have done there homework and laminate, an affordable option, is becoming a more viable option to wood or stone in today’s designs.
  • And the combined use of solid surface veneer with laminates has created options for look and feel not available even a year ago.
  • Upholstered casegoods are a viable option. Technology and design has created a category of fabric that defies wear, responds to robust cleaning and is easily replaceable. Fabrics are merging with hard surface options.

r.o.i. Design has it roots in manufacturing for hospitality and while we only have a sample shop today, our interest, relationships and experience in casegoods and millwork continue to bring value to our customers.

We negotiate with our customers and their contractors to determine how we best can bring value to their millwork and casegood procurement.


The Non-Branded Brand Hotel: The Future is Here

The Non-Branded Brand Hotel: The Future is Here

Garden Cottage: Cottages at Waters Edge, Crystal Mountain Resort. Custom wall art, books by Michigan authors on the shelf, art by Michigan artists on the walls.

Garden Cottage: Cottages at Waters Edge, Crystal Mountain Resort. Custom wall art, books by Michigan authors on the shelf, art by Michigan artists on the walls.

Hotel design tries to anticipate what the customer is looking for in an experience. Today, that experience is much more thoughtful, more local, more residential, more virtual and more customizable. The notion is being challenged that a brand formula created by a “corporate office”, rolled out in test cities, cloned throughout a continent is a guarantee to attract customers. Hospitality design is a sister to fashion design and shares the runway in announcing style to drive demand, but attitudes and expectations are changing.

The market responds to style leadership. But today, our customers have many more references and aren’t as willing to choose a hotel based on a branded style. They more likely to enjoy a space that allows them to extend their casual and online lifestyle.

No longer is the idea of staying in a place that is better than home an automatic room sale.


Making charging devices easy and obvious. Not everyone wants to unpack for a night’s stay, make the whole luggage thing convenient. Make it personal, share with your guest the stories behind the decisions made.


Responsible use of materials from the region. Local artwork, locally harvested or manufactured materials.


No formal casegoods, more apartment style furnishings.


Instant access to the internet, TV’s that can be monitors to personal computers, voice activated thermostats and lighting controls.


Within reason, allowing the room to be adapted based on need. That might mean offering stack chairs, or a easy to move sofa.

r.o.i. Design knows for a property to be successful, they have to adapt. Most guests recognize the efforts made to make their stay more personal. To win the hearts of customers, we just need to show them we understand what they need for the best possible experience. That may not be a major remodel, it may be one or two things this season and a few more the next.

Another article on this topic:

“Hotel Room Work Spaces Go Casual” – New York Times

Creating A Place: Sojourn Lakeside Resort on Dixon Lake

Creating A Place: Sojourn Lakeside Resort on Dixon Lake


In 2011, we received a call from Gaylord, MI.  Scott and Janice Lampert had purchased property in their hometown and wanted to create a landmark spot on the site.

“We have been so blessed by the land, we wanted to give back to the land” , reported Lampert. “This site is so amazing in its intimate northern Michigan way that we wanted to make it available to today’s recreational and educational user.”

Very influenced by retreat centers, spas and boutique resorts they have visited, the goal was to create a resort that would compete on the highest level for aesthetics and experience. “There is definitely a spiritual side to this place,” Janice Lampert explained. “Partly because of its history and the hundreds of visitors who came to this spot since the 1950’s, but by far, it is the soul of the land and nature that lives here that gives it it’s spirit”. (more…)