by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Housing : March 2009
High quality, eco friendly marine industry had taught me a lot about marketing and presentation.’ (In his Adelaide days, Vin had been a salesman for a prominent Holden dealer.) ‘I just upgraded the whole approach to kitchens, especially when it came to quality. We made waterproof ply for kick boards and water resistant carcases standard because they were a source of insurance claims in those days. According to Vin, he was one of the first to introduce the Blum range of hardware from Austria, such as drawer runners and hinges. ‘I made 125-degree wide angle hinges standard instead of 90 degrees or 110 degrees,’ he says. At the time he was based at Ashmore on Queensland’s Gold Coast. Then in 1989–90 he built a large factory at Nerang. The business has grown substantially. Today it employs about 10, has a 150square metre display area in Brisbane, and is about to go into 600 square metres of factory space. Its market is roughly evenly divided between new houses and major renovations. One in three of Da Vinci’s clients is a referral. ‘I estimate we do between 60 and 80 prestige kitchens a year – each costing from $40,000 to $150,000. Our average imported kitchen costs $80,000 (cabinetry and benches only – no appliances). ‘Our clients are mainly professionals, people who know their brands. Most of them come in knowing and wanting a Poggenpohl or Rational.’ The more you talk to Vin, the more obvious it is that his success owes at least as much to his imagination and entrepreneurial skills as to luck. Left: Vin Robson of Da Vinci Designs. HOUSING MARCH 2009 There are three major facets to Da Vinci Designs, says Vin Robson – ‘importation of luxury German kitchens, German wardrobes, media units, and there’s our own local joinery manufacture. Probably one of the biggest growth areas is acrylic benchtops, Corian especially. ‘We produce for a lot of other joinery shops. In fact we’re now finishing work for the Pinctada resort in Broome, where 89 Poggenpohl kitchens and Corian tops were chosen to meet strict eco-friendly specifications. We have now been awarded a similar project in Papua New Guinea – a residential development in Port Moresby. We’ve also done kitchens in Osaka, Noumea, and all over the east coast of Australia. ‘A Japanese client who was going back to Osaka came into our showroom, and he really wanted a Queensland flavour. So we designed and manufactured a kitchen made from Queensland maple, and shipped it over.’ ‘We insist on design appointments to allow us to spend the necessary time with our clients,’ he says. ‘And we advise showroom enquiries that our local kitchens have an entry point of $25,000 and that there are other manufacturers specialising in lower priced kitchens.’ That says a lot about Da Vinci’s confidence in its market. H 41