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Artistic Designs: Immerse

There was a time when a home’s plumbing and its hardware weren’t all that intriguing. But today, these have become much more than pipes and functional elements. The industry is similar to a fashion business, with sinks that can function as art and faucets in rose gold that mirror what’s trending in jewelry. Leigh Suffian, owner of Immerse, says kitchen and bathroom design continues to grow in popularity among builders and homeowners—and her company is there to offer the latest trends from both established industry leaders and respected niche brands.

Immerse was developed largely as a response to the needs and wants of clients, Suffian says. The plumbing gallery is a division of Atlas Supply Co., opened in 1937 by Suffian’s grandfather and great-uncle. Atlas serves as a wholesaler, located in a 100,000-square-foot warehouse downtown, not particularly convenient for customers, Suffian points out. “We used to showcase our products in other stores, but with the help of HGTV and the internet, people became more intrigued with all the choices available, and they wanted to experience the products in a different way—and companies wanted additional representation,” she explains. “The shops didn’t have room for that, so we opened our own showroom in Brentwood in 2009.”

OBC-immerse-nobox-1_27-1It continues to be a growing segment of the business. All Immerse staffers have been in the industry for more than 20 years, so they’re experienced and knowledgeable. The space allows customers to see, touch and experience every product. “We have a working shower with 40 different shower heads, along with working faucets, tubs, a steam shower and sauna,” Suffian says. “We switch things up constantly and want customers to get involved.”

Immerse works hard to stay on the cutting edge of plumbing design, Suffian says. “It’s boring to do the same thing as everyone else; we want to differentiate our company with unique product lines.” The showroom carries eight brands (soon to be nine) exclusive to Immerse in St. Louis. Suffian travels the country to trade shows and various industry association conferences to stay on top of the newest trends and designs from tried and true manufacturers, as well as from smaller niche companies. The meetings also serve as a great networking tool, she says. “When we offer lines not everyone is familiar with, we have to be able to tell customers with absolute confidence that they perform well,” Suffian notes. “So I rely on my network across the country to give me feedback and honest reviews.”

One of the company’s exclusive lines is Waterworks, which Suffian brought to Immerse this past summer. “I knew their showroom in Chicago well, so they were on my radar,” she says. “We were looking for a high-end traditional line when we heard the company was forming boutique partnerships in markets that couldn’t support one of its independent showrooms.” The deal was a year in the making, but now, customers are hooked. “It was a huge accomplishment,” Suffian says. “They are an established brand that also has a mid-price offering, which is really exciting.” Immerse also has Waterworks lighting, tile and hardware offerings on display.

Suffian says she looks for companies like Waterworks with a loyal following and great attention to craftsmanship and detail. “And being family-owned and local is very important to who we are, so when we find that same kind of company, we want to support it,” she says. Other brands that are exclusive to Immerse locally are Watermark, Wetstyle, Electric Mirror, Franz Viegener, Julien, Laufen and Waterstone. “We make it our job to educate St. Louisans on what’s out there,” Suffian says. “It’s not just plumbing; we’re in the design business.”

Pictured: Waterworks’ Henry low-profile faucet in nickel and Grove Brickworks tile in sugar white
Photo courtesy of Waterworks

Immerse, a plumbing studio located at 836 Hanley Industrial Court in Brentwood, offers clients an interactive shopping experience complete with working tubs, shower heads, faucets, a steam shower and more. Of the 60 product brands offered, eight are exclusive in St. Louis to Immerse. Pictured on the cover: The Regulator kitchen faucet and tile from the Promenade collection, both from Waterworks. For more information, call 314.375.1500 or visit immersestl.com.

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