Cabinetmaker and floor designer put it all together in Union Bridge NORTHWEST -- Taneytown * Union Bridge * New Windsor * Uniontown


July 01, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

The green, orange and blue ceramic tile pattern breaks the monotony of white covering the kitchen area, which begins where a cobalt blue carpet ends in the showroom of Creative Design Interiors Inc.

The designs seem to work together flawlessly; Dave Wheeler, co-owner of CDI in Union Bridge, has floor designing in his blood.

"My grandparents worked in the floor-covering industry in Baltimore in the 1930s. My aunt and uncle owned a store in Westminster for over 30 years," said Mr. Wheeler. "My whole life has been spent with retail sale and floor coverings."

CDI is a half-merger, half-expansion of Mr. Wheeler's former flooring and installation business, and Precision Woodwork, the 10-year-old custom design business of cabinetmaker Sam Hostetter.

The two pooled their talents to provide just about every interior decorating service to homeowners who desire a new attitude for their living space.

"We complement each other," said Mr. Hostetter, 38, about the partnership he formed with Mr. Wheeler several weeks ago. Mr. Hostetter, of Frizzellburg, has been working with wood since he was 17.

He honed the cabinetmaking talents he learned at Francis Scott Key High School as an apprentice to a Union Bridge woodworker, from whom he bought the CDI building.

Mr. Wheeler is the nephew of Paul and Dottie Wheeler, the former owners of Wheeler Floor Fashions in Westminster. That business now is Mercer Floors.

Mr. Wheeler has worked as an installer and floor salesman for many area furniture retailers. He owned an installation business in Union Bridge until 1990, when he sold his equipment to Mercer Floors.

Although his current business is relatively new, customers are handled with all the professionalism that the two men can provide from more than 50 years of experience between them.

Mr. Wheeler and his son, Todd, 21, show customers carpet samples, tiles, linoleum, wallpaper, draperies and dust ruffles.

Sue Rinker, a CDI designer, uses three-dimensional imaging on a computer to bring the buyer's selections to life.

Mr. Hostetter -- who owns the building at Route 75 and Main Street that houses CDI and his wood shop -- crafts the all-wood cabinets that line the walls of the showroom. He can also custom-build just about any type of furniture -- from kitchen cabinets and pantries to bookshelves and desks -- that customers desire.

"Basically, we'd love to do everything in the entire house, but for most people that's not realistic," said Mr. Wheeler, 47. "Our goal is to be a full-service retail operation."

Few customers would find CDI anything less than that if they visit the hastily built but aesthetically tasteful showroom.

In just three weeks, the Wheelers and Mr. Hostetter turned the second half of a dusty, cinder-walled warehouse into a carpeted, tiled and woodcrafted showplace, complete with a mock-up of a bathroom vanity and a flowered ceramic-tiled shower.

Both men said many people think custom work will cost them more than cabinets from a retailer, but in many cases that's not true.

"Most of our work is with kitchens and bathrooms," Mr. Hostetter said, "and I'll tell you the truth. About 80-plus percent, and I'm being modest, of the cabinets out there on the market are particle board. That's wood chips -- sawdust they glue together.

"The strange thing is that once you go through the middleman, you are paying just about the same amount as we'd charge for all-wood cabinets."

Mr. Hostetter and Mr. Wheeler said they want to be available to their customers as often as possible, so the showroom is open seven days a week, with varying hours, and any time by appointment. They will bring samples to your home if you are unable to make it to the store.

"If you can dial us, we'll go to you," Mr. Wheeler said.

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