Classic Kitchens celebrates 30

Thursday, September 21, 2017

GREENFIELD — Classic Kitchens & Baths is celebrating its 30th birthday this month, and it is inviting everyone to join in the celebration on Saturday, Sept. 30, at the company’s showroom in Greenfield.

The kitchen and bath design center on Colrain Street is owned by Erica Smith, a Turners Falls native who purchased the company 10 years ago when founders Jonathan and Carol Rastallis retired.

Classic Kitchens employs eight people (four designers, plus support staff) and works with many local builders, general contractors and tradespeople to remodel and renovate many kitchens every year.

“One any given day, I can have 30 different projects on my desk in various stages of completion,” Smith says.

Largely self-taught, Smith now holds several professional designations, including Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer with the National Kitchen and Bath Association and Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist with the National Homebuilders Association.

“I started at Rugg Lumber,” she says. “I was working in multiple departments before landing in the kitchen department. And then I thought, ‘If I’m going to do this, I better learn as much as I can.’” Her professional journey took her to Johnson’s Cabinetry Center in West Lebanon, N.H., where she worked under the direction of Doris Mercier, who Smith calls her “mentor,” before she joined Rastallis’ staff at Classic Kitchens in 2004.

“I didn’t set out to do this,” she says “I didn’t go to college for interior design. I did certification training through the NKBA. But a lot of it has been on the job.”

In 2012, Smith moved Classic Kitchens to it’s current location, which had been the site for Gribbon’s Music for many years. The showroom was designed and built to be a full-service design center with cabinetry, countertops, tile, hardware and fixtures for kitchens, baths, mud rooms, playrooms, “any room with storage and surfaces,” she says.

Lead designer Solana James of Florence graduated with a degree in interior design. Her journey to Classic Kitchens is a little shorter.

“I had just graduated college out in Portland, Ore., and I moved back here in 2007 to be closer to my family,” James says. “I decided to help my parents design their new kitchen. They ended up bringing the design here. Erica saw the design, and asked me to come in for an interview. Now here I am.”

Smith and James say there have been many memorable projects for them, many of which have lead to relationships with their clients. “The projects I’m most proud of are the ones where the customer really trusted my vision,” James says.

Smith says she is proud “to have worked with and designed for so many new and repeat clients throughout western Mass. and New England over the years. … I’m most proud to be carrying on the business that Jonathan founded 30 years ago and to be able to be part of the local community.”

Classic Kitchens & Baths is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a party on Sept. 30 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. There will be food, beverages from Lefty’s Brewing, gift bag giveaways, activities for kids, door prizes and live chef demonstrations. The public is invited. An “ugly kitchen” contest is underway and the winner will be announced that day. More information is available at classic-kitchens.com.

Classic Kitchens & Baths is located at 20 Colrain St. and can be reached by calling 413-774-4714.