This Luxurious Showroom Says it All

Cailley Hammel Headshot
photo of a pool showroom
photo of a pool showroom

All photos courtesy of Richard's Total Backyard Solutions

When JR Richards, CEO of Richards Total Backyard Solutions in Houston, Texas, built his new showroom in 2002, he wasn’t looking for anything fancy.

“My original plan was to come in here and just throw some product on the floor and style it like a warehouse,” he says. “I just wanted to get moved into the new building.”

But the vice president of the company and JR’s wife, Julie, had other plans.

“She insisted that we upscale everything,” he says. That meant stained concrete floors, track lighting, granite countertops and even a full-scale inground pool. While Julie’s plans certainly added to the budget, JR concedes that his wife’s instincts were right on.

photo of a pool showroom
photo of a pool enclosure showroom photo of a pool enclosure showroom photo of a pool enclosure showroom photo of a pool enclosure showroom

“When all was said and done, and once I was able to absorb the cost overall, it was really well worth it,” he says.

Here, JR and Julie take us on a tour of their showroom and explain what makes their store so captivating.

Growing the Brand

“It all started with our name,” Julie says. “Originally, it was Richards Spas, Pools and Decks. With the company focused on just these products, customers were left to find other contractors for landscaping and other backyard amenities.

“I realized they’re going to have these things in their backyard whether we sell it to them or not. And so in order for us to have a competitive advantage, we changed our name to Richards Total Backyard Solutions, to where we encompass pretty much everything in the backyard.”

But everything’s bigger in Texas — including the competition. To truly distinguish themselves, Julie insisted on a transformation from the inside-out. The new showroom presented the perfect opportunity.

“I realized we were expected to be a bigger, better, more elegant company. Therefore, our showroom must reflect that,” Julie says. “That’s why we put wood floors in my room, we’ve got beautiful stained concrete on our floors outside and we have different vignettes for our hot tubs. Whatever we can put in their backyard we like to display so they know what their options are. That’s why we put an inground pool inside our showroom — to show them different features.”

Looks Matter

With luxe materials, elegant lighting and soothing colors, Julie certainly considered the big picture when creating the showroom aesthetic. Yet look closer and you’ll see every product, from hot tubs to outdoor kitchens and patio furniture, is carefully decorated.

“It’s all about the imagery. It’s like a plate of food in a fine restaurant. They’re not going to deliver you a messy plate — it’s all about the way it looks,” she says.

That explains the table settings on the patio furniture, complete with fake hamburgers and ice cream sundaes. An outdoor kitchen display might have some faux steaks on hand and a bottle of wine, while a nearby hot tub vignette will have some plush towels and string lights to draw the eye to the umbrella above.

“If you just put an outdoor kitchen on your showroom floor and you don’t accessorize it and bring that thought to mind about how great it’ll look in their backyard, they’re not as likely to buy it,” Julie says. “But if you decorate it all up like they would, they’re like, ‘Oh, yeah, I get it. Let’s do it.’

“I think it causes them to imagine what it would look like in their own backyard.”

Julie even adapts the décor by price point, making the products even more relatable.

“We have some plug and play tubs, and I’ve got them all decorated in camouflage and duck dynasty stuff to give the deer hunters the idea that ‘Hey, you can just load this up and go. It’s plug and play,’” she says. “The plug-and-play tubs are less expensive than some of our $11- or $12,000 tubs, which have nicer decorations on them. I kind of try to make it fit,” she says.

Put it all together, and you have a showroom that tells a story about the backyard; one customers see unfold right before their eyes.

“When I see the sparkle in a customer’s eye because they’re looking at my products that are accessorized and decorated, I know we’ve done the right thing,” Julie says.

Comments or thoughts on this article? Please e-mail [email protected].

All photos courtesy of Richard's Total Backyard Solutions

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