CANFIELD - After graduating from South Range High School in 2004, Brent Hugus enrolled at the Ft. Lauderdale Art Institute. But he just began dating his future wife, Jeneane Crago of Canfield. The logistics of long-distance love complicated things.
"I decided to finish at Pitt," he said. So after a year in Florida Hugus transferred to the Pittsburgh Institute of Art and completed a four-year degree in interior design in three.
He was immediately snapped up in 2007 by John Nicklas, who was then president of two local kitchen and bath companies, Splash Kitchen Bath Home and Nicklas Supply.
He recognized that "something special" in Hugus.
"We share the same vision and want to bring the best products and design pertaining to the kitchen and bath industry to Pittsburgh," Hugus said. "I started with him about a week after graduating."
He worked for Splash and Nicklas Supply from December 2007 until February 2013.
"It is very inspiring to see the change young professionals are making in the city. We are no longer following - we are leading in innovative business vision, style, and approach."
After three years with Splash and Nicklas Supply, "I became their new showroom manager in downtown Pittsburgh," he said.
Then, just a year ago, Nicklas and Hugus separated from Splash and as partners formed Luxe, an upscale luxury kitchen, bath, lighting and tile outlet. They took over the downtown showroom of Splash and converted it to Luxe and its "commitment to innovative products of unmatched design integrity," according to its website.
Forming a new company suits Hugus.
"I was just ambitious. My wife's uncle always told me to be my own boss. So I always kind of thought to control my own destiny. I always dreamed of having my own business and showroom."
The pair now co-owns Luxe Home and Design, a luxury kitchen home design firm with locations in downtown Pittsburgh and East Liberty's new Indigo Square.
Exclusive to Luxe are Dornbracht, Laufen, and Wetstyle brands. Luxe also handles top-line brands like Furniture Guild, Electric Mirror, Vitraform, Panasonic, Stone Forest, Kimbell & Young and many more.
Hugus serves as vice president. He is named in the March edition of Whirl Magazine featuring a list of 13 young professionals on the move in Western Pennsylvania under the age of 30.
The magazine said their "entrepreneurial spirit" caught their attention. "They represent Pittsburgh's intellect, creativity, and generosity, and prove that it's possible to live out your dream right in your own backyard. As we traveled to meet and photograph each of them on their home turf, and we saw everyone in their element and were charmed and inspired by their fun personalities and work ethics. These are the ones to watch, and we think you'll be inspired, too."
Hugus said there are plans for a "satellite" showroom in Canfield, Boardman or Poland.
"I'd be interested in seeing what would happen in the area," he said.
Hugus grew up in the Beaver Township area and played football and basketball at South Range. He resides with his wife in Canfield. The thought of being closer to home has crossed his mind, but he would still make the 140-mile round trip to Pittsburgh.
The company is involved in "mostly retail remodeling ... high-end custom homes," Hugus said. "Most of it's remodeling, walk-in customers along with contractors and home builders."
His company supplied the fixtures for Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby's new home.
"Tile and things like that," Hugus said. They just finished a "big condo project" for one the Pittsburgh Steelers' owners and he worked on the Canfield home of Michael Bruno of Bowflex fame.
For more information about LUXE, visit: luxepittsburgh.com/about.html