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NKBA Reorganizes for Future Growth

Letter from the desk of Global President & CEO, Bill Darcy.

NKBA | KBIS recently celebrated 60 years of engaging, connecting and educating the North American kitchen and bath industry. As the leading association for manufacturers, designers, retailers, builders, remodelers and architects across all segments of home design with a focus on kitchen and bath, we are extremely excited about the future of our industry in North America and internationally.

After taking a more holistic view of our organization and its potential for global growth and influence, we’ve decided to make a number of internal changes to our organizational structure. We believe these align with our strategic growth initiatives and anticipated operational efficiencies, setting the tone for our future ensuring positive impact, relevance and strength.

To this end, we are pleased to announce the promotion of Heather Shannon to the position of Senior Vice President of Strategic Growth. This new position will further define the importance of our NKBA business development plans.  Assuming responsibilities for Global Connect, Sponsorship and Revenue Growth, Member Relations and Learning, Heather will put in place new and innovative approaches to each of these areas, evolving and growing our Association. Heather was formerly Director of Brand Marketing at long-time NKBA member Perlick and has held numerous brand, public relations and marketing positions with agencies and media outlets.

Additionally, Suzie Williford, our Chief Global Relations Officer has departed the Association. Please join me in acknowledging Suzie’s contributions and commitment to the NKBA over the past 12 years. 

It has been my personal pleasure to collaborate with Suzie as a key member of the leadership team. After more than a decade of volunteer service to the NKBA, Suzie served as Board President in 2009. She began her NKBA career in 2012 as Director of Business Development and Member Relations and was inducted into the Industry Hall of Fame in 2019. In her capacity as EVP and Chief Strategy Officer, Suzie was core to our Association growth by implementing the co-location of our industry trade show, KBIS, with NAHB and the International Builders Show, making it the largest industry trade event in North America; restructuring our Association governance, championing the NKBA Global Connect business development initiative and concepting and creating the Women2Women mentoring program. We thank her for her dedication and service and wish her health and happiness.

As the NKBA continues to grow and strengthen our presence in the kitchen and bath industry, we are confident this shift in organizational structure will put us in a powerful position to drive the industry forward.

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EuroCucina: NKBA | KBIS Salone del Mobile Welcome Reception

A baroque palace played host to an exclusive evening event for industry leaders.
From left to right, NKBA | KBIS Global President & CEO Bill Darcy, Kerrie Kelly, FASID, CEO + Creative Director at Kerrie Kelly Design Lab, Nicola Bertazzoni, COO Bertazzoni Group, Italy & CEO Bertazzoni North America Inc. and Paolo Bertazzoni, CEO of Bertazzoni.

By Elisa Fernández-Arias

Last month, as part of its visit to EuroCucina 2024 and partner event FTK, NKBA | KBIS held a networking and cocktail event in Kohler’s Milan show space, Palazzo del Senato, a historic Baroque palace located in the heart of the city. It was an impressive atmosphere, with attendees entering through a Kohler installation, Terminal 02, a modern architectural installation the brand created in collaboration with designer and artist Samuel Ross, made of bright orange pipes carrying water juxtaposed with the old-style building, symbolizing the classic journey of water The area also featured a reimagining of the Kohler’s Eir™ smart toilet, a brutalist bold form designed by Ross and the team at his studio SR_A that is only available in a limited 99 edition.

After passing through the installation, the wide range of attendees were given the opportunity to network with other industry leaders. From the association’s team, NKBA | KBIS Global President & CEO Bill Darcy and NKBA | KBIS Chief Global Relations Officer Suzie Williford were present. Kerrie Kelly, FASID, CEO + Creative Director at Kerrie Kelly Design Lab and NKBA | KBIS 2024 Board of Directors Secretary/Treasurer, along with Nicola Bertazzoni, COO Bertazzoni Group, Italy & CEO Bertazzoni North America Inc. and NKBA | KBIS 2024 Board Member were also in attendance.

The NKBA | KBIS EuroCucina tour was made possible because of the support of Bertazzoni and Kohler, and Kohler is a proud sponsor of the NKBA | KBIS Networking and Cocktail Event.

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Toni Sabatino’s Favorite Finds: EuroCucina

The designer shared her top picks from the innovative kitchen products event.

By Elisa Fernández-Arias

As part of NKBA | KBIS’ trip to Eurocucina 2024 and partner event FTK (Technology for the Kitchen) held in Milan, Italy, April 16 – 21, the association asked select designers in attendance about their preferred brands and products. Toni Sabatino, AKBD, of Toni Sabatino Style, shared highlights from the show and her favorite picks.

“I loved the entire show!” Sabatino said. “Salone Del Mobile presented life as art! Integrated lighting and texture and artist collaborations made for some exciting products in kitchen and bath. Wellness and sustainability were a big part of the product focus and recycled materials are being used more than ever in the manufacturing process. I am feeling very inspired!”

The designer’s top finds ranged from cabinetry solutions to plumbing fixtures to an impressive kitchen island.

  1. Efficient Storage Solutions from Various Brands
The Cucina LUBE booth at EuroCucina. Image courtesy of Toni Sabatino.

Sabatino chose Cucine LUBE as one of her top choices from the event for its whole home integrated modular cabinetry solutions with integrated lighting and hidden storage. She also pointed to Febal Casa’s modular cabinetry with sculptural fronts as one of her favorites from the event.

According to the designer, these brands, along with bulthaup, Poggenpohl and schüller., featured cabinetry offerings, “all proposing beautiful storage solutions for the whole home that were both streamlined and detailed. The mix of closed storage and open shelving created a clean but personal backdrop for easy living. The luxury of simplicity was evident with innovative use of sliding doors and pockets to create a place for everything, even compost! Additionally, the thoughtful placement and integration of appliances created ease of use for people of all ages and abilities.”

She added, “Miele showed new finishes and both vertical and horizontal ‘stacking’ capabilities for more creative placement and design options. Interestingly, while the shapes may be minimalistic, the warm nature inspired finishes, textures and sculptural door offerings create a sense of intimacy and luxury that we are ready to embrace in our market.”

  1. Plumbing fixtures from GRAFF
Image courtesy of Toni Sabatino.

Another brand Sabatino highlighted was GRAFF, for its “mix and match shower heads and lighting, for an amazing showering experience.”

  1. Appliance Details from Bertazzoni
Image courtesy of Toni Sabatino.

The designer was also impressed by Bertazzoni’s “new warm metallic finishes and textures used to create a more intimate feel, resulting in artful appliances.”

  1. Chandelier Shower Head from Kohler
Image courtesy of NKBA | KBIS.

Additionally, Sabatino spotlighted this product from Kohler, which includes not only the design itself but also music that plays while one is showering. “The shower head was presented by Kohler to give the user a thoughtful experience that evokes beauty,” said the designer.

  1. Kitchen Island from OFFICINE GULLO
Image courtesy of Toni Sabatino.

Another standout product for Sabatino was OFFICINE GULLO’s metal island design, which she described as “glorious.”

An award winning kitchen designer, Toni Sabatino started out in the K&B industry working with a kitchen cabinet manufacturer, and has since added more than 1,000 kitchens to her portfolio, became CLIPP-certified and is a past Star Award winning President of the NKBA Manhattan Chapter.

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How Pros Can Influence Sustainable Design… and Skeptical Clients

Making the Best Case for Practices That are Better for Families – and the Planet
Design by Kathleen Donohue, CMKBD. Photo by Tim Cotter Photography.

By NKBA | KBIS Editorial Team

While homeowners are increasingly curious about sustainable design practices, many still remain skeptical. As a result, securing consumer buy-in continues to be a challenge for kitchen and bath design professionals.

According to insights included in NKBA’s 2024 Sustainability in Kitchen & Bath Design report, that wariness is rooted in a number of factors, including expense, lack of attractive sustainable design options and the long payback period to realize the financial benefits of sustainable choices.

The report provides important insights into how design professionals can do more to convince wary customers that sustainable design can be both beautiful and beneficial.

According to the surveyed industry professionals, homeowners rarely, if ever, bring up sustainability. As a result, designers need to initiate these conversations and recommend sustainable products and practices. To do so, they will require a deeper understanding of sustainable options so they can make the case for greener choices.

The report provides new insights into the value propositions for sustainability that are most compelling to consumers. Leading the way, by a large margin, is family health and well-being (42%), the idea that sustainable products and practices create healthier home environments for consumers and their families. Next, homeowners say that energy savings (22%) is also a significant benefit of sustainability. Reducing the household’s carbon footprint (17%) and reducing waste (11%) are also cited as important benefits.

The burden isn’t all on K&B designers, however. Brands will need to do more to offer products that are practical, economical and attractive. Survey respondents stressed that the industry must give design pros the information they need about sustainability – and its most attractive benefits – so they can become enthusiastic and knowledgeable advocates.

“The growing enthusiasm for sustainable design is a win-win for our industry and consumers alike,” said Bill Darcy, Global President & CEO of NKBA | KBIS.  “However, we know the adoption of sustainable practices is lagging behind that enthusiasm. Industry professionals are the key to educating consumers that the time to incorporate greener products and practices in their kitchen and bath renovations is right now.”To learn more about how the tide is turning on sustainable design, read NKBA’s 2024 Sustainability in Kitchen & Bath Design report.

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“Go Green for Spring” With the California Capital Chapter

The NKBA | KBIS chapter celebrated the environment and discussed sustainability in design.
From left to right, Genise Plessas of Genise Plessas Designs, Arlen Lee of Lee & Co Contractors and Vivian Khoury, CKBD, of Khoury Design at the NKBA | KBIS’ California Capital Chapter “Go Green for Spring” event. Image courtesy of Joel Villasenor of Willis.

By Elisa Fernández-Arias

Last week, the NKBA | KBIS California Capital Chapter hosted its “Go Green for Spring – Sustainable Sourcing for K&B Projects” event as its April chapter meeting. The event featured  speaker Megan Thompson of greenList by Spark Interiors, a company that connects designers with sustainable manufacturers, who shared her passion for green design and educated the audience on many facts and tips about emissions, waste and sourcing. 

Thompson shared statistics during her greenList presentation with chapter members, including that 39% of world emissions are generated by the construction industry, and that 9,000,000 tons of furniture are thrown away into landfills every year.  Thompson also said that designers are at the forefront of sustainability — and that together, they can make a difference guiding industry manufacturers and clients to be more eco-friendly.

The chapter asked attending members to share what sustainability means to them by writing their comments on index cards. Students, vendor reps, designers, general contractors and installers submitted replies, including the following:

“Using materials created from recycled materials, with manufacturing processes that don’t negatively impact the neighboring community or workers, that are not shipped across the country and are recyclable.”

“Building to intentionally reduce the carbon footprint, while using materials that are safe for the installer and end user. Reducing the carbon footprint from manufacturing to product end of life.”

“The practice of intentionally seeking products, materials and finishes that are user friendly and environmentally friendly.”

The day after the event, Gloria Clark, NKBA | KBIS California Capital Chapter President, said, “I am honored to have passionate leaders in California bringing more sustainability and new construction policies to light.”

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Demand for Sustainable Design is on the Rise, Pointing to a Greener Future for the K&B Industry

K&B Pros Will Play a Critical Role in Accelerating Consumers’ Embrace of Sustainable Practices

By NKBA | KBIS Editorial Staff  

Design by Hannah Hacker, CMKBD. Photo by Meagan Larsen, Meagan Larsen Photography.

New insights presented in NKBA’s 2024 Sustainability in Kitchen & Bath Design report from its survey of more than 300 industry professionals indicate an important shift that is happening slowly, but steadily, and will fundamentally change the K&B industry: the mainstreaming of practical and appealing sustainable design practices.

While sustainability has been slower to take root in residential construction and design, the opportunity for future growth is undeniable. There is consensus about the importance of sustainable design practices among industry pros and consumers alike. However, there is still considerable work to be done to further educate and inspire enthusiasm among both groups about the many tangible benefits of sustainability. 

Here are some highlights of the 2024 Sustainability in Kitchen & Bath Design report:

Where It Starts: Educating K&B Pros

Only slightly more than half (51%) of surveyed industry pros said that sustainability is extremely or very important to them, professionally. The surveyed professionals shared that they don’t consider themselves especially well-informed on the subject. Just under half (45%) consider themselves very or extremely familiar with the concept of sustainable design, and 60% say that there simply isn’t enough information available about sustainable K&B design, which makes it difficult to pass the necessary knowledge along to their clients. 

Overcoming Barriers to Adoption

Design professionals cited five significant barriers to further integrating sustainability into their designs. Homeowner buy-in (64%) was most frequently cited, followed by expense — the need for more affordable sustainable solutions (54%). Many also pointed to a lack of attractive sustainable solutions (44%) and the long payback period for sustainable practices (27%) as sources of lingering skepticism about the benefits of sustainable design.

Driving Increased Demand

Sustainable design is being integrated, but it’s happening slowly. Almost half (48%) of surveyed design pros say they are integrating sustainable solutions into their designs somewhat more than just two years ago, while ten percent are doing so much more compared to two years ago.

Responses from the surveyed professionals point to some key areas that are already resonating with homeowners, notably recommendations about sustainable products that will improve the health and well-being of their family (42%). Energy savings ranks a distant second (22%).  

A Bright Outlook

Demand for sustainability in kitchen and bath design is expected to grow in the next two years. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents say demand for sustainability in Kitchen Design will increase in the next two years; nearly as many (70%) said the same about Bath Design. Just one-third (32%) of designers feel sustainable design is a “must have,” however, most (54%) expect that sentiment to shift in the coming years.

“There is no doubt that we are moving towards a new era when sustainable design practices will eventually become the norm for the K&B industry,” said Bill Darcy, Global President & CEO of NKBA | KBIS.  “Designers and other industry pros, armed with information and insights about the many benefits of a sustainable design approach, are going to be the drivers of this change. The sooner we can bring K&B professionals fully up to speed on these benefits, the sooner they can effectively influence customers to embrace sustainable practices that are better for the planet, without sacrificing on quality or aesthetics.”

Download and read the full 2024 Sustainability in Kitchen & Bath Design report here.

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2024 Certified Designers Grant

Sponsored by Signature Kitchen Suite, this grant empowers designers so they can earn K&B certifications.

By Elisa Fernández-Arias


NKBA | KBIS’ 2024 Certified Designers Grant, sponsored by Signature Kitchen Suite (SKS), provides support and guidance to designers so they can get certified at no cost to them, giving them a competitive edge in today’s fierce market. Whether they are looking to become a CKBD or go for the highest level of our industry’s certification, CMKBD, this group of 40 designers will move forward through the process thanks to a generous grant from SKS.

Those who apply must be NKBA | KBIS members. In addition to supporting certification, the grant program will include special events the designers will be invited to attend.

Grant winners with substantial design experience are encouraged to complete the funded certification before KBIS 2025!

Get an NKBA | KBIS certification and launch your design career forward while building your skills to the highest standards.

Apply here today!

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Significant Savings and Vast Selection For Bed Bath & Beyond Trade Members

The online retailer’s exclusive program offers numerous perks to design pros.
Image courtesy of Bed Bath & Beyond.

By Dianne M. Pogoda

Online retailer Bed Bath & Beyond’s exclusive Trade Program is a one-stop shop for designers and other specifiers looking to raise the style quotient while sticking to clients’ budgets.

Trade Program Members save 25 percent every day on a bigger-than-ever assortment of furniture, décor, rugs, appliances, fixtures and more. What’s more, trade pros get a free Welcome Rewards membership, which earns them 5 percent back on every purchase. Welcome Rewards also includes three free returns each month for in-store credit, and a 60-day extended return period allows clients to live with a piece and ensure it works well in their space.

The Rewards package also offers double rewards for reviews, bonus rewards for recommendations resulting in purchases, and three free price matches per month. And shipping is free on every order placed on a Trade account.

Bed Bath & Beyond Trade provides beneficial tools for busy pros and small business owners. The program aims to help make the design and selection process smooth and seamless. Designers may create a personalized design page to organize projects, share work, shop and update in real time. The design profile is hosted on the Bed Bath & Beyond platform and is shareable to a member’s social media, website, and/or directly to clients. Personalized support from dedicated expert Trade Specialists provides members with peace of mind — there’s always a friendly, familiar voice ready to help!

The Bed Bath & Beyond Trade program is free to join, and applying is easy. Provide a business name, contact information and additional business or professional verification, such as an employer identification number (EIN), to apply.

To learn more about this exclusive program for trade professionals and to join for free, click here.

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Member News: Miele and Bertazzoni Build, Kohler’s Latest Launch, Monogram’s Emmy, Chapter Updates and More

By Dianne M. Pogoda

Company News

Monogram Series Wins Daytime Emmy: Luxury appliance brand Monogram earned a Daytime Emmy award for its digital series “My Mark” featuring acclaimed chef Marcus Samuelson. The series celebrates individuals who use their passions to “elevate experiences.” Samuelson, recorded in his home kitchen in Sag Harbor, NY, was chosen for his dedication to culinary excellence and passion for mastering cooking techniques, which he spotlights using Monogram appliances. KBB has more.

Image courtesy of Kohler.

Kohler Unveils SR_A Line: Kohler Co. introduced its groundbreaking Kohler x SR_A bath faucet at the recent Design Miami expo. Formation 01 is the inaugural product collaboration between the plumbing giant and the industrial design studio of Samuel Ross. The initial launch comprises a limited edition of 299 authenticated faucets, available for sale after the expo. Visit Kohler for more.

Image courtesy of Bertazzoni.

Bertazzoni Opens Design Center in Canada: Bertazzoni, the Guastalla, Italy-based family-owned premium appliance maker, has opened a 428-square-foot design center with its exclusive Canadian distribution partner, Distinctive, at Trail Appliances in Vancouver. “Casa Bertazzoni” is modeled after the original experience and design center in Italy and designed by Vancouver-based Sarah Gallop. It is the brand’s fifth Design Center and features working kitchen vignettes that showcase the appliances through cooking demonstrations and hands-on experiences. Learn more here.

Miele To Build in Alabama: Premium appliance maker Miele has finalized the location of its first American manufacturing plant, in Opelika, AL. The facility is expected to come online by the end of 2024 and employ 150 workers in its first phase of operations, which will initially focus on ovens and ranges.  Miele said delivery time will be slashed from up to 10 weeks to just a few days, with many of the parts and raw materials also being sourced locally to reduce CO2 emissions. Including the new plant, Gütersloh, the Germany-basedcompany’s international production network will include a total of 16 locations: eight in Germany and one each in Austria, China, the Czech Republic, Romania, Poland and the U.S.  Read more here.

Chapter Update

Countertops in Chicago: The Chicago Mid West Chapter will host “Countertop Chronicles: Unveiling Surface Secrets,” a seminar designed to answer any question about counters and surfaces, on Jan. 23, 5 pm to 8 pm, at Starved Rock Wood Products, 1170 Milwaukee Avenue, Glenview, IL. Chapter president Denise Butchko will be joined by Mitch Gomes, sales director of MSI Surfaces, and Gina Saran, owner of Precision Stone Design, for the discussion, followed by a showroom tour, chef demo, food and drinks. Registration is $25 for members and $35 for non-members. Go here for more.

Industry News

Millennials Want Houses: Despite the stereotype that Millennials prefer “experiences” to “things,” a nationwide survey found that 89.5 percent of 25-to-44 year-olds say owning a home is a part of their American dream, and fewer than 1 percent say home ownership is not important to them. Cleveland-based marketing and research firm Falls & Co. found that 76 percent prefer a single family home compared to 3.6 percent who would choose a condo. Only 16 percent are interested in a fixer-upper, while 13 percent prefer to buy new and 32 percent want a move-in-ready home. Topping the list of potential home improvements were the living room/great room, cited by 52.5 percent, and the kitchen, at 48.4 percent. Learn more here.

Gold’s Next Chapter:

Wellness design consultant and award-winning author Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS, MCCWC, has published a bonus chapter to her 2020 book Wellness by Design (Simon & Schuster) focused on healthy living in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and some of the worst natural disasters in history. The chapter, “Lessons for How We Live Now,” offers tips on making homes resilient against storms, wildfires and power outages, information on what new technologies and artificial intelligence can mean for our homes and much more. The chapter is available for sale online only and is free with the hardcover book, audio or e-book editions. Access the new chapter from the “Checklists & Resources” page in the original book or through national online retailers. Click for more info.

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Year In Review: Milestones

2023 was full of important milestones, from the Mid Atlantic Chapter’s 60th Anniversary to the remembrance of industry leaders who passed away.
Bill Darcy, Global President & CEO, NKBA | KBIS, toasting to the association’s 60 years in the industry at KBIS 2023. Image courtesy of PWP Studio.

By Elisa Fernández-Arias

2023 was a momentous year at NKBA. The association celebrated 60 years in the industry, multiple member companies and individual members achieved 60- and 25-year milestones, and several important figures from the kitchen and bath industry left us too soon. As we look back on 2023, here are some of the most important milestones:

In Memoriam

The industry lost several NKBA members and influential kitchen and bath figures in 2023. 

Stephen “Mac” McDonald, a leading kitchen and bath industry figure, founder of Thurston Kitchen and Bath and longtime NKBA member, passed away on Jan. 23. After the founding of his company Thurston Kitchen and Bath in 1977, it and its subsidiaries grew to over 18 locations throughout Colorado, Utah and New Mexico. In Colorado, Mac was widely recognized as one of the leading figures in the regional kitchen and bath industry throughout his long and distinguished career. Learn more about Stephen “Mac” McDonald in his NKBA obituary here.

Ric Coggins, NKBA Chapter and National Leader who held multiple local and national posts, passed away on Jan. 31. Ric actively served in the NKBA since 2004 and was considered one of the Arizona Chapter’s greatest contributors. He also held several national positions, including various positions on the national advisory council, and in 2014 was elected to NKBA’s Executive Committee as National Vice President. After retiring, Ric remained very active in the Arizona Chapter, where he served as a consultant. He was involved in multiple aspects of the kitchen bath and home industry, including design, sales and marketing, for 49 years. Read Ric Coggins’ NKBA obituary here.

Bill Oesterle, the Co-founder and former CEO of Angie’s List, passed away on May 10. Oesterle co-founded Angie’s List in 1995 with Angie Hicks, currently the Chief Customer Officer of Angi Homeservices Inc., a Denver-based service that connects consumers with personalized solutions, service pros, and “fair and transparent pricing” for everything from house cleaning to major remodels. Oesterle became CEO of Angie’s in 1999 and during his tenure until his resignation in 2015, the company evolved from a hyperlocal business to a nationwide service with millions of subscribers. You can read Bill Oesterle’s NKBA obituary here.

Charlotte Ann Breidenstein, a former NKBA staff member who worked with the association for 28 years, passed away in December. Prior to her retirement in 2012,, Charlotte helped to develop NKBA’s Governance, Education and Conference Departments. To read Charlotte Ann Breidenstein’s NKBA obituary, go here.

The Mid Atlantic Chapter celebrates NKBA’s 60th Anniversary. Image courtesy of NKBA.
60 Year Milestone: the NKBA Mid Atlantic Chapter

The Mid Atlantic Chapter celebrated a significant occasion in 2023: just like the association itself, they celebrated their 60 year anniversary — being the founding chapter of NKBA! The chapter commemorated their special day with the association, throwing a Garden Party as one of the NKBA 60th Anniversary celebrations last year at the Grounds for Sculpture in Hamilton, New Jersey. More than 50 members came to the Mid Atlantic event to reminisce and celebrate not only NKBA’s 60th Anniversary, but the Mid Atlantic Chapter’s anniversary as well. Additional details about the celebration can be found here.

60 Year Milestone: Bradley Berkoff

Bradley Berkoff, CKD, a South Florida Chapter member, celebrated 60 years as an NKBA member in 2023. A kitchen and bath designer, he joined the association at its start — and has been with NKBA since then.

25 Year Milestones: Companies

Many NKBA member companies reached 25 years of membership in 2023 — they’ve been with the association almost half as long as it has been around! Here we spotlight some of these brands:

Kimble + Kimble LLC, in Harbor Springs, Michigan, run by David Kimble, AIA and Caroline Kimble, CKBD, Northern Michigan Chapter member, offers architecture and interior design services throughout the Northern Michigan area . Learn more about the company here.

Run by Steven Ramaekers, CR, President/Founder and Christine Ramaekers, CKD, Vice President, who are both Michigan State Chapter members, MainStreet Design Build in Birmingham, Michigan, was founded in 1991 and provides home remodeling to its clients. Find out more about the company here.

Patricia Davis Brown Design, LLC in Vero Beach, Florida, founded by Patricia Davis Brown, CMKBD, Florida Treasure Coast Chapter member, opened in 1992 and offers commercial and residential interior remodels and design services, universal design, custom furnishing design and more to clients in Florida. Learn more here.

Owned by Anita Colby, CMKBD, Northern New England Chapter member, The CabinetWorks is based in Stratham, New Hampshire and provides design services to the New Hampshire and New England regions. For more details on the company, go here.

Top Drawer Kitchens, in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, is run by Wally Bakely, CKD, Mid Atlantic Chapter member. The business has been in operation for more than 30 years, offering kitchen, bath and cabinetry design to both residential and commercial clients. Visit the company’s NKBA profile here.

60 Years of NKBA
Bill Darcy, Global President & CEO, NKBA | KBIS, toasting to the association’s 60 years in the industry at KBIS 2023. Image courtesy of PWP Studio.

The association itself reached a significant milestone in 2023: its 60th Anniversary! Starting off with ’60s-themed activations and a toast at the start of the year at KBIS in Las Vegas, the celebration continued throughout the year, with various chapters commemorating NKBA’s 60 years of leadership in the kitchen and bath industry. 60th anniversary chapter events include the SKS-sponsored Puget Sound and Olympic – West Sound, Northern New England, Northern California and Manhattan chapters’ events; Dacor-sponsored Manhattan Chapter event; and the Mid Atlantic and Georgia chapters’ events, which were not sponsored. The festivities will continue in2024 with the Southern California Chapter’s event, sponsored by Dacor, as well as events held by the Baltimore/Washington Chapter and the Chicago Chapter.

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Year In Review: Top 5 NKBA Webinars

From universal design to smart technology, these were NKBA’s top business and design webinars in 2023.


By Elisa Fernández-Arias

NKBA’s webinar program provides the K&B industry with free and insightful learning experiences as well as CEUs needed to maintain NKBA certifications. Available online throughout the year, the following were the top five webinars in 2023.

1. Five Things You Should Know About Universal Design

This July 2023 webinar, sponsored by Blum, explored universal design from new perspectives, including those from two Occupational Therapists, one Realtor and one Manufacturer of Bathroom Safety Products. Presenter Becky Wright, CAPS, Division Manager of Ponte Giulio USA, Carol Chiang, OTR/, CAPS, ECHM, CHAMP, CEO of Evolving Homes, Heather Brooks, Co-Founder and Content Creator of Customized Aging, and Janet Engel, Owner of Home Designs for Life, Ltd., Co., offered their perspectives and guidance on why Universal Design is better for every project.

2. Color: Understanding Undertones

This June 2023 webinar, sponsored by Wilsonart, educated participants on how to gain a deeper understanding of color, how to define color in three different ways and how to find solutions to color dilemmas. Led by Debbie Boggs, Co-Founder of Staging Studio, those who attended the session came away with the skills required to amaze clients with their ability to work with color and expertly combine hard surface selections.

3. Advantages of Large Format Porcelain Slabs in Kitchen, Bath, & Spa Applications

Presented by Jaclyn Isaac – Owner of Doni Douglas and Joy Klein – VP, Sales and Marketing TransCeramica & SapienStone of Iris Ceramica Group and sponsored by Geberit, this October webinar covered the topic of large format porcelain slabs. The segment took a deep dive into this surface type and its advantages, as well as how it fits into the K&B space, installation tips and how this surface plays a role in high end residential projects.

4. Winning Outdoor Kitchen Design

This November 2023 webinar, sponsored by Perlick, was an opportunity for participants to learn from Ryan Bloom, Co-Founder and President of Urban Bonfire, Inc., on how the design community can leverage the emerging outdoor kitchen industry to make their mark on outdoor spaces and grow their business in return, covering trends, best practices and more.

5. Balancing Technology and Design

This webinar from September 2023, sponsored by Hettich and presented by Holly Andre, Specification Sales of CEDIA, educated attendees on what it takes to successfully integrate smart technology in your projects, examples of how technology can enhance the lifestyle of homeowners and the critical considerations for service and support.

A full list of On-Demand design and business webinars can be accessed here.

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BORA Broadens Product Mix, Joins NKBA Global Connect

The premium appliance maker known for pioneering cooktop extractor systems is initiating a presence in North America.


BORA, a European manufacturer best known for its cooktop extractor systems, is broadening its scope — in appliances as well as geographic reach. To that end, the owner-managed company has joined NKBA’s Global Connect initiative to start building a presence in the North American market as it introduces innovative products to its lineup.

The German-Austrian company group has developed and manufactured premium built-in kitchen appliances with impressive design standards since 2007. Founder Willi Bruckbauer, a master carpenter, was frustrated by the lack of function and visual appeal offered by hoods available at the time, which were mostly loud, intrusive and unattractive. So, he set out to build vent hoods that were beautiful, quiet and still highly efficient, and founded BORA with the goal of developing a more aesthetically pleasing solution to revolutionize the kitchen as a living space.

Today, BORA is the epitome of  effective steam extraction and odor filtration in the kitchen. Its technology combines a custom cooktop and extraction system in one appliance, with personalized configurations that can include surface induction, gas, hyperglass ceramic, stainless steel teppanyaki grill and/or wok cooktop. The BORA exhaust system extracts vapors and cooking fumes with cross-flow suction that maximizes efficiency yet remains quieter than overhead vent hoods. It is suitable for installation in islands or perimeter kitchen countertops.

Besides its cooktop extractor systems, the company also offers a professional steam oven for residential use — the BORA X BO — and several other built-in appliances and accessories.

These are already sold in more than 60 countries and are marketed at a wide range of events, trade shows and in BORA stores. Over 550 employees in Germany and Austria are committed to developing and refining high-quality products. To ensure that products exceed the expectations set by partners and customers, the company focuses on using durable, high-end materials in the manufacturing process. The products are very easy to clean, and with their minimalist, timeless design, fit into any kitchen theme. This makes them immune to fleeting trends, and gives them universal appeal to the tastes of all countries or regions.

BORA has joined the NKBA Global Connect Initiative to learn about the needs and tastes of the North American market and to establish valuable contacts. BORA will be exhibiting at KBIS 2024 in Las Vegas, Feb. 27-29, in booth W2230 (West Hall). Learn more about BORA here.

Disclaimer: Please note that BORA products are not available in the U.S. market at the moment.

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NKBA Hosts Second Students of the Industry Night

The association again invited local college professors and students to learn about membership benefits and connect with industry professionals.
NKBA CEO Bill Darcy and Kelly Ann Ryan, NKBA Learning Programs Manager, with students and faculty from Northampton Community College and Mid Atlantic Chapter President Brianna Weiler, of New Hope Cabinets, Baths & Kitchens by Charles Weiler, at NKBA’s second Students of the Industry night on Sept. 27, 2023, at the association’s headquarters in Bethlehem, PA.

By Elisa Fernández-Arias

Last month, NKBA invited college students and professors from local colleges, as well as chapter officers, to its second of two Students of the Industry Night events this year. Held on Sept. 27 at the association’s headquarters in Bethlehem, PA, this event was an opportunity for students to discover more about NKBA student membership, learning initiatives such as badges and certifications, and much more. 

The event, attended by Northampton Community College faculty and students, is an example of the foundation NKBA builds to support students in the industry so that they can flourish in their future K&B careers. The students also had the opportunity to speak with Mid Atlantic Chapter President Brianna Weiler, of New Hope Cabinets, Baths & Kitchens by Charles Weiler, and two designers from Morris Black Designs, Christine Shorr, CKBD, Mid Atlantic Chapter member and Marissa Monte, Susquehanna Valley Chapter member.

The night started off with Kelly Ann Ryan, NKBA Learning Programs Manager, welcoming guests and introducing them to the association, explaining that NKBA is the world’s leading trade association for the kitchen and bath industry and owner of KBIS. She then outlined the benefits of joining NKBA as a student member, which is free thanks to sponsorship from Sub-Zero Group, Inc., and how entering the Student Design Competition, sponsored by Fisher & Paykel, can raise their profile. She also noted how students can continue to benefit from NKBA membership even beyond graduation.

The event ended with networking, where students had a chance to ask questions to and seek advice from Brianna Weiler.

“I was very excited to meet the Interior Design students from Northampton Community College and speak with them on a personal level. I could easily relate to them and wanted to share my experiences of being involved with the NKBA for nearly a decade, beginning as a student studying Interior Design and now as a Design Professional within the Kitchen & Bath Industry. I sincerely look forward to seeing the talent and creativity of these particular students when I join Asst. Professor Daniel Ebner in critiquing their design projects,” said Weiler.

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Member News: SKS Showcases Skyline Showroom, Elmwood Marks 50 Years, Miele Taps Tangredi, Chapter Updates and More

By Dianne M. Pogoda

Company News
Photo Courtesy of Signature Kitchen Suite.

SKS Opens Showroom Overlooking Manhattan: Signature Kitchen Suite, the luxury appliance brand in the LG Electronics portfolio, has officially opened its Skyline Showroom and Experience Center at its American “Innovation Campus” corporate headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. Catering to builders, dealers, designers and influencers, this East Coast immersion hub invites guests to explore SKS’s core philosophy of being “True to Food” through immersive cooking demonstrations, interactive tutorials and hands-on experiences. The Skyline Showroom features two fully equipped kitchen and dining spaces showcasing the latest SKS appliance innovations, including the range with built-in sous vide and the 48-inch refrigerator. Cabinetry and furniture were designed by Molteni & Co. and surfaces by Porcelanosa. Learn more here.

Photo courtesy of Elmwood.

Elmwood Cabinetry Marks 50 Years: Elmwood, a high-end custom cabinetry maker, launched its 50th anniversary celebration in September. Founded in 1973 by Hans Neufeld and Henry Janzen, the company focused on custom craftsmanship during a time when modular cabinetry was emerging. It was acquired in 2016 by Cabico & Co., making Cabico Canada’s largest privately held custom cabinet company and North America’s third largest. Among the activations marking Elmwood’s half-century milestone is the “Five Looks, Five Decades” project that highlights five iconic looks in the company’s evolution. For more, visit the project page here.

Photo courtesy of True Residential.

True Opens in NYC: True Residential has opened a fully dedicated showroom in the A&D Building in New York. The 1,600-square-foot space showcases the brand’s signature refrigeration solutions in an interactive environment, including full-size, indoor/outdoor and undercounter models in a wide range of colors and finishes. The array includes refrigerators, freezers, columns and ice makers in various configurations. A fully functional chef’s kitchen for live programming includes Wunderwoods cabinetry, cooking and dishwashing appliances by Fisher & Paykel and countertops by Cambria. An outdoor entertaining vignette features a textured biophilic wall, a Caliber grill and a Dekton countertop. More info here.

LOTTE, Doyle Farris Enter Partnership: LOTTE Staron, a global provider of solid surface and quartz products, has formed a distribution partnership with Doyle Farris, a nationwide distributor based in Texas, for the complete range of Staron solid surface acrylic products and colors. LOTTE Staron is a division of LOTTE Chemical, based in Korea with U.S. headquarters in California and manufacturing facilities all over the world. It was founded in 1954 as the parent company of the Samsung Group, and it established its solid surface business in 1992. Doyle Farris is one of the largest manufacturers, marketers and distributors of acrylic solid surface sheet materials, sinks and lavatories in the U.S., with operations in more than 40 states. Click to learn more about LOTTE and Doyle Farris.

People News
Kenneth Tangredi, Vice President of Sales, Miele USA. Photo courtesy of Miele

Miele Taps Tangredi as VP of Sales: Miele has named Kenneth Tangredi Vice President of Sales in the U.S., reporting to Jan Heck, President and CEO of Miele USA. Tangredi is responsible for guiding and managing all domestic sales divisions for Miele USA, including major cooking and cleaning appliances and floor care, while collaborating with all company departments. Tangredi previously held roles in sales, leadership and operations at global brands including Fisher & Paykel DCS Outdoor, Samsung Electronics America and Dacor. For more on Miele USA, go here.

Bentham to Bluebell: Designer Paul Bentham has joined Bluebell Fine Cabinetry & Design in Wayne, PA. Bentham, a specialist in custom kitchen cabinetry, craftsmanship and mechanical engineering, joins the Bluebell design team with three decades of experience, most recently as a designer and contractor for Tailored Spaces Kitchen & Bath, a custom luxury design and remodeling firm. Bluebell, founded in 1985, specializes in bespoke design, construction and installation of luxury kitchens, baths and interiors. Learn more about Bluebell here.

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5 Takeaways from NKBA’s 2024 Kitchen Design Trends Report

Kitchens will be sustainable and include multiple layers of lighting, quieter appliances and health-focused solutions.
Design: Sarah Robertson, AKBD, Founder and Principal, Studio Dearborn | Photo: Adam Kane Macchia

By Elisa Fernández-Arias

Earlier this week, NKBA released its 2024 Kitchen Design Trends, a highly-anticipated report highlighting top trends in kitchen design over the next three years and featuring emerging categories and shifts in products, color, materials and space.    

Here are five top takeaways from NKBA’s 2024 Kitchen Trends report:

  1. Hard-Working Islands. An expanded focus has been placed on kitchen islands that serve as everything from a gathering place and storage to a cooking, prepping and entertaining space.  More than 57 percent of designers say their clients prefer an eat-in kitchen area instead of a formal dining room and 48 percent identified large islands as a top priority for serving and dining.
  1. Whisper Quiet. By eliminating noisy appliances and banging cabinet doors, designers are making the kitchen environment even more suitable for everything from entertaining and eating to work and learning. Sixty-five percent of designers said their clients want ultra-quiet dishwashers and 41 percent are ditching noisy trash compactors in favor of standard pull-out receptacles.
In addition to incorporating lots of natural light into their kitchen designs, designers say they’re using multiple layers of lighting to support different functions.
  1. Environmentally Conscious. Sustainability continues to be top-of-mind for both designers and homeowners, with a focus on:
  • Reduce: 51 percent are selecting long-lasting products to reduce the need for replacement.
  • Reuse: 44 percent say they donate old kitchen cabinets, while 37 percent donate old appliances.
  • Recycle: 53 percent allocate kitchen storage for recycling and 23 percent are creating kitchen storage for composting.
  1. Well-Curated Lighting. In addition to incorporating lots of natural light into their kitchen designs, designers say they’re using multiple layers of lighting to support different functions: ambient lighting to create various moods (85 percent), decorative statement lighting to showcase design elements (80 percent), and nighttime lighting for safety and aesthetics (69 percent). Light sensing, motion sensing, voice activation and programmable control options all play a key role in enhancing the functionality of kitchen lighting.
  1. A Place for Wellness and Nutrition. Kitchen design is focused on nutrition and healthy eating.​ Seventy-eight percent of designers say homeowners want more refrigeration space with better flexibility (e.g., columns, drawers, convertible) to accommodate healthy lifestyles, and 68 percent want appliances with integrated cooking functions like air frying and steam cooking.

To download the full 2024 Kitchen Trends Report, go here.