Five Questions With… Kendal Cavalieri, CKBD – NKBA


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Five Questions With… Kendal Cavalieri, CKBD

This award-winning designer is one of just six NKBA | KBIS Members who have earned all eight Specialty Badges.

By Dianne M. Pogoda

Like many kitchen and bath designers, Kendal Cavalieri took an unusual route to the profession and to earning her CKBD. Unlike many others, however, she is one of an elite group of NKBA | KBIS members to earn all eight Specialty Badges: Floor Plans & Specifications, Lighting, Cabinetry, Sales & Marketing, Sustainability, Remodeling, Universal Design and Color. Now the owner and principal designer of Kendal Cavalieri Design in Buffalo, NY, she was a member of NKBA’s Thirty Under 30 Class of 2023 — and she’s enthusiastically furthering her career.

She took a few moments to chat with NKBA | KBIS about her journey and what’s next.

What was your motivation for going after all eight Specialty Badges?

Once I earned a few, I thought, “Why stop?” I always strive to learn, and I’m motivated to be better at my job. The Badges were available, so I went for it — and it really increased my education and expertise.

Tell us a little about your journey to K&B design.

I served in the U.S. Navy for seven years. I was in an administration role — it helped with the business side of things and attention to detail. After that, I pursued my MBA and started working at a construction firm. That’s where I learned about kitchen and bath renovations, and really discovered my interest in design. I went back to school at Villa Maria College in Buffalo [an NKBA Affiliated School] to study design and two years ago, started my own business.

You’ve already earned your Certified Kitchen & Bath Designer (CKBD). How are the badges different and how do they complement the CKBD?

The CKBD is an overview, a broad picture of the entire scope of what you need to succeed as a designer. The badges are a deep dive into the specific areas. Studying for them helps you become more of an expert, with a refined view of each subject.

What advice do you have for others considering earning all eight badges?

I would suggest studying for one at a time. I started with topics that were more familiar — Cabinetry and Floor Plans & Specifications. They were like second nature to me. Then I took on the others, and really learned a lot, especially from Lighting, Universal Design and Sustainability. Those were the newest topics for me and helped me in areas that I had not explored deeply. But having that expertise helps me suggest functional and design elements to clients that I might not have thought of before.

What’s next for you?

I want to move up to the next level of certification — the CMKBD — and continue to grow my business. Clients hire me not for my design style, but for their style, and it’s my job to make sure that works from functional as well as design perspectives.

Just 34 NKBA | KBIS members have earned six or more badges, with an elite six members earning all eight. For a limited time, NKBA is making earning a badge even more accessible. Through June 30, 2024, NKBA members can take advantage of an exclusive summer promotional discount on all Specialty Badges for a discounted price of $99 — a savings of $100. For more information about the badges and to get this special offer, visit here.