NOW MORE THAN EVER, home is where the heart is, and October is the time to make your essential spaces all they can be during National Kitchen & Bath Month. The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) runs the largest Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) each year—the next one is slated for February 2021—where new products are launched. For the past several years, NKBA and Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove have also held a kitchen and bath month event in Dallas, known as Tablescapes. At this event, designers showcase their talents by dressing dining tables with festive themes and also provide a portfolio review that allows clients to stroll around the venue and chat with them. This year, due to the pandemic, the event most likely will not take place. Instead, the North Texas Plains chapter of the NKBA has launched its first annual design competition, and those submissions will be judged by a jury of their peers from other chapters. The winners will be announced online via social media and published in the winter issue of Dallas Style & Design.
“As kitchen and bath designers, we are always learning how to improve our clients’ ease of use with style,” says Cristie Schlosser, RID, ASID, of Schlosser Design Group, LLC, who is also the current president of the North Texas Plains chapter of the NKBA. “The NKBA communicates with its members through current emails with topics that are pertinent to our industry. We receive the national Kitchen & Bath Business magazine and valuable CEUs on a regular basis.”
Discovering fresh style trends for today’s kitchens and baths is a huge draw for professionals and consumers alike and very much a part of the buzz during National Kitchen & Bath Month. Modern has come a long way in the past few years, and instead of the stark white, cool look that has dominated the industry for more than a decade, people are reaching for warmer tones and even adding color to their spaces.
“Think taupe, cream and greens,” says Rebecca Sutton, AKBD, of Kitchen Design Concepts. “Blues are still common as a neutral tone but are mixed with warmer gray tones. Clean lines and geometric shapes—specifically circles and rectangles, especially combined—are go-to looks. Other shapes, like hexagons, are still popular in a modern style and are more favorable than fancier shapes such as arabesques. As far as hardware, plumbing or anything that could be metallic by nature, we are seeing consumers pulling away from polished chromes and solid stainless steel looks. Although stainless is still a front-runner with appliances, we are seeing people mix their metals more and more, with bronze, brass and nickel of all finishes and styles.”
Functionality has always been key for kitchens and baths, and these hardworking spaces must adapt over time to the lifestyle demands of the homeowners. Today, kitchens are still the hub of the home, but consumers continue to love open concepts with a centralized kitchen area as opposed to a separate room in the corner of the house.
“The only difference between now and the past few years is people are trying
to find an auxiliary space where they can hide the dirty dishes while entertaining,” explains Sutton. “Since the kitchen is so open to the rest of the house, they want to be able to keep the mess out of the way until everyone leaves and it’s time to clean up. We have also seen the need for drop zones or even full working spaces just outside of the main kitchen space for a parent to organize the house or for the kids to do homework, especially if there isn’t space at an island or peninsula for everyone to work at the same time.”
Modern bathrooms are transitioning away from tubs unless they are freestanding, and typically, families will now only have one tub in their home after a remodel.
“This is because after a child has grown into showering on their own, most people do not have the time—or the desire—to soak in the tub,” says Sutton. “A singular tub in the home is still helpful to wash young children and furry friends, but otherwise not always needed. Larger showers, and even two-person showers with multiple showerheads (angled, handheld and rain heads) and a bench are the most common ‘ask’ for a bathroom remodel, and bidet seats are also a fun option for any bathroom—especially if we run out of tissue paper again,” she notes. “They offer a clean, healthy option in the home after using the facilities.”
As far as countertop surfaces, consumers still love quartz as a nonporous option. Since it doesn’t draw in moisture that can cause harmful bacteria to grow, it provides a more hygienic surface material. Along the same lines, custom-manufactured cabinetry is also becoming a smarter choice as the finishes are baked on in the factory and there is less cutting, staining and painting in the home.
“My clients are always looking for functional, easy-to-maintain solutions and convenience is key,” says Schlosser. “Quartz is a great material with a myriad of colorways—I’ve used it in my projects for more than 20 years. In the early days, it was mainly a commercial product with limited selections, but it’s really become a mainstay. The development of thin, oversize porcelain panels has also changed our business in a good way. The designs are spectacular, and the applications are endless.”
For more information about the North Texas Plains chapter, visit nkba.org/chapters/texas-north-plains.