At a recent seventh birthday party for my niece, a magician pulled everything from 12 ft. of colored scarves to a bouquet of flowers to a live rabbit from his seemingly tiny hat. Watching this, I couldn’t help but think that the hat was a lot like my bathroom. Despite being ridiculously small, my bathroom somehow manages to contain towels, paper goods, half a dozen hair appliances and enough toiletries to ensure that I would have plenty of soap, lotion, shampoo, conditioner and makeup to get me through Armageddon.
Indeed, I’ve always thought this was one of the most impressive “magic tricks” that designers keep up their sleeves – the ability to create clean, uncluttered looking kitchens and baths that still manage to hide and contain a virtually endless array of stuff.
As any designer knows, it’s tougher than it looks – not just hiding the clutter, but finding places where it can be out of sight but still accessible when needed, while maximizing every square inch of space from toe kicks to overhead cabinets to clever little spice pullouts or shower nooks.
The importance of smart storage can’t be overestimated – which is why we decided to devote much of this issue to storage concerns. From a look at what kitchen storage features designers like best (see related story, “The Roll-out Revolution“) to a compilation of cool storage products, home office storage trends (see story, “Office Space“) and more, this month’s KBDN is bursting at the seams – much like my bathroom – with all things storage-related.
Of course storage smarts are just one of the many traits possessed by great designers. The best design professionals are also well versed in a variety of materials, products and design applications, are talented space planners, have expertise in everything from sales and consumer psychology to business management and accounting, and can seamlessly blend function and fashion while personalizing a space to meet the varied and highly specific needs and desires of each individual client. This, while also juggling budgets, ever-changing timelines, technology that seems to advance at the speed of light and more.
It’s definitely not a job for the faint of heart.
Yet, while we often celebrate great design, our industry tends to focus on projects over people.
That’s not to say great design shouldn’t be recognized. An array of design competitions exist for just this purpose, including KBDN’s Kitchen & Bath Design Awards, which recognizes great designs from a variety of styles, budgets and spaces.
But we believe it’s equally important to recognize great designers – the men and women behind the curtain who bring these dream spaces to life, while juggling space planning, product ordering, finances, a growing number of product innovations, ever-changing consumer values and appliances that get smarter all the time.
Coordinating multiple tradespeople, refining budgets, working with reps and meeting the ever-changing needs of a diverse array of clients is all in a day’s work for these professionals – who also frequently invest time in educating the industry, serving their communities and donating time to charitable endeavors.
For this reason, Kitchen & Bath Design News is pleased to announce its inaugural KBDN 50, an opportunity to honor some of the industry’s finest dealers, designers and showroom professionals (see related story, “KBDN 50 Awards Program Launched“), men and women who are leaders in the kitchen and bath industry, and who are leading the charge toward the future.
These industry pros offer a special kind of magic that transforms the homes – and, often, the lives – of their clients, their peers and the industry as a whole. If you’re lucky enough to know, work with or have studied under one of these rare leaders, please consider nominating them (or yourself!) for the first annual KBDN 50 awards by visiting www.KitchenBathDesign.com/KBDN50. ▪