KBB - April 2015 - (Page 72)
Designer Rhonda Knoche talks
success, K&B trends and becoming
the NKBA U Professional of the Year
How does it feel to be the NKBA U
Professional of the Year?
That was such a nice surprise and a great
honor. After I ﬁnished my presentation in the ﬁnal
round at KBIS, I threw an impromptu ﬁst in the air,
saying "Stay in school!"
I have taken 15 classes in the last ﬁve years
from NKBA U and other organizations, and I'm
honored to represent the important role continuing education plays across our industry - not just for designers but for
remodelers, builders, wholesalers - all of us.
Finding the time and committing to your professional development
can be challenging, especially when you own your own business and
wear many hats. But NKBA U offers its courses online - many on-demand,
available 24/7, so there is no good excuse not to stay current with education. For me, winning the NKBA U Professional of the Year also validates the
value of certiﬁcation in our industry. It took me four times to pass the CKD
and three times to pass CBD. It took JFK Jr. ﬁve times to pass the bar. Even
for some of us with bad test-taking skills or learning disabilities - giving up
is not an option. That made receiving this award an even bigger honor.
How did you get into the kitchen & bath industry?
My mom was a caterer for 33 years, so we lived in the kitchen. She
renovated our kitchen when I was 16, and she was so very far ahead
of where design was at that time. My upbringing ignited a passion that
would come full circle in my late 20s after I decided a career in oncology
in the health sciences sector wasn't for me. I went back to school to get
my interior design and architectural design degrees (35 years ago) and
had an internship with a great mentor who would become one of many
to help shape me as a professional. I'm so grateful for each of them.
What has been one of your most rewarding projects?
My projects are a reﬂection of my clients who live in the space - not a
reﬂection of me. In fact, you should not be able to recognize "me" in any
of my projects; it is all about my clients' tastes.You'll see that in the diversity
of projects featured in my Houzz portfolio, especially a project I completed
with my metal sculptor client. I showed him a concept that didn't make
it off the drawing board several years ago, but he loved it and wanted to
see more. I designed hardware for his kitchen that could transfer from one
cabinet door to another. We used copper on the backsplash, knowing
the material will patina as it ages - something the homeowner is looking
forward to. A large question mark serves as the refrigerator handle, and
an exclamation point opens the wine cooler. My client was open to my
ideas and was a good collaborator.
Knoche's kitchen project with the
help of her metal sculptor client
ﬁnishes and details. People are talking more about functionality and ergonomics as part of a comfortable lifestyle, and personalization is key. I'm
also excited that homeowners want to make full use of their home - they're
moving away from formal dining rooms and using the extra space to add
to the kitchen - or adding an outdoor kitchen so they can fully enjoy their
backyard. If you are not using the space, it's expensive real estate.
When it comes to the bathroom, steam showers are growing in demand; clients see this space as a retreat to wind down and decompress. Gone are those two-person tubs that came standard in homes
built during the 80s and 90s. Unless a client thoroughly enjoys a luxurious soak, they have no issue losing the tub to make room for something
they'll enjoy and use much more. I am seeing more contemporary lines
because we are trying to calm ourselves and make our spaces cleaner
and more minimalist.
What are some lessons you have learned you can share with
After 23 years of working at the same large design/build ﬁrm, I launched
my own business during the worst economic times, so I had to learn to
think outside the bubble and say "yes" to everything. I joined the NKBA and
other associations, I networked at various events, and I always wrote thank
you notes. I force myself to do something new each day and recently met
10 new people at KBIS I had only known via social media. Expanding your
wheelhouse with more education and classes is pivotal. n
- By Chelsie Butler
Knoche's Secrets to Success
* I force myself to do something new each day.
* We need to stop sometimes and assess where we are in
our careers and look forward with fresh eyes.
* Some of our best ideas are often on the cutting-room ﬂoor.
What are some kitchen & bath trends you've recently noticed
* Take advantage of the wonderful opportunities and
people around you every day.
To balance out all of the technology and electronics, I'm seeing softer
April 2015 / www.kbbonline.com / The Ofﬁcial Sponsor of KBIS www.kbis.com
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of KBB - April 2015
Show Director’s Note
People & Places
Before & After
ICFF Special Section
Not Your Typical Kitchen
The Rest Is History
KBB - April 2015