Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 39

almost exclusively being built to this width and depth. To keep uniformity,
600-mm dimensions - and other widths generally in increments of 100mm
- are used in 95%+ of kitchen design. As an aside, because they are not ruled
by appliance sizes, U.K. fitted bedrooms are mostly fully bespoke.
With this large level of standardization, this means that mega-factories
producing kitchen furniture in the U.K. and Europe dominate the scene.
What this lacks in intimacy and customization, it gains in cost efficiency and
high production quality. Some companies produce thousands of kitchens a day.
When it comes to bathrooms, both the U.K. and Europe have presented a
big swing away from the presence of a bath in favor of a shower. With aging
populations, showering is being preferred from a mobility perspective,. There
is also a big trend for large-format tiles and even shower paneling, as grout
lines are deemed undesirable.
Buildings themselves are different between the two continents. Most
homes in the U.K./Europe are made of brick, stone, block, etc., which means
that they will stay standing in hundreds of years. Therefore, instead of knocking
down and rebuilding, it is common to add an extension when extra space
is needed: generally a single story at the back of the home, expanding the
kitchen and dining footprint. Also, with relatively densely populated land
and restrictions on what can be built, there is often a motivation to make
efficient use of existing space rather than expand it. These factors mean that
both kitchen and bathroom design in the U.K. is generally on a smaller scale
with a focus on flow and compromise rather than size and splendor.
CONTRASTING LEVELS OF PROFESSIONALISM
The last and perhaps most notable difference between the U.K. and North
American K&B industries is the level of professionalism of those who take
it on as a career. With one very small exception, there are no professional
qualifications that lead directly into the industry in the U.K. or that those who
are within the industry can embark upon. This means that a person with no
experience or ability could open up a new kitchen and bathroom showroom
tomorrow and start designing and selling without any consumers having a
comparable way of knowing their skill, knowledge or competence. With
many horror stories of immoral sales tactics and expensive projects going
badly wrong because of designer/project management incompetence, this
has led to a mistrust of the industry by many here. In turn, this too means that
ABOVE Kitchens in the U.K./
Europe often feature hidden or
built-in appliances, a growing
trend in North America as well.
Photo by denisismagilov/
Adobe Stock
the career of a kitchen and bathroom designer,
to my massive frustration, is rarely seen as either
professional or desirable.
In stark contrast to the work of the National
Kitchen & Bath Association in North America,
the equivalent body in the U.K. represents a small
proportion of the companies in the industry and
has no designer qualification or continuous development
systems. For all the design and project
management skill the country possesses, the industry
is surprisingly amateur in its organization.
SIMILARITIES ACROSS THE POND
Despite all the differences, there is a lot that unites
us. In fact, one could say that there is so much it
is surprising that we are not more united. Across
North America and the U.K., we share a language,
we share a history, we share political values of democracy,
and we've supported each other many
times across the world for the greater good.
In terms of our kitchen and bath ethos, there is
much to connect and celebrate. We have a penchant
for the ostentatious, treat our homes as show
pieces for our personalities and priorities and love
innovation in products but also have a desire for a
classic look. We meld influences from other countries
with our own unique twists to make a look,
feel and finish that's very much our own.
At the end of the song " Let's Call the Whole
Thing Off, " Fred and Ginger's characters decide
that - despite their differences - they are actually
well-suited and conclude that they'd " better call
the calling off, off. " Perhaps it's time for the U.K.
and North American kitchen and bath industries
to look to each other more for learning, lessons,
cooperation and support.

39

Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021

Editor's Note
KBIS Note
NKBA Note
Happenings
Tech Savvy
Trends
Deep Dive
KBIS
NKBA List
Better Business
Hot Topic
All Abroad
Research Roundup
Wellness Design
Before & After
Small Spaces
Solutions
What's Hot
Favorites
Last Word
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 1
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - Cover2
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 1
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 2
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 3
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 4
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 5
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - Editor's Note
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 7
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - KBIS Note
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 9
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - NKBA Note
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 11
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - Happenings
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 13
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - Tech Savvy
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 15
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 16
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 17
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - Trends
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 19
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 20
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 21
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - Deep Dive
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 23
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 24
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 25
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - KBIS
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 27
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 28
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 29
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 30
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 31
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - NKBA List
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 33
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - Better Business
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 35
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - Hot Topic
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 37
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - All Abroad
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 39
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - Research Roundup
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 41
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - Wellness Design
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 43
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - Before & After
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 45
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - Small Spaces
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 47
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - Solutions
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 49
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - What's Hot
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 51
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 52
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - Favorites
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 54
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 55
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 56
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 57
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 58
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 59
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 60
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 61
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 62
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - 65
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - Last Word
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - Cover3
Kitchen & Bath Business September 2021 - Cover4
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