KBB - January/February 2012 - (Page 20)
Four designers offer their perspectives on what’s ahead
Are things turning up? And what will 2012 bring? K+BB asked four designers their outlook on the industry, business and trends. They are: Mark T. White, ckd, cbd, Kitchen Encounters, Annapolis, MD; Cheryl Hamilton-Gray, ckd, HamiltonGray Design, Inc., Carlsbad, CA; Doug Durbin, nuHaus Kitchen & Bath Design, Highland Park, IL; and Fu-Tung Cheng, Cheng Design, Berkeley, CA. from that segment. The market in the Bay Area was hit hard with huge unemployment. But we’ve been really lucky, as new jobs have presented themselves just in the nick of time, and because I don’t have a large staff, I can be very efficient with my time.
What kinds of projects are you working on? What is your outlook for the k & b industry in 2012?
Durbin: We are working on everything from simply updating the looks White: I am feeling cautiously optimistic about our industry for 2012. in kitchens and baths to designing the millwork and kitchens for a bed We started getting busier toward the end of last and breakfast for 16 at one of the finest golf year and are entering into the new year with courses in the world over in Scotland. some jobs on the board and new opportunities Cheng: I have two new houses I’m designing, coming in weekly. Our business has always three or four major remodeling projects and some catered more to remodeling customers but small jobs. I’m creating some outdoor barbecue some of our biggest jobs each year are new product designs, as well as some new hoods for construction where we do most of the rooms Zephyr. I’m also working pro bono with Engineers that require cabinetry. There seems to be some Without Borders on an affordable compostable pent-up demand, and people are finally moving toilet for third-world areas in South America, so I’m forward with projects they have been wanting very busy. That’s why I say I feel very fortunate in to do for years, both new construction and this climate. remodeling. I expect to continue to see more Hamilton-Gray: I work in the high-end remodeling since home prices are still rather flat. industry, but because many of my clients are Hamilton-Gray: With 2011 having been the only doing what’s necessary to get by, we’ve most unpredictable year within the last decade, helped several families who needed to do elections looming ahead and our recovery from things in a much more economical fashion, the economic downturn not looking to speed such as sourcing material that might be on sale up anytime soon, I’ve seen a drawback and or cabinetry from big-box stores. We also have nervousness about spending. People are deciding a couple of new construction projects, which is to do not full remodels—like gutting to the studs— interesting because we haven’t seen those for a but more cosmetic changes that will not cost them couple of years. Hopefully, it’s a sign of the future as much. They’re just doing what’s necessary until Clockwise from top left: Mark T. White, Cheryl that people are going to decide to get on with Hamilton-Gray, Doug Durbin and Fu-Tung Cheng their lives comfortably no matter what. they see what will happen in the future. Durbin: There are positive signs of economic recovery, but there is a segment of the industry and the country that will continue to struggle and recover more slowly than others. Also, we are living in such a fragile and reactive world, it seems any recovery can quickly be affected by sudden unsettling news. The luxury end will still wrestle with competition from lesser-quality products and firms but there are really nice projects to be had if you are willing to follow them and be flexible. In the Midwest, we are definitely working on more remodeling projects than new construction. Many firms are seeing increases in activity and work. Certainly the businesses that have been established for many years are picking up. Cheng: Our business outlook is good, but the middle class—even the upper middle class—in our area is gone. We used to have kitchen remodels White: In most of our remodeling projects, our clients are trying to create more space by opening up the plan, borrowing square footage from adjacent areas and redesigning to maximize functionality. As always, they are looking to incorporate new products with improved features and updated styling and are definitely considering energy efficiency and green products.
Which design and product trends will continue from 2011 into 2012?
Durbin: Many of our clients are still looking for a mix of materials, textures and styles within their projects. They’re also interested in a relaxed traditional/transitional look that allows them a lot of flexibility with the features and items they want to introduce into the space.
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of KBB - January/February 2012
KBB - January/February 2012
Show Director’s Note
Road to KBIS
KBB - January/February 2012