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NKBA hosts its first luxury bathroom summit

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The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), the world’s leading non-profit trade association for the kitchen and bath industry, hosted its first-ever Luxury Bath Summit on June 22-23, reaching over 1,200 industry trade professionals. The two-day virtual event, in association with Cambria and sponsored by House of Rohl, was based on the findings of the NKBA’s recent market research report, the 2022 Luxury Bathroom Study.

“Today’s luxury bathroom has evolved into a sumptuous spa-like space that offers sanctuary, wellness and tranquility,” said Suzie Williford, NKBA executive vice president and chief strategy officer. The event kicked off with a qualitative look at the luxury bathroom segment from the NKBA. The market research team then moved on to deeper discussions of what is influencing luxury bathroom design today, exploring factors including products, design approaches, lifestyle changes and influences.

“Not surprisingly, we discovered that travel, experiences in fabulous hospitality venues, a desire for fully integrated technology and a wealth of valuable materials were must-haves for many,” Williford said. “We also learned that the luxury bath is really part of a complete look in the master suite: bedroom, living room, walk-in closets, closets, and bath spaces. NKBA trade professionals continue to influence two of the most important areas of home living, always providing comfort, safety and beauty.”

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NKBA Luxury Bathroom Market Research: Five Key Takeaways

Luxury bathrooms are claiming priority, and even square footage, of bedrooms, closets, and other spaces.

Technology in the bathroom is a priority, albeit a hidden one, that enables ease, comfort, safety and experiences.

Incorporating wellness and “living in place” concepts is easier with new product innovations such as steam showers, hydrotherapy, chromotherapy, integrated bidets and smart toilets.

Bathrooms have evolved from a primarily functional space and an afterthought to one of the most important rooms in the home.

Bathrooms have become a place where we spend time and have fun, a place to nurture health and (even) romance.

Summit Highlights and Participants

Summit participants were designer members of the NKBA, who were interviewed as part of the Luxury Bathroom Study and included:

NKBA Luxury Bathroom Designers

  • Christopher Grubb, President, Arch-Interiors Design Group, Inc., Beverly Hills, CA
  • Shea Pumarejo, CMKBD, Founder, Younique Designs, San Antonio, TX
  • Garrison Hullinger, President, Garrison Hullinger Interior Design, Portland, Oregon
  • Blue Arnold, Director, Kitchens by Request, Inc., Jarrettsville, MD
  • Elma Gardner, CMKB, Owner and President, By Design Studio, Inc., Davis, CA
  • Sandra Diaz-Velasco, Principal Architect, EOLO Design, Miami, FL
  • Christine Conte, Owner, Christine Conte Interiors, Huntington, New York
  • Jacque Bethke, Principal Designer, Architect and Engineer, JAQUE, Scottsdale, AZ
  • Aparna Vijayan, Designer, Ulrich.Inc, Ridgewood, NJ
  • Joy Chao, Principal Interior Designer, John Henshaw Architect Inc. (JHA), Vancouver, BC Canada
  • Reisa Pollard, Founder, Beyond Beige, North Vancouver, BC, Canada
  • Kelly McDermott, Senior Designer, Greater Chicago, IL Area

Additionally, industry insiders included Julie Faupel, Founder of REALM; and moderators Wendy Cohen, CEO and founder of PowerHouse Companies; Kathryn Given, Senior Style and Market Editor, Luxe Interiors + Design; Susan Brinson, Co-Founder and Creative Director of House of Brinson; Christopher Wallace, founder and president of InnerView; Alex Capecelatro, CEO, Josh AI; and Tricia Zach, head of research for the NKBA.

NKBA Luxury Bathroom Summit Highlights:

Summit participants were designer members of the NKBA, who were interviewed as part of the Luxury Bathroom Study and included:

NKBA Luxury Bathroom Designers

  • Christopher Grubb, President, Arch-Interiors Design Group, Inc., Beverly Hills, CA

  • Shea Pumarejo, CMKBD, Founder, Younique Designs, San Antonio, TX

  • Garrison Hullinger, President, Garrison Hullinger Interior Design, Portland, Oregon

  • Blue Arnold, Director, Kitchens by Request, Inc., Jarrettsville, MD

  • Elma Gardner, CMKB, Owner and President, By Design Studio, Inc., Davis, CA

  • Sandra Diaz-Velasco, Principal Architect, EOLO Design, Miami, FL

  • Christine Conte, Owner, Christine Conte Interiors, Huntington, New York

  • Jacque Bethke, Principal Designer, Architect and Engineer, JAQUE, Scottsdale, AZ

  • Aparna Vijayan, Designer, Ulrich.Inc, Ridgewood, NJ

  • Joy Chao, Principal Interior Designer, John Henshaw Architect Inc. (JHA), Vancouver, BC Canada

  • Reisa Pollard, Founder, Beyond Beige, North Vancouver, BC, Canada

  • Kelly McDermott, Senior Designer, Greater Chicago, IL Area

Additionally, industry insiders included Julie Faupel, Founder of REALM; and moderators Wendy Cohen, CEO and founder of PowerHouse Companies; Kathryn Given, Senior Style and Market Editor, Luxe Interiors + Design; Susan Brinson, Co-Founder and Creative Director of House of Brinson; Christopher Wallace, founder and president of InnerView; Alex Capecelatro, CEO, Josh AI; and Tricia Zach, head of research for the NKBA.

NKBA Luxury Bathroom Summit Highlights:

Incorporate Nature.
Elma Gardner, CMKBD, owner and president of By Design Studio, noted that featured natural materials include teak, a bathtub that allows continuous water movement, and large windows for more natural light and views of nature outdoors.

Embedded technology is becoming polarized, but it’s here to stay.
Homeowners want integrated technology that is intuitive and easy to use. “They don’t want to have to work with technology,” said Blue Arnold, CMKBD, owner of Kitchens By Request. He incorporated technology into his client’s bathroom that was well hidden, practical and not too complicated, including automatic blinds, underfloor heating, mood lighting, speakers and a TV in the mirror.

Hospitality is a driving inspiration.
Jaque Bethke, Principal Designer at Jaque Bethke Design, fleshed out the NKBA study and found that travel and hospitality spaces have a huge influence on customers. They want to recreate the comfort, details and amenities offered in five-star properties, in particular, hidden televisions, separate toilets, cafes and wine bars, living rooms, voice-activated lighting, climate and window controls, as well as bathtubs and multi-spray showers.

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