Kitchens & Baths Inspire Remodeling

I’ve got a motion to make. This column is not a board meeting, but I’d like to make a motion anyway. I’d like to move that each spring all remodelers, bow for a moment of grateful silence, at the exact moment that the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show — K/BIS — opens its doors.


It would be great and at that moment, all the remodelers in the country would lay down their drafting pencils. They would beg the pardon of their prospects for a moment of silence. All jobsites would go quiet. Ringing phones would go unanswered. (OK. There would be an exception made for answering ringing phones.) But you get the idea. The whole industry would just stop for a second.

This moment of grateful silence would be a symbolic gesture not just to the exhibitors at K/BIS, but rather to recognize the catalytic role the entire kitchen and bath industry has played in the booming remodeling market over the last five years — from high-style sinks and faucets to sleek and functional cooktops, vent hoods and ranges. The style and substance of new products from kitchen and bath manufacturers has inspired homeowners to continually update and renew. Long gone is the laminate countertop. In comes the granite. Out goes the old white fridge. In comes a new one with decorative wood panels.
The numbers tell the story. According to the recent report on the remodeling market, “Foundations for Future Growth in the Remodeling Industry,” from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, between 1994 and 2005 the average total expenditures on major kitchen remodeling was $8.9 billion per year on approximately 500,000 remodeling projects. In 2005, homeowners spent $15.5 billion on major kitchen remodels on 784,000 projects. For major bath remodels, the story is the same — a 10-year average of $5.9 billion in total expenditures on 607,000 projects vs. $10.5 billion spent in ’05 on 922,000 major bath remodels.

Like the fashion industry, the kitchen and bath industry revolves around new and innovative designs, colors and functions. There is a certain type of remodeling client that is redoing a kitchen or bath every other year based purely on their need to have the latest and greatest new looks. And to a large degree these upscale clients are driving the remodeling market. I believe it is high time we tip our hats to these innovators and their wonderful innovations that inspire and propel new remodeling projects.

Do I hear a second to my motion? … Hearing none, I would like to make a second motion. I move that all remodelers should, at least once, attend the annual K/BIS trade show. Chances are the new faucets, cabinets and appliances will inspire ideas to pass along to those homeowners who need and want to stay ahead of the design curve.