The 2007 NKBA Design Competition

It has been said that “a thing of beauty is a joy forever,” and this year – perhaps more than at any other time – that sentiment reflects the designs showcased in the 43rd annual National Kitchen & Bath Association Design Competition.

Dubbed the “2007 NKBA Design Competition: Art of the Industry,” this year’s competition highlights 44 finalists whose designs share a sense of art in their approach to aesthetics, function and innovation.

Indeed, each design features its own unique style. Among those highlighted are an Asian-style bungalow, a kitchen reminiscent of a client’s childhood home in South Africa, and a powder room that captures the elegance of a jewelry box while maintaining a sense of practicality.

Function was a top priority in these designs, as state-of-the-art products – combined with a judicious use of space – resulted in efficient layouts suitable for entertaining purposes, yet durable enough for everyday use.

It is these qualities, along with traffic-friendly floorplans, striking materials, effective lighting, subtle finishing touches and a timeless appreciation for craftsmanship, that make these rooms stand out from the rest.

The Competition

Exotic wood veneers, warm colors and modern amenities were some of the common elements used in the designs tapped as finalists in the “2007 NKBA Design Competition: Art of the Industry.” The contest is an annual celebration of the most stylish, innovative and functional designs from some of the top kitchen and bath designers across the U.S. and Canada.
The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) once again enticed hundreds of leading kitchen and bath designers to enter the competition, with a record-setting 567 entrants presenting their best work.

According to NKBA officials, the “Medium Kitchens” category alone attracted over 100 design hopefuls; while the number of entrants in the “Other Room” category more than doubled from last year, “illustrating kitchen and bath designers’ growing interest in using their core competencies to branch out into other areas of the home,” according to Sean Ruck, manager of editorial services and public relations for the Hackettstown, NJ-based NKBA.

Indeed, that notion is also supported by the fact that 14 of this year’s finalists were first-time entrants in the competition.

After careful deliberation by the competition judges, 44 finalists were selected in 11 different categories, representing the U.S., Canada, and, for the first time ever, Bermuda, giving the competition a diverse geographic representation of skillful – and artful – design approaches.

Among the finalists is a small kitchen featuring the use of powder blue cabinets, reminiscent of a 1932 Cape Cod style home; a large kitchen with a beachside ambience that retains a traditional, elegant look, and a powder room remodeled to capture a sense of earthiness through the use of natural materials, such as terracotta flooring and a semi-submerged vessel sink made of onyx.

The 2007 Pinnacle Award winner will be announced at the NKBA Board of Directors’ Gala and Cocktail Reception, to be held at the Venetian Resort Casino on May 7 during the Kitchen/Bath Industry Show (K/BIS). The winners of the 2007 NKBA Design Competition will be honored at the first-ever NKBA Design Competition Awards Luncheon, live on the show floor on May 8.

This year’s competition sponsors include Sub-Zero Freezer Co./Wolf Appliance Co. (sponsor for the Pinnacle Award for “Best Overall Design”); Miele (sponsor for the “Best Kitchen” award), and 20-20 Technologies, which re-drafted the finalists’ design floor plans.

“All three of these companies served as sponsors, as well as Kitchen and Bath Ideas, which is the sponsor for the “Best Before-and-After award,” Ruck concludes.

The Judging

This year, a panel of 14 industry experts served as judges for the 2007 NKBA Design Competition, each of whom is a practicing kitchen and bath design professional who has achieved the Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD) and Certified Bath Designer (CBD) designation and/or Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer (CMKBD) designation.

According to NKBA officials, the judging criteria is stringent, with designs chosen based on visual appeal, creative elements, principles of design, overall presentation (including quality of floorplan, perspective and photos) and basic safety and ergonomics of the design.

All first-place winners will also be eligible for the Pinnacle Award, which recognizes the best overall design, as well as the “Best Kitchen” Award for winners in the kitchen categories and the “Best Before-and-After Award.”

The Categories

This year’s competition was separated into 11 distinct categories, each designed to represent the latest trends in kitchen, bath and other-room design. The categories were created to reflect how designers stretch their imaginations and put their creativity to work for their clients in a variety of settings.

Design categories for this year’s competition included: Category One: Small Kitchens (defined as having less than 35 sq. ft. of countertops); Category Two: Medium Kitchens (defined as having more than 35 sq. ft. but less than 50 sq. ft. of countertops); Category Three: Large Kitchens (defined as having more than 50 sq. ft. of countertops); Category Four: Open Plan Kitchens (including Great Rooms, breakfast nooks and dining rooms); Category Five: Powder Rooms; Category Six: Small Bathrooms (defined as having less than 55 sq. ft. total); Category Seven: Large Bathrooms (defined as having more than 55 sq. ft. total); Category Eight: Master Suite/Bathrooms (which includes closets, dressing rooms, etc.); Category Nine: Showrooms; Category 10: Other Rooms (home offices, dining areas, living rooms, etc.), and Category 11: Non-Residential Spaces (reception areas, restaurants and cooking schools).

Descriptions and photos of the 44 NKBA Design Competition finalists can be found in the Project Spotlight section, under the current listing of projects (or the May 2007 section archive).

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