Dear Eliot:

Thanks for your recent Editorial in Kitchen & Bath Design News about the challenges faced by specifiers when it comes to appliance panels. I have been in the kitchen and bath industry for more than 45 years, and can say that panels and other appliance-related issues are among our biggest problems.

I would like to offer a suggestion that would help manufacturers, as well as dealers and other specifiers. I suggest forming a committee to act as a liaison to work with cooperating appliance manufacturers. Thus, when literature is vague, or out of date, or difficult to interpret, some interpretations could be made to assist manufacturers.

I'm sure that every appliance manufacturer desires to provide specifiers with the needed information. However, persons in charge of writing the specifications are often not aware of what we really need, and the format to make it user-friendly for our clients.

I also believe that sometimes, by the time they do learn that, they move on and a new person replaces them. I have, at times, called a manufacturer and asked who's in charge of writing the specs, and no one seems to know the answer.

With the format I'm suggesting, participation on the part of manufacturers would be voluntary. The service would be free, although contributions could be accepted to help cover costs. As dealers have problems or suggestions, they could communicate with the committee.

Committee members would not need to meet in person, but could use the telephone, fax or e-mail to communicate with each other. They would be non-salaried, but could be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses for mailing, phone calls and the like.

Perhaps a five-year trial period might be tried, to see what happens. It seems like the NKBA would be in the best position to provide direction for this type of endeavor. Those of us who are members would benefit greatly.

Could we hear from the NKBA to get their feelings?

- Robert Sponenberg, CKD
Kitchen Associates
Sterling, MA


Dear Janice:

I wanted to thank Jane Scammon for taking the time to write the Commentary entitled "Know Your Worth – and Let Your Clients Know, Too" in the June 2005 issue of Kitchen & Bath Design News – and you for publishing it.

I've often wanted to write to the producers of the HGTV's Designers Challenge – the show that features three professional interior designers who present their ideas to a potential client. The client ultimately selects the winner from the three, but what happens to the losers?

Unfortunately, that program has spawned a lot of this "freebee" mind set.

Wouldn't it be a great idea if, at the end of Designers Challenge, the producers focused on the three designers' invoices for the time that all three invested? Let the viewing public see the thousands of dollars of invoices marked paid in full so the general public gets the idea that professionals do nothing for free.

Maybe if the design community vetoed Designers Challenge, elected to forego getting the exposure on that program, and insisted on the "pay-as-you-go" formula, the producers would deliver that message to the viewing audience, so that the general public could understand.

At our Cleveland-based showrooms, we adhere to this way of doing business, and do so with a smile – even if we occasionally have to "walk away" as a result.

- Robert A. Somrak, Jr., CKD,
Somrak Kitchens, Inc.
Cleveland, OH

Letters Welcome From Readers

Letters to the Editor are welcome from readers on issues of relevance to the kitchen and bath industry.

Letters to the Editor are subject to editing to conform to Kitchen & Bath Design News' editorial standards – and do not necessarily represent the views of KBDN's management.

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