The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) is a nonprofit trade association that promotes the professionalism of the kitchen and bath industry. Established in 1963 as a network of kitchen dealers, it has grown into the premier association of distributors, retailers, remodelers, manufacturers, fabricators, installers, designers, and other professionals. The NKBA’s certification program emphasizes continuing education and career development, and includes designers and professionals in all segments of the kitchen and bath industry. Nearly 50 years after its inception, the NKBA has a membership of more than 500,000 and produces the annual Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS).
Whether you’re building a new home or thinking of remodeling your kitchen or bathroom (you’re tired of the inefficient layout, outdated design, or cramped space), how do you know where to begin?
First of all, don’t rush it. Take your time. Collect photos, go to design centers, and make sure the vision is right in your mind. If you want your project done to code, on time, and within budget, hire an NKBA-certified professional.
You’ll be working with someone who:
Ready to talk to a pro about your remodel? Use NKBA’s ProSearch to find an NKBA member or retail store in your local area. www.NKBA.org/ProSearch
Kitchen and bath design improvement projects are oftentimes portrayed as simple do-it-yourself endeavors. Don’t be fooled. It can actually be a fairly complex process involving careful thought and consideration. In my opinion, there are three primary elements to ensure the experience of working with an NKBA professional is as streamlined as possible:
Analyze your specific situation and determine the need. Is something lacking in the space? Is the layout awkward? Are you craving a fresh new look? Or maybe you want a change in order to make your life more convenient? You have to understand what it is that you have to work with, what you’re looking for, and why you’re looking for it. Clarify your objective so that you’re all on the same page.
You must now take what you have, and determine, define, and develop the changes that will meet your needs, improve the space, and provide you with the ideal final outcome—these elements make up the design. Look at the whole picture. The best designs incorporate proper space analysis, product selection, budget, and installation. Know where you are going.
This is the physical activity of construction, installing the cabinets, tops, flooring, appliances, painting the walls, all those pretty finishes. This is when the workers, installers, and tradesmen do their jobs. It’s best characterized by detailed plans, specification, attention to detail (quality work), and making sure the project is done on time and within budget. This is where your vision comes to life.
When you’re working with a certified NKBA professional, your experience can be fun and rewarding.
—by Carl A. Smith, III, CKD, CBD, President of NKBA – Minnesota Chapter
Many homeowners think their kitchen is outdated from the looks of their worn cabinets, dated appliances, and crackled countertop. What they may not realize is that there are many other reasons—more important than cosmetic—for a kitchen remodel. The NKBA offers the following tips to help homeowners evaluate the current condition of their kitchen and decide if the time is right for a remodel:
Adequate space: Are you satisfied with the amount of counter space, cabinet space and floor space in your kitchen? The position of your refrigerator or shape of your counter may be taking away useful workspace. According to the NKBA Kitchen and Bath Planning Guidelines, when replacing a countertop or changing the shape of your kitchen, keep in mind that a total of 158 inches of countertop frontage, 24 inches deep with at least 15 inches of clearance above, is needed to accommodate all uses, including landing area, preparation/work area and storage.
Traffic flow: If there’s more than one cook in your household, you may want to consider making more room around the main workspace. If you enjoy entertaining, you may want an open plan kitchen that allows for more social interaction between the kitchen and other rooms. According to the NKBA Kitchen Planning Guidelines, the width of a walkway should be at least 36 inches and the width of a work aisle should be at least 42 inches for one cook and at least 48 inches for multiple cooks.
Children: Depending on whether or not you have children, and their ages, your kitchen may need to be remodeled. Dated appliances and the design of your kitchen can be hazardous for young kids. If you are in the process of extending your family, you may want more room for cooking larger meals and lower cabinets for easier access to children’s food. Based on the NKBA Kitchen Planning Guidelines, microwave ovens should be installed 3 inches below the principal user’s shoulder but no more than 54 inches above the floor to avoid accidents. The NKBA also suggests avoiding sharp corners on countertops with kids around.
Efficiency: If your appliances are dated, they may be costing you more money than you expect. New technological advances with dishwashers, disposals and refrigerators could save you a considerable amount of money and may be well worth the investment. For example, purchasing a dishwasher with low-energy consumption, delay timer and economy cycle or half-load button will result in saving water and money.
Universal Design: Is your kitchen accessible to individuals with disabilities? Will you be able to use your kitchen safely as you get older? Considering these issues is vital in a kitchen remodel. Employing Universal Design techniques in the remodel will help assure that the space is as accessible to or useable by all people, regardless of age, size or physical ability without the need for adaptation or specialized design later on.
Location: Thinking about adding a deck to the side or back of your house? Incorporating a door into the layout of your kitchen would be a great convenience for outdoor entertaining. You also may want to rearrange the position of windows to allow more or less sunlight or to watch your children play in the yard. When rearranging the layout of your kitchen, according to the NKBA guidelines, the clear opening of a doorway should be at least 32 inches wide, which would require a minimum of a 2-foot, 10-inch door. Keep in mind that a cooking surface should never be located under an operable window.
Before you remodel your kitchen, make a checklist of major and minor problems and keep notes of the features you dislike and like the most. When it comes time to sit down with a qualified kitchen and bath designer, they’ll know exactly how to suit your needs, taste, and style. For more information about remodeling and the safety of your kitchen and to find a qualified NKBA professional, visit nkba.org or call NKBA Customer Service at (800) THE-NKBA.
What do all those letters mean after a person’s title? Most people know that MD means medical doctor when they see it listed after a name, but what about AKBD, CKD, CMKBD, or CKBP? The designations separate the certified kitchen designers from those without certification—showing that an NKBA professional has undergone in-depth testing, has extensive industry experience, and meets continuing education requirements.
What it means: You’re hiring a professional, knowledgeable in product selection, space planning, materials, and finishes.
Requirements: Must document a minimum of two years experience; at least one year within the kitchen/bath industry. Must earn a minimum of 30 hours of NKBA education or approved college coursework.
What it means: You’re hiring a specialist who can help design, plan, and implement residential kitchen and bath projects, with proven knowledge of technical and communication skills required to succeed in the field.
Requirements: Must document a minimum of seven years of experience; a minimum of three years specifically from full-time residential kitchen/bath experience, including design execution or project management. The remaining four years can consist of full-time kitchen/bath design or related industry experience. Must earn a minimum of 60 hours of NKBA education or NKBA approved college coursework.
What it means/requirements: You’re hiring a professional who has not only their CKD and CBD certifications, but an additional 10 years of experience in the industry beyond the date of their first certification—a minimum of 17 years of industry experience—and must also meet specific educational requirements.
What it means: This is the NKBA’s only non-design oriented certification; one that benefits everyone in the industry (residential construction, general business, materials and product specialists, project managers).
Requirements: Must prove a high level of proficiency in professional knowledge, industry experience, and education in the kitchen and bath industry. Must document a minimum of five years industry experience and earn a minimum of 40 hours of NKBA education or approved college coursework.