NKBA reveals top kitchen and bath trends

| by Teena Hammond
NKBA reveals top kitchen and bath trends

Ten trends in particular stand out among the entries in this year's National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) Design Competition, with the winning entries announced yesterday.

There were nearly 500 designs submitted to the 2012 NKBA Design Competition, and some presiding kitchen and bath themes were apparent. Fixtures, finishes, materials, color palettes, technology, shapes, focal points and overall geometry are a few among the complex considerations that talented creative-thinkers factor into their plans when generating a room design. Be inspired and enjoy examples of ten trends and treatments to inspire.

Glossy finishes and fixtures

Shimmering surfaces, shining fixtures, high-sheen finishes and perfectly placedlighting accents are a prominent personality trait of current kitchens. This kitchen is a composition of stainless steel, walnut wood veneer and light reflecting off a Calcutta gold marble island top. Lights dotting the floor at the base of the island create a soft glow along the recessed toe-kick. Wood floors appear to glow with the shine of time-worn care and polishing. However, it's the sheen and shimmer against creamy walls and warm wood that breathes life into the interior space.

Design by: Jed Mac Kenzie, CKD

bulthaup by Kitchen Distributors, Inc.


Photo by Scott Hasson

Interior use of concrete

Concrete brought into the house is prevalent in several contexts. In this masterbathroom, concrete is the center of the primary focal point. The floating pomelle seppele vanity cabinet surrounded by recycled glass tiles is the foundation for a concrete countertop with integrated sinks. The concrete surface brought to a high shine nearly belies the material, and in hue, it contributes to the overall brown-gold palette. Original exposed brick and Lava rock, along with the contemporary application of cement brings a certain unity to the space.

Design by: Kirsti Wolfe

Kirsti Wolfe Designs

Bend, Ore.

Photo by Paula Watts Photography


Color infusion behind glass

A simple painted wall with glass panels overlaid creates a sleek sheen of color with thesmooth surface complimentary to shimmering appliances and gleaming countertops. A cook top wall has become a calm cool focal point in this family kitchen. A contemporary palette was incorporated into the space, and the cool dove blue wall covered in glass, combined with warm wood floors, white Carerra marble, stainless steel, and taupe quartz stand out as defining color ingredients to this Scandinavian/Danish approach.

Design by: Yuko Matsumoto, CKD, CBD

Altera Design & Remodeling

Walnut Creek, Calif.

Photo by Douglas Johnson Photography

The white kitchen, reinvented

The white kitchen has been called many things, including classic, contemporary, cleanand sparse, but one thing can be said; it's a consistent in kitchen design. White has never entirely gone away, but neatly and cleverly reinvented itself to remain in the archives and future of home kitchens. There are a number of ways that white continues to make an appearance, in hues ranging from snow white to varying shades of creamy, muted, milky tones. This combination of colors and textures is a strong representation of the reinvented and renewed white kitchen, which is strong, sleek and superb.

Design by: Martha Beckermann

Kitchen Concepts by Martha Beckermann


Ontario, Canada

Photo by Jesse Brennemann

Suspended lighting

Suspended lighting allows for a number of outcomes, and in kitchen design the resultis dangling focal points that drop light onto defined areas of countertop, dining surfaces or flooring. The result can also be artistic pieces of sculpture that contribute to the visual appeal of a space, exuding light, glimmer and glitz. With angled spotlights running along a track to serve as hard-working partners to the suspended lighting, the shaded fixtures are in the forefront and are where the eye goes upon entering.

Design by: Mary Lou Kalmus

Designing Edge

Calrendon Hills, Ill.

Photo by S. Kezon / Chicago

Symmetry in design

A strong sense of symmetry enacted in room design creates stability and balance. Ifnot a mirror reflection of itself, the space should possess components and pieces that act as counterbalance to the one another. A large framed window anchors the wall behind the sink and open cabinetry, glass door cabinetry and open wire doors draw the eye up and around the well-composed room. Symmetrical placements within design generate purpose and contentment. Symmetry as a design trend appears rooted to remain, simply translated into contemporary applications and with current styling impacting change.

Design by: Earl Lawson

V6B Design Group


British Columbia, Canada

Photo courtesy of V6B Design Group

Repeating and complementing shapes

Starting with a particular shape and repeating it in various sizes, colors and texturesadds a continuum that is soothing, easy to accept when you enter the room. It's a principle that other areas of design are tapped into as well. In this bathroom, the square captures our attention with the travertine floor, glass mosaics in the shower, extending upwards to the windows that so nicely fill the peak of the ceiling.

Design by: Marcio Decker, AKBD

Home Concepts

Reno, Nev.

Photo by Varient3 Productions

Traditional technology in non-traditional spaces

Sometimes there's a way to start with a traditional item; in this case an appliance andapply or install it in a unique way and have the result be a solution to a large challenge. This kitchen began with the inflexible obstacles of plumbing, venting, and openings, which were not to be moved. Fridge drawers are integrated and incorporated into the sleek and clean lines of the cabinetry and overall space. A steam oven is added where the sink plumbing existed. And technology remains tucked conveniently away, while offering a solid functional solution to space challenges.

Design by: Jens Birkkjaer, CKD



Alberta, Canada

Photo by TrilogyStudios.ca


Tile in totality

Tile is making its presence known in contemporary bathrooms by occupying more andmore wall, floor and backsplash space. At the center of this master bathroom is a Japanese soaking tub. Translucent recycled glass in a muted pine green shade for the upper and lower tub deck were paired with small mosaic tiles in colors meant to evoke a tranquil sunset. Linen-textured, sand colored porcelain tile flooring presents the foundation for a restful space wrapped in glass tile.

Design by: Bonnie Bagley-Catlin

Jackson Design and Remodeling

San Diego, Calif.

Photo by Preview First


Open concept bathroom

Open plan bathrooms are more prevalent than ever and are not defined or confinedby size. With the design centered on the efficiency of a bathroom space with very little in the way of walls or partial walls, the user-friendly and efficiency aspects will be at the forefront of planning. This smaller bathroom was created as support for entertaining and with an entirely open shower and a minimalistic approach in product selection; the result is a stylishly sleek space. Eliminating a shower stall opened the expanse of the floor, making the entire room usable space.

Design by Karl Champley

KDLA, Inc.

Woodland Hills, Calif.

Photo by Carmel McFayden 2011

Topics: Building Green, Interior Design, Kitchen

Teena Hammond
Teena Hammond has published more than 2,000 articles in People and W magazines, Women's Wear Daily, and in dozens of newspapers and books. She also wrote a home improvement, remodeling and decor column that ran in Gannett newspapers nationwide. She's interested in all things green and would love to hear from you with your story ideas.

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