Kitchen & Bath Design News

DEC 2018

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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Page 34 of 67

It's hard for contractors to set those project schedules when they don't have the tradespeo- ple in place to execute, but they're not the only ones dealing with labor shortage headaches. Designers and retailers also have difficulty fill- ing openings to meet homeowner demand. "A side effect of the worker shortages is increased pressures on wages and salaries in order to attract workers," Gutierrez notes. Clendenon is definitely seeing that effect in her design projects, she says. "We have done bathrooms recently over $100,000 – and in our area, that is a ton of money. Labor is more expensive, and now so are some products with tariffs imposed – especially countertop materials." Mother Nature has played a role, too, Gutierrez comments. "Economic shocks, such as hurricanes, have a major impact on the kitchen and bath industry through the destruction, or major damage, to houses and buildings. But their impact is localized in specific areas, and they do not have a major national impact." HOME TECHNOLOGY TRENDS "Almost every manufacturer has incorporat- ed smart home technology into their kitchen and bath products in some way," declares Ferguson's Fout. "In years prior, it was more for the 'wow' factor. Now, we are really seeing a shift to technology homeowners can actually use in their daily lives. Voice activation and in- tegration with platforms like Alexa and Google Home is a good example. Many homeowners already use these platforms, so it's not com- pletely foreign to connect a shower, vanity or oven and control [it] through voice commands." Style and performance still outweigh tech features, she notes, and many homeowners are still somewhat leery of the new technology. "This is changing as manufactures continue to launch products that are truly smart and can save time for a busy homeowner." APPLIANCE TRENDS "Last year was all about making cooking easier through wifi connectivity, usually through the manufacturer's app," Fout notes. Looking ahead, she sees more voice control integration in the new year. She sees more refrigeration appliances incorporating technology, but also flexibility: "It's all about creating products that best accommodate lifestyles and intended use: for instance, instead of just a wine refrigerator, combining wine storage with refrigeration and freezer drawers with an automatic ice maker." Here's what she's seeing in cleaning appli- ances: "Smaller, more compact dishwashers were p opular for urban areas. High-powered cleaning and noise level (the quieter, the better) were still a focus." Looking ahead: "In 2019, thoughtful features are imp ortant. For example, a dishwasher with fan-assisted drying to elim- inate the need for towel drying. Or a third top rack to clean even more. Connected dishwash- ers will also b e a hot topic – monitor and adjust settings as well as download custom wash cycles through a manufacturer's app." FIXTURE AND FAUCET TRENDS Functionality was important this year, Fout says, with the workstation sink still trending. What she's seeing, though, is more personal- ization in this category. "Farmhouse sinks are still popular, but [there's] the ability to change the color and material of the sink on a whim for full customization. "Touch and hands-free faucets have been popular for the last few years and widely adopted by the homeowner audience. We also saw a lot of black kitchen faucets that pair nicely with clean white kitchens." This is what she's predicting for next year: "In 2019, you'll see manufacturers really think about what's next for the kitchen faucet – how can it truly help the homeowner in the kitchen – special sprays for rinsing dishes, settings that deliver a precise set volume of water on demand, etc. We also think homeowners will start to adventure into new finishes like rose gold, warm brass and others that have been on the market a while but not widely adopted." In the bathroom, "under-counter sinks for vanities were popular, as well as console Bathrooms with open showers continue to trend. Matte black is a popular finish for showers, faucets and hardware. Clients are embracing a trend away from all-white and gray kitchens to include wood variations. Photo: Courtesy of NKBA/Designer: Richard T. Anuszkiewicz/Photographer: Jennifer Hughes Photo: Courtesy of Sweeten Photo: Courtesy of NARI /CARNEMARK design + build December 2018 • 35

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