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NKBA Hosts its First Luxury Bath Summit

June 30, 2022

The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) presented its first  Luxury Bath Summit June 22 -23, reaching more than 1,200 industry trade professionals. The two-day virtual event, in partnership with Cambria and sponsored by House of Rohl, was based on the findings of the NKBA’s recent market research report, the 2022 Luxury Bath Study.

“Today’s luxury bath has evolved, becoming a sumptuous spa-like space that offers sanctuary, wellness and quietude,” said Suzie Williford, EVP & chief strategy officer, NKBA.

The event began with a qualitative look at the luxury bath segment by the NKBA market research team, then turned to deeper discussions into what is influencing luxury bath design today, exploring drivers including products, design approaches, lifestyle shifts and influences.

“Not surprisingly, we found that travel, experiences at fabulous hospitality venues, a desire for fully integrated technology and a slew of rich materials were musts for many,” noted Williford. “We also learned that the luxury bath is really part of a full-on look at the primary suite – bedroom, lounge, dressing areas, closets and bathroom spaces. NKBA trade professionals continue to influence two of the most significant living areas in the home, always bringing comfort, safety and beauty.”

NKBA Luxury Bath Market Research: Five Key Take Aways

  1. Luxury baths are reclaiming priority — and even square footage — from bedrooms, closets and other spaces.
  2. Technology in the bath is a priority, albeit a hidden one that enables ease, convenience, safety and experiences.
  3. It’s easier to incorporate wellness and “living in place” concepts due to new product innovations like steam showers, hydrotherapy, chromatherapy, and integrated bidets and smart toilets.
  4. Baths have evolved from a primarily functional space and an afterthought to one of the most important rooms in the home.
  5. Baths have become a place where we invest time and enjoy, a place to nurture whole health and (even) romance.

Luxury Bath Summit Participants

Summit participants were NKBA designer members, who were interviewed as part of the Luxury Bath Study, and they included:

  • Christopher Grubb, president, Arch-Interiors Design Group, Inc., Beverly Hills, Calif.
  • Shea Pumarejo, CMKBD, founder, Younique Designs, San Antonio, Texas
  • Garrison Hullinger, president, Garrison Hullinger Interior Design, Portland, Ore.
  • Blue Arnold, principal, Kitchens by Request, Inc., Jarrettsville, Md.
  • Alma Gardner, CMKB, owner & president, By Design Studio, Inc., Davis, Calif.
  • Sandra Diaz-Velasco, principal architect, EOLO Design, Miami, Fla.
  • Christine Conte, owner, Christine Conte Interiors, Huntington, N.Y.
  • Jacque Bethke, principal designer, architect and engineer,JAQUE, Scottsdale, Ariz.
  • Aparna Vijayan, designer, Ulrich. Inc., Ridgewood, N.J.
  • Joy Chao, lead interior designer, John Henshaw Architect Inc. (JHA), Vancouver, BC
  • Reisa Pollard, founder, Beyond Beige, North Vancouver, BC
  • Kelly McDermott, senior designer, Greater Chicago Area

Additionally, industry experts included Julie Faupel, founder, REALM; and moderators Wendy Cohen, CEO and founder, PowerHouse Companies; Kathryn Given, senior style and market editor, Luxe Interiors + Design; Susan Brinson, co-founder + creative director, House of Brinson;  Christopher Wallace, founder and president, InnerView; Alex Capecelatro, CEO, Josh AI; and Tricia Zach, NKBA head of research.

NKBA Luxury Bath Summit Highlights

  • Incorporate Nature. Alma Gardner, CMKBD, owner & president of By Design Studio, noted standout natural materials include teak, a soaking tub allowing for continuous water movement and large windows for more natural light and outdoor nature views.
  • Integrated Technology Is Polarizing but Here to Stay. Homeowners want integrated technology that is intuitive and easy to use. “They don’t want to have to work the technology,” said Blue Arnold, CMKBD, owner of Kitchens By Request. He incorporated technology into his client’s bathroom that was well-hidden, practical and not overly complicated, including automated shades, heated floors, ambient lighting, speakers and a TV in the mirror.
  • Hospitality Is a Driving Inspiration. Jaque Bethke, the principal designer for Jaque Bethke Design, reinforced the NKBA study finding that travel and hospitality spaces are a big influence on clients. They want to recreate the comfort, details and amenities offered at five-star properties, notably hidden TVs, separate water closets, coffee and wine bars, lounge areas, voice-activated lighting, temperature and window controls as well as soaking tubs and multi-spray showers.

Luxury Bath Summit on Demand

Click here to watch sessions from the Luxury Bath Summit. The NKBA on-demand page is live for members and anyone who registered for the Luxury Bath Summit. Those who registered also receive free access to the Luxury Bath Study. One select session from The Luxury Bath Summit will be rebroadcast on August 11, 2022, for on-demand viewing.