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A Recap of Three KBIS 2023 Voices from the Industry Sessions

June 6, 2023

Clearing the Air: Literally and Figuratively

Noting that noise and cost are the two primary concerns homeowners have about ventilation products, Anna Violand of Broan-NuTone highlights the health benefits of indoor air quality in the kitchen, bath and beyond in this 2023 Voices from the Industry session at KBIS 2023. She cites research and resources that will help designers clearly and confidently explain the importance of including quality ventilation systems in their projects.

Above photo: Smart technology can help homeowners monitor and focus on their health. When designing with it, keep in mind today’s lifestyle and that of your clients. Photo: ArchiVIZ/Adobe Stock

Key Takeaways:

  • Americans spend about 90% of their time indoors. Proper ventilation inside can help avoid asthma, allergies and lung disease.
  • Many houses today are highly insulated and sealed to improve energy efficiency, however, houses that are too “tight” may degrade indoor air quality.
  • People and animals can track dirt, pollen and other substances into the home, further compromising indoor air quality.
  • Before selecting ventilation products, it’s important to check local building codes.
  • Look for products that have EnergyStar and Home Ventilating Institute certifications.
  • The kitchen is the #1 source of air contaminants in the home.
  • Analyzing the homeowners’ cooking habits can be useful in determining the appropriate kitchen ventilation system.
  • 82% of cooking fumes are vapor, and if not properly captured by a right-sized vent hood, will stay in the air for more than 72 hours.
  • Air contaminants – like grease – can adhere to surfaces in the home, damaging them. Proper ventilation helps avoid this.
  • A useful metaphor for designers to use with clients: The range hood is to the kitchen as lungs are to the human body.
  • In the bath, the size of the room is key to determining the optimal CFM needed for exhaust fans to function efficiently.
  • Proper ventilation in bathrooms prevents mold and mildew and also controls excess humidity.

Broan 2023 Voices from the Industry

Smart technology can help homeowners monitor and focus on their health. When designing with it, keep in mind today’s lifestyle and that of your clients. Photo: ArchiVIZ/Adobe Stock

Smart Technology for All Living in Place Clients

The pandemic has brought on the need to use tech aids for things like learning, telehealth, working and monitoring one’s health and well-being. In this 2023 Voices from the Industry session, Ryan Herd, CLIPP, founder of Caregiver Smart Solutions and Toni Sabatino, AKBD, CLIPP, owner of Toni Sabatino Style, provided a wealth of information on how smart technology can help homeowners of all ages and abilities.

Key Takeaways:

  • A 35-year-old has a 50% chance of becoming disabled for a 90-day period or longer before age 65.
  • Smart technology allows homeowners to focus on monitoring their health and well-being and any specific conditions.
  • Professionals who specialize in smart tech integration are up to date on products and installation techniques and can adapt devices to individual needs and abilities.
  • Monitoring technology can help homeowners and caregivers by saving them time and providing peace of mind.
  • Smart appliances can tell you when laundry the is finished, add more time to the dry cycle, set water heater temperature and alert you when it’s time to replace something.
  • Bidets help a person clean themselves and avoid infections. Just remember to spec an outlet near one.
  • Via voice or remote control, blinds can be easier to operate for those with limited reach or motor skills.
  • Smart thermostats can monitor air quality and temperature and keep everyone in the home comfortable.
  • You increase your value as a designer when you gain knowledge in this area. You are then able to provide info on all that is available so clients can decide what would be beneficial to them.
  • When designing with smart tech, keep in mind today’s lifestyle. You must provide a good user experience and not just a project that looks good.

How to Grow Your Interior Design Business

Creative people like designers can often struggle with the business side of things. In this 2023 Voices from the Industry session, Ariana Lovato, AKBD, CLIPP, principal designer of Honeycomb Home Design, who has doubled her firm’s sales year over year since she founded it in 2016, shares her tips for success.

Key Takeaways:

  • Developing your brand is often overlooked. This is how you differentiate yourself and tell potential clients why they should choose you over another design pro.
  • Market your specialty/niche if you have one; this can define your target market.
  • Learn know how to master the social platform that works best for you.
  • Only use your best portfolio pics on your website; people love to see before and after shots.
  • In terms of product and service offerings, you need to be consistent.
  • The first interaction with the client is the most important, as is the most recent one since that is top of mind for them.
  • At Honeycomb, they create a conceptual mood board for each client. This is what Lovato calls a litmus test to see if they are on the same page before the selection process.
  • Hiring for the skills you lack will make your firm stronger. Consider hiring an office manager who is responsible for procurement, purchasing and billing.
  • Define all roles within your organization, develop processes and stick to them, and give your employees room to grow.
  • Create quarterly goals, monitor your profit and loss sheets, be consistent with your fee structure, and stay true to your profit margins.

By Chelsie Butler & Leslie Clagett, KBB Editors

Ensuring property air quality in indoor spaces is imperative today. Broan-NuTone offers built-ins/power packs, which are unobtrusive ventilation solutions for the kitchen.