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‘Best of KBIS’ Awards Open for 2022 Entries

HACKETTSTOWN, NJ Entries are being accepted through Dec. 1 for the 2022 “Best of KBIS” Awards, an annual awards program that recognizes the most innovative new kitchen and bath products of the year, the National Kitchen & Bath Association announced.

According to the NKBA, owner of the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS), products must have been introduced after Feb. 9, 2021 in order to be eligible for consideration. Categories include Kitchen–Gold; Kitchen–Silver; Bath–Gold; Bath–Silver; Connected Home Technology–Gold; Connected Home Technology–Silver; Best in Show, and Impact Award (Judge’s Choice).

The “Best of KBIS” awards ceremony will take place at the KBIS NeXT Stage in the South Hall on Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022, at the Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fla.

Information can be obtained by visiting the NKBA’s website, www.nkba.org.


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Architecture Firms Report Increased Demand for Services

WASHINGTON, DC Architecture firms, including those focused in the residential sector, continued to report increasing demand for design services in September, according to a new report issued by the American Institute of Architects.

According to the Washington, DC-based AIA, the association’s monthly “Architecture Billings Index” (ABI) score for September was 56.6, up from August’s score of 55.6. Any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings from the prior month, the AIA said.

“The ABI scores over the last eight months continue to be among the highest ever seen in the immediate post-recession periods that have been captured throughout the index’s history,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker.

Baker cautioned, however, that it’s “unlikely that revenue increases at architecture firms can sustain this pace.”

“Given that growth in both new design contracts and project inquiries have moderated in recent months, we expect to see a similar path for the ABI,” Baker said.

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Builder Confidence Up, Despite Supply Chain Disruptions

WASHINGTON, DC Strong consumer demand helped push builder confidence higher in October despite growing affordability challenges stemming from rising material prices and shortages, the National Association of Home Builders reported.

According to the Washington, DC-based NAHB, builder sentiment in the market for newly built single-family homes moved four points higher to 80 in October, according to the latest monthly NAHB/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), released this week.

The NAHB also reported that single-family housing production held steady in September, at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.56 million units, as strong demand helped to offset ongoing building material supply chain disruptions.

“Although demand and home sales remain strong, builders continue to grapple with ongoing supply chain disruptions and labor shortages that are delaying completion times and putting upward pressure on building material and home prices,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke.

“Builders are getting increasingly concerned about affordability hurdles ahead for most buyers,” added NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “Building material price increases and bottlenecks persist, and interest rates are expected to rise in coming months as the Fed begins to taper its purchase of U.S. Treasuries and mortgage-backed debt.

“Policymakers must focus on fixing the broken supply chain,” Dietz observed. “This will spur more construction and help ease upward pressure on home prices.”


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Furniture-Style Vanities Complement the Home

The pandemic’s effect on home design is evident in many areas of the home, but none more so than the bath. While baths were trending smaller and more streamlined pre-pandemic, the time spent at home has resulted in the desire for the bath to be a wellness sanctuary, with the now-desired larger space complementing the overall design of the rest of the home.

With regard to bath vanities, this has meant a renewed interest in furniture-style pieces with clever storage and matching linen cabinets and mirrors. Styles from updated traditional to mid-century modern to Japandi are trending, with wood finishes and bolder colors gaining ground on whites and painted neutrals.

Larger spaces are also having an effect on vanity size and amenities. Longer, narrower vanities are garnering interest, as are wall-mount versions that lend themselves to making a space feel larger and less cluttered.

Following are some of the specific trends currently being seen in bath vanities:

–Vanities from 48” to 72” are most popular right now, with customized storage to accommodate personal items in demand.

–Clean lines and unfussy detailing are desired, but there is a softness in the edges that keeps the style from being stark and contemporary, allowing the pieces to blend with the rest of the home.

–Closed storage is still preferred to keep small bath appliances and toiletries out of sight, though open shelving is gaining some ground.

–Though furniture styles are front and center, modular design is also gaining attention, as consumers look to arrange pieces to fit their spaces and their lifestyles.

–Retro styles, rustic finishes, modern farmhouse and historic European aesthetics are all influencing current styles in vanities and in the bath overall, sometimes with two styles used in combination.

–Wood finishes are of particular interest, as are painted finishes that shy away from neutral tones in favor of earthy tones, dusty pastels and blacks.

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