KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Feb 23 2011

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A brave new world

The internet has sure changed the kitchen and bath industry, hasn’t it?

At one time, we designed to the prevailing styles within our geographical location. While some of the architecture and trimmings varied across the continent, consumer desire for “Old World” or “Traditional” or “Contemporary” was pretty consistent in all markets.

Now that everyone is internet-savvy, consumers have gone online for their kitchen and bath inspiration. In the old days, we would have called it “all dialed in,” except no one under 20 years old would have a clue what it means. I even had to look it up myself. (Work with me here.)

The next group of homeowners that I’m working with now doesn’t recognize the “because that’s the way it’s always been done” routine. They saw this cool design on the internet, and who cares it if was from South Africa/Canada/Russia? We can get it, can’t we?

We’re getting there.

This year, I’ve seen a strong interest in my blog readership in no-zone (or free-zone) induction cooktops, which debuted this year in European design shows. I haven’t seen them in my part of the world…yet.

In this next decade, we’ll need to adapt to this group. Where it was once rare for consumers to ask for items from other parts of the world, it’s more routine, although some items still require consumer education about shipping and customs hold-ups.

If you think that your remote town or area is exempt from this, I’m compelled to point out that 15 years ago some of the best European kitchen design in North America was happening around Anchorage, Alaska. And internet wasn’t always an option then.

As the world becomes smaller, our choices grow endless. While it’s a daunting task to sort through which worldwide items will suit our North American tastes, our clients are becoming more knowledgeable about the world tastes.

On the plus side, consumers will need experienced designers and trade professionals more than ever to sort it all out.

Until next time,


This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 at 6:00 AM and is filed under Business, Products, Trends. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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