Retail Observer

July 2021

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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RETAILOBSERVER.COM JULY 2021 56 A S S O C I A T I O N N E W S T he National Kitchen & Bath Association recently published a Luxury Kitchen Research report exploring the world of ultra- high-end kitchen design. The study delves into various layers of luxury, what the luxury client seeks that designers can provide, and what helps equip designers to attract clients at this level, among other things. NKBA designers, Peter Salerno, CMKBD, principal designer at Peter Salerno Inc., Sarah Robertson, AKBD, principal at Studio Dearborn, and Nar Bustamante, president and principal designer at NAR Design Group (who all participated in the study), discussed the various elements that make up a luxury kitchen. NKBA: How would you define luxury? Peter Salerno: Luxury design is color, texture, material, scale, shapes, floor and ceiling details, and technology all in harmony with each other. A designer applies all these elements in layers until they come together. Designing a luxury kitchen is not a three-step process starting with a work triangle. It is like creating a painting — you start with putting shapes on a canvas and you work your way toward the fine details. Nar Bustamante: I think there is a misconception around luxury. Often people attribute luxury to something that costs a lot of money and is difficult to attain. But in the material world of design, you can't just necessarily buy luxury design off the shelf. Of course, you must have quality goods/materials and design, but really what makes something more luxurious is the entire process that a client experiences while working with you. NKBA: Have you found that there is increased demand for luxury design in kitchen space over the past few years? PS: Absolutely! Today, with the discovery of design ideas on the internet, mediocrity is not acceptable. Consumers have thousands of images from which to draw. So when they meet with a designer, they are ready with their tablet filled with images that they have compiled. They are looking at world-class kitchens and they want you to create one for them. They are looking for the extraordinary. Sarah Robertson: Social media have driven increased awareness of luxury design, and that awareness has definitely resulted in a surge of demand for luxury kitchen elements. Homeowners have a better idea of what is available to them, what to ask for, and what luxury elements are important to them. They are better informed going into the renovation process. NKBA: What is a reasonable price range for a luxury kitchen, either for remodel or new construction? PS: The place to start is with appliances. This is a large part of the budget. You can start at a basic package for $25,000 and go to $50,000+ if you are using Miele or Wolf/Sub Zero products. The next major cost is the cabinetry. Custom cabinets can range from $50,000 to $150,000. A major factor is the ceiling height; the cabinets today are going to the ceiling. For most clients, it is 9 feet or 10 feet. The material and construction of the cabinets is an important part of the formula. Finally, the last major multiplier is the cabinet finish. This can escalate the cost from 10% to 50%. A complete luxury kitchen can go from $200,000 to $600,000 — and beyond. NKBA: Where do you get your inspiration? NB: I wake up inspired. I've traveled a lot globally, so getting exposure to life's circumstances, to colors, to culture, to philosophies, to politics… all of these things inspire. Inspiration is also the willingness to be playful and to make mistakes and try new things. SR: I look everywhere for inspiration; travel, nature, magazines, trade shows, showrooms, social media — I think it's always important to keep your eyes open for unique sources of inspiration. I'm particularly inspired by British cabinetry makers' attention to details. NKBA: What are the key elements of today's elevated living experience, and how does this translate to the luxury kitchen? PS: Technology is an important element in elevating the kitchen experience. Some examples include smart technology in cooking WHAT MAKES A KITCHEN LUXURIOUS? NKBA designers discuss the mercurial qualities of luxury in design — By NKBA Staff Peter Salerno of Peter Salerno Inc.; Photo by Anthony Michael Salerno

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