Forward thinking in kitchens and baths

Expert weighs in on smart technology and going green

In April, The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) announced that its “Voices From The Industry” conference program will be expanding to other industry events. The NKBA will be taking the show on the road, starting at Dwell on Design in Los Angeles, Calif., from May 29 to 31.

The program has had a successful run at the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) for the past three years. Now, the NKBA will feature five presenters at Dwell on Design. Presentations will cover topics such as lighting, fashion forward thinking, couples retreats, creativity, and communication.

The program includes:

“Fashion Forward Thinking: Becoming a Savvy Designer” by Richard T. Anuszkiewicz, executive director of the Kitchen-Bath Division at Alt Breeding Schwarz Architects, and NKBA 2013 “30 Under 30”

“Couples Retreat: Designing a Bathroom for Two Through Successful Negotiations” by Christopher Grubb, president and founder of Arch-Interiors Design Group

“Emerging Lighting Trends and Timeless Classics” by Michael Murphy, producer of Interior Design and Trends at Lamps Plus

“Ignite Creativity” by Paula Kennedy, CMKBD, owner of Timeless Kitchen Design

“Better Communication Through Listening” by Maria Stapperfenne, CKD, CBD, manager of Tewksbury Kitchens and Baths, and 2015 NKBA President

I was able to speak with one of the presenters slated for the new road show, Christopher Grubb. In 1994, Grubb established Arch-Interiors Design Group. Based in Beverly Hills, Calif., Arch-Interiors is an internationally recognized and award-winning interior and exterior design firm with expertise in residential, commercial, hospitality, retail, health care, and beauty projects. The Design Group focuses on creating spaces that are as cutting-edge or timeless as each client desires.

Grubb has studied at the University of San Francisco, the Academy of Art College – San Francisco, and Universita Cattolica in Milan, Italy. Most recently, Grubb launched the C. G. Collection, an affordable luxury product for the consumer market with an exclusive line of bathroom furnishings for modern bathrooms. Here is what Grubb had to say about systems being used in kitchens and baths.

Grubb started by explaining that some of the offerings that were once considered cutting-edge, such as sensor faucets and LED lighting, are now “becoming a norm.” Yet, there were some products that stood out on his list.

Dual flush toilets were one of the first offerings he mentioned. With two buttons to control different levels of water when flushing, these toilets are ideal for conservation. (I noticed these toilets are popular in Germany on my recent trip). Low-flow toilets were also part of Grubb’s conservation conversation, as they use significantly less water than full-flush toilets.

Humidity sensing fans in the bathroom are growing in popularity, Grubb said. These fans help save on energy through unique sensing technology that detects humidity to turn the fan on or off, or adjust the speed. Heat exchange ventilators were also mentioned as we discussed climate control. With this technology, inbound and outbound air flow is controlled in order to provide fresh air and save energy by reducing heating and cooling demand.

Low-flow shower heads are a solution for the long shower taker, such as me, Grubb said. In some instances, these shower heads can save half of the water used by traditional shower heads. With low-flow, users can not only save the amount of water used, but also amount of energy used to heat water.

Grubb spoke extensively to how alternative materials can make a green impact on a kitchen or bathroom. He recommended using wood or bamboo on cabinetry that has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

“FSC certified woods are harvested from a sustainably-managed forest. I think on every project it should be a go-to for anything that is made of wood as a consciousness to the environment,” Grubb explained. “It is the wood I used for the vanities I have designed as The C.G. Collection for Modern Bathroom as my effort to promote sustainability.”

Grubb also called out TOTO as a green supporter, explaining that their HYDROTECT technology is a unique self-cleaning protective coating for building materials that has a surface that generates a reaction that cleans by decomposing organic and oxidizing nitric dioxide into a less harmful substance, effectively purifying the air.

For walls and floors, Grubb explained that ceramic and glass are good green options. And when it comes to counters, he said that recycled paper, such as Paperstone, and quartz, such as Cesarstone, are quality products.

“Caesarstone recycles and reuses waste materials, uses glass in some product, and recycles 97 percent of the water used in manufacturing,” Grubb noted. “Casesarstone is the first quartz surfacing company to receive ISO 14001 certification — a global standard created specifically for environmental protection. It is also much stronger thank marble or granite, resistant to scratches, heat, mold and mildew, and has a lifetime warranty.”

To follow-up on Grubb’s presentation about design for “Voices From The Industry,” visit 

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