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A Picture Gallery of Ducks

Ducks are so beautiful, but it can be hard to get a good look at them. They move around quickly and dive underwater when you try to take their picture. We all know that ducks make great pets, but they’re also wild animals. You might not have the time or space for a pet duck in your home.

Even if you did, there’s no guarantee that your neighbors will approve of one. This is where this picture gallery comes in handy. It’s easy to browse through hundreds of pictures of different kinds of ducks without ever leaving your house or getting wet feet.

In the following gallery pictures, you’ll discover markings, information, and trivia about various types of ducks around the world. Keep reading.

American Wigeon

The American Wigeon is a beautiful dabbling duck that you might see swimming in ponds and lakes across North America. Its scientific name is called Anas Americana. It has a heavily speckled head, and the males have a white forehead and wide green stripe behind the eye while females are generally plainer.

Image credit: https://nas-national-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/

Both genders have a distinctive light blue bill with a black tip. While they are widespread, these ducks can be wary, though they can mingle in mixed flocks with mallards and duck species.

Northern Shoveler

The Northern Shoveler is a beautiful North American dabbling duck. It has a pinkish bill and white specks all over its body, giving it the appearance of being wearing makeup. The scientific name for this duck is Anas clypeata. 

Northern Shoveler
Image credit: https://cdn.britannica.com/

This duck isn’t only recognizable for its bold, colorful plumage and for having the biggest bill of any North American duck species. They use this bill to feed along the surface of the water. This duck will also tip its backside up to feed on aquatic plants along the bottom of shallow ponds and lakes.


The mallard is one of the most common and recognizable ducks in the world. It’s also a popular game bird. Mallards frequently crossbred with other duck species, making it a challenge to identify some of their offspring. Its scientific name is called Anas platyrhynchos. 

Image credit: https://www.thespruce.com/

Males have the more colorful plumage, including the iridescent blue, green head, and distinctive tail curl, while females are mottled brown. As a dabbling duck, mallards feed in shallow rivers, ponds, and lakes and become quite tame near human habitation.

Ruddy Duck

Ruddy ducks got their name from their characteristic chestnut head and neck. They are also one of the most widespread ducks in North America. You can find these ducks in every U.S. state as well as much of Canada. Males are a rich chestnut brown, while females are more camouflaged dingy brown.

Ruddy Duck
Image credit: https://cdn.download.ams.birds.cornell.edu/

Winter males resemble females, and they’re relatively sluggish ducks on the surface and frequently dive to avoid predators and feed. Its scientific name is Oxyura jamaicensis.

Mandarin Duck

The mandarin duck is a strikingly colorful duck endemic to Asia, Russia, and Japan, with an isolated feral population in the United Kingdom. These bold birds are perching ducks closely related to the North American wood duck. They’re very popular in Asian artwork, thanks to their distinctive beauty. 

Mandarin Duck
Image credit: https://putakputak.com/

The Chinese lores also use the mandarin duck as a symbol of wedded bliss and marital fidelity. Its scientific name is called Aix galericulata.

Smew Duck

The smew duck is a small diving duck found in Europe, Asia, and North America. This bird is easily identified by its striking white crest and black body. The male smew has a bright orange beak, which it uses to find fish underwater.

Females lack white coloration and are mostly gray and brown with a white cheek patch. Its scientific name is called Mergellus albellus.

Harlequin Duck

This medium-sized diving duck is found in Western Canada and throughout Alaska, especially on rocky coasts. The harlequin duck has bold plumage both in terms of color and patterns.

Male ducks have red, white, and blue-gray plumage with white crescents, spots, and lines, while females are plainer brown with distinctive white markings on the head. Its scientific name is called Histrionicus histrionicus.

Canvasback Duck

This is North America’s largest duck. It has a large rounded head with white underparts, neck, and upper back. The male ducks are entirely black, while the female ducks are brown with pale patches on their face and neck. 

The sloping head shape and long, black tapered bill are distinctive field marks for this species and help distinguish it from the redhead. Its scientific name is called Aythya valisineria.

Common Goldeneye

This is a small diving duck found in most parts of the United States and Canada. The male has a distinctive white cheek patch on its iridescent black head and a bright yellow eye, while the female is mostly brown with some light barring on the breast. 

The common goldeneye has a shorter bill than most diving ducks and can often be seen swimming on the surface of the water, looking for small mollusks and aquatic insects to eat. Its scientific name is called Bucephala Clangula.

Ring-Necked Duck

This medium-sized diving duck is found in most of Europe, Asia, and North Africa. The male has a distinctive ring around his neck, while the female’s breast is finely spotted with brown markings. 

The ring-necked duck dives for food on the bottom of lakes or ponds, and its diet consists mainly of aquatic plants. Its scientific name is called Aythya collaris.

Northern Pintail

The male northern pintail is the most strikingly handsome of all the ducks with his long, slender neck and tail. He can be found in open countries across North America, Europe, and Asia. While many duck species have blunt, stubby tails, the northern pintail has a distinctive long, thin tail that’s often held at a sharp upward angle.

Northern Pintail
Image credit: https://www.marylandzoo.org/

As a dabbling duck, northern pintails feed by tipping forward into the water to forage on aquatic plants, and one-third of their diet consists of fish and small animals. The northern pintails are susceptible to lead poisoning from short pellets that sink into ponds where they feed. Its scientific name is called Anas acuta.

FAQs on Picture Gallery of Ducks

What is interesting about ducks?

Ducks are also called waterfowl because they’re found in places where there is water, such as ponds, streams, and rivers. They can live up to 20 years depending on the species and if cared for. Their egg production is affected by daylight as if they’ll lay more eggs when there is more daylight.

Final Thought on Picture Gallery of Ducks

As you can see, there are various types of ducks, and each species has a different value. Some lay eggs while others are bred for their meat. Ducks have provided humans with more than they need to survive. But just like how to care for baby birds, ducks also need to be cared for whether they’re at home or in the wild.



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SEN Design Expands Educational Access

CHARLOTTE, NC — SEN Design Group, the Charlotte, NC-based kitchen and bath industry buying group and business education resource, has revamped its membership structure to increase access to business education opportunities for industry professionals, the organization announced.

“Under our previous structure, the majority of our educational opportunities were add-on expenses for our members, but we wanted to make sure our members had access to as much educational content as they wanted without added expense, so we have updated our membership structure to provide this much-needed resource at a minimal monthly investment,” said Catherine Daugherty, director of membership at SEN Design Group.

SEN Design Group will now offer three tiers of membership with differing benefits based on the member’s specific needs:

Associate Membership includes basic access to industry-specific business and sales education opportunities; this level is targeted for industry firms and independent designers who may not want to participate in a buying group or attend semi-annual conferences.

Signature U Membership includes increased access to industry-specific business and sales education opportunities, as well as access to SEN Design Group’s purchasing power and networking community.

Executive U Membership ($399 per month) includes everything in the Signature U Membership with additional benefits for industry leaders, such as dealer roundtables, a business development manual, personal profiling assessments for better hiring and communication, maximum quarterly rebates and more.

Additional details are available at www.sendesigngroup.com.

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Formica Corp. Accepting Entries For 2022 Student Competition

CINCINNATI, OH — Formica Corp. has announced the opening of the com- pany’s “FORM Student Innovation Competition,” an annual competition that will be marking its fifth anniversary in 2022.

The annual competition invites architecture and interior design students in the U.S. and Canada to showcase their creativity through original furniture designs that feature Formica Brand products. To celebrate its fifth anniversary, students will be asked to create their designs using Formica Brand woodgrain products, as a nod to the traditional fifth anniversary gift of wood.

Entrants have the chance to win cash prizes, earn national recognition and have their work showcased at NeoCon 2022, according to the Cincinnati-based Formica Corp. The competition is open through March 4, 2022, with winners announced in May of 2022, the company added.

Additional information can be obtained by visiting www.formica.com/ studentcompetition.

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Wellborn Cabinet Marks Alabama Factory Expansion

ASHLAND, AL — Wellborn Cabinet Inc. has announced the groundbreaking for a major expansion of the company’s cabinet manufacturing facility here.

The $15-million expansion will add more than 175,000 sq. ft. to the 60-year-old company’s cabinet manufacturing factory, impacting more than a dozen facets of the company’s operations, Wellborn officials said. The expansion is expected to result in the creation of more than 200 jobs, the Ashland, AL-based company added.

“With the help of our local, state and federal officials, along with our local schools, we’ve been blessed with the ability to undertake this expansion and have the opportunity to add these jobs,” said Wellborn Cabinet CEO Paul Wellborn. “We’re especially thankful for all of our dedicated employees, who have helped make all of this possible.”

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Manufacturers Examine Supply Stresses

The DPH manufacturer concentrates on quality product and superior customer service. We are expected to provide both at competitive prices and with as little friction as possible, and I would say, most of us do. However, as we’ve witnessed the ‘Amazoning’ of the marketplace, amplified by a pandemic world, DPH manufacturers are fighting to maintain stability between logical expectations and ‘the Amazon effect.’ While we all appreciate the convenience of an Amazon marketplace, not all products can be treated equally. Unlike some other industries, hardware, plumbing, appliances and lighting often have specific shipping, installation and service needs.

Manufacturers are often viewed simply as marketers and salespeople, but as you may have seen when visiting a factory, manufacturing is a multi-faceted and complex business. Manufacturers in the U.S. and around the world are more tightly bound together through raw materials, labor and freight than may appear from a finished product.


Raw Materials: These are tied to industries as varied as oil and microchips. Most can be, and are, sourced nationally, but some must be sourced internationally. The flow of these products is regulated by countries, politics and commerce vagaries all around the world. In a normal year, price increases are expected and applied where necessary. In a COVID year, price increases have been compounded by national and worldwide slowdowns in supply, and increases are reflecting the upheaval.

Ben Alliker of HamatUSA explains, “2020 was not kind to many parts of the construction industry, mainly due to increased demand and decreased supply. Appliances and lumber both faced an initial crunch, and appliances remain on short supply and long lead times. For many DPH manufacturers, it was a mixed bag. Kitchen products, unlike a shower valve or new freestanding tub filler, don’t require an extensive remodel project. It’s relatively easy to install a new kitchen sink and faucet into an existing kitchen. Because of a huge number of people staying home across the world, and the relative ease of installation, HamatUSA saw a huge spike in demand over the summer and into the fall for kitchen sinks and faucets – both in the U.S. and in foreign markets.”

Production and Inventory: For manufacturers, this is handled in a wide variety of ways. That is to say some manufacturers work on a made-to-order, just-in-time basis with very little inventory, while others continually produce and maintain large inventories. There are pros and cons to both, but both take deft skills to balance output with demand and costs with profit.

Freight Costs: Costs associated with shipping have skyrocketed. The freight industry has been working throughout the pandemic, putting themselves at risk, but also realizing their undeniable necessity to the buying public. Their charges are reflecting their increased importance. ‘Fuel surcharges’ have become more common. Most DPH manufacturers have decided to keep freight rates as stable as possible, absorb many increases and/or set free freight levels.


Returns and Restocks: There is no easy fix for returns and restocks, which have become a flash point. We know, stuff happens. We all want to make these transactions as painless as possible. However, returns in our segment are not as easy as logging on and printing off a return label or simply scanning a QR code. Returns and restocks are expensive for everyone and cannot be ‘solved’ by simply raising prices to try and speed up the process. The customer changed their mind? It happens. But a faucet, toilet, steam unit, drain or tub cannot simply be Rambo-taped back into its packaging and dropped off. Return transport, reception and inspection, repair (if necessary), repacking (if possible) and return to inventory are only a few of the things that need to happen to a return. But, let’s be honest. We all know that a consumer wants a new product, so reselling product is difficult and frowned upon. What can be done with returned goods in our industry? How many ways are there to reduce, reuse, recycle? Manufacturers are often caught in a difficult position to satisfy consumers even when issues are not manufacturing related.

“Absorbing the costs associated with returns would most likely come with a price increase,” says Barbara Kratus of Infinity Drain. “Ultimately, it’s the consumer who will pay for it in the end, whether it’s Prime delivery or no-questions-asked returns – just as they do now on Amazon or any other online retailer where it’s baked into the price.”

Harris Wattles of Amba Products adds, “Re-stock fees are put into place for a variety of reasons, and a price increase simply to help offset a reduction/elimination of restock fees is not the answer to the problem. Increasing our prices for this reason will only make it harder to compete with other brands, especially the low-cost companies that you frequently see on Amazon, further eroding a company’s image while likely pricing our products out of the market.”

Labor Costs: In manufacturing, these are more competitive than ever. Recruiting, hiring and retaining the best people at every position is not exclusively difficult to showrooms or agencies. Most jobs in DPH manufacturing are not on assembly lines, but rather require trade training or artistic skill.

“Production facilities (during COVID) had less time/resources available for new product production. As responsible suppliers, we had to initiate protocols to keep production teams safe and healthy,” Alliker explains. “That universally meant less people in the factory at one time, and different production schedules, and thus decreased production capacity. We have seen COVID-related delays to the supply chain for new components as they also deal with COVID realities.”

Service: This is the other main component to successful manufacturing. We all remember bad service when we encounter it, and good service doesn’t always get recognized but is expected at all levels. Good service can be a simple smiling voice or a clear instruction about how to turn something on and off. Good service to a consumer can be slowly walking through how to operate a control, or good service can become bad service by not changing out that same control, that is working properly, because the user doesn’t like how the control operates. There is a fine line between the customer always being right and easy, on-site solutions.

Labor Costs: These are now jungle competitive in the field. Skilled tradespeople have never been as busy as they are now. Product support for warranty issues or installation inspections is a critical component in the overall experience of a product offering. Your warranty can be 100 years, but if you can’t get a professional to a job site, it’s not worth much. And we are all dependent upon how professional and experienced the tradesperson working with us can be during the initial installation or follow up servicing.

“I think products that incorporate tech could inspire young people to enter the trades,” says Kratus. “There are incredible innovations in building materials! We have to tout that at all levels of the building process.”

Patrick Weidl of ThermaSol adds, “ThermaSol, like many of us, is reliant on two trades – plumbers and electricians – to install the products. Have their expectations changed? Yes, absolutely. To meet those expectations, we introduced virtual trainings as it relates to product knowledge, installation and general 101s.”

The web runs the world. It would be an understatement to say that the web has gotten us through a lot this past year and we have all learned new angles to using it. It has become indispensable to our everyday lives. You can order a car, a boat, a diamond necklace, your groceries, birdfeed, a towel bar or a potty, all from the phone in your hand.

But as we all know, the web is a catch-22 for everyone selling product, any product, around the world. Amazon and similar companies ruled the web pre-COVID but now all companies have improved their online presence either as a seller or simply as a store window showing off their skills and products. Today, if your store front isn’t well represented on the web, your brick and mortar isn’t going to get the attention it deserves.  We’ve all become accustomed to checking out a product or business on the web before we head out to see it. A web search can be simply to see what kind of COVID protocols are in place or to actually see if the product you want is on display or to read reviews of that product or business. 

Web views and reviews are, without a doubt, a crucial component to the future of business.  We’ve seen how reviews shape the perception of a product or company and how reviewers, paid and unpaid, can affect mom and pop start-ups, large corporations and government agencies, to name a few. The world watches and reads what everyone has to say about a product whether what is being said is true or valuable. They can literally make or break a business. So, we ask, should we raise our prices to be more ‘Amazon-like’?

It’s been a challenging time for all, but the future of construction and renovation is bright, and we are hopeful. ▪

Kimberly Frechette is the national sales manager at Americh Corporation. She has worked in manufacturing, distribution and sales in the bathroom segment for 30 years. Frechette has been involved with DPHA for 18 years and is a returning Board member.

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How to Grow Oriental Poppy Plants

Growing Oriental poppies is a fun and rewarding experience. However, it can be hard to know what you need to do before planting them in your garden. Oriental poppies are beautiful flowering plants that you can grow indoors or outdoors. 

They are usually planted in the spring and bloom during the summer season. The flowers of these plants come in different colors including red, pink, white, purple, maroon, orange, salmon, and peach. These beautiful flowers attract many butterflies and bees, making them a perfect addition to your flower garden.

What are Oriental Poppies?

Oriental poppies, also known as Papaver Orientale are herbaceous perennial flowers with large, brightly colored blooms featuring petals reminiscent of crepe paper. Oriental poppies are grown mainly for their flowers, although they bear attractive foliage in spring. 

Image credit: https://www.saga.co.uk/

The big, thistle-like leaves of Oriental poppy are downy, deeply lobed, and rich green, offering aesthetic value in their own right. What makes the Oriental poppy a good cut flower is its tightly packed leaves and stiff and hairy flower stems.

Oriental Poppy Plant Care

Indigenous to elevated lands in Western Asia, the Oriental poppy has naturalized in parts of North America that have cold winters. This cold-hardy plant hates high heat and humidity; instead, this perennial needs cold temperatures in the winter and fares poorly for most parts south of planting zone 8.

Oriental Poppy Plant Care
Image credit: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/

Make sure you mulch around oriental poppies for the first couple of years for winter protection because most varieties are clump-forming. Also, propagate them by seed instead of transplanting because the clumps are slow to become established. Oriental poppy has multiple uses, which makes it a valuable garden plant.

Sunlight Requirements

Make sure you plant your oriental poppies in full sun. This will not only promote better flowering but will also encourage a bushy habit. If you want a tall, slender plant, then choose a location with some afternoon shade. Full sun will also reduce the chances of powdery mildew infestation, which is a potential problem with oriental poppies. At least six hours of sun a day will help your plant to thrive.

Soil Requirement

The soil should be fertile and well-drained. The plants need a lot of water in summer but less in winter. They are extremely intolerant to wet soils, so choose your planting site carefully by avoiding low areas that remain damp for long periods. 

Growing your oriental poppy in a well-drained soil enriched with compost will give the best blooms. Oriental poppy also prefers neutral to slightly acidic pH. Root rot can be a problem if the pH is too high so make sure you test the soil pH and ensure it doesn’t exceed the limit. 

Water Requirements

Poppies like moist but well-draining soil throughout the entire growing season and regular watering. Make sure you water when the soil is dry and avoid overwatering, especially during dormancy. Poppies grown in containers will need more frequent watering than those in the ground.

Water regularly and thoroughly so that water runs out of the planting holes at the bottom of pots. Poppies are drought tolerant; however, they will flower less and instead put their energy into developing more leaves and stems, making them greener but not as attractive.

Temperature and Humidity

Poppies don’t like it too hot. As a general rule, if you are comfortable outside, the poppy will be happy. It can tolerate temperatures down to 20°F, but you must protect the flower buds from an early frost that could damage or kill them. This plant doesn’t prefer high heat and humidity. They grow in hardiness zones 3 through 9.


Poppies require well-draining soil and regular fertilization. They respond very well to all forms of fertilizer, including slow-release fertilizer in the spring. Be careful not to over-fertilize. Too much fertilizer will cause the plant’s energy to be put into producing flowers rather than leaves and stems.

Fertilize in spring just before new growth appears. If you already have fertile soil, use ammonium sulfate instead because it also contains some nitrogen. If it is too late for this application, you can side dress the soil with compost or manure tea. Make your own compost for your plants and you’ll like the outcome.

Propagating Oriental Poppies from Seed

If you have an adult poppy plant, the division is easiest to propagate new poppy plants. There are a couple of ways to do this. The first way is called layering. This takes several weeks and should only be done if you want just one or two new plants.

To layer oriental poppy, bend one of the stalks down to the ground, and bury it in the soil where it touches the ground. Hold the stalk down with a rock or other object. Water frequently while your Oriental poppy is lying on the ground to dry out too much. It’s better to do this late after the blooms have passed.

How to Plant Oriental Poppies

Once you’ve purchased these plants from a garden center, plant them from early spring into early summer. Direct sowing is the standard method for growing oriental poppies. Scatter poppy seeds directly on the surface of the soil in spring or early fall, where they’ll receive the sunlight they need to germinate. 

How to Plant Oriental Poppies
Image credit: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/

Poppies grown in containers are easy to plant. You gently settle them in the ground at the same depth they were in the pot. Be careful not to disturb the roots when transplanting. For bare root plants, plant them with the top of the tap root about an inch below the soil surface. Make sure you follow all directions that come with your bare root plant.

Pests and Diseases

Poppies rarely suffer from pests and diseases. But the oriental types can be set back by powdery mildew. This fungal disease can affect the whole plant by covering leaves and stems in white mildew in spring and summer. 

Make sure you deadhead spent flowers and cut the plant to the ground level as you also clear fallen leaves to prevent the fungal disease from overwintering in the soil.

Oriental Poppy Varieties

Papaver Orientale Livermere

The most fragrant of all poppy varieties. It has large flowers, is very hardy, and is tolerant of poor soils. It also has a scarlet red flower that is 2 to 3 feet tall.

Papaver orientale Patty’s Plum

Patty’s plum is a variety new to the UK; it has purple petals with white markings. It is very hardy and loves poor soil. It’s heavily textured and plum-colored 2 to 3 feet high.

Papaver orientale Fireball

Fireball is a spectacular poppy with flowers up to 18 inches in diameter with bright scarlet petals, and a golden yellow center. The leaves are dark green and rough-textured, maturing to red-brown tones in autumn. It’s semi-double or double blooms.

Papaver orientale Bolero

Bolero is an amazing poppy containing purple-red flowers with purple eyes. The center of its flower is golden yellow. It’s 2 feet high, and it blooms in mid-summer.

Papaver orientale Princess Victoria Louise

This is another spectacular poppy variety that is 6 to 8 inches large, salmon-pink blooms, and 2 to 3 feet tall.

Companion Plants for Poppy Plants

Plant your oriental poppies in the middle or at the back of the flower bed to let other flowers fill in once they die. Hide the withering poppy foliage with summer bloomers such as Siberian iris, baby’s breath, Russian sage, daylilies, and rudbeckia. Protect the new poppy foliage in fall with bark mulch and pine boughs.

FAQs about How to Grow Oriental Poppy Plants

Do oriental poppies grow back every year?

Oriental poppies are true perennials, meaning the mother plant returns each year and slowly expands overtime to produce a larger plant and more flowers.

Should you deadhead oriental poppies?

Yes, you should cut back and deadhead oriental poppies after flowering. This will stimulate the growth of fresh new foliage and even new blooms.

Final Thought on How to Grow Oriental Poppy Plants

As you can see, growing and caring for oriental poppies is a fairly simple task. If you want to capture the magic of these brilliant blooms, consider planting them near your home or garden as an addition to the landscape.


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2021 Award Winners

“Less is more” was a phrase heard often during the judging of the 2021 Kitchen & Bath Design Awards, sponsored by Kitchen & Bath Design News. Six of the industry’s leading professionals gathered to assess the entries, and while all were struck by the beauty of the entries, they gravitated toward the designs that were streamlined, well thought-out and didn’t try to do too much within the space. 

The right details were also key to the winning designs. Clever storage tucked into niches, paneled appliances that deliver a more cohesive look and exceptional cabinets, lighting and hardware were among the elements that elevated the leading entries.

The best of design is what is being celebrated in the 33 spaces that have been named winners of the 2021 Kitchen & Bath Design Awards. Over 200 projects were judged in 11 categories: Best Kitchen Over $225,000; Best Kitchen $150,000-$225,000; Best Kitchen $75,000-$150,000; Best Kitchen Under $75,000; Best Specialty Kitchen; Best Master Bath Over $100,000; Best Master Bath $50,000-$100,000; Best Master Bath Under $50,000; Best Powder Room; Best Showroom, and Best Specialty Project.

The prestigious judging panel for the awards included:

• Peter Cardamone, Bluebell Kitchens, Wayne, PA

• Laura Giampaolo, Nu-Way Kitchen & Bath, Utica, MI

• Laurie Haefele, Haefele Design, Santa Monica, CA

• Sarah Kahn Turner, Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath, Chevy Chase, MD

• Linda Larisch, CMKBD, DESIGNfirst Builders, Itasca, IL

• Doug Walter, CMKBD, Doug Walter Architects, Denver, CO

Each of the projects was evaluated on multiple points, including: aesthetic appeal, functionality of the space, attention to detail, handling of unusual situations, originality, selection of colors and finishes, and overall impression. The judges also provided design feedback to all of the entrants.

The judging panel was pleased to see a departure from the ever-popular white and gray cabinets. “I actually loved the moody, dark, really dramatic kitchens, and the winners were the ones that had the dark and moody feel in contrast to the light,” stated Haefele. She noted the added use of natural woods, “which have a lot of warmth. Black kitchens have been around for a while, but integrating the lighter wood makes them less stark and more warm.”

The KBDA Awards were judged by a panel of esteemed professionals in the kitchen and bath design community, including (from l. to r.): Doug Walter, CMKBD; Laurie Haefele; Peter Cardamone; Sarah Kahn Turner; Linda Larisch, CMKBD, and Laura Giampaolo.

“There was a ton of black mixed with naturals,” concurred Giampaolo, along with stone features. “It was very organic, with a lot of warm tones.”

“We saw a lot of moody tones, darker woods, the use of metals and metal paints,” added Kahn Turner. She noted that, while there were still several classic light and bright kitchens, the painted finishes were grays and mushroom tones – a softer, wispy palette.

Walter said that, while white is not dead, there were many shades of off white included. “Darker colors were very popular this year – dark green, navy in particular, and black,” he observed.

Larisch also noted additional combinations going on beyond the dark and light cabinets. “We saw mixtures of gloss and matte finishes, different pops of color, large windows with dark interiors, and different styles for hoods,” she offered.

But, she continued, “I just kept saying ‘less is more.’ Some designers tried to mix too many materials together and they just didn’t pull it off, versus other mixed materials that blended and seemed timeless.”


While Cardamone advocated for taking chances with design to stand out from the pack, he also stressed the importance of keeping things streamlined. “There’s a tendency to crowd an element like a tall refrigerator or place a wall oven next to a cooktop, with a hood squished in there. Instead, you should
let everything have room to breathe,” he stated.

“I’m excited to see people really embracing and stretching some of the cabinetry away from hoods and other things,” noted Kahn Turner. “Windows also give rooms a little more breathing space.” She notes the best designs “don’t try to cram as much cabinetry as possible into a small space, which can sometimes feel disjointed and a little heavy.”

Giampaolo agreed, noting that a few of the designs came across as forced, “like they were trying so hard to use the freestanding tub in the bath when there was no room for it. The designs that came off the best may not have had the most materials in them, but they were done correctly. They were sized, they were comfortable,” she explained.


“What separates a good project from a great project is attention to detail,” Walter stressed. He added that, sometimes, the judging between first and second place is so close, and what can make the difference is some small details. He was especially impressed by the dramatic hoods he saw, and the clever use of the sixth wall – the ceiling.

“I think we saw the cream rise to the top in the subtle details – the fit and finish,” concurred Kahn Turner. “Designers need to pay attention to the little things, such as pulling a cabinet panel forward so that it flushes out with the door, making sure that you have clearances, that your cabinets aren’t too spindly looking and narrow.”

The kitchens that stood out to Giampaolo were those that paid attention to unique details – finding usable space in otherwise unusable areas. “Some of the concepts with the hidden wine cubbies were amazing,” she offered.

“The ones that were outstanding were the ones that were unique and cohesive. They used textured walls. They used hidden storage units. They delivered multi-use designs, blending with the room next to it, making an entire space that you could eat, you could entertain, you could work, you could cook, you could do homework,” she added.

Haefele noted that, when first looking at an image, she knew instinctively when she liked it. “It’s when you really get into the details of the design that you can see why you liked it, that it’s so well thought out,” she reported.

Larisch stressed that the details need to be well thought out to make them work within the design, however. “The details need to make sense. You don’t want ones that are just randomly thrown in or had no thought process behind them,” she remarked. “You also need to take care of the details throughout the space and not miss an area. Every single part of that kitchen or bath should work cohesively through each turn.”

On pages 48-73, KBDN shares expanded coverage of the winning projects in the sixth annual competition. For more photos of this year’s winners, as well as insights from the panel of judges, visit www.KitchenBathDesign.com. ▪


Kitchens Over $225,000
Kitchens $150,000–$225,000
Kitchens $75,000–$150,000
Kitchens Under $75,000
Specialty Kitchens
Master Bathrooms Over $100,000
Master Bathrooms $50,000–$100,000
Master Bathrooms Under $50,000
Powder Rooms
Specialty Projects

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Connected Serenity

The desire to create a spa-like environment in the bathroom, a place to rest and rejuvenate, has long impacted trends in shower systems. With multiple users in the home, flexible, innovative products that allow each person to tailor the experience as needed are in high demand.

“At Duravit, it is essential that our product offerings, integrated technology and design sensibility aid designers and homeowners in creating and enjoying a bathroom space that is relaxing, rejuvenating and offers benefits to achieve a healthy lifestyle,” says Tim Schroeder, president of Duravit North America in Duluth, GA.

Patrick Weidl, director, business development at ThermaSol in Round Rock, TX offers, “Homeowners understand the importance of self-care, and more and more they want to incorporate steam showers and all the attending attributes…chromatherapy, aromatherapy and yes, even technology.” From a design standpoint, he adds, “Less is still more. Minimal design in showers remains a strong trend.”

“People want more than ever to be able to relax and enjoy their time in the shower,” states Jayson Auger, product designer at Kalia, based in Sainte-Marie, Québec, Canada. “They want to be able to activate multiple accessories at the same time, up to two or three items, such as the rain head, hand shower or tub spout,” he adds.   

Technological advancements also have an impact on shower space. “Consumers continue to be excited about the convenience offered by smart technology and voice-activated products, and the bathroom is no exception,” stresses Lindsey Jovanovic, director, marketing – bath for Moen, based in North Olmsted, OH.

Other top shower system and enclosure trends include attention to sustainability, convenience and flexibility, and continued interest in both matte black finishes and a natural look. That’s according to manufacturers recently surveyed by Kitchen & Bath Design News.

Personal Refuge

Customizing the shower system allows homeowners to create an individualized restorative space in which to relax and rejuvenate. Flexibility is key in allowing all family members to create their own spa-like experience at home. Features such as music, chromatherapy and variety in spray are all essential to creating these experiences, manufacturers remark.

“Moen understands that consumers are really looking for a personalized experience in the shower and want to feel like their space suits their needs,” Jovanovic says. “The new Nebia by Moen Quattro products offer four distinct showers all in a single showerhead – individually designed to relieve, soothe, clarify and cleanse unlike ever before. Now, everyone in your home can dial in the perfect shower to meet their preferences, while also saving nearly half the water of a traditional showerhead,” she explains.

The features available to customize the showering experience vary widely. Manufacturers say that music is one important feature and having speakers that hold up well is essential.

“Music continues to be among the most popular elements to customize your showering experience; streaming the right playlist or meditation practice into your shower instantly transforms a more utilitarian moment of the day into one that focuses on relaxation and self-care,” stresses Tom Sindelar, performance showering product manager for Kohler Co. in Kohler, WI. 

“Just as with our other showering systems, Kohler has developed innovations at various price points to make this experience an attainable one, whether it’s with the Moxie Showerhead + Wireless Speaker, or integrating the amplifier module into the DTV+ system,” he reports.

“Good solid speakers are very much in demand; if you’re going to listen to music or watch a soothing video, you’ll want the best in-shower speakers,” Weidl says.

“Chromatherapy is becoming more and more recognized for its ability to both soothe and/or energize,” he adds.

In addition to features that create a soothing environment, such as music, scent and color, variety in how the water flows is also an important consideration. “The demand for multiple water delivery outlets, such as body sprays, handheld showers and rain heads, continues to grow,” says Sindelar. “We’re also seeing a growth in demand for showerheads and hand showers that deliver multiple functions, empowering the user to transition between full coverage sprays [and] massage settings to customize the experience even further.”

“While it’s important for designers to dial into their clients’ desired experiences, it’s also especially important to address who in the household will be using the shower regularly,” he adds. “For families with young children, solutions like the HydroRail and hand showers can help ensure different users can make the necessary adjustments for an enjoyable experience.”

Sustainable Showers

Manufacturers strive to be environmentally responsible in their practices, and with showers that means finding ways to conserve water, not only to meet legal restrictions in various regions, but also to satisfy consumer demand for sustainable options.

“There has been a shift in the way products are designed from the get-go,” notes Stephanie Dietrich, marketing, Blu Bathworks based in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada.  “The environment and sustainability have been placed in the forefront for most consumers and designers alike, and water conservation is no exception. While places like California are forced to put in place regulations to conserve water, many conscious consumers across North America place importance on purchasing an environmentally focused product regardless of regulation.”

“There continues to be consumers who are looking for more sustainable options in the shower. For those who are interested in an eco-friendlier showerhead, the Nebia by Moen spa showers are a perfect fit,” offers Jovanovic. These showerheads use atomization, the process of breaking up water into tiny droplets, to create the sensation of more water while using nearly half the water of traditional showerheads, she says.

“Duravit has long had a respect for water conservation and environmental awareness – it is a part of our company heritage and applied widely across our product design,” explains Schroeder. “We are a proud WaterSense partner and are always following along with updated regulations.”

Sindelar reports, “Rather than scaling back to one showerhead, designers are instead using it as a moment to educate and show homeowners how digital valves or mechanical diverters enabled for water usage from one outlet at a time can address water conservation without compromising on the ability to customize the experience.”

Auger says that new requirements for hot water regulation also have led to the development of new products, such as a thermostatic pressure balanced shower valve that has a hot water temperature limit of 43°C (109°F), making it suitable for the new senior residences (SR) standards of safety in their territory.

Steam showers are a spa-like feature in the bath that offer therapeutic benefits without using excess water. “The average steam shower uses less water than the average shower, and once everyone learns this they are (a) surprised and (b) relieved,” says Weidl. “On average, a 30-minute steam shower uses just two gallons of water, and that’s considered a long steam. Showers use that amount or more per minute. The average American shower lasts about eight minutes, so water consumption for a traditional shower can surpass 16 gallons.”

Smart Spray

Smart technology has woven its way throughout the home and has made it into shower system controls as well, manufacturers say. Digital controls add convenience and the ability to easily personalize the shower experience.

“As existing technology advances and new technology is developed, we have seen more and more inclusion throughout the household,” Dietrich notes. “The bathroom is no exception. The popularity of digital controls is growing in the market as they offer desirable features such as superior temperature control and flow-rate customization.”

“As smart home controls play a bigger role in how people live and interact with their homes, there’s an increased demand for bringing that same level of control and connectivity to their showers and baths,” Sindelar explains. “Digital showering systems, including our budget-friendly DTV Prompt and more luxurious DTV+ Systems, offer a streamlined, clean aesthetic – eliminating the need for multiple valve trims on the wall.”

Jovanovic remarks, “We’ve seen smart, connected products become more popular in the bathroom, especially products that offer consumers options to customize their experience. When our U by Moen Smart Shower launched in 2017, we were first-to-market with this kind of technology. It provides homeowners with countless ways to create their ideal showering experience – including the ability to set up to 12 personalized presets for everything from shower temperature to the length of your shower, and three choices to control the shower: voice activation, a smartphone app and an in-shower controller.”

Moen has recently expanded U by Moen’s capabilities, she says, to offer even more innovative ways to interact with water. These include enhanced functionality with Amazon Alexa, and compatibility with Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant. “Homeowners can have the shower incorporated into their smart home ecosystem and enjoy the ease and convenience of a totally connected lifestyle,” says Javonovic.

ThermaSol’s steam system is also compatible with Alexa, Weidl reports. “People may think that technology and steam showers are contradictions, but in fact our ThermaTouch controls are completely waterproof, and they allow users to customize their steam shower experience from water temperature, chromatherapy colors, downloadable videos, music, sports channels – whatever it is that makes them feel comfortable,” he adds.

When incorporating technology into shower products, convenience and ease of operation are imperative, manufacturers say. “People are looking for user-friendly products in every aspect of their life,” explains Auger. “Keeping that in mind, customers are starting to look at shower valves with the push-in button for the diverter, to go from one accessory to the other instead of operating a handle. The shower valve is then as easy to ‘control’ as a car dashboard with multiple options for AC/Radio, etc.”

Schroeder says Duravit has seen an increased interest in thermostatic valve technology in the shower space. “Duravit’s Blue Box offers easy installation and is temperature controlled with an anti-scald setting. The shower cartridge comes with trim to avoid damage during construction or installation and can use any of the different trims pending the installation type. The Blue Box has a six-point fixation, allowing for uneven surfaces and adjustable alignment of the handle and plate up to 3.5mm. This type of flexibility in installation and design is what consumers and designers are looking for to create a seamless aesthetic from start to finish,” he remarks.

Individual Style

Finishes, tile patterns and door styles depend heavily on the consumers lifestyle and taste. Manufacturers strive to offer a wide range of options to meet this demand. Still, there are some finishes that stand out, including matte black, brushed gold and natural looks.

“We are seeing a lot of matte black being specified, along with the perennial favorites of polished chrome or nickel,” says Weidl.

“In finishes, matte black is still growing in popularity, and brushed gold is also trending upward,” concurs Kiersten Jung, director of marketing for Basco Shower Enclosures in Mason, OH.   

Auger agrees that matte black is a high trend for every bathroom product, including shower doors, faucets and even shower bases. “What we call an ‘Italian shower base’ is also in demand, which is a very shallow base that is nearly as thin as the floor,” he adds. Shower shields, like the company’s Pratika, “are a way to build your own Italian shower, which is very minimalistic,” he remarks.

Dietrich says that, along with matte finishes, “We have seen a design focus on the inclusion of organic materials and finishes. Things like Blu’s solid surface blu•stone, which emulates the look and feel of natural stone, helps to cultivate a native atmosphere in the bathroom setting.”

Products that allow consumers to express their sense of style are essential, but the way the products operate is equally important. “Consumers want beautiful looking fixtures for their homes that won’t sacrifice on function,” Jovanovic stresses.

For door styles, Jung notes, they see trends in heavy glass and frameless enclosures continuing. “Clear glass is the most popular by far, so that homeowners can showcase their entire shower space design and tile,” she offers.

Barn door style rolling doors are also continuing to add a modern flair into the bath space, Jung adds. “When considering layout, a rolling door often allows for a more generous shower space because there is no need to plan for the out-swing requirements of a swing door.”

Auger, on the other hand, says they are seeing a big comeback of framed structures. “For a long time, frameless shower doors have been in high demand. Now, people who are looking to make a statement in their bathroom choose a framed shower door, especially since black is such a big trend. Our Ikonik shower door is a matte black framed sliding shower door that has become an instant hit,” he notes.

Weidl observes, “While we see a lot of interest in open showers, as the manufacturers of steam showers, we always advise designers to include some sort of separation between the shower area and the rest of the bathroom.”

The footprint of the space often dictates the size of these shower systems. Designers and homeowners make use of all available space, installing a larger shower, when possible, manufacturers say.

“In bathrooms with larger footprints, freestanding baths double as a focal point and beautiful, sculptural element, bringing an energy of luxury and relaxation to the space. This shift toward more organic, sculptural forms reflects a growing preference for contemporary designs and clean lines,” offers Sindelar. “Rather than existing independently, designers are finding ways for showers and freestanding baths to coexist – whether it’s converting the entire suite into a wet room or housing both bathing experiences in a shared space ensconced in tile behind a glass wall to contain and control moisture.” ▪

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Homeowners Seeking Functionality, Style

NEWPORT NEWS, VA — As the nation approaches the year-and-a-half mark of the COVID-19 pandemic, homeowners continue to reevaluate their living spaces, “with many looking for ways to put the ‘home’ back in a more functional house.”

That’s the key conclusion of a major new consumer survey conducted by Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery in an effort to better understand how the global public-health crisis impacted trends in home renovation and updates. The survey, fielded this spring on behalf of Ferguson by G&S Business Communications, involved some 1,100 U.S. adults aged 18+, according to the Newport News, VA-based distributor of plumbing, lighting and related products.

The Ferguson survey, whose results were released in July, found that 64% of Americans made an update of some kind to their home, or to a room in their home, during the pandemic. The most popular reasons for the update included being tired of the home’s current style (34%) and needing to make changes for better functionality (32%), Ferguson reported.

The kitchen (47%) and the bathroom (44%) were the top choices when it comes to specific areas of the home people would want to redesign or upgrade based on spending more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. A growing number of Americans say they would want to redesign or upgrade their outdoor space (30% in 2021 compared to 23% in 2020), Ferguson reported.

Interestingly, the room people spent the most amount of time in last year compared to previous years was the living room (50%), with 33% of Americans working from home in their living rooms during the pandemic. A third (33%) spent more time in their bedrooms and nearly a third (32%) spent more time in the kitchen. Younger generations were more likely than older generations to say they spent more time in the bedroom and bathroom, but just as likely to say they spend more time in the living room.

“There are likely a number of reasons why the living room grew in importance over the past year, since it was used as a gathering place during quarantine, for home schooling and other activities,” Ferguson reported. “We may also see this trend, in part, because people who work from home often set up their workstation in their living rooms.”

Just over a third of respondents (34%) said they started working from home during the pandemic, Ferguson said. Within this group, a third said they have been working in the living room and a third have been working from an existing office, the company added.

Among other survey findings:

  • Among those who started working from home during the pandemic, 62% made changes to their lighting in their home office space. Americans prioritized functionality over aesthetics when changing lighting in these spaces. Twenty-eight percent changed their lighting to see their work/computer better, and 22% changed their lighting to look better on video.
  • Americans also spruced up their office space in general during the pandemic, creating a more multifunctional space. Eleven percent put a coffee maker in their office and 10% installed a refrigerator to hold coffee creamer, water and other beverages for easy access.
  • Nearly half of Americans say they would buy smart home products to make their lives easier (49%), while others say they would buy them to save time (32%) or to improve the energy efficiency of their home (31%).
  • As an example of the desire for convenience and hygiene, 41% of surveyed Americans say they would like touchless faucets in their home. Almost a third (32%) would like a refrigerator that notifies them when the door has been left open. And although bidets haven’t traditionally been standard in America, 17% of Americans say they would like a bidet in their bathroom and 26% would like a bidet seat. A quarter (25%) said they want a smart toilet. Younger generations, not surprisingly, are likely to want these products and features (see graph above). ▪

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Obstacles Linger, Even in Face of Uptick

Supply side challenges continue to hamstring both new housing and the residential-construction trade, even as both market sectors continue to exhibit significant 2021 gains. Among the key statistics and forecasts released in recent weeks by government agencies, research firms and industry-related trade associations were the following:


Despite recent gains in housing production, concerns linger over weakening permit numbers, a slowdown in new-home sales and rising materials costs, the National Association of Home Builders said. Overall housing starts were pegged at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.64 million units, according to the latest available figures, as strong demand helped offset supply-side challenges. Builders continue to contend with rising home prices and materials delays, as well as with shortages of buildable lots, a dearth of skilled labor and a challenging regulatory climate, said Robert Dietz, NAHB chief economist. “The weakening of single-family and multifamily permits is due to higher material costs, which have pushed new home prices higher since the end of last year,” Dietz said. “This is a troubling sign for future housing production (and) a challenge for a housing market that needs additional inventory.”


Residential construction professionals experienced their busiest quarter since at least 2015 in the first three months of 2021, with confidence among remodeling construction and design firms running high, according to Houzz Inc. The online platform for home remodeling and design reported positive results for its “Q3 2021 Houzz Renovation Barometer,” a quarterly gauge of residential renovation market expectations, project backlogs and recent activity among businesses in the construction, architectural and design services sectors. However, the heightened activity is not without challenges, according to Houzz, which reported that supply chain delays, extreme weather patterns, rising product and material costs and labor shortages “continue to create major headwinds for the industry.” In a related development, annual gains in homeowner improvement and maintenance spending are poised to accelerate in the second half of 2021 and remain elevated through mid-year 2022, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA), released in by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The LIRA projects that annual growth in home renovation and repair expenditures will reach 8.6% by the second quarter of 2022, with annual expenditures expected to exceed $380 billion.


Existing-home sales, despite several months of declines, were up 22.9% from a year ago, and available supply has improved in recent months due to gains in housing starts and existing homeowners listing their homes, the National Association of Realtors reported. “Home sales continue to run at a pace above the rate seen before the pandemic,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the Washington, DC-based NARI, which pegged the latest seasonally adjusted annual rate for resales at 5.86 million units. Total inventory was down 18.8% from a year ago, while unsold inventory is down year to date, from 3.9-month supply in 2020 to a 2.6-month supply at the same time this year, the NAR added.


Reflecting gains in new construction and residential remodeling, domestic shipments of major home appliances continued their rebound from the impact of COVID-19 in the first half of 2021, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers reported. According to the Washington, DC-based AHAM, an April-to-June spike of 23.7% over the same quarter a year ago was largely responsible for an overall year-to-date gain of 26.6% in major appliance shipments compared to the same six-month period in 2019. First-half gains were posted in all key product categories, including food preservation (+31.6%), home laundry (+27.7%), cooking (+24.1%) and kitchen cleanup (+17.4%), AHAM noted.

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