About Me

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I have 20+ years experience in Home Furnishings and Interior Design, specializing in Kitchen and Bath Design since '01. I work for Bilotta Kitchens in the A&D Building on East 58th Street in the Mid-town Manhattan. I have a passion for learning and love the opportunity to collaberate on projects of all sizes. My strengths in the field begin with my design background, use of color and texture to bring interest to a room, spatial relationships, organizational skills, innovation, decisiveness, and planning. I have had the thrilling experience of helping hundreds...?maybe thousands of people with their projects, and what I love is it never gets boring, and no two are ever the same. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Kitchen and Bath Remodeling on the BIG Upswing in 2010

Being in this business for so long now, it's become easy to recognize trends in the business, certainly among product and  over the past two years, the undeniable slump the home remodeling industry has been in. Sunday when I listened to an interview of Kermit Baker,the American Institute of Architects’s chief economist as well as senior research fellow at the Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) at Harvard University, my recent personal observations were confirmed. The remodleing industry is poised to experience a huge resurgence in business, and the primary focus of homeowners has returned to kitchens and bathrooms.
Mr. Baker mentioned in his interview with Maria Bartoromo of NBC News, that the home remodeling industry is now a $250 billion a year industry, still smaller than at it's peak but lager than the housing market at this time. He went on to say that 6-8 months ago homeowners were investing in siding, roofing, and windows, all retrofits and upgrades that offer immediate benefit in the reduction of home heating costs and/or energy efficiency.

This past November General Electric debuted the GE GeoSpring(TM) hybrid the first heat pump water heater to be ENERGY STAR(R) rated. Remember the commercial during the Olympic Games with the snow monkey lounging in their hot spring...this catchy advertising that has brought consumers in asking directly for the new technology. The GeoSpring promises to reduce energy expenses up to 62% and safe up to $320 annually on energy bills (in tests conducted by the Department of Energy), it was also awarded a Best of What's New Award by Popular Science.
According to Mr. Baker, the AIA has indications that nationally approximately 25% of remodels today incorporate some type of Green or renewable product technology. This growing trend is a very positive indication, since often green products require a larger initial investment than traditional building materials.

With the spring flowers came a rush of traffic to the kitchen showrooms around New York City and surrounding suburbs, like everyone else,  MCKB has been enjoying a spike in traffic. Once shoppers are in it's of course up to the designers and the showroom staff to gain the homeowners confidence and an opportunity to earn the business, but there is a willingness to spend that we haven't seen in about two years. Competition is fierce, homeowners are savvy and out looking for the best overall value: quality of product and workmanship are paramount. Its par for the course now that a prospective client will come in with a list, a sort of "walking tour" of NYC showrooms they are visiting on the same day and they will have a bag of literature to add my contribution to. The key for me is how to stay on the top of the pile.

Yesterday, I was with a couple in Garden City, Long Island. They were taking the first steps towards a kitchen remodel, we met in their home for the survey, and  I was retained for the project. The homeowners, who interviewed me in my showroom three times before inviting me into their home, made it clear they had been to every reputable shop in the city, hit all the big brand names and decided after two years on the browsing tour to work with myself and MCKB. I don't have to tell you how exciting that is as a designer.

One of the perks of the turnaround in the remodeling  market  is a byproduct of its roots in the correction in the housing industry.  Homeowners are remodeling to enjoy and stay in their homes, not to flip for quick cash and move on. This means projects have more a personal aspect, the materials chosen are of a better quality and the entire process is more thoughtful and yielding better results. People are obviously willing to invest more in a home they are committed to remaining in for 5+ years, so bring on the glass counter tops, inset and high end frameless cabinetry, exotic engineered wood veneers, and energy efficient appliances.


  1. Fantastic. The West Coast has also noticed an uptick in Kitchen projects. Customers who were shopping two years ago but put projects on hold are coming back with renewed interest. Bathrooms were getting done during the recession but the big ticket kitchen projects really slowed down.

  2. We are also noticing more energy in remodeling. Home owners choosing for themselves rather than choosing with resale in mind is perfect for our tile. It is so gratifying to give clients what they love rather than what they think the next person won't object to.