Late last month, The American Institute of Architects (AIA) in Washington, D.C., released its quarterly "Home Design Trends Survey", and the news wasn't very good for luxury kitchen and bath products.
The report said the popularity of high-end features—such as wine refrigerators, drinking water filtration systems, and renewable flooring materials—had declined, but that interest in eco-friendly features and building materials had remained strong.
"Because of concerns over affordability and resale value, it's not surprising that there has been a sharp decline in demand for high-end kitchen and bath products," AIA chief economist Kermit Baker, Ph.D., Hon. AIA, said in a statement announcing the survey findings.
Not so fast, says the Hackettstown, N.J.-based National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA). On the eve of the annual (and very popular) Kitchen/Bath Industry Show & Conference (K/BIS) being held in Atlanta April 30 - May 3, NKBA president Suzie Williford says luxury goods are still an important part of the business.
"Luxury products are playing the predominant role in our business today," she recently told BUILDER magazine. "In this economic climate, higher-end remodels and custom homes are the strongest part of the market, and they require luxury products."
Williford says one of the biggest trends is the freedom of personal choice available to designers and clients right now.
"Moderately priced brands are creating and unveiling luxury products in their particular price range to deliver a higher-end product to their loyal users to circumvent losing clients to a luxury line, all the while keeping budget in mind," Williford explains. "All projects have a budget—regardless of the size or scope—and luxury is a multitiered concept. I say 'luxury' is a relative term."
High-end buyers may not have money to burn, but they still have it to spend—at least, that's what manufacturers are hoping. This explains why many companies are still unveiling big-tickets items at next week's show. Here are 10 luxury products to check out if you're heading to Atlanta or 'watching events unfold from afar.