Biggest year yet for KBDi Designer Awards

Biggest year yet for KBDi Designer Awards


If there’s one upside to the Corona-catastrophe of 2020, it’s that Australia’s finest designers had some time to reflect on the value of entering industry awards, and – wowsers! – they brought the goods.

We closed our competition on Monday, 1 June, and have just finished tallying the numbers. (This is a tough task to get through quickly – too much eye candy for a design-lover!)

Following is a wrap up of the most exciting stats in our BEST-YEAR-EVER Awards program.

  • Victoria has long held the record for the highest number of entries, but this year they were met with some serious competition from New South Wales. The two states accounted for 60% of entries (30% each). Queenslanders were the next in line, making up 18% of this year’s count.
  • Large Kitchens is traditionally our biggest category, but this year Australia’s finest designers have been churning out some spectacular small bathrooms, it would seem! The Small Bathroom category accounted for 22% of all entries. Kitchens Plus took second place with 17% of submissions, and Large Kitchens came in at third place with 14% of entries.
  • And the most impressive statistic of all: a whopping 40% of entrants are newbies in the KBDi Designer Awards program. Our First Time Entrants award is going to be HUGE this year!

A record-breaking year is brilliant for KBDi, but even better for our broader design community. Why? Well, there’s this:

And then there is the value the entrants get in putting themselves through the process of entering. This quote by a first time entrant sums it up pretty succinctly, and reminds us that we’re doing good:

Can’t wait to see all the amazing entries. It’s been a great learning experience thus far, so I feel like we have already won!

Huge thanks to all of those who entered this year. We wish you the best of luck, and can’t wait to celebrate your success.


Seven good reasons to put yourself in the running

Seven good reasons to put yourself in the running

You know you’re a good designer. You get a thrill out of transforming your clients’ homes, and they love what you do enough to tell their friends. You’re proud of your work, and would relish the opportunity to show it off. But who has time for entering awards, and would the time spent be worthwhile?

Entering industry awards takes time and resources. You’re putting yourself, your business and your designs under scrutiny, so you need a fair bit of courage, too. In this article, we explore seven benefits of entering industry awards in an attempt to prove that the potential ‘pain’ is well worth the gain!

#1 Team Morale / Self-Motivation

Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.

Helen Keller

Do your team members need a boost in morale in these times of uncertainty? Do you need a little pepping up yourself? Maintaining optimism has never been more important, and acknowledging the talent in your staff or yourself is a great way to boost your confidence.

#2 Marketing & Exposure

The free marketing associated with media exposure for award finalists is both rewarding and measurable. (See just a few examples of finalist promotions here.) Any accolades should be used in all business promotion – on signage, literature and of course, your website and social media. Be sure to brag – being shortlisted in an awards program (particularly KBDi’s program which draws incredible talent from across the nation) is certainly something to be proud of.

#3 Benchmarking

Benchmarking is an ongoing exercise in any company that aspires for leadership.
Anand Mahindra

By comparing yourself to your competitors, you’ll soon begin to identify areas you need to develop – from a design or business perspective. Alternatively, or at the same time, you may gain faith and confidence in the skills and attributes you already possess. A benchmark is a ‘standard from which quality or excellence is measured’. Award-winning designers are setting the benchmark for your industry and profession: are you exceeding these standards, or are you on par? What is the benchmark of your business? Are you and your team meeting your full potential?

#4 Respect & Credibility

What do consumers (potential clients) see in your media exposure? They see a business that is at the peak of its game, offering quality and credibility. You will have gained their trust and respect even before you’ve entered their home. Likewise, suppliers and other associates will recognise your achievements – this could open new doors to securing contracts, better prices and potential new industry contacts.

#5 Differentiating You from Your Competitors

We are in a competitive industry, and it’s not uncommon to be contending for design. Will your award recognition put you ahead of your competition? Could it be the deciding factor for a quality client? Highly likely! Stand out from the crowd with your accolades.

#6 Staff Recruitment

Who doesn’t want to be part of a winning team? Attract new talent – those who aspire to ‘be the best’ will be looking to join like-minded professionals. Your award participation will let future team members know you’re a goal setter, and you’ll attract motivated employees to your business.

#7 Big Picture Perspective: Benefits to the Industry

By recognising and celebrating the high standards that exist in our industry, we encourage others to ‘lift their game’, and we provide the media – and potential new customers/clients – with case studies of excellent design practices. Be proud of your profession and industry, and know you’re paving the way for those who’ll follow…

Entries to the KBDi Designer Awards 2020 program close on 1 June. You’ve got to be in it to win it, so why not put yourself in the running? Learn more here.

KBDi Designer Awards 2020: some FAQs at the 6 week mark

KBDi Designer Awards 2020: some FAQs at the 6 week mark

As we count down to the closing date (1 June 2020), we thought we’d share some of the questions we’ve fielded from entrants in the last few weeks.

My photographer hasn’t been able to get to site. What if I can’t have images by the Awards closing date?

Getting access to projects for professional photography may continue to be challenging for a few weeks. While we’ve typically insisted on premium pics (for obvious reasons), we will be allowing late submission of professional photographs this year. (We will need your BEST images for features like the ones you can see here, so don’t let this fall off your radar.) We’ve set out some tips for DIY photography here, and confirm the following deadlines:

  • Award Entries (powerpoints, entry forms, low res images, etc.) must be submitted by 12 noon on Monday, 1 June.
  • Professional photographs (for all entrants) must be submitted by 12 noon on Tuesday, 30 June.

Can I enter a project that was completed last year?

We get that you may need to ‘dig back a little deeper’ to find a project that’s made it to 100% completion. Accordingly, we’ve extended the project completion dates as follows:

​All designs submitted must be for projects undertaken within the Commonwealth of Australian and completed during the period of 1 January 2018 to 1 June 2020. 

(Of course, you can’t enter a project that you’ve already entered into our program – no double dipping or second chances here!)

My plans are all hand-drawn. Does this mean I won’t stand a chance?

Ah, absolutely NOT. Your method of drafting is not being judged; it’s the clarity and consistency of your work that’s under the microscope. If your hand-drawn drawings accurately represent your design intent (i.e. the judges can see precisely what you were aiming to achieve), you’re most definitely in with a chance.

I don’t have a flash 3D rendering program. Will I lose points for this?

Again, that’s a big, fat no. You’ll note that our judging criteria (found in the Entry Pack) includes the following:

Concept presentation (i.e. computer-generated 3-D view, hand-drawn sketch and/or mood boards with rendered elevations) successfully communicates design intent.

The highlighted section of this statement is what we’re looking for. Our judges want to see how you communicated your ideas to your client. Over the years, we’ve seen some fabulous computer-generated 3Ds, and some equally impressive hand-drawn perspectives. We’ve seen quirkily-styled sketches and carefully rendered elevations, and beautiful mood boards, too. If you’ve developed a style in presenting that wows your clients AND gets the information across, we would love to see it.

As always, if you’ve any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact our office (1300 253 223). Alternatively, add your question to the comments below and we’ll get back to you.

Designing kitchens with colour

Designing kitchens with colour

We all love to layer with whites or add drama with darks, but designing with bursts of colour can add a whole new level of joy (and some moments of trepidation) to our working weeks. In this feature, we’re sharing how some our 2019 finalists added hues to the homes of their clients with great success.

Michelle Burton CKD Au
Port Macquarie designer, Michelle Burton, gave this beachside home a cool coastal vibe with a striking splash of colour. The aptly-named Dulux colour, Noosa Heads RB74, adds a burst of beach-inspired energy to this space, while the natural tones of stone and timber add a sense of calm and tranquillity.

Sally Hart & Impala Kitchens
The client wanted a pretty pastel in her new kitchen, and this gorgeous pale blue (Dulux Salt Spray Quarter Strength) was the perfect pick for this beachy Balmain abode. Designer Sally Hart collaborated with Impala Kitchens to create this dreamy space, earning the creative team a high commendation in the 2019 KBDi Designer Awards program.

Anne Ellard
The client’s much-loved ornament inspired this gorgeous green colouring of this traditionally-styled kitchen. Brisbane designer, Anne Ellard (Kitchens by Kathie) had the two-pack paint colour matched to ensure the hue was on-point for the homeowner.

We’re looking forward to seeing more colourful kitchens and bathrooms in this year’s KBDi Designer Awards program. If you’ve got some colour-filled projects in your portfolio, why not consider entering them in this year’s Awards? Winners AND Finalists get plenty of exposure (you’ll see just a few of our media features here), so your entry fees could be money well spent. Learn more about the program and download your entry pack here.

New closing date for KBDi Designer Awards 2020

New closing date for KBDi Designer Awards 2020

We’re delighted (and relieved) to announce that our 2020 Awards program will be going ahead. We sincerely believe that now is possibly a better time than ever to enter a design awards program, and we’ve got at least three good reasons to help motivate you:

  1. You may have a little more time to prepare your projects this year; as the pressure is being taken off our workload, we can re-group and look at this ‘forced lull’ as a time to work ON our business rather than in it.​
  2. The process of entering is an excellent way to look at your process of design. Our template and criteria encourage you to look at each stage of the project carefully: from your measure up to design brief and statement to your documentation and project wrap up, you’ll be putting your process under a fine tooth comb, and may even work out how you can improve or refine your service.​
  3. You’ll have an excellent starting point for your marketing when it’s time to kick-start your business again. Whether it’s in your own self-promotion, or through the multitude of opportunities for free exposure you get as a finalist (see some samples here), being a KBDi finalist is marketing gold. 

Of course, we’d be naïve to think the current crisis would have no impact upon our program. We’ve set out the issues we’ve had below, along with our solutions.

Closing Date
Entries to our awards were originally planned to close on Monday, 18 May. As we all find our bearings in this ‘new normal’, you’re probably going to need a few more weeks. Accordingly, we’ve extended that deadline to 12 noon on Monday, 1 June.

Photographing Finished Projects 
Getting access to projects for professional photography may prove challenging over the coming months. While we’ve normally insisted on premium pics (for obvious reasons), we will be allowing late submission of professional photographs this year. (We will need your BEST images for features like the ones you can see here, so don’t let this fall off your radar.) We’ve set out some tips for DIY photography here, and confirm the following deadlines:

  • Award Entries (powerpoints, entry forms, low res images etc.) must be submitted by 12 noon on Monday, 1 June.
  • Professional photographs (for all nominated finalists) must be submitted by 12 noon on Tuesday, 30 June.
Project Completion Dates
​We get that you may need to ‘dig back a little deeper’ to find a project that’s made it to 100% completion. Accordingly, we’ve extended the project completion dates as follows:
​All designs submitted must be for projects undertaken within the Commonwealth of Australian and completed during the period of 1 January 2018 to 1 June 2020. 

Announcement of Finalists
It’s highly likely that we won’t be able to proceed with a round of chapter events in late June and early July as initially planned. This means we won’t be able to give our finalists the ‘real-life’ fanfare we had hoped for, but we are working on alternative methods to give you the kudos you deserve. 

Announcement of Winners
Again, it is highly unlikely that we will be able to hold our traditional Design Symposium and Designers Awards Gala this year.  We don’t know how long these restrictions will be in place, and when public gatherings are reintroduced, we can’t be sure if we’ll have enough time to plan the five star events we’ve been proud to host in the past. We will keep you posted, but can assure you that winners will be well and truly recognised and celebrated one way or another.

As always, if you’ve any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us 

Awards Close: Monday, 1 June 2020
(12 noon your local time)

Finalists Announced:
Monday, 20 July 2020

Winners Announced:
Friday, 14 August 2020

Trio maintain their places at the ‘top of the tree’ of Australian design

Trio maintain their places at the ‘top of the tree’ of Australian design

This very talented trio of Australian designers were the finalists in this year’s KBDi Designer Awards Certified Designer category. With their proven design talent and impeccable documentation skills, each of these accredited designers were well and truly fair contenders in a fierce competition.

Only one could be a winner, though, and Brisbane-based designer, Darren James CKD Au, CBD Au (pictured, centre) took out the ultimate prize. With a stunning bathroom entry, he secured the title of KBDi Australian Certified Designer of the Year 2019 and earned himself a travel/study voucher to the value of $3,500. See what the judges had to say about Darren’s entry below.

His certified peers proved their own worth during the evening, too, securing significant titles and well-deserved wins. Read about their top 2019 achievements below.

Huge congratulations to Darren for taking out this Award yet again, and kudos to his competitors (and good mates) for continuing to lead the industry and inspire designers across the country.

This light-filled and luxurious bathroom was a hands-down winner for the judging panel. The designer transformed a nineties-style bathroom into a nature-inspired sanctuary. Spanish marble-look tiles and walnut timber detailing add a sense of timelessness to the ensuite, and link seamlessly to the adjoining master bedroom. Matt black powder coated detailing and frosted grey glass add drama, and aged iron tapware and graphite accessories finish the space with style. With remarkable space planning, spectacular detailing and flawless documentation, the judges deemed the entry to be an ideal exemplar of KBDi accredited design.

This awe-inspiring kitchen earned a high commendation for Sydney-based designer, Darren Genner CKD Au (pictured at top, right), along with a travel voucher to the value of $2,000 to be allocated to one place on the AIDT 2020 Tour (with huge thanks to sponsors, AIDT). Here’s what the judges thought of Darren’s entry:

The judging panel loved the designer’s thoughtful twist to a traditional design. This heritage-listed property is home to a professional couple with two young children, but the family weren’t so keen on a period-style kitchen. In a very clever nod to the home’s historical value, the designer took inspiration from a vintage sewer stack located directly outside. The kitchen island design duplicates the fluted base and exquisite detail of the stack, delightfully linking the home’s heritage to an otherwise contemporary interior.

Darren Genner CKD Au also took out the State title of KBDi Bathroom Designer of the Year 2019 – NSW. Check out his winning bathroom entry here.

South Australia’s Nathan Wundersitz CKD Au narrowly missed out on a Certified Designer category win this year, but had a clean sweep in his State’s kitchen awards. Check out Nathan’s winning trio of kitchens here.