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My Best Investment: How NKBA Empowered Me to Pursue my Passion

Patricia Davis Brown, CKBD
Q&A with NKBA K+B Insider Patricia Davis Brown, CKBD, ASID, NCIDQ

NKBA K+B Insider and award-winning designer Patricia Davis Brown says her designs are anything but one-dimensional. The same can be said for her business: In addition to being principal of her own design studio, which she launched in Vero Beach, FL in 1992, Patty also pens her own design blog, DigThisDesign.net, about all things design.

At the center of it all is a solid foundation she built early in her career by earning her NKBA certification, which continues to empower her work as one of the industry’s leading designers, offering a full suite of residential and commercial design services. With 31 years experience (and 29 Kitchen & Bath Industry Shows, give or take!) under her belt, Patricia is an industry guru.

We sat down with Patricia to discuss the pivotal role NKBA played in her career and the advice she has for both up-and-coming and established designers looking to take their career to the next level.

NKBA: One year into your career as an interior designer you decided to pursue certification with NKBA – what sparked that?

Patty: I’ve always strived to be the best that I can be. After a year of working in design, I learned being the best meant becoming certified. I knew NKBA could help further my success and give my clients a sense of security knowing they were working with a certified professional. Certification also helped give me a cutting edge on the competition early in my career, and it still does.

NKBA: What sets an NKBA-certified designer apart from the rest?

Patty: As a certified kitchen and bath designer, I have the knowledge to work with my clients through every step of the project—from developing interior design plans and reviewing construction plans to collaborating with contractors, builders and architects to create the best spaces for my clients. The technical knowledge required to pass the NKBA exams – plumbing, electric, construction, safety/building codes, etc. – helps tremendously when it comes to building trust with clients, and giving them peace of mind along the way.

NKBA: You have a big passion for universal design. How did NKBA help you develop this area of expertise?

Patty: NKBA’s philosophies on universal design are to give all people access to their environment, a philosophy I support and practice. Through NKBA’s courses I became an expert in universal design, ADA codes and practices for both residential and commercial design, which advanced my capabilities and business and helped expand my clientele to serve those of all ages and abilities.

NKBA: Since earning certification at the beginning of your career, how has NKBA continued to help you advance your career?

Patty: NKBA has always been my go-to source, providing the tools and courses to add valuable disciplines to my company and increase the bottom-line, including expanding my universal design and lighting design services. Continuing education is a key part of certification, so I’m constantly learning new ways to make spaces that are not only beautiful, but functional and safe for my clients.

From a products and trends standpoint, KBIS is a must for me. I have attended every year since 1987. It empowers me by helping me stay up-to date on the new trends, learn about new technologies, and see the latest in product design by attending KBIS. It’s where I get to meet like-minded professionals, create new friendships and even product partnerships by connecting directly with brands to discuss new opportunities to work together.

Early on in my career, I also took advantage of NKBA design competitions and submitted my work for a chance to be recognized and published at the national level. That gave me the confidence to keep striving for excellence. It also meant I could brand myself as a winner –another accreditation I could use to my advantage to gain more traction with potential clients.  

NKBA: What advice do you have for fellow industry professionals just beginning their career?

Patty: Challenge and invest in yourself. Some designers may push off getting certified because of the time commitment, but an investment in something that will advance your career is the smartest investment you can make. Through KBIS and NKBA I’ve become the best designer I can be. NKBA has benefitted my work as a designer in every aspect—an investment well worth it.

Ready to take your career to the next level? Click here to learn more about NKBA certification and locate your nearest NKBA chapter for upcoming events.

Throughout 2016, the NKBA K+B Insiders will report on the latest industry trends from across the globe, must-attend events and top industry trade shows. Stay up-to-date on the latest trends with #KBInsider on Twitter and Facebook, and through the K+B Insiders’ guest blog posts on the NKBA blog.

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