student competition

Bathroom Design, Interior Design, Kitchen Design, Residential Home Design, Student

NKBA Student Design Competition

By Adrean Stephenson


The 2017-2018 NKBA Student Design Competition has been announced!

This year’s construction challenge partners with Habitat for Humanity and includes two separate entry opportunities; one for kitchen and one for bathroom.



We digitized dimensioned floor plans for the project using Chief Architect X9 and saved them as an 11″ x 17″ printable .PDF for use as a design reference. You can also download the Chief Architect project files, and leverage the software to finish the designs for your submissions. The downloadable .ZIP file includes the Plan File of the Habitat House and a Layout Template with pages for floor plans, construction plans, mechanical plans, and elevations, waiting for you to incorporate your designs.


NKBA Student Members who are enrolled on the date of their submissions are eligible to enter. Prizes will be awarded to winners, including Scholarships, and even a trip to the Habitat House build site to help celebrity designers complete the finishing touches of the project.

Entry deadline is May 7, 2018. Review the NKBA’s Competition Brochure for details and requirements.


Good Luck!


We love seeing what you create when you use Chief Architect for your designs; don’t forget to share with us using #ChiefArchitect.

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Bathroom Design, Interior Design, Professional, Stories

Robin Rigby Fisher – Featured NKBA Study Guide Designer

By Adrean Stephenson


When you have been designing Kitchens and Baths for 32 years and teaching the process to others for 14 more, it is next to impossible to not know your stuff. Robin Rigby Fisher is no exception, and it shows in the Large Bath she submitted for 2017’s NKBA Design Competition.

“I teach part-time at Portland Community College, an NKBA Accredited College. One of the reasons I continue to teach is to make sure that I stay at the top of my game. I want my drawings to be as meticulous as possible because I expect that from my students.  I think they are synonyms. I’m at the top of my game because my students are at the top of theirs. They are highly desirable, highly regarded. They are easy to hire. That’s what I like about teaching.


“What I find about design is that you learn something new every single day. It’s fun, it’s always different, and it’s exciting. It’s a great career. I love what I do. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Robin is happy her drawings are going to be part of the NKBA Study Guide, a tool that her students will be able to use. She was even helpful in identifying improvements that could be made to my revision of her bathroom for the project. I feel like the drawings came out really well, and am grateful to have gotten help from people like Robin who really have an eye on quality.

Watercolor illustration of Japan inspired large bathroom by designer Robin Rigby Fisher.


“I initially went to school to be an engineer, and then decided I didn’t really want that.  So I switched to Art History. I really wanted to be an Art History major, and then I realized that you can’t make a living and I loved Architecture so I thought about going into Architecture. Then I moved away from that and went into Interior Design. I wanted to actually work with people in their homes and have an impact on how people live inside their house. It was more important work on the interiors, and I love to cook, so kitchen design was really the way to go.  Design can impact someone’s life by how easy it is to maintain, how easy it is to live in. Maybe it is one less level of stress to have to deal with, so when they go out in the world, maybe they aren’t going to get as cranky about someone cutting them off, or something like that.  The world is so full of such angry people, if I make somebody’s home a nice place to be, then I’ve succeeded.”

This bathroom design is a prime example of succeeding.

“The space was divided into 3 spaces – an “office”, bath and bedroom.  We decided to approach the entire 2nd floor as one space with an homage to our client’s Japanese roots.


View NKBA Study Guide Large Bath in Chief Architect’s 360° Panorama Viewer.


“From the base of the stairs throughout the entire upper floor, we installed cork flooring (soft, and warm).  At the top of the stairs, we created a custom “tansu” cabinet that is built into the eaves for depth.  Here all of our client’s lingerie, casual and workout clothes are stored.  Behind the vertical lattice doors are pullout hampers.”

Photo of wood vanity and cork floor in large bathroom design by Robin Rigby Fisher

“The vanity mimics the Tansu cabinet in the hall, topped with Cambria Quartz and the circular mirror is flanked by Hubbarton Forge – Helix LED light fixtures.

Green glass tile is inlayed vertically against neutral field tile to harken to bamboo poles in a curbless shower designed by Robin Rigby Fisher“Our concept for the bathroom was a river forest.  Beginning in the shower, the floor is Island Stone rocks with “limestone” porcelain tiles (we chose porcelain for cost and ease of maintenance).  Accenting the shower is Island Stones “Banyans” designed to emulate bamboo.  The corner bench and countertop are Cambria – Canterbury.

“Exiting the shower, our client steps out of the “river” and into the curvedA japanese soaking tub is an anchor piece in this large master bathroom design by Robin Rigby Fisher path of the “forest” of porcelain wood tile.  The path takes you to the ofuro tub, a traditional Japanese soaking tub.  The faucet for the tub is by Watermark a high-end plumbing manufacturer out of Brooklyn, NY.

“The cork floor (our forest floor) merges with the porcelain tile in a soft curve – the edges are protected through the use of a Schluter trim in anodized aluminum.”


Robin, thank you for your insights and for sharing your design!


Connect with Robin Rigby Fisher, CMKBD, CAPS:Robin Rigby Fisher Logo

Robin Rigby Fisher Design


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Bathroom Design, Interior Design, Professional, Remodel-Addition, Stories

Danielle Burger – Featured NKBA Study Guide Designer

By Adrean Stephenson


It felt a little like cheating when I opened up Danielle Burger’s winning Small Bath plan and began transitioning it for our NKBA Study Guide project.


Danielle has been using Chief Architect since 2015 and made beautiful work of her bath design using the software. I simply asked to start from the plan file and then made some edits that matched her drawings to the drafting style of the other designs in our project.

View NKBA Study Guide Small Bath in Chief Architect’s 360° Panorama Viewer.


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Bathroom Design, Interior Design, Professional, Stories

Lori Carroll – Featured NKBA Study Guide Designer

The little room that won 1st place for the Powder Room category in 2017’s NKBA Design Competition is big on character! Lori Carroll’s take leverages a vaulted ceiling and the use of light and texture to make this Powder Room a space to remember.


“For this client, luxury is a state of mind; something that goes beyond the ordinary amenities and accommodations.  Wanting their guests to experience something special, the design concept for this powder room didn’t have to be extravagant or opulent; just beautifully simple.  When visualizing aesthetics for this project, a softer, more natural look conveyed the feel the client hoped for. The combination of stone, metal and wood creates a unified design in this powder room.”

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Interior Design, Kitchen Design, Professional, Stories

Elma Gardner – Featured NKBA Study Guide Designer

By Adrean Stephenson

Elma Gardner has only ever drafted her designs by hand, and they are beautiful. A fading art in our digital age, the small details are the most impressive in her style. My personal favorites are the tiny circles that don’t quite encompass the numbers for her Floor Plan Specification labels, eluding to the efficient confidence in speed her hands must take on as they traverse the page.


“I just happen to be one of those strange people that actually enjoys hand-drafting and have made a deliberate decision to stick with it. I like the process.”

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