Q&A With Richard T. Anuszkiewicz
Leading designer discusses designing amidst a global pandemic.
We connected with Richard T. Anuszkiewicz to discuss this new era of zoom calls and virtual designing. With such a vast background in the design industry, Anuszkiewicz has a wide range of knowledge when it comes to the design world.
Attending his first KBIS show in 2008 as a mere sophomore in college, Anuszkiewicz explains it was truly an “ah-hah” moment for him. He knew designing was his passion and ran with it. Since, Anuszkiewicz’s success continues to reach new heights. Last year he won best in show at KBIS 2020 in Las Vegas and we can’t wait to see what’s in store for this year.
How have you adapted to the new era of designing amidst a worldwide pandemic?
Prior to the pandemic, I was on a plane 2-3 times a week. But when COVID-19 broke out, that was all immediately put to a halt. In a weird way, it has been beneficial. I was able to reflect on my progress and reevaluate my design process. Thankfully there are all of these forms of media, which enable us to remain in contact with each other. Overall, we were able to quickly adapt and shift into this new era. I am grateful that it hasn’t slowed us down and we remain busy amidst this crazy time.
What do you miss most about pre-covid designing?
No question, I really miss the trade shows and all of the events. I have been extremely fortunate in my career to build a large network and it’s all thanks to those opportunities. There was always much travel involved attending new shows and events. So, I think for sure that’s been the most jarring differential in my day-to-day.
Has there been a noticeable shift in demand from clients?
In the general kitchen space, storage has been a big conversation for quite a while. However, this COVID era accelerated that conversation and heightened the awareness with everyone being home. We don’t realize how much it affects our mood when there is chaos in our homes. When you have a well-ordered home, there is a sense of calmness and peace. So, we’ve taken storage one step further and curated ways to conceal appliances (toasters, coffee makers) in a highly functional way.
Also, office spaces and multi-purpose spaces are an on-going conversation. It’s simply a reality now with the pandemic. Sometimes the dining room must transform into an office or learning space.
What are your predictions for 2021 kitchen and bath design?
From a material stand point, I think we will see a strong return of woods. Paints have been in the picture for so long. Now, we have white washed and seruged woods—dare I say pickled—making a comeback. But, they are coming back in a fresh, new way. There has been a pivot from red oak and cherry wood to white oaks and walnuts. Also, the general palette is warming up. In the last decade, cool tones really dominated. I think we will continue seeing a huge resurgence of creams, taupes and all around warmer hues.
I also think there is a continued evolution of smart storage solutions as well as improved technological enhancements. The way we immigrate lighting and conceal appliances all come into play. It curates a further savvy space that impacts the overall end aesthetic of the kitchen.
With your incredibly sleek and technologically advanced designs, what is your go-to brand?
I really have coveted my relationship with Monogram appliances. They have all these new product launches that I have worked on and love. Specifically, the minimalist collection. It’s a very streamline, contemporary collection. With the combination of simplicity and high-tech, it is super versatile. It can be integrated into a traditional or contemporary environment.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
One moment that is really dear to my heart is when I got to bring my parents to the 2020 Kitchen and Bath Show. It was their first time experiencing the huge show and witnessing me in action. They were able to see my grand design that was showcased and watch me win best in show. My parents sacrificed a lot for me to be where I am today, so it was a really cool moment to share with them.
What do you love most about interior design?
The relationships you build. It’s funny—when you’re in design school, you get these hypotheticals of Mr. and Mrs. Smith and this is their house and program you have to bring to life. And you start practicing and realize Mr. and Mrs. Smith are real people that you have to court and build a relationship with. There is a process where you build a genuine bond and connection over a period of time. It’s wild because I have clients from some of my first jobs that I still remain in contact with. It is really special.
What tips would you give designers coming into this new age?
When I started out, it was 2010 and I had just graduated. It was very much a 2008, post-recession time where jobs weren’t as lucrative or high-end. People were telling me, “You’re never going to sell a luxury appliance package,” while that is the only package of appliances I ever sold to this day. I didn’t listen to the chatter and let people break my foundational beliefs.
If you are immediately facing some sort of reveresity or challenge, don’t let it break you. Ask yourself, “What is this here?” and “What lesson can I learn from this?” Take that, grow from it, but don’t let it tear your foundational core of good design principles. Strive to always upsell to that better material and elevate your work.
Will you be participating in the upcoming KBIS online event?
Yes! I am working with Monogram this year, which has been a fun challenge. We have tried to take a virtual experience with this mass zoom fatigue and curate a way to still get people engaged and involved. Going one step further, we hope to create content that will have a life outside of KBIS and continue to make an impact thereafter. We’ve put together a strong story and I’m excited for it to be showcased during the live show. Take a look at the event here.