Drury Design Adds Three NKBA Certified Kitchen and Bath Designers

Drury Design Team

A Standard That Sets Designers Apart

The NKBA, National Kitchen and Bath Association, developed industry credential programs to recognize designers at varying levels of expertise.

The magnitude and complexity of these projects are well beyond the typical weekend do-it-yourself job, a higher level of expertise on product, design, and installation is needed. Certified NKBA professionals provide insight into design options and technical necessities that clients wouldn’t necessarily think of on their own. Certified professionals have an almost “engineer-type” mentality, which couples aesthetic judgment with practicality and safety. They understand the components ‘behind the wall’ that enable the space to function properly and efficiently, while still maintaining sleek and desirable design.

Along with degrees in Interior Design, Drury Design Designers, Emily TomekBasia Kozub, and Sarah Cardenas, all earned their AKBD Certification this past Spring. Becoming an Associate Kitchen & Bath Designer® (AKBD) is more than just a certification. It’s a sign of your commitment and professionalism as a kitchen and bath designer. And it’s not only a commitment to building your expertise in product selection, space planning, materials, and finishes but also to the kitchen and bath industry as a whole.

These three add to Drury Design’s roster of certified designers including Gail Drury and Linda Larisch who hold the industry’s top accreditation of CMKBD, Janice Teague who earned herself the CKD/CBD title and Alicia Saso who also holds the AKBD title.

In order to qualify for the certifications, applicants are required to have a minimum number of years of kitchen design experience. They must also provide reference affidavits from design industry professionals in addition to client references from finished projects, and work samples. Then, it is necessary to satisfactorily complete NKBA academic coursework and pass both the written and performance exam to meet the standards within the certification program. 


Defined: An Associate Kitchen and Bath Designer is a certified professional, knowledgeable in product selection, space planning, materials, and finishes.

Requirements: Applicants must document a minimum of two (2) years’ experience. At least one year must be specifically within the kitchen/bath industry. The second year of experience may be in a related industry.

Gail Drury, CMKBD (Certified Master Kitchen & Bath Designer) knows firsthand how much work goes into preparing for these exams, “We are very, very proud of our assistants who passed their certification exams. We ask a lot of them during work hours and for them to put in extra time to study, prepare, and pass speaks dividends to their work ethic and passion for the design industry!”

“I fell in love with the idea of creating spaces that promote lifelong memories and human interaction”

Emily says that the art of crafting a design solution that reflects someone’s vision in a beautiful, functional way is what sparked her interest in the design industry. “Speaking with clients and understanding their unique vision for the space is such an important part of designing interiors.”

Having this accreditation opens up so many doors and opportunities for all who earn it, especially for Emily who one day would like to become an active member of the NKBA. 

Emily, who graduated from Iowa State University’s College of Design, has been a crucial member of the team and aids in numerous design projects.

Emily Tomek, AKBD

Basia Kozub, AKBD

“Seeing the transformation and possibilities of a space inspired me to pursue a career in Interior Design.”

Basia joined Drury Design as an Assistant Designer with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Harrington College of Design – Chicago, in addition to years of experience working at Porcelanosa at the Mart.  

Her design philosophy is to keep it clean and simple but at the same time think outside of the box. She believes, “There is always a solution to any problem; you just have to know how to find it.”  

Basia states her gratitude with working alongside Drury’s talented staff, “It is such a great pleasure working and learning from Certified Designers and I’m excited that my journey of becoming a Certified Designer is on its way!”  

“I’ve always loved the problem-solving aspect that designing requires!”

Sarah has been in the Kitchen and Bath industry for six years now after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Indiana University. She believes that you need more than just a passion for design. You need construction knowledge, understanding of mechanical systems, electrical and plumbing, in addition to knowledge of how to run a design firm to see a project to completion. 

When asked how she would describe her own personal style, she says “Transitional, I like the clean lines that contemporary provides, but I also love the intricate details that you find in more traditional spaces. It’s about finding a balance between past & future styles.” 

Sarah Cardenas, AKBD

Wondering how your ideas and goals for your space might look when designed by a Certified Professional? To get started, we’d love to send one of our qualified professional designers to your home and explore the options with you.  Contact us HERE or chat with us below to find out more. 

About Drury Design Kitchen and Bath Studio

Founded by Gail Drury, CMKBD in 1987, Drury Design’s Client Focused Design™ approach integrates design recommendations, materials selection, and construction management into one seamless customer design, project management, and build experience. For kitchen, bath, and home remodeling ideas view Drury Design’s design portfolio or stop by the studio at 512 N. Main Street in downtown Glen Ellyn, Illinois.