K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Aug 27 2015

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Beautiful Renovations in a Florida Summer Rental

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And the owners were TRULY proud of those renovations – both in the kitchen and the two bathrooms. I know this because when we tried to talk them down a bit on their rental rate, they abruptly refused – letting us know their new design is not something at which to scoff.

And it definitely was not.

My friend and I walked into an airy, open, shades of gray and white summer beach rental and never wanted to leave. Each room had a queen bed with its own master bath. The choice of master bath really depended on whether you wanted a tub or a shower. The kitchen was decked out with lovely countertops, a HUGE Sub-Zero refrigerator and some glass-fronted cabinetry.

Here are some photos for you to see:

This refrigerator was definitely too large for the space, but we loved it.

This refrigerator was definitely too large for the space, but we loved it. It was great to be able to see what was inside without having to waste energy opening the door each time. 

One bathroom had this large, barrier-free shower. I love the glass blocks - even if they are old school.

One bathroom had this large, barrier-free shower – accessible by pretty much anyone. I love the glass blocks – even if they are old school.

Both bathrooms had this sink/vanity combo, and this one had lots of charming storage.

Both bathrooms had this sink/vanity combo, and this one had lots of charming, vertical storage.

The second bathroom had a small but workable tub and a handheld shower spray. Again, loving the glass blocks.

The second bathroom had a small but workable tub (in case  you needed to bathe a child or a pet) and a handheld shower spray. Again, loving the glass blocks.

The second bathroom had a little less storage space, but the white marble on the wall was truly remarkable.

The second bathroom had a little less storage space, but the white marble on the wall was truly remarkable. It took me a few shots to get one where you could not see me in the mirror!

The owners store handmade bowls and plates from their kids in the glass-front cabinets.

The owners store handmade bowls and plates from their kids in the glass-front cabinets.

What you didn’t see was the hidden loft upstairs – complete with a ladder entry and plush, white beds and lighting fixtures. There was a great screened-in porch looking out onto the street, where we saw our “neighbors” being visited by a cabinet company. Perhaps they intend to keep up with the “Joneses.” We will definitely be going back to this place! I miss it already!

 

Aug 26 2015

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Three Big Lessons to Apply to Your Own Business

Laurie Brown is an NKBA University Instructor and customer service industry veteran with 29 year of experience. She says exceptional customer service has become a must to survive and thrive. Below are some big lessons she has shared from a few big players synonymous with excellent customer service.

Lesson from Zappos: View every customer interaction as a chance to build your brand.

From its hassle-free return process to personalized responses to customer complaints, Zappos has created a fiercely loyal customer base through its world-class customer service. And since satisfied customers sing the company’s praises via word-of-mouth marketing, its budget allocated to marketing is nominal. Disclosure: Zero marketing spend may not be the best practice for many designers, builders, etc., but harnessing the power of your satisfied customers is – especially when 84 percent of consumers first and foremost trust recommendations from friends and family, according to a recent Nielsen survey.

Lesson from Amazon: Strive to be a customer-centric company.

Amazon knows firsthand when everything is aligned – from operations to logistics – to work for the ultimate benefit of customers. In the long run, this benefits Amazon, as well. While the design and construction industry can’t always deliver in two days or less like Amazon Prime, we can, however, take a look at our project management and operations to determine how we can better – and in a more timely fashion – meet client needs. Improved efficiency means happier clients, faster job turnaround and ideally, more work.

Lesson from Uber: Manage expectations through frequent, timely communication.

This on-demand car service champions customer experience through its app, which communicates with users throughout the entire process (examples: surge charge notifications during rush hour or rainy weather, estimated pick-up time, etc.). By maintaining constant communication with your client, everyone stays on the same page when it comes to progress, timeline and budget.

For those attending KBIS 2016 in Las Vegas, Laurie Brown will also be leading an onsite NKBA U course, “Born to Buy – Grow your Kitchen & Bath Business with Multigenerational Clients.”

 

 

 

Aug 13 2015

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Breaking a Rule in Kitchen Design

 

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A smallish kitchen floor plan made it challenging to include usable storage space along with the sink, dishwasher, double ovens and refrigerator along a single wall. To overcome this challenge, Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath designer Meghan Browne broke the basic rule of centering the sink under the window and instead located it flush with the right edge of the window. This resulted in ample storage to the left of the sink, and keeping the faucet centered under the window creates the illusion of a center sink when looking at it from afar.

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“We gained one large drawer base to the left of the sink, which is perfect for nesting bowls, pots and pans or even small appliance storage,” said Browne. “If we centered the sink, we would be forced to have two smaller cabinets on either side of the sink, which isn’t useful for storing large items. If we went with two cabinets vs. one, we would automatically loose a few inches from the additional cabinet sides and drawer slides. In small kitchens, every inch counts!”

This arrangement also allowed for more countertop space next to the refrigerator/freezer for loading groceries, putting away leftovers and prepping food.

Even Flow

Traffic flow was also improved in this renovation by removing the wall separating the kitchen from the family room, which allowed natural light to visually extend both rooms, and adding an additional doorway to the dining room.

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“Instead of a bottleneck of traffic in one doorway to and from the kitchen, there are now multiple points of entry,” said Browne. “Imagine hosting Thanksgiving dinner, and the only way in and out of the kitchen is through one 32-in. doorway! The cook has direct access to the dining room without getting in the way of those mingling on the other side of the island.”

Sources
Designer:
Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & Bath
Contractor: Paul Lappas
Photographer: Bob Narod

Cabinetry: Décor Cabinets
Cooktop & Downdraft: Miele
Dishwasher: Bosch
Oven/Speed Oven: Miele
Pendants: Layla Grace
Refrigerator/Freezer: Sub-Zero
Tile: Architectural Ceramics

 

Aug 06 2015

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Bonding with Friends and FOOD!

Cabin

I recently went for a long weekend with my girlfriends to a cabin in the North Georgia Mountains. I have done this many times before, but this cabin was my favorite. The view of the mountains wasn’t as great as I’ve seen, but the cabin itself had everything we needed to lose ourselves in good food and wine, relaxation, music and bonding.

With three bedrooms and three full baths, there wasn’t much sharing needed, although since my bathroom was on the main floor, we all used it. The huge kitchen – adorned with rustic, cabin-themed cabinetry – was open to the dining and living spaces, and the bar/island boasted four stools where we painted our nails, drank coffee and wrote up our grocery lists.

Kitchen

I haven’t eaten that much food in a long time. I made two dinners, which were somewhat healthy, but my friends really tore it up with homemade stuffed French toast one morning and orange zest-infused pancakes and sausage the next. In between those two meals were snacks of pimento cheese with bacon, chicken salad, chips, cookies and spicy popcorn. I was literally a slave to that popcorn, and I don’t even really like popcorn.

Food

Aside from the big kitchen, we spent most of our time outside on the screened-in porch. Talk about outdoor living at its best! On one side was a living room-like seating area next to a table with four chairs and a huge fireplace. This is where we ate our meals. The other side had a wonderful porch swing that looked out onto the hillside. In between was a hot tub, and even though it was at least 85 degrees every day, we took advantage of it.

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Even though the cabin wasn’t decked out with the latest and greatest technology, and it’s design was “woodsy” rather than chic and transitional, I can’t wait to go back. I ate great meals, shared tea with some deer in our yard one morning and bonded with some wonderful friends I will have for life.

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