K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Jan 26 2015

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NAHB New American Home Makes Statement during Design & Construction Week

Main photo The New American Home, now in its 30th year, is the NAHB show house that exhibits the latest and greatest new home trends and technologies. This year’s home, constructed by Blue Herron Builders, was no exception. It sits in the hills of the desert, outside of Las Vegas, and is a contemporary with warmth and style. The simplicity of the architecture and furnishings are juxtaposed with rich textures and organic color palettes that enhance the stunning desert view. The Entry The entry, an outdoor space with water features, serves also as a casual entertaining space with simple seating, a glass-top table – complete with both fire and water features and one of the home’s 19 televisions. Yes, 19 televisions! It may seem excessive, but apparently, as a society, we have a growing desire to stay connected. As a designer who specializes in kitchen-centric living, I was happy to see an open floor plan in the kitchen. The stylish space also displayed a current trend: no wall cabinets. Tall units, open shelving and a hidden walk-in pantry create ample storage and a clutter-free, streamlined look. Kitchen 1 The Bosch appliances included a sleek, side-swing wall oven (which I voted for in a trade innovative products contest last year and find to be brilliance!) and other integrated appliances in a design in which I would love to cook. Two islands separated the kitchen cooking wall from the great space. The first, a prep island with a Kohler undercount sink, and the second, a stunning Caesarstone counter attached to the wall allowing for a casual meal, gathering of friends or a kids’ homework station. Bosch oven Very versatile, multifunction open space is my favorite type of home floor plan for family fun and entertaining. What I like to call the “great space” (because it is much more than just a “room”) featured ample and comfortable seating, stunning views, a fabulous chandelier and a beautiful gas fireplace, as well as another of the home’s 19 televisions. Great space A hallway to the media room has a textural wall of marble mosaic and another stunning gas fireplace with gemstones covering the flame jets. The media room houses one of the home’s several bars. Another bar in a loft space upstairs from what I called the “great space” continued the vibe of the entertainment, home-party lifestyle as the bar layout had a pub feel. It seems that wine enthusiasm is on the rise, especially as a trend for home entertaining. The lounging space by the bar features not only another TV, comfy lounge seating and a pool table but also a killer glass wine room that captures the trending wine culture in a strong way. Wine wall The master suite follows the trend of well-organized, walk-in closets and less clumsy storage furniture. Behind the comfy bed is a stadium-style seating area for relaxation. The ensuite bath features simple white fixtures, as well as a trending freestanding tub and floating vanities for both him and her. The guest suites and other outdoor living spaces keep with the simple and uncluttered trends. Bedroom Floating vanities The technical aspects of the home are pretty impressive, as well. The energy the home needs to operate is actually produced on site, and many new building technologies are utilized to make the home incredibly energy efficient. Roof end Personally, I am happy to see the continuing interior trends of user-friendly, uncluttered, chic space that is still warm. The floor plan, furnishings, textural elements and lighting truly give an inviting feel. I found The New American Home to be very inspiring even though my market is the New York metro area. More information on the home, it’s impressive HERS rating of -13 and all the other specs and tech information can be found at www.tnah.com.

- Toni Sabatino, NKBA Manhattan Chapter


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Dec 31 2014

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Zen Bath Reflects User-Friendly Elements for Both Homeowners


A homeowner with some medical issues wanted a bathroom with a Zen atmosphere – a space to refresh one’s mind, body and soul. Donna Schachne of Schachne Architects and Builders in Davie, Fla., created a space with clean, crisp lines and earthy elements incorporated into the design – two requests she fulfilled with wood materials, natural light, muted and natural colors and movement within the space.

Other requirements included:

-       A deep soaking bathtub adjacent to an open shower for treatment purposes.

-       A smooth transition from the shower to the tub. The designer included a staircase as a guide to the tub, as well as an elongated, trough-type sink counter to make it feel like one complete element.


-       An easy-access walk-in shower to accommodate the owners as they age. The design team cut out the existing concrete slab and incorporated a new sunken slab to accommodate appropriate slopes.

-       A hand-held showerhead for bathing and also for washing down the soaker tub.


-       A full-length mirror and make-up table – an element missing in the couple’s original bathroom.

The use of natural light was important to the homeowners. The design team used a few different tactics to accomplish this goal:

-       A Shoji-type door with translucent glass allows light to travel from one space to the next.

-       The glass transom around the toilet vestibule allows the feeling of continuation of the existing lower ceiling and the continuity of light between the main bathroom area and the toilet vestibule.


-       “Since this was a builder-type home, there was an overly high ceiling in the bathroom,” said Schachne. “We incorporated a suspended wood frame structure with patterned infill panels to allow light from above to filter down, thus keeping a human scale to the space.”


Being true to the environment was also an important goal with the bathroom remodel. According to Schachne, LED lighting was used to keep down the heat loads, as well as American-made plywood (no off gassing), a manmade concrete trough sink, low-flow plumbing fixtures and a duel-flush toilet.


C:UsersKennyDocumentsMorris Bathroom_062313 - PROMO(Recovery


Design Team: Donna Schachne and Ken Dyman, Schachne Architects and Builders

Photographer: Stan Schachne

Bathtub: Kohler

Cabinetry: Custom

Ceiling Panels: 3form

Doors: Woodgrain Doors

Hardware: Emtek

Mirrors: Electric Mirror Company

Plumbing Fixtures: Hansgrohe

Sink: Sonoma

Tile: Daltile

Toilet: Duravit


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Dec 12 2014

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The Most Valuable Things about Designing Baths

Toni Sabatino Style

Toni Sabatino Style

In our K+BB Designers Network LinkedIn Group, Mason Elliott, AKBD, of Unique Kitchen and Bath in Asheville, N.C., asked this question: What is the most valuable piece of information you have learned about designing baths in the last five years? We wanted to share the responses with you.

Molly McCabe, AKBD, CGP, CAPS, Owner/Principal Designer at A Kitchen That Works

To not specify a dual flush toilet inside a water closet that is 36 inches wide (or less); having to reach over the toilet bowl to push the actuator buttons is not a safe configuration for the long term.

David Stimmel, Owner, Senior Designer at Stimmel Consulting Group

I think the most valuable piece of bath information I’ve learned in the past five years is easy. ANYTHING GOES! In the past, we were locked into mundane products and uninspired trends. Now? Trends are global as are products.

There is a perfect faucet for every design and every application. Tubs are in every shape and size, and, if necessary, you can custom fabricate one easily. Would you even have considered custom fabrication of a tub five years ago?

Remember when we thought just having a fireplace was crazy in a bath? Now we do them often and can custom fabricate them with a click of a mouse. The ease at which we can create anything we imagine is truly incredible.

Cathy Osborne, Designer at Auer Kitchens

This is not trend-related, but over many years I have learned to not be afraid have intimate conversations. Not just “Do you want a 2-person shower?” There’s more. Do you both get in and out at the same times? Or is it more like two consecutive showers that overlap? The answer will impact the shape of the space, the valves and the shower doors, since with the latter the water is running continually as bathers hop in and out.

Know the benefits of a bidet and various washlet toilets, and find comfortable words to suggest how they might benefit from one. Be aware – and not afraid to note – that aging can cause “regularity” difficulties and can place high demands on flushing mechanisms. The same problem can also make people smelly. Two fans, maybe?

Regarding separate rooms for toilets: As mentioned, they need storage for toilet paper and feminine products and a small wash-up sink – before they touch that door knob. Tell your customer “Here’s the storage and the sink, and here’s why”.

Not especially intimate, but ask about vision. A person who does not feel “disabled” might still have trouble finding the soap without his contacts and may appreciate smart use of contrasting colors, as well as a hard-wired, lighted magnifying mirror.

Anne-Marie Harvey, AKBD, Kitchen and Bath Design Consultant

A separate water closet provides options, especially in homes with only one or two bathrooms. Many plans show a tub/shower in the room with a toilet, but that defeats the purpose of enabling two people to use facilities (like when they’re getting ready for work in the am) without grossing out or embarrassing one another.

Most homes with this feature have at least two and a half baths, so most likely you can find some privacy. But if you have kids or houseguests, it is possible that all other commodes would be occupied. As much as I love my husband, when I’m drying my hair and putting on my makeup, I have no desire to watch him on the potty. Once you’ve had an enclosed water closet, you will never want to be without one!

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Dec 04 2014

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How to Fix the “Blind” Spot

Windows of unique shapes and sizes can be the highlight of a home. Dressing them, however, can be a daunting task. Whether you’re dealing with bay, tall, large or arched windows, there is a solution. Find inspiration for a renovation to brighten up a dull room or create a simple and chic look with these window treatment ideas below.

Bay Window Treatment Ideas

Bay Windows. For a clean and natural look, shutters or wood blinds are a good window treatment choice. Fabric roman blinds add softness to the hard angles of a bay window and can bring in some liveliness with color and pattern. If a view is too lovely and bright to cover up, sometimes all that is needed is a decorative valance or an upholstered cornice.

Tall Window Treatment Ideas

Tall Window Treatments. Motorization is a great choice if a shade is out of reach when raised. A motorized shade can be easily operated with the click of a button, and you won’t have to move that ladder around. Another way to make it easier on to use is with a continuous cord loop to lower and raise it. The length of the cord stays the same regardless of the shade’s position. If you want to enhance the height and space in a tall window room, you might want to select some stationary drapery panels for even more drama.

Large Window Treatment Ideas

Large Window Treatments. Vertical blinds and panel track blinds are the best at covering large windows. Panel tracks operate similarly to vertical blinds, but they have larger panels in place of the smaller vanes used on vertical blinds. If you find a roman shade you love but the fabric isn’t wide enough, most shades have the option of a 2-in-1 head rail, which consists of two shades on one head rail. So, you can style a window with your client’s favorite fabric and double the fun. Traditional drapery is also lovely on large windows. Alternatively, there is even drapery made out of natural woven woods available.

Arched Window Treatment Ideas

Arched Window Treatments. Cellular shades are available in a perfect arch shape or can be custom made into an irregular arch. You can even complement and cover additional windows in the room with coordinating cellular shades. If the arched window lives above another window, they can both be covered with drapery panels mounted above the arch.

- by Katie Christopher, author of The Ultimate Guide to Window Treatment Ideas. 


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