K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Jul 28 2016

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It’s All There in Black and White

Photo from Fabric.com

Photo from Fabric.com

As an interior designer, I’m constantly being asked to write about what the current design trends are. “Trend” meaning what’s popular right now, what people are drawn to – just like fashion, I suppose. Trends come and go, and I’d like to forget a lot of them from years gone by, like Tuscan design. Or in the fashion sense, gaucho pants.

But trends are important. It’s how we run our businesses, based on current styles and preferences. Where do they come from? What starts a new trend? In my opinion, I believe it’s all tied in with what’s going on in the outside world. For example, post-war 1950s was a time of relief, comfort and new beginnings. With that came bright, happy colors that conveyed the optimistic mood of the time (above).

I recently discovered that Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year for 2016 is for all intents and purposes, not really a color. “Simply White” OC-117 is a creamy off-white tint. I won’t get in too deep as to the whys and wherefores of what this means, but given the chaos of the current world climate, it’s pretty obvious to me that we are seeking calm and needing a breath of fresh air (and neutrality) in our somewhat unsettling lives.

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Photo from Benjamin Moore

But isn’t an off-white color a little boring? Not necessarily. Using this soft neutral as a background and adding layers of texture and contrast, “Simply White” becomes anything but. As designers, it’s our job to take this everyday mundane color and bring it to another level. By adding layers of texture and graphic punch, this otherwise bland color becomes the background to a stunning design.

Simply White Interior

Photo from Benjamin Moore

Adding graphic contrast by using black patterns with white has been a trend in Europe for some time now. This great looking floor tile from MEROLA is a good example of how to add an up-to-date look to a classic black-and-white theme.

Photo from Merola Tile

Photo from Merola Tile

Even inexpensive subway tile can be used as a background for a great shelf detail in a kitchen. By using contrasting gray grout, adding graphic punch with brass shelf brackets and bringing in texture with simple black shelving can turn mundane into magnificent!

Photo from Rejuvenation.com

Photo from Rejuvenation.com

So I’m good with “Simply White” for now. Simple is good, and we could all use a little simplicity right now.

Jul 25 2016

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KBIS 2017 – An Early Look at Product Offerings

FLORIM_CDC_kitchen

We are already gearing up for KBIS 2017 in Orlando from Jan. 10-12, so we wanted to feature a few kitchen and bath products that have come across our desk that will debut at the show. Be sure and follow our special KBIS section in the upcoming issues of KBB for all things KBIS – events, products, trends – and more!

This beautiful kitchen (above) is from the Casa Dolce Casa brand’s Stone & More collection, and features Calacatta and stone burl gray colors for the kitchen’s backsplash and slabs.

KWC’s INTRO bath line (below) is sophisticated, intuitive and ergonomic and is distinguished by technological innovations such as a Neoperl® Caché® SSR E swiveling jet regulator, which allows consumers to change the direction and angle of the jet of water to suit their needs. The collection also features a single-lever faucet and a widespread faucet and is available in chrome or splendure stainless steel.

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Watco’s Flex924 complete bath waste system (below) solves misalignment between the bathtub overflow and the bathtub drain connection. The Flex924 has flexible PVC tubing that connects the overflow to the sanitary tee of the bathtub. It bends to accommodate misalignment and eliminates the need for offsets. The Flex924 ships with a factory installed test membrane at the overflow and test plug for the drain that is testable up to five floors. The snap-on, Innovator overflow plate requires no screws and installs much easier than one- or two-hole overflows. Because the Innovator overflow extends through the overflow hole and is locked into place with a retainer nut, it eliminates leaks due to loose or faulty overflow attachments.

Flex

Kitchen Kompact’s Warmwood line (below) features a chestnut-brown tone, clean lines and recessed panel doors. The shaker-style cabinets are made in the USA.

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Jul 11 2016

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Small Kitchen Changes For Visual Results

Symes Kitchen - AFTER

Mix and match countertops to add visual texture.
Kitchen by Arch-Interiors Design Group Inc.

Although my clients in Beverly Hills typically have big budgets to go along with their big home renovations, I was recently interviewed by Lou Manfredini of WGN Radio in Chicago on what more budget-conscious homeowners can do to incorporate some of the luxury-inspired trends into their own kitchens. This includes some small things you can suggest to your clients to make a really big impact and freshen up the kitchen.

Here are some of my top tips I discussed with Lou on kitchens:

• Upgrade Lighting. This can include replacing existing ceiling-mounted fixtures or chandeliers for a quick update that adds a piece of “jewelry” to a room; retrofitting existing incandescent downlights with new LED fixtures to save money and eliminate oversized, dated can lights; and always install dimmers to control the mood in any space.

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Upgraded lighting adds “jewelry” to the room.
Photo courtesy of Arch-Interiors Design Group Inc.

• Alleviate “Stainless Steel Fatigue.” A quick update would be to cover stainless steel appliances with matching cabinetry panels to create a cleaner look that also makes the room feel larger.

• Mix and Match Countertops. Natural stone is always popular, but quartz and solid surface products are a nearly bulletproof alternative. We very often design using both, choosing one material for the perimeter and another for an island to create a visual texture to the space.

• Create Art on Vinyl. For several of my commercial projects, I created murals by producing images on vinyl. Homeowners can select their favorite high-resolution images and produce them as a piece of art in their desired size and color; then update drapes, towels or rugs to complement the new color.

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Murals made from vinyl serve as a stunning focal point.
Photo courtesy of Arch-Interiors Design Group Inc.

• Update Kitchen Cabinetry. There’s a definite trend toward open shelving in the kitchen. This is a look you can easily achieve for your clients by removing existing cabinet doors. Paint is another easy way to create an instant upgrade for cabinetry. While some hesitate to paint over wood cabinets, it is a very affordable way to create a fresh look – especially if the wood stain is extremely dated – and changing cabinetry door hardware is always an easy yet fresh change.

– By Christopher Grubb

Jul 07 2016

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Designing for Athletes

We talk a lot about universal design and aging-in-place, but what about the busy, hyper-scheduled millennial client? Working with one of us is probably frustrating- we’re all over the place, we won’t have time for meetings and we usually know exactly what we want, and you can’t do much about it.

One aspect of our generation that designers – particularly ones trained for aging-in-place designs – can speak to is our concentrated (not always, of course) focus on fitness and health. Some of the design requirements for aging-in-place clients can actually help protect us and help us stay healthier longer.

I know I’m in the extreme range of this group. I wake up at 4 or 5 a.m. most weekdays to train for two or three hours before work, either running up and down Buckhead or cycling and swimming indoors. I run trial half-marathons usually twice a week. As I’ve gotten into my late twenties, I have to keep doing more to keep myself from getting hurt, and that’s where my bathtub comes in.

10623374_10202288078899649_912448506195404287_o                                         My mom and I before a recent race

For any type of athlete, hydrotherapy is one major part of recovery. The horrible ice bath after a hard workout decreases swelling and pain, and then a hot bath later on increases circulation and promotes healing. It also decreases tension in the muscles and joints.

And of course, getting in and out of my tub I’ve had to grab at the wall a couple of times to keep myself from falling – hence the universal need for grab bars.

Even if the client isn’t athletic, we as a generation are stressed. That’s where the growing trend for an in-home sauna comes in. Saunas promote sweating, which flushes out toxins. It increases blood flow, like the hot tub, helping tired, stressed bodies recover faster. Plus, apparently saunas improve blood flow to skin and keep us looking younger longer.

So as designers, you can help make our lives less stressed with suggestions like these, and hopefully we won’t stress you out with our tricky schedules!