K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

May 20 2015

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How Healthy Is Your Business?

Image by hywards, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by hywards, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

To make sure your business is in top shape for the rigors of the summer remodeling season, keep these vital signs in check:

  1. Keep a Strong Pulse on Your Finances. Knowing exactly where your business stands fiscally enables you to make smart decisions when it comes to growth and expansion. Commit to updating your P&L statement each month and do a solid review each quarter with your team to stay on track with your goals. If this is a chore you dread and avoid, see a specialist (like an accountant) regularly to make sure your business stays healthy and well out of the red.
  1. Flex Your Management Team. A solid management team empowers business owners and senior managers to work at their full potential. You may have started as a sole proprietorship, but you don’t have to (and shouldn’t!) do it alone. Motivate your management team by communicating how their work directly affects the overall health of the business, and assign more responsibility as they demonstrate competency. You may find they feel more empowered and committed to the success of your business.
  1. Look at Your Business Plan as Your Backbone. Like your P&L statement, your business plan is a living, breathing document. Revisit it quarterly or every six months and make revisions as needed to stay on track to achieve long-term goals and to stay on strategy. This will not only help make growth goals a reality, but provides an opportunity to bring key players from your business together so everyone is on the same page with deliverables and action plans required.
  1. Check your hearing. Your employees are your business’ brain trust and their insights can prove invaluable when it comes to improving daily operations that can impact profitability. Are you listening to them? Good business owners know solid internal communication begets success, so develop a healthy mix of formal meetings and casual touch-points so direct reports can give status updates. Sharing knowledge consistently not only helps prevent a major ‘illness’, it manifests externally in the service and experience you provide your clients.

– Kimberly Morrison, CKD, CBD, NCIDQ, ASID, IIDA, IDEC
has more than 30 years of experience in the field. She is also the interior design program coordinator for The Art Institute of York Pennsylvania, overseeing the development and implementation of curriculum relevant to the ID and K&B fields. 

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May 13 2015

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Save Water with Ease: Water-Efficient Home Upgrades

Image by njaj, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by njaj, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In recent years, low rainfall and record-high temperatures have resulted in a historically devastating drought in California. Some studies suggest the current drought, which most believe started in 2011, is the worst the state has seen in more than 1,000 years. But California is not alone. The country as a whole is in the midst of one of the most sustained periods of increasing drought on record, according to the Palmer Index.

Consumers know their choices can make a difference and are seeking smarter water options to support heightened environmental standards as well as save money. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a household’s leaks can account for more than 10,000 gallons of water wasted every year – approximately 16 percent of water loss comes from leaks within the water system. But consumers also expect to be able to make these adjustments without sacrificing experience.

For starters, the industry needs to keep encouraging homeowners to upgrade to WaterSense-labeled models that use no more than 2.0 gallons of water per minute. Using these models does not mean sacrificing experience, as some offerings even provide spray heads that create the feeling of more water while using less. Through updated technology, showerheads, hand showers and tub showers can feature innovations that control the water’s shape, velocity and thermal dynamics – creating a warmer, more luxurious spray that blankets the body – all while using a fraction of the water.

Many consumers may not be aware that toilets are the main source of water usage in their homes, accounting for almost 30 percent of an average home’s indoor water consumption. Homeowners can save 13,000 gallons of water per year by replacing older, inefficient toilets. When getting rid of a leaky toilet, encourage consumers to look for a WaterSense-labeled option certified to use 1.28 gallons per flush – 20 percent less water than the current federal standard of 1.6 gallons per flush. Some toilets even offer leak detection and overflow protection to further assist consumers in their water-saving efforts.

 As a trusted advisor for consumers tackling improvement projects in the home, suggesting a faucet swap not only gives the bathroom a new, upgraded look but also saves water in the process. While most consumers are aware that turning off the tap when brushing teeth is a water-efficient practice, they may not know there are product and technology options that help reduce water usage when the tap is on. High-performance, water-efficient faucets and aerators bearing WaterSense labels can save a household 700 gallons of water per year, the equivalent of 40 showers worth of water, by using a maximum flow rate of 1.5 gallons per minute – reducing water flow by 30 percent more than the standard flow of 2.2 gallons per minute.

With communities across America facing water supply challenges, it is more important than ever to encourage water savings and the installation of water-efficient products in the home. For more information about faucet, showerhead and toilet specifications and WaterSense-labeled products that save water and in turn protect the environment, visit http://www.epa.gov/watersense/.

– By Paul Patton, Delta Faucet Company Senior Research & Development/Regulatory Manager

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May 06 2015

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A Glimpse into the Many Rooms of the Atlanta Decorators’ Show House & Gardens

Master bedroom copy

I had the lovely experience of touring the 45th-Annual Symphony Associates’ Decorators’ Show House & Gardens last weekend in Atlanta. Titled “Chateau Soleil,” the 14,000-sq.-ft. house features 35 rooms or spaces on three floors designed by more than 25 designers (all based in the Atlanta area unless otherwise noted).

Unlike some similar houses I have visited, which have had an obvious connection from room to room, Chateau Soleil brought to life the sometimes very different styles of the various designers and let them show their true colors within the room(s) they designed.

The kitchen, designed by Robin LaMonte of Rooms Revamped, featured two expansive islands for food preparation and dining. A chevron backsplash above the range and topped by a large hood commanded attention in the space.

Kitchen 3 copy

The study, which was designed by Lance Jackson & David Ecton of Parker Kennedy Living, was one of my favorite spaces in the house because of its blend of whimsy and class. It was bright and airy, and a variety of seating options made the space functional for several different uses.


The master suite and bathroom – designed by Robert Brown of Robert Brown Interior Design – featured his bathroom. While the master bathroom spaces featured darker, more dramatic color and material choices, the master bedroom cut a path of serenity with its cream color scheme and elegant canopy bed (top photo).

Mens Master

“Her” master bathroom, designed by Danielle Rollins & Bill Ingram of Rollins Ingram, also included a dressing area adorned with textured wallpaper that matches the bathroom.

Ladies Dressing

The formal dining room, which was designed by Randy Korando & Dan Belman of Boxwoods Gardens & Gifts, was encased in ornate, statement pieces such as mirrors and millwork. Its cream and soft green-blue hues added a sense of serenity to the elegant space.

Dining Room

The foyer-level powder room, designed by Beth Kooby of Beth Kooby Design, was designed with an inviting atmosphere in anticipation of guests with soft colors and a flowing vanity.

Bathroom 4 - powder room in main level copy

The breakfast room and den – two spaces in an open-plan format – were designed by Vern Yip of Vern Yip Designs. The red, white and blue-colored breakfast room featured a chevron-patterned area rug, which carried through with the backsplash pattern of the nearby kitchen. The den was an inviting space with natural light flowing in from the ample terrace doors, high ceilings, grand fireplace and plush seating.

Den and B Room

One of the guest bedrooms on the top level – designed by Bryan Alan Kirkland & Iesia D. King of Kirkland & King Design Associates – plays upon a Parisian bedroom from the 1940s and features Marsala – Pantone’s 2015 color of the year.

Marsala Bedroom 2

The nursery and bath, designed by Kimberly Grigg of Knotting Hill Interiors in Myrtle Beach, S.C., is an elegant yet playful space centered by a luxurious bridal dress over the bed. The bathroom featured muted colors and a mix of materials.

Nursery and Bathroom

The powder room off of the kitchen featured a beautiful, textured wallpaper I just had to touch. Designed by one of two designers – Ann Wisniewski of AJW Designs or Staci Steen of Steen Designs (I am sorry, there were so many powder rooms, it was hard to keep track of who designed which) – the elegant space was adorned by a classic faucet, sink and vanity.

Bathroom 1

The laundry room, which I thought was a smaller kitchen at first glance, featured ample counter space and cabinetry for a variety of storage and functional needs. Designed by Jessica Bradley of Jessica Bradley Interiors, this space was designed to be classic and fresh – not just functional.

Laundry Room copy

The outdoor terrace, designed by Bill Hudgins of Lush Life Home & Garden, featured ample entertaining space with a delicious view of the gardens and pool below.


– By Chelsie Butler

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May 01 2015

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From Hotels to Homes

David_RockwellThe words, “There was this hotel I really liked…” have turned up more and more frequently when discussing design aesthetic with a client. People travel and explore for retreat and inspiration, and often when they return, homeowners realize that they can have a similar escape at home too.

This past week I had the honor of hearing architect David Rockwell speak on what inspires him to create the hotels, restaurants, theater sets and other spaces for which he is famous. The Rockwell Group, founded by Rockwell in 1984, has imagined and built some of the most creative structures seen in recent years. From a journey-like experience in an Asian restaurant to a moving train on a Broadway stage, the company’s creations drive the hospitality world and therefore are leaking into our residential designs.

“The barrier between work, home life and socializing is more permeable than ever,” said Rockwell. “So it’s making sense to mash up several ideas into one.”

By this he’s referring to the idea of taking what people want – like a beach house – and finding a way to insert it into the mundane place they need it to go, like a plain old office space. He reaches for inspiration around the world to find ways to incorporate these ideas practically, and we can use similar methods in residences. Here are some of my takeaways from his inspiring talk.

Fear up front is a good thing. Having been asked to do the stage set for the 82-tc-1009Academy Awards, Rockwell was intimidated by the scathing criticism the ceremony often gets. He took on the challenge by looking at choreography and movement.

“People move in arc movements,” he said, explaining how the importance of a journey to a space is just as important as the space itself.

Only 20 percent of a project creates the memory. In TAO Downtown in New Tao_NYC_Downtown__David_rockwell_groupYork City, the restaurant is laid out in such a way that the entrance feels like a transformation into a different world. The main seating area, set up in a unique theater format, faces a giant statue illuminated by projected animation. Even though the majority of the budget went to the statue’s animation, most of the diners say they remember the statue more than anything else in the building.

yotel-01Environments tell a story. Looking to the past for inspiration is old news, but by melding different parts of the past – like 60s air travel and Japanese hospitality in Yotel hotel – an entirely new space can form.

There is a power in things changing. Designers are no strangers to this. Rockwell felt this experience the most after 9/11, when he was asked by a New York mother to build a playground to replace the one destroyed by the attacks. His creation resulted in a series of building-block playgrounds called Imagination Playgrounds, which have changed communities around the world.

“Be curious,” Rockwell said. “You’ll see how the eccentric things you love in design can pay off in the future.”

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