K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Jul 25 2016

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KBIS 2017 – An Early Look at Product Offerings


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!

Jun 24 2016

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NKBA’s Manhattan Chapter Explores Pet-Friendly Designs

bideawee 1 (92) resize

These days, pets are part of the family, and more and more kitchen and bath designs are incorporating areas for pet storage, sleeping areas and feeding stations to accommodate this growing trend.

The NKBA Manhattan Chapter recently hosted a 0.1 CEU presentation titled “Design Unleashed: Adapting Interiors for People and their Pets” to address pet-friendly spaces. The program was led by Chris Prince, Manhattan Chapter vice president of programs; and host and speaker Dave Burcher, CKD, with In House Kitchen Bath Home. The presentation, which was underwritten by Wood-Mode Fine Custom Cabinetry, also explored materials, surfaces and furnishings suitable for pets.


The event hosted nearly 70 guests and discussed the business of designing for clients and pets alike. Prince partnered with local animal shelter Bideawee, which brought in several “adoption-ready” dogs for the cocktail and networking hour.


Burcher and his team presented gourmet “doggie-bags” with dog bone cookies, beverages from Chateau La Paws and donations to a pet rescue organization. Raffle prizes included a free vet visit, in-home grooming session, a designer dog bed and a handheld shower from Grohe that is perfect for a pet wash station.

Grohe handheld

Pictured above are Melissa Treuman, director of communications at Bideawee animal shelter; Chris Prince, Manhattan Chapter vice president of programs; and Renee Riddick, Manhattan Chapter president.