K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Feb 17 2017

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Victorian Charm


There is something about old houses that captivates us. Despite their captivating histories and stories hidden in those walls, homes unfortunately do not age gracefully. Designer Shawna Dillon of Washington, D.C.-based Snaidero DC Metro is well acquainted with this problem, particularly with a recent project in her area.

“This charming 100-year-old Victorian had all the quaint architectural details you would want, but since kitchens were held in a different regard at that time, the space had not been addressed appropriately to function as an integral part of the home,” Dillon said. “It felt very much like an afterthought.”

Age Issues
Careless renovations over the years left a large refrigerator hindering access to the back door, which served as the main access into the kitchen. The workspace was cramped, and the range was too close to the main sink. This created an unusable corner and limited counter space where clients needed it most. Since the room was long and narrow, navigation through the space was tight. This was partly because of a large peninsula positioned awkwardly in the kitchen.


“We knew that peninsula had to go, which would lead to additional work to the wood floors,” said the designer.

There was also a small window on the main wall, which faced an alley. The clients agreed to brick in the window, allowing the design team to maximize the wall space.


“Once the window was eliminated, the wall immediately transformed into something way more functional,” said Dillon, adding that the refrigerator now sits in front of where the window once was. “We could then move the range further down, which would open up more counter and storage space.”

The kitchen was still long and narrow, and since they could not physically expand the space, Dillon raised the wall cabinets, allowing for a slightly taller backsplash for the idea of more space. She also added a small desk area for seating.


White and Warm
“My main design goal is always to create an end product that looks stunning while improving the way the kitchen functions for the client,” said Dillon, adding that the clients enjoyed cooking and needed the kitchen to have more accessible storage.

The homeowners were creative professionals and craved a modern, all-white space. While Dillon appreciated the desire for the classic white kitchen, she wanted to make sure the end result did not appear clinical. Instead, she suggested a slightly warmer white for the cabinet finish and a white Ceasarstone countertop with some veining to add depth and character to the room. The dark hardwood flooring also warms the space.


“My favorite part of the design is that the kitchen maximizes efficiency on all levels: storage, workspace, cooking and navigation,” said Dillon. “Not once did the client, nor the design, have to sacrifice form over function. There is a perfect harmony between the utilitarian and the aesthetic requirements of this kitchen.”

Source List
Designer: Shawna Dillon, Snaidero DC Metro
Photographer: Jennifer Hughes

Backsplash: Caesarstone
Cabinetry:
Snaidero
Countertop: Caesarstone
Dishwasher: Miele
Hood:
Miele
Range: Wolf
Refrigerator: Sub-Zero

Feb 13 2017

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The Connected Home

There was a time when I was not connected to my phone. I remember the pre-iPhone days and scoffing at the idea that I would have to remotely check my email or look up information online.

Fast-forward to a typical Saturday. I’ll listen to Pandora during my morning run and then the news while I’m making lunch. I’ll look up Pinterest ideas for dinner and then add ingredients I need to my AnyList app. My husband and I will book a movie on our phones and have the tickets already on there by the time we go. And even when we’re going to bed, I’ll be setting my alarm on my phone and then placing it right next to the bed.

Part of me hates how attached I am to my phone now, but here we are. We all use it for everything and don’t remember how we got by beforehand. How did we get by? I think the answer is that we simply didn’t accomplish as much on a single day as we do today.

The reason behind this soliloquy is this week’s #KBTribeChat on Connected Convenience. KBB magazine listened in and found out a bit more about where we are going with this technology and how we got there.

Why we want it. It’s all about a lack of time and energy. We would love technology to do things in the kitchen like running the dishwasher at a certain time, chopping up ingredients or automatically generating a shopping list.

Why we need it. According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 2010-2014, U.S. fire departments responded to 166,100 home structure fires that started in the kitchen. We leave our stoves and ovens on in our rush to get things done. We also have no idea when to service our appliances or how to service them.

Cooking with tech. More people today use apps instead of cookbooks to make recipes. Home cooks would like to see more reviews of recipes, suggestions by chefs and videos of steps.

Controlling with tech. It might seem unnecessary to some, but many feel that having an “extra hand” in the kitchen would save time. Amazon Echo introduced this concept, and users want more – to find out measurements, recipes and to set timers.

How are you using technology in your home? Be sure to tell us on our Facebook page, on Twitter @kbbmagazine and on Instagram @kbbconnect.

Feb 06 2017

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The Outside In House

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This AirBnb rental lies in a row of inconspicuous homes in central London. Inside, Pantone’s 2017 Color of the Year, Greenery, comes to life in every room in the house.

The 2017 Pantone Color of the Year, Greenery, was inspired by a world seeking natural experiences, calmness and a hopeful attitude. Airbnb caught onto this idea and partnered with Pantone to build the ‘Outside In’ house – a home in London that brings the color Greenery to life.

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A woodland reception – complete with living plants – greets guests upon entrance.

This home has a floor plan far different than the typical walk-up. It includes a woodland reception, an indoor greenhouse that doubles as a dining room, a garden bedroom with mown lawn, topiaries and soporific plants, a tented nook for children to sleep in and an herb garden in the kitchen. Guests staying in the home will hear the sounds of nature throughout and can forage from the walls (literally) for vegetables and herbs. Other activities include drinking tea with leaves picked from a hydroponics installation and choosing plants to make terrarium vases.

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The kitchen has an herb garden design with rustic cabinetry and Edison-bulb lighting.

As guests enter, they will be greeted by the house “groundskeeper” with green juice made locally and color-matched to Greenery. They can also rest assured that the house is of course environmentally green too; all materials will be recycled where possible, and spare plants will be donated to community gardens.

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This kitchen takes advantage of open shelving to show off the theme color.

“As Greenery is a warm and zesty yellow-green shade that speaks to our desire to disconnect, replenish and energize, it seemed a natural extension for us to partner with Airbnb for the very first time to bring the Pantone Color of the Year 2017 to life,” said Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute. “The holistic view of travel and community – on promoting a feeling of connecting to nature and each other no matter where we go – speaks to the spirit of Greenery and has changed the way we explore and experience cities internationally.”

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This bath has a spa-like ambiance with tropical foliage and a freestanding tub.

The ‘Outside In’ house is at 4 Dingley Place, Clerkenwell. To book an overnight stay, visit https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/16908431. All proceeds from the overnight stay will be donated to the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

Let us know if you go on Facebook, on Twitter @kbbconnect or Instagram @kbbonline!

Feb 01 2017

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He Said/She Said: Successfully Designing for Couples

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In a relationship, many situations require compromise. Designing a dream space for two shouldn’t be one of them. Award-winning interior designer, Christopher Grubb, believes that designing for two is all about successful negotiation and never about compromise. As a Beverly Hills-based designer accustomed to demanding clientele, Grubb draws on his experience to explain to designers, contactors and remodelers what it takes to make both partners feel they’re being heard and that both of their needs are being met.

Some tips he uses when working with couples include:

Have them pull inspiration images separately. I will joke that I’ve seen in some relationships there is a design override between couples. I’m not saying my clients have that, but it helps me understand what they BOTH want. We as designers can quickly see the commonality of their desires in their images to guide the design to satisfy both of their desires.

Answering the question: “What are the trends?” I don’t exactly subscribe to trends but do see “movements” in design. I can point some trends I see but usually ask them what do YOU see as trends? It gives me a chance to hear what they think and what they like and seem excited about. Of course the next question is how on trend do you want your space to be or how timeless to see how much they really want to be trendy.

Never take sides – no matter who signs the check. Designing for a couple becomes a very intimate relationship, and remodels are stressful. I’ve been in emotional situations often, and to disarm the situation, I will respond with my observations of what each has said they like during the process and remind them we are designing as a team effort.

– Playing therapist. Remodels create a lot of stress with the interruption of ones living space, the financial investment, strangers in their home, etc. We all want to design, and the process of the final result is arduous to say the least. Many calls are the client simply venting and wanting someone who will listen. Another successful action I use is to call and ask, “How are you and how are things going?” This reiterates that I care both about the project and my clients’ mental wellbeing.

– Never compromise – always negotiate. Many clients see the grand total or a project, and their first question is “Can we find materials that are less money?” I remind them that the construction is the majority of the cost, and I don’t want them to compromise on a material and later regret they didn’t get what they wanted. They will walk into their space everyday and be disappointed they didn’t get what they really wanted. Another situation is when one of the couples wants something that is more expensive or the other partner feels is unnecessary. One may like the gorgeous tub fill and the other balks. IF you’ve listened, you can negotiate and remind the other that they wanted the towel warmer and add that it is beautiful and functional. They have both gotten what they want.

– Avoid stereotyping. Many think the husband will be all about the cost or succumb to the old adage “Whatever she wants.” Or that the wife will want a bathtub (that actually only 25 percent of people use). My success is listening and not going into a project with any pre-conceived ideas.

Top image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net