K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Sep 28 2016

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What’s Next for the Bathroom?

This week’s #KBTribeChat discussion looked at the evolving bathroom. From moving from practical to spa-like and luxurious, the bathroom definitely has some major changes going on. KBB tuned in to the discussion to see what manufacturers and designers are thinking on the topic.

1. Decorative hardware is becoming an essential design component on cabinetry. What finishes and types are you specifying or want to use?
Very simple designs, but nothing that gathers dust. Touch latches and no hardware.
– Warm metals, like brass, are popular
– Home/made custom is very much in
– Metallic everything!
– Rose gold has just popped over from Europe, and we expect to see more soon.

2. Do you coordinate sinks, tub and toilet by suite? Explain your selection process! What are your favorites? What colors?
Toilets and tubs should be color coordinated, but you can match sinks with tile or tub, hardware with the shower door rail
– Although everything can match, the tub is perfect for making a different statement
– Match sinks and countertop to tile, cabinets matched with mirror frames

3. What faucet and shower valve handle styles and finishes are you excited about? Do you have a go to selection or does it vary by project?
Transitional faucets – allow you to go in any direct, whether it is modern or traditional
– Brass is on trend
– Matte Black is huge!

4. Tile for bathroom flooring and showers has become very popular. Why do you see this trend continuing?
Large wide tile with small tile pattern accents
– More creative designs
– This trend will continue because there are endless combinations to playing with finish, scale and placement
– Tile is so versatile, especially no that it takes on different textures

5. Many lighting options are available for the bathroom! What are your favorites?
LED task lighting for dialing grooming activities that combine with a medicine cabinet
– Lighting adds sparkle to design
– Go funky to accompany recessed designs
– Layered task lighting
-In drawer lighting and lighted toilets

Check out #KBTribeChat next Wednesday at 2 pm EST via Twitter.

Sep 26 2016

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Sneak Peek at ICFF Miami Products


The first-annual International Contemporary Furniture Fair Miami will soon be upon us. Labeled North America’s platform for global design, the event will take place at the Miami Beach Convention Center from Oct. 5-6.

ICFF Miami will play host to more than 3,000 interior designers, architects, retailers, distributors, facility managers, developers and manufacturers. The event will feature a variety of kitchen and bath, outdoor furniture, textiles, wall covering, flooring, lighting and furniture exhibitors in 25,000 square feet, and we wanted to showcase a few of those.

Louis Poulsen will be re-launching Lauritzen’s Radiohus pendant (above) under the name VL45 Radiohus Pendant. The Radiohus Pendant became Louis Poulsen’s best-selling lamp when it was first launched 80 years ago.


Madeli USA will feature its newest collections – Cube, Metro (shown above), Soho, Retro and Urban – which have more drawer space and more color, handle and feet options.

Julien’s Fira fireclay sink collection (below) has the ability to turn into a workstation with American black walnut accessories. It features thin walls and a 10-in-deep bowl.


The Chef Center system (below) from Franke features two versatile, anti-microbial compartments that can serve as a composter, wine bucket, storage bin, etc. It is available with an array of custom accessories, including a cutting board, colander, grid, mobile drainer board, strainer basket and Franke’s exclusive Roller Mat.


Designer Doorware will showcase its new Monte Timber Collection (below), which consists of the Timber Quad, Timber Club and Timber Lanex door levers. The collection is made from solid brass and environmentally friendly sourced hardwood and is available in a choice of raw or five exterior/interior wood stains (oil, oak, teak, walnut and charcoal).



Sep 15 2016

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To Advertise or Not to Advertise


KBB recently asked our KBB Designers Network on LinkedIn about using social media and other advertising techniques to draw customers.

The following is a constructive conversation among three members of our group with some useful input and tips to succeed:

Paul McAlary, Main Line Kitchen Design, Narberth, Pa.

We post and use paid advertising on Houzz, Facebook and YouTube. We pay money to belong and advertise on Angie’s List and pay for review updates and listings on Customer Lobby. We post on our Twitter and Instagram accounts and have a listing on Yelp and dozens of other listing sites. We post and maintain a LinkedIn profile and company profile and participate in the groups we belong to.

The list goes on and on and includes Google+, Klout, Pinterest, Scoopit, Median, The Garden Web and Home and Garden. Add to the social media sites the money we spend on PPC advertising on Google and Yahoo and what we spend on SEO and our website and the “chat box” on our website, and you are talking a huge financial and time-consuming undertaking. And we haven’t even mentioned the organizations we pay to belong to like multiple NARI chapters, the NKBA, the BBB, etc. All these thing make your business visible and findable on the web.

Anne Harvey, AKBD, Fresh Kitchen & Bath Design, Cary, N.C.

Of all these avenues, which ones have brought you the most business?

Paul McAlary: Besides referrals, the best investment to least:
The chat box on our website, our website itself, Houzz free listing, Houzz paid listing, blogs, Facebook dark posts, Youtube, Customer Lobby, PPC Google ads, PPC Yahoo ads, Remarketing Ads, Home Adviser, NARI Memberships, Yelp, Angies List.
After these there is little determinable ROI on our other efforts, but even so our efforts on Twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, etc., help us come up better on internet searches. In comparison, we monitored a large Yellow Page ad for a year and received zero leads.

Anne Harvey: Being a natural skeptic, I have come to some conclusions regarding social media; mainly that their main objective is to make money, not help me be successful – although they are more than happy to take my money and make empty promises about how paying for their service will get me more clients.

We have a society of window shoppers and DIYers. Many users of social media are not out there looking for professionals no matter what the “pros” tell us. They want free ideas they can execute themselves or as cheaply as possible.
I don’t answer the phone when I see Houzz, Home Advisor, etc., on my caller ID. The most successful designers and trade professionals get all their new business via referrals and stay booked months in advance.

Paul McAlary: There is no question that referral business is the best, but no business can grow or even remain static without non-referral customers added to their pool of customers. Getting fresh customers from varied sources also makes a business more sustainable during tough economic times. Advertising – even if it’s simply putting out flyers or signs on lawns – is essential. And the best ways to advertise change yearly.

I am the biggest of skeptics but also try to be open to new ideas, products and advertising trends. Mastering using social media to create business is difficult, and most people selling their services to help you do it won’t succeed unless your business is a very common type that there are known techniques for. And you must excel at any type of advertising to make it work. I know business owners that do incredibly well using Houzz, Home Advisor or Angie’s list, but they put a huge effort into making it work for them,

Denise Butchko, Butchko & Co., Chicago

Not having a presence on social platforms is equivalent to not having a website in today’s market. Your online presence and image are researched by customers to develop trust before they contact you. These platforms are not created to help fill the top of your sales funnel, and you can’t “spend your way” to leads. You can, however, support your organic efforts with paid efforts to increase the qualified leads that can come to your business.
Yes, all platforms will accept your money. That doesn’t guarantee business any more than a Yellow Page ad or even a print or TV campaign guarantees leads.

Anne Harvey: I may not be a fan, but it is a necessary component in today’s world. I have a website, Facebook page, etc., write a blog, create customized flyers and have lawn signs. I didn’t mean to imply that I don’t use social media.

Paul McAlary: Here’s a funny story of how bad advertising won’t help you.
Thirty years ago there was a tool company that advertised in the Yellow Pages across from my ad as a general contractor. I know from the size of the ad that it cost $500 per month in 1986. The advertisement should have read:
Whatever your needs may be, we have what you are looking for. Unfortunately, for five years before they went out of business, it read:
Whatever your needs, maybe we have what you are looking for.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Aug 31 2016

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Social Media and the K&B Industry

We love joining in on #KBTribeChat, which takes place every Wednesday from 2-3 pm EST across Twitter. Every week a topic is discussed and manufacturers and designers alike all jump in with opinion, advice and facts. This week we discussed the importance of social media in our industry, with #KBTribeChat supplying the questions. Even though I’m a millennial, I still have quite a lot to learn when it comes to social media, and these folks really showed me.

  1. Is Twitter useful to you beyond #KBTribechat?
    Twitter is like real-time dialogue – you could get drawn into it all day chatting with others in the business and clients if you could. It also allows you to post links, whereas Instragram doesn’t.
  2. What social platforms are musts? For what reasons?
    This one is pretty clear: Twitter, Instram, and Facebook. GooglePlus is a must for SEO users, and Houzz and PInterest are also helpful for reaching new clients.
  3. What advice do you have for the design pro who is skeptic about social media?
    Although it’s doubtful that anyone really has skepticism, we all agreed that you need to figure out who your target audience is and what platform they use. Several designers also pointed out that social media in itself is a great outlet for showing off design skills.
  4. How has social media benefited your business?
    Everyone agreed that social media is crucial. It allows a new group of users to engage and provide real-time feedback, is a great networking tool and is marketing without physically going door-to-door.
  5. Do you have a strategy for when to like a tweet and when to retweet?
    Retweets show up as “repeats” of what someone else tweeted, while likes just add up little hearts next to the tweets. Basically, if you want to share with your audience someone else’s tweet, then retweet it. If you just want to show appreciation for a tweet, but it’s not applicable to you business, then like it.

If you want to join in next week, just follow @KBTribeChat on twitter, and when it comes time for the talk, find #KBTribeChat. You can participate by adding #KBTribechat to the end of your tweets. See you next time!