K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Oct 17 2016

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Food and Fun for a Great Cause


As members of the press, the editors at KBB get invited to a host of industry events all over the U.S. – sometimes internationally. I recently attended an awesome event in a non-journalistic capacity. I was simply there to support my friend who helps make it happen and to learn more about the cause the event itself supports. The 5th-annual Harvest on the Hooch at the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Atlanta celebrated farm to table food with a garden party tasting event presented by Whole Foods and hosted by top local chefs and top-notch restaurants.


But the most important thing is that it is a fundraiser for the Unity Garden, which supplies more than four tons of fresh produce yearly to the North Fulton Community Charities food pantry.


I admit I had never been to the center before, nor had I visited the Unity Garden, so my boyfriend and I took advantage of everything the event had to offer: photo opps with life-sized carrots, tours of the garden, a gander at the mini alpacas and many chickens on the property and some really, really great food.


As you can see in the picture below, this event offered much more than mere samples – we dined on fried chicken drumsticks, Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing sandwiches and whole servings of pasta.


Aside from stuffing our faces, we actually learned a few things at the event. The Chattahoochee Nature Center’s mission is to connect people with nature, and it definitely did that for us on our visit.

Oct 17 2016

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Talking Islands


You know those long islands that keep replacing our breakfast tables? They say lively conversation is the spice of life, so if open floor plans are de rigueur and guests gravitate to those spaces, why is it so difficult to have a multi-person conversation while sitting? Eating islands, peninsulas and bars (pictured) are in vogue for good reason: we spend most of our time socializing while we prep and cook. The problem is that when seated in a row, one can usually only see the person to either side. The guest on either side of your immediate neighbor is left out.

Marshall After

Changing that straight line to convex has several effects, not the least of which is livelier conversation. The shape adds to the circumference – providing more personal space for all seated – while not intruding too much (often not more than eight inches). A gentle curve permits all guests to see each other with a nod of the head. Curves tend to soften objects, so a convex island adds a feeling of sensuality, and now that LED strip lighting is so easy to obtain, why not light below the counter? Toe kick lighting also adds a great nightlight.

– Adam Gibson, CMKBD

Oct 11 2016

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Hey Siri – How Do I Use You to My Advantage?


Business is booming in the kitchen and bath industry, as new construction and residential remodeling continue to surge. Because of the Internet and websites like Houzz and Pinterest, clients know more about kitchen and bath design and the latest trends than they ever have. New products and technology are being manufactured globally and getting to our market at a faster pace than ever before. Deloitte Global predicts that in 2016, 2.5 trillion photos will be shared or stored online.

We’re all accustomed to getting more, better and faster information, and we’re getting it when we want it and with our own preferred mode of communication – whether it’s online via chat, email, text, social media or by phone. The amount of information we are creating and sharing is astounding. One solution for swamped kitchen and bath professionals is to add staff to keep pace, and another is to automate menial tasks using Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) like Siri, Cortina, Google and Alexa.

Siri takes dictation faster than a professional typist can type; 100 words per minute versus 60-80 words per minute. I can’t even speak 100 words per minute. Siri’s speech recognition is an amazing 95 percent, and those capabilities get even better as Siri learns your language patterns, phrases and jargon.

This learning capability comes from Artificial Intelligence (AI). In 2014, Siri had a brain transplant when Apple baked AI into the iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV operating systems. You are walking around with a supercomputer in your pocket that uses AI to act on your voice commands and has the ability to help you interact in new and better ways and to navigate the many aspects of life including how, when and where you do business.

Three Siri Productivity Hacks for Kitchen and Bath Professionals:

1. Search everything with Siri. You can search online: “Hey Siri, search Kohler.com for Dickinson farm sink.” You can also search the App Store, your email, your photos and your notes.

2. Use Siri to dictate to Notes and Mail. Use the Dragon Dictation App for everything else that’s at least a paragraph long.

3. Use Siri with Calendar to schedule meetings, change meetings, email people about meetings and cancel appointments all by voice:

Considering all the computer technology for business that’s now available, speech recognition and voice input might just be the most significant since game-changing computer input methods only occur about once every 40 years. The mouse and touch-screen input methods of the 80s overtook the keyboard input method that’s been around since the 1940s. The voice-input era is still in its infancy, but it’s already providing businesses with competitive advantages – especially to those folks who are very mobile like many of us in the kitchen and bath industry.

– Scott Koehler is a 27-year veteran of the kitchen and bath industry and owner of Dream Kitchen Builders, a design-build firm doing business in the state of North Carolina. Image courtesy of pannawat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Oct 10 2016

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Condo Challenges


Open kitchen, dining, and living areas are naturally lit by three arched windows, while the adjacent private rooms—a small office/guest room, master bedroom, and bath—operate on the scale of large furniture pieces. Photo courtesy of John Horner.

We love hearing about new book releases that pertain to design. Recently, art and architecture author E. Ashley Rooney, with New York City-based designer Charlene Keogh and Wilmington, Vt.-based architect Julie Lineberger, came out with Condo Makeovers: Inventive Ideas for Vertical Living. KBB spoke to the authors to find out more insider tips about designing for those tricky condo makeovers.

1. What are some common challenges designers encounter with condos, and how can those be solved?

As Charlene Keogh said in her introduction to the book, “In a co-op or a condo when there is to be construction or renovation of any kind, plans must be submitted for approval to several entities before any work begins. That means submittals to the building’s board and the building’s own architect, the city’s building department and also possibly to a landmarks commission if the building is in a historic neighborhood.”

Furthermore, the designer must take into consideration space restrictions. For instance, a designer/architect can’t normally put in a bathroom (or kitchen or laundry) unless there is already an existing “wet” area below; plumbing stacks have to follow what’s already there. Plans that affect a building structurally or involve altering major plumbing, heating, or ventilation systems are problematic. Then there are other restrictions, such as the daily hours that work is allowed to occur; whether there are freight elevators for loading supplies, cabinetry and furniture; and can the streets handle large construction vehicles.

2. What are some ways a designer can make a condo look bigger?

Designing and choosing furniture to scale is important. Perhaps built-ins should be considered. To make the condo look bigger, a designer can use mirrors and sliding panels rather than doors. The extensive use of glass can expand a small space, while a neutral color palette, large windows and LED lights provide a space with openness and light.

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A second bathroom at the center of the apartment borrows light from a new skylit stairwell to the roof terrace. The stairs cascade down and transform into a bench and display area at the entrance. Photo courtesy of Höweler + Yoon Architecture.

3. There are a lot of technical and planning issues with condo renovations. How can those best be handled?

In renovating a condo, the main basis for any decision is owner usage. Decisions may change depending whether the renovation is for personal reasons or resale value or both. Of course, the existing condition of the space, the style of the building and its place in architectural history play a role. Then there are the alteration rules, which can have serious consequences for your renovation plans.