K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

May 01 2016

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Freshen Up a Breakfast Nook


Christopher Grubb of Arch-Interiors Design Group in Beverly Hills, Calif., has come up with some tips that designers can suggest to their clients – or can even use themselves – to freshen up and improve the look and feel of their home easily and cost efficiently.

The following are this month’s tips for freshening up the breakfast nook:

– Reduce the number of appliances kept on the counter. An appliance garage or dedicated cabinet is the perfect place to tuck them away.

– Install/grow an indoor herb garden to bring nature inside and provide fresh herbs for cooking.

– Slipcover a wood chair, or recover/slipcover an upholstered one for an updated look.

– Paint or re-stain a wooden table and chair set.

– Clear visual clutter by removing everything on top or stuck to the refrigerator. With kids’ artwork, keep only the newest or most important pieces and create clever “time capsules” with the rest.

– Create a new display area for artwork by adding a corkboard or chalkboard on the pantry door.

May 01 2016

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Expert Design Tips for Outdoor Kitchens


Nathan J. Reynolds, CAPS for Insperiors, LLC, by Chelsea Shaw Photography 

Brian Patrick Flynn is an interior designer, National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) K+B Insider and national TV personality who lends his insights and expertise on the latest kitchen and bath trends on behalf of the NKBA. Here are some of his design tips for outdoor kitchens.

1. When it comes to outdoor kitchen design, function is #1. The best outdoor kitchen is just as functional as what you have inside, and the secret to making sure your clients enjoy the space as much as possible is to reduce the trips they will take between the kitchen inside and the outdoor space. Make sure the outdoor kitchen can accommodate a few integrated appliances: A refrigerator is a must-have to store fresh food before it goes on the grill, as well as extra wine and beer. I also recommend a full-size stainless-steel sink with a detachable faucet and an outdoor dishwasher if the budget allows.

2. Opt for an open layout for easy entertaining. Design the outdoor kitchen and living space with a guest-friendly open layout that encourages family and friends to serve themselves and relax. I always advise seating be 10 to 12 feet away from the grill and food prep zone so guests can comfortably mingle while the host finishes meal prep. It gives the cook the ample space while still allowing for conversation to flow from one area to the other.

Flynnside Out Productions

Flynnside Out Productions

3. Think beyond the grill. Today’s outdoor kitchens are so much more than the stand-alone charcoal grills we grew up with. A lot of outdoor kitchen appliance brands take a modular approach to their offering, so you can have a grill and a griddle side by side. Who doesn’t love the idea of making morning eggs and bacon at their outdoor kitchen?

4. Let there be light. Good lighting in and around the outdoor kitchen is essential when it comes to both functionality and ambiance. A benefit to having a ceiling extend over the outdoor kitchen makes it easy to integrate task lighting where your clients need it most. I also love integrating industrial festival lights along a pergola to help keep the space lit after hours. This can instantly give any outdoor gathering space more of a room-like feeling.

Apr 25 2016

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What Italian Homes are Really Like

After hunting down products and trends at Salone del Mobile in Milan last week, I spent the nights at Airbnbs and got an insider’s look at Italian kitchen and baths. Both of the places I stayed were lovely (if you haven’t done Airbnb, I highly recommend it), but unless you pay a fortune, expect to be living like most of the locals: tight quarters and very old bones.

06c11ef2-ddde-42eb-b8f2-b71c9bf66f98Location One: Milan

While at the show in Milan, I stayed a little outside the city center to be closer to the fairgrounds. The young couple I stayed with – a special needs teacher and an artist – had a little more room than most with this suburban locale. My section of the space included a fairly large bathroom by European standards that had obviously been recently remodeled.

There was the typical bath with a shower handle (always fun to maneuver) and a tiny shower squeezed by the door. The shower itself was missing interior lights and it only was hot for about three minutes – also very Italian – but other than that it was definitely an update. The sink was wide and featured a Brizo faucet, and the floor tile was some type of marble.

The couple’s kitchen definitely had some interesting character. As you can see, some of the cabinet doors were missing and instead were replaced with sheets of fabric. (I have heard that some Europeans literally take their cabinetry with them when they move, so maybe that happened here). The multi-colored drawers that remained looked rather fitting next to the plaid coverings. Other than that, it was just functional. The high point though was the balcony right off the kitchen. There was one off the main living space and my bedroom as well. Since the area was near a park and a soccer stadium, it was neat to hear the wildlife mixing with screaming Italian football fans late at night.

Location Two: Monterosso

My second stay was in Monterosso, a tiny coastal town in Cinque Terre on the Mediterranean coast. This was a studio apartment that I had to myself. It had a cheery palette of white, high walls and azure blue cabinetry and detailing. As you can see, this was more the teeny tiny kitchen you would expect. There was about a foot of prep space (I used the kitchen table instead) and the oven somehow became a storage area for extra pots and pans.

The bathroom as well was a squeeze, with a laundry machine propped between the toilet and the sink. There was a shower though, with hot water for about two minutes this time – but it gets you moving quick if nothing else.

All in all, it’s what I’ve come to expect from Italian homes over all my trips there – it’s tiny, functional, full of character (both good and bad) and always lets in the Italian air and surroundings beautifully.

And this is me eating gelato (pistachio flavored!) after a very long day of hiking at Cinque Terre. It was freezing there, but it’s never too cold for gelato!

Apr 22 2016

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Best Practices for Getting Published

Blog Coverings Session

Last week during Coverings 2016, I was part of a panel titled “Getting Published,” which focused on best practices for industry professionals and their PR counterparts to get their projects and products under an editor’s radar.

The panel also included Elaine Markoutsas, a columnist with the Chicago Tribune and Modern Luxury Chicago; Eileen Kwun, senior editor of Dwell; Julie Taraska, products editor for Architectural Record; and moderator Paul Makovsky, editorial director for Metropolis.

418 KBB Raw2

Here is an abridged version of the session with some key points to consider when pitching to an editorial personality – specifically mine.

– Email is better than calling since we can’t see pictures on a call. The call will come later if we set up an interview.

– Send professional photos. You can send low-res at first, but make sure you have the high-res versions and the rights to the photos so we have permission to use them. Please do not send a query without a photo.

– For extremely large photos, consider using a platform like Wetransfer or Dropbox to send those. Make sure you tell us who you are and which project it is when you send files from those sources.

– Let us know how old – or new – the project or product is.

– Specifically for projects, tell us if you are pitching it to multiple sources or if it has already been published in a similar publication/outlet.

– If it is a project, let us know what the reader may learn from it. We want to feature more than just an attractive kitchen, bath or showroom.

– Once you have emailed us, we will respond as soon as we can, but let us contact you if we are planning to cover what you sent. Our inboxes are ALWAYS full, so please do not send repeat emails.

– A lot of publications work weeks – and even months out – for their issues, so study the editorial calendar online to see what’s coming up in advance of contacting us.

– Make sure you know to whom you are pitching and that the content applies to that publication.

– It also helps to know the publication’s audience.

Those simple tips will make everyone’s experience easier when it comes to submitting projects/products to media outlets. If you have any questions, please email me at Chelsie.butler@emeraldexpo.com. You can also visit our social media sites to get to know us better:

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