K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for August, 2011

Aug 09 2011

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Abet Laminati Stratificato

If you read my last post about Zero Edge sinks, then you will appreciate this post about decorative high-pressure, self-supporting compact laminate. It’s a mouthful to say but basically it is a thick decorative melamine that is achieved by fusing sheets of kraft paper with thermosetting resins.

Abet Laminati, best known for its decorative laminates, produces Stratificato in more than 500 colors, 30 different finishes and eight sheet sizes.

Standard sheet thickness is 12 mm or ½ in. and 19mm or ¾ in., but it can be made up from 6 mm or ¼ in. to 30mm or 1 ¼ in. You can also choose such options as one-sided or two-sided design and standard or flame-retardant versions.

The Stratificato is suitable for commercial applications, such as toilet partitions and wall systems, or residential applications, such as countertops and backsplashes.

Abet states in its literature that “as a rule, no edge protection is needed.” However, to improve the appearance of exposed edges, extra-fine sandpaper and lemon oil furniture polish can be used to obtain a semi-gloss finish. Its warranty guarantees against “swelling, delamination and warpage caused by humidity or proper maintenance.”

I am curious to know how this compares to PaperStone. One of the drawbacks of PaperStone is that the darker colors show water spots.

Ann Porter

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Aug 03 2011

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“Strangled by stuff”—keeping it simple

Kevin Henry’s latest blog for this collaborative got me thinking. He wrote about the amount of choices we have today, not just limited to kitchen or bath design, but across the board. And how perhaps our choices are too many. Clients start to get that “glazed over” look when he starts to review all the options that are available in materials today. He also mentioned that you can’t even get a cup of coffee today without a plethora of choices, and although we are all fortunate to be able to have all these choices in a land of plenty, it can backfire on you.

This morning I picked up a design magazine that’s strictly focused on homes in my state. I won’t mention the name of the magazine, as I really like the folks who are associated with it (not to mention the fact that they have published several of my projects in the past), but some of the content leaves me shuddering. If overblown, over-done, over-the-top decorating (I won’t call it design) is what people want, stop the world, I wanna get off…

For some reason, people seem to equate large size, overdecorated grandiose rooms with good design. I’m guessing it started back in the ’80s with the emergence of the McMansion. I think I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been in and admittedly designed several homes that could double as bus terminals. Thankfully, this trend has gone away, replaced with better-scaled, more energy-efficient smaller homes.

The current economy has made most of us not only scale back, but there are still a lot of people out there who equate bigger with better. And designers who will load up these homes with way too much “stuff.” I’m talking not only about the living rooms and bedrooms, but also the kitchens. Are any of you designers out there still doing those huge “French”-style kitchens with tons of corbels, crown molding and center islands that you can’t even reach across? When I’m in one of these kitchens, I feel like I can’t breathe and that I’m being strangled by stuff.

Maybe you’re already thinking that I’m shooting myself in the foot by eschewing this type of work. The more stuff you pile in, the more money you make, right? Perhaps I have too much of a conscience, but I can’t do it anymore.

As a green designer, my first priority is to deliver a well-designed space that not only meets the needs and requests of my clients, but is also kinder and gentler to the planet. I can still do this and make money without going completely crazy with an over-the-top, overblown design.

Designing spaces with high-quality materials, energy-efficient appliances and lighting, as well as water-saving toilets and plumbing fixtures, can be just as beautiful and profitable, without all the overblown “stuff.” I love designing simple, classic kitchens that work. Kitchens that give me a good feeling when I walk into them, and let me breathe.

Patricia Gaylor

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Aug 02 2011

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If it’s to be, it’s up to me

One Harvard Business School study determined that there were four factors critical to success: information, intelligence, skill and attitude. When these factors were ranked as to importance, this particular study found that information, intelligence and skill combined amounted to 7% of the effectiveness and attitude amounted to 93%!  Could it be that 93% of our success in work, and in life, results from our attitude?

I remember hearing a story of two people going to work each day in New York City and every morning they would stop at the same newsstand where one of them would buy the daily paper. After paying for the paper, one of the men would say thanks with an enthusiastic smile and walk away. The odd thing was the owner of the newsstand wouldn’t even acknowledge the man or smile back. He just took his money and ignored him. Well, the two of them passed the same newsstand every day for four years and every time the owner would respond in the same cold way.

One morning after the man purchased his paper with a big smile and said thank you as he normally does, his friend turned to him and asked him why he still smiles and says hello every time when the guy is so rude and doesn’t even respond in a semi-positive way. His response was: “I’m not going to let that person determine the way I act for the day.” How many times have we let other people determine the way we act for the day, week or year!

I know things can get bad and some days we wonder how we even survived through them but I have to tell you another story that seems to put the attitude factor in its place. On one of the Nightline-type programs, there was a story about a boy named Charlie who was 8 years old and had a rare form of thyroid cancer. Doctors told Charlie’s mom that he had less than six months to live.

When they interviewed Charlie’s mom, she told the reporter that when she would give Charlie his allowance money he wouldn’t buy anything for himself. Instead, he went to the toy store and bought toys for all the other kids on his floor in the hospital.  When the reporter asked Charlie why he did that, his answer was: “Because it makes me feel good.”

Because it made him FEEL GOOD…Charlie was 8 years old with 80 years of wisdom and he didn’t live up to his doctors diagnosis. His cancer went into remission and he lived four more years to the age of 12. We have a choice every day how we will live and how we will react to others. It’s impossible to have a great day with a bad attitude. It’s also impossible to have a bad day with a great attitude.

—Barry Farber consults with a variety of industries to help them grow and expand their business. He is the best-selling author of 11 books on sales, management and customer service. His latest release, the “Diamond in the Rough” CD program, is based on his best-selling book, radio and television show. Visit him at: www.BarryFarber.com or email him at: barry@barryfarber.com.

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Aug 01 2011

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“What goes around—comes around”

Isn’t that what they say?

“What you sow is what you reap.” “As your deed is, so is your destiny.” “Chickens always come home to roost.”

Last week the annual New York Home Furnishings & Design Coalition Summer Social 2011 was held at Manhattan’s Tribeca Loft. More than 350 professionals from all facets of the interior design industry, including our own kitchen and bath segment, enjoyed an evening of champagne and friends, connections and reconnections, laughter, conversation and oh yes…we raised some money for charity.

This year’s charity beneficiary was Young Adult Institute (YAI). YAI works with adults with Autism. You don’t hear about adults with Autism much. Most special schools and programs available for Autistic folks end when they reach 21 years old. Then these autistic child/adults just seem to disappear… Where do they go?

No, you don’t hear very much about adults with Autism, but then again that doesn’t seem so unusual if you think about it. Folks with Autism don’t make much noise.

It’s been proven that art gives many Autistic folks a means to communicate. The YAI organization helps Autistic adults connect and thrive through visual arts programs. Art replaces silence and frustration with a voice and hope. But art costs money.

Malvin Collage Abstract 2011

Abstract Collage by YAI client artist Malvin Palmer

It’s been a challenging couple of years for our industry. Our clients haven’t been running in droves to renovate or redecorate. They haven’t been racing to build dream a home or recreate a celebrity chef’s kitchen.

Still, the interior design industry came out last week and gave what they could and more to help YAI break the silence.

Everyone was generous and supportive, but our own Kitchen & Bath industry represented fully 50 percent of the sponsorships.

Brizo’s beautiful Siderna faucet set with glass inserts

Brizo’s beautiful Siderna faucet set with glass inserts

Brizo and their NY representative Altherm, Dornbracht America, Electrolux, Jenn-Air, Pennville Custom Cabinetry, Rohl and Sub Zero/Wolf through its representative Westye, were all there. For many this is an annual event.


Jenn-Air’s Side by Side built in earned the top spot in consumer ranking two years in a row

They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home. Truly heart starts beating with you.

Thanks also to Benjamin Moore, Lutron Electronics, Hunter Douglas, Robert Allen, The Ruffled Window and Earth Gallery. They always make our project shine but their sponsorships help to bring light to an Autistic adult’s eyes.

We are grateful to White Glove Transportation who also contributed their backs to save those of the committee members, mine included. They safely and efficiently transported the donated auction items from the consolidation point to the venue and then helped the winners transport their treasures home.

We ask our vendors for a lot. Their goods and services can make or break our businesses. Last week they gave even more. They helped replace silence with “voice,” frustration with hope.

These vendor/friends and the many who donated wonderful goods for auction will stay in the hearts and minds of everyone they touched.

Roberta Kravette AKBD, LEED AP ID+C

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