K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Bath Design

Jan 07 2016

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Seven 2016 Trends to Watch from Houzz

Houzz_Living Space-esque Bathroom

All photos from Houzz

Bathrooms that Feel More Like Living Spaces

Graphic wallpaper, ornate chandeliers and furniture-like pieces turn sterile spaces into feeling more like home, as shown in the photo above.

Colored Stainless Steel Appliances

Black stainless steel is making a buzz on Houzz. In a poll, nearly two-thirds of Houzzers say they would consider the dark alternative to shiny metal. Not into the darkness? Head to the light with Whirlpool’s Sunset Bronze finish.

Outdoor Fabric Used Inside

Outdoor fabrics are becoming increasingly harder to distinguish from traditional indoor fabrics, and many Houzzers are bringing them indoors, where their durability make them perfect for high-traffic living room and dining furniture.


Fireplaces and Fire Features

New advances mean you can have all the ambience without the smell, pollution or hassle of traditional wood-burning fireplaces. Plus, fireplaces are making a comeback as living room focal points in lieu of the dark void of a TV screen.

Statement Mirrors in Bathrooms

So long medicine cabinets; hello, statement mirrors. Think large, wood-framed beauties, backlit modern marvels and ornate vintage gems that take style to another level in a bathroom.


The Rise of the Bidet

Manufacturers are creating bidets more catered to American markets – and they’re taking off. According to Houzz data, bidets are included in five percent of renovated master bathrooms.

Modern Material Mix In the Kitchen

Houzzers looking for something a little livelier than white cabinets and granite countertops mix several modern materials, finishes and colors. Try stainless steel perimeter countertops with creamy white quartz island countertops and painted blue glass-fronted perimeter cabinets with painted white glass island cabinets. Toss in some reclaimed wood shelves or ceiling beams, and you’re on your way to an eclectic, upbeat space.

Dec 29 2015

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Design Your Best: Tips for the Professional

!Kitchen_Konstantin Kildinov_19

The kitchen and bath are the most elaborate rooms in the house and define the house’s character; and a great kitchen can raise the price of a mediocre home. As a designer or contractor, it is your job to provide the consumer with the best value for their budget and best design for their lifestyle.

Don’t Stay in the Box

As a designer, it is important to find new ways to differentiate each room in the house. Customers don’t want a cookie-cutter home. Instead of a generic or ready-made backsplash, use a unique patterned stone slab such as a cool onyx or something completely unpredictable that has a uniqueness of character. These little upgrades will set you apart when a customer is deciding on a designer for their renovation and design needs.

Bathroom_ Fabrizio Carraro_Pina House_03Unique patterned stone slab goes a long way.

Function – and Experience – First

The most important design aspect to keep in mind when renovating a kitchen is to make it functional. These nuances require experience such as knowing how to deal with dimensions and what is the most optimal place to locate any functional part of the kitchen (and the same applies for a bath.) This is why customers are hiring a professional. Make sure you are always putting function first and show your clients when they need clarification. Point out common mistakes made by less experienced designers or DIY’ers. No matter how well you market yourself, nothing can substitute for experience.

!Kitchen_Anya Garienchick (project of Alyona Yudina)_06

Think function first in the kitchen.

Sell Yourself

In today’s world, the contractor and designer must know how to market themselves, and a lot of referrals happen digitally. It is your job as a professional to increase your odds for business. Take a beginner class in online communication and social media. Create a basic website with relevant contact information, and update your social media presence to increase your chances of being hired.

!Bathroom_INT2 Architecture_Interior RDD_02

Find ways to differentiate every room in the house.

Style Sells

Finally, make sure you have consistent style. If you are not naturally a very aesthetic person, make sure that if you plan to mix and match color and patterns in your design that it does not clash or cheapen the overall look. One of the biggest renovation mistakes includes a well-thought-out renovation overshadowed by bad design elements.

– By Raf Howery, CEO of Kukun, a company that offers transparent home renovation tools, helping consumers hire the right professional at the best price. Learn more at www.mykukun.com.

Dec 16 2015

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Revamped, Repurposed Condo Bath


The 12-in. by 12-in. floor tile color is Gray Penny
Porcelain Mosaic from Floor & Décor.

I went to my friend Chandler Brown’s house last weekend for a holiday open house, but I think he really wanted to show off his newly remodeled bathroom, which is awesome. I do not have a “before” picture, but believe me, there is a huge difference in the adjustments he chose to make to the space. My iPhone pictures do not do the space justice.

“The bathroom was very dated with original, apartment-style finishes,” said Brown, “and I wanted a new, updated look with more functionality.”


Another issue was the 30-in. vanity, which he had to lean down to use because most are a 36-in. standard height. He decided to have the entire space gutted from floor to ceiling and made the following improvements:

  • – The laminate floors were replaced with tile.
  • – The built-in vanity was replaced with a taller unit with legs for a more furniture-style look.
  • – The pre-fab garden tub is now a floor-to-ceiling, spa-like, glass-enclosed shower.

Close up of one tile

Brown purchased the shower and
wall tiles from Home Depot.

“My contractor was amazing and helped me choose materials that would be functional, long lasting and modern,” said Brown. “Working with him, I selected tiles that were aesthetically pleasing and were in keeping with the other design elements in my home.”

Brown had a budget to renovate one room in his condo – the kitchen or the bathroom – another decision the contractor helped him make.

“We ultimately went with bathroom because it was in need of better functionality, whereas the kitchen was more aesthetics,” he said. “Once we decided on the room, the contractor recommended we do the entire bathroom, including flooring, painting, new baseboards, new toilet…to have consistency among finishes while staying on budget.”

Shower Floor Tile


Dec 16 2015

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Universal Design for Health and Longevity


Häfele’s easy-to-access drawers

It’s hard to deny that on the whole we are living longer, healthier lives. Especially when one considers the wealth of information at our fingertips (WebMD anyone?) combined with constant advances in modern medicine. As we strive toward aging gracefully and comfortably well into our retirement years, it seems only natural to want to safely enjoy the homes we’ve spent a good chunk of our lives creating.

On December 10, designer Mary Jo Peterson was invited to speak on the topic of Universal Kitchen & Bath Design for Health and Longevity at the Häfele USA Showroom in NYC. The event was organized by the AIANY Design for Aging Committee. Jerry Maltz, founder and co-chair of the DAC, and Karen Kraskow, member, expressed their gratitude to Peterson for coming out to speak about designs that help make negotiating surroundings friendlier for people of all ages.

Peterson, an award-winning designer and author who has earned a long list of accolades in her field, including induction into the NKBA Hall of Fame in 2009, is president of her Connecticut-based design firm Mary Jo Peterson, Inc., and feels strongly that universal design should be an inherent part of all residential projects, particularly regarding the aging process. Her firm focuses on residential projects and provides design support to major homebuilders and product manufacturers nationwide, and over the last 25 years her contributions to the designs for kitchens and bathrooms have impacted thousands.


Mary Jo Peterson

During her presentation, Peterson talked about technological advances that were once thought as high end are now commonly found in kitchens, such as the indications for red/hot and blue/cold on faucets or the clear toaster that curbs fire hazards from burnt toast. Also, snazzy LED lighting used inside floor panels that acts as a pathway for midnight trips from bed to the toilet are just plain practical.

Peterson brought up a number of fun, interesting and practical trends, including the increasingly popular biophile design, which is when outdoor spaces are created inside. Not only are they lovely to look at, they are known to reduce stress and enhance creativity. More common trends she mentioned in universal design included putting more emphasis on drawers; moving parts such as slide-out countertops and sliding doors; and open spaces to reduce potential injury while entering or exiting showers, baths and vanities.

“I’ve always said tubs are hard to make completely safe,” she said, “but there certainly are ways to make improvements. You can install a seat to hold up to 300 pounds. There are tubs with doors. They even make grab bars attractive now.”

Karen Kraskow

Above, Karen Kraskow is checking out some innovative countertop designs that could work well with clients with limited reach.
The white pullout counter top (to her left) instantly adds space to any kitchen, and the highly functional drawers include key LED lighting for optimal accessibility.

Enhanced toilets are also trending that come equipped with lighting, remote flush, bidet/washlet, automatic open/close and an MP3 player. Peterson mentioned that toilets with these kinds of accoutrements aren’t cheap, but they have come down about $1K in recent years.

Earlier on in her presentation she mentioned that being practical doesn’t have to mean being dull. “Design can inspire, not simply fix a problem,” she said. “Design can be both beautiful and practical.”

Peterson is certified in kitchen, bath and aging in place and is an active adult housing CLIPS (certified living-in-place specialist). She has also authored three books on the subject of universal design, including her most recent release in 2014 called Bath Planning: Guidelines, Codes, Standards.

– Carrie Farley