K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Green

Jan 30 2015

Posted by
Comments

Twitter Chat Community Builds Buzz for KBIS

What started as a small group of kitchen and bath pros getting together on Twitter each Wednesday afternoon has grown into a significant vehicle for industry information and KBIS communications. A KBIS hosted pre-show chat on January 14 had 244 participants, 2,770 tweets about the show and an estimated reach of more than 700,000 twitter users in the week prior to and including the one-hour chat.

The progressive KBTRIBECHAT at KBIS 2015 kicked off in the Wellborn Cabinet booth.

The Progressive KBTRIBECHAT at KBIS 2015 kicked off in the Wellborn Cabinet booth.

On the first day of the show, KBIS 2015 and Stacy Garcia, founder of the #KBTRIBECHAT, hosted a progressive show floor chat sponsored by Wellborn Cabinet Inc., TOTO USA and Cambria. A large group of social influencers toured the three exhibitor booths learning about new product, new initiatives and tweeting their findings and favorite products to the larger social community.

Cambria presented the #KBTRIBECHAT community with new products and celebrity guest Mariel Hemingway.

Cambria presented the #KBTRIBECHAT community with new products and celebrity guest Mariel Hemingway.

Highlights included smart design, automation and customization from Wellborn; water-saving technologies and people-first innovation from TOTO USA; and textures, design possibilities and advanced fabrication techniques from Cambria.

Renée Lyn, 
marketing communications & social content coordinator for TOTO USA, reviews new eco washlet options during the Progressive #KBTRIBECHAT.

Renée Lyn, 
marketing communications & social content coordinator for TOTO USA, reviews new eco washlet options during the Progressive #KBTRIBECHAT.

During the usual Wednesday time slot on January 21, Formica held an in-booth #KBTribeChat that supported the show with topics that covered top products, color trends, technology finds and must-see booths at KBIS 2015.

#KBTRIBECHAT founder Stacy Garcia (center) oversees the tribe at the Formica booth for a KBIS top picks and trends chat.

#KBTRIBECHAT founder Stacy Garcia (center) oversees the tribe at the Formica booth for a KBIS top picks and trends chat.

      – KBIS Social Media Team

Bookmark and Share

Dec 31 2014

Posted by
Comments off

Zen Bath Reflects User-Friendly Elements for Both Homeowners

KBB10

A homeowner with some medical issues wanted a bathroom with a Zen atmosphere – a space to refresh one’s mind, body and soul. Donna Schachne of Schachne Architects and Builders in Davie, Fla., created a space with clean, crisp lines and earthy elements incorporated into the design – two requests she fulfilled with wood materials, natural light, muted and natural colors and movement within the space.

Other requirements included:

-       A deep soaking bathtub adjacent to an open shower for treatment purposes.

-       A smooth transition from the shower to the tub. The designer included a staircase as a guide to the tub, as well as an elongated, trough-type sink counter to make it feel like one complete element.

KBB6

-       An easy-access walk-in shower to accommodate the owners as they age. The design team cut out the existing concrete slab and incorporated a new sunken slab to accommodate appropriate slopes.

-       A hand-held showerhead for bathing and also for washing down the soaker tub.

KBB1

-       A full-length mirror and make-up table – an element missing in the couple’s original bathroom.

The use of natural light was important to the homeowners. The design team used a few different tactics to accomplish this goal:

-       A Shoji-type door with translucent glass allows light to travel from one space to the next.

-       The glass transom around the toilet vestibule allows the feeling of continuation of the existing lower ceiling and the continuity of light between the main bathroom area and the toilet vestibule.

KBB7

-       “Since this was a builder-type home, there was an overly high ceiling in the bathroom,” said Schachne. “We incorporated a suspended wood frame structure with patterned infill panels to allow light from above to filter down, thus keeping a human scale to the space.”

KBB9

Being true to the environment was also an important goal with the bathroom remodel. According to Schachne, LED lighting was used to keep down the heat loads, as well as American-made plywood (no off gassing), a manmade concrete trough sink, low-flow plumbing fixtures and a duel-flush toilet.

Before2

C:UsersKennyDocumentsMorris Bathroom_062313 - PROMO(Recovery

Sources

Design Team: Donna Schachne and Ken Dyman, Schachne Architects and Builders

Photographer: Stan Schachne

Bathtub: Kohler

Cabinetry: Custom

Ceiling Panels: 3form

Doors: Woodgrain Doors

Hardware: Emtek

Mirrors: Electric Mirror Company

Plumbing Fixtures: Hansgrohe

Sink: Sonoma

Tile: Daltile

Toilet: Duravit

 

Bookmark and Share

Sep 17 2014

Posted by
Comments off

Sustainability in Kitchen and Bath Fixtures: The Next Frontier

Image by Dan, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by Dan, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Just a few years ago, it seemed as if everyone was talking about reducing the water usage of plumbing fixtures and fittings as being the best way to conserve water. We still hear this from time to time, mostly when a particular region is devastated by drought, but mostly those concerns have dissipated.

Critics may assume this indicates that consumers no longer care about water efficiency, but those of us in the center of the water industry have seen a shift in – not a lack of – concern. Let me put it this way: When was the last time you saw someone shop specifically for a non-Energy Star home appliance? They don’t. Consumers don’t look for Energy Star-rated appliances; they expect that the appliance is Energy Star-rated. It is just that commonplace.

We’ve seen this shift with WaterSense-labeled and water-efficient products – homeowners want a great faucet or toilet and they simply expect it to be as efficient as possible without having to think about it. The 2014 EcoPulse Survey, conducted by The Shelton Group, shows that consumers expect that leading brands are designing great products, and efficiency is just one aspect of greatness. Choosing a water-efficient product used to be considered the “better choice” but with this shift in consumer mindset, “better” takes on a different meaning.

What has replaced efficiency in this discussion is a more holistic take on what it means to be an eco-friendly product. There is a groundswell of consumers demanding to understand more about the products they purchase and consume – they expect manufacturers to provide that information in an easy-to-understand way.

We see this first in products that are consumed (food and beverages), then in products that are applied (cosmetics, personal care products) and finally in products that people buy for their homes (furnishings, building products). Consumers want to understand where the product came from, how it will affect them while it’s being used and what to do with it when its useful life ends. Professionals helping consumers make the choices in their product selection need suppliers to provide information on those products, with some hard data behind it.

Take the food industry for example – the overwhelming demand for locally sourced food supply isn’t going to disappear overnight. In fact, it is growing exponentially, in part due to the rising interest in “Community Supported Agriculture” (CSA) programs. Restaurants and grocery stores that have embraced this trend see increased profits and customer loyalty.

And it doesn’t stop there – consumer electronics have become more transparent in the materials used and end-of-life plan for the products. This, too, will make its mark on the plumbing industry, and those who want to succeed need to be ahead of this wave. Consumers will undoubtedly become choosier about materials and products, conducting much more in-depth comparisons of products and manufacturers, and they will expect that trade professionals are just as educated as they are, if not more.

Fortunately, there’s a document that provides this information. An Environmental Product Declaration, or EPD, is a third-party-certified document that conveys the manufacturer’s understanding of the environmental impact of a product over its entire lifecycle, including raw material extraction, manufacturing, transportation, service life and ultimate disposal or recycling.

So rather than just talking about one feature of product, such as how much water or energy it uses, the EPD also includes information on what the product is made from, how much water and energy it took to obtain the raw materials, many other environmental impacts of those processes and what the impact is upon disposal. An EPD is like an environmental scorecard – the first one that attempts to count everything.

Further, EPDs for similar products can be compared with each other. Each type of product has its own special rules for how the environmental data is to be collected and presented. In theory, one can look at EPDs for toilets from several brands and get an idea of which ones are better overall from an environmental standpoint.

But a word of caution: Collecting all of the environmental data to produce EPDs is complicated and time-consuming. When actual process data isn’t available, manufacturers rely on published databases to fill in the gaps. Since EPDs are relatively new – at most 10 years, and much less than that for plumbing products – manufacturers are working to create and improve the data in them. It’s definitely a work in progress, and I fully expect the quality and presentation of information in EPDs to improve in the coming years.

Why is all of this important? For consumers and specifiers who strive to make better environmental choices, EPDs can help them decide. An example is building owners who are looking to earn LEED certification. While LEED has always included points for reducing water and energy use in a building, it’s evolved to be holistic about all environmental impacts.

In LEED v4, which was launched in November 2013, projects can now earn points for including products that have EPDs. The intent of this credit is to create a market incentive for more building product manufacturers to provide environmental information about their products. Transparency about what goes into a product will drive companies to eliminate the bad stuff and spur innovation in materials and process development, which will lead to products that are better for the environment while still delivering the experiences consumers expect.

So consumers today expect efficiency. And they expect manufacturers to be doing the right things for the environment. EPDs and the broader movement toward full transparency will harness the power of the market to reward product manufacturers who do both. Specifiers can aid this process by learning more about environmental issues and helping their clients make informed choices.

- By Rob Zimmerman, Senior Channel Manager of Sustainability at Kohler Co.

Bookmark and Share

Mar 18 2014

Posted by
Comments off

Faux Real: Digital image printing comes of age

When I was a girl growing up in the 60s, DIY wood paneling was all the rage for creating a quick new look at home. I remember my father paneling a kitchen in a version of ‘pickled’ oak, 4×8 sheets of it nailed over old wallpaper. My mom added her decorating touches to it with a black and white checkerboard vinyl floor and finished it off with a duet of appliances in avocado green. So chic!

So that was my initiation into faux wood, followed by the ubiquitous “walnut” desks and TV stands made of plastic. So suffice it to say, it would take a lot to change this designer’s perspective on anything that mimics real wood, but isn’t. For that matter, my opinion on anything that’s fake, or ‘faux’ as it’s now known, hasn’t been so great.

But that has all changed. Digital printing has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for creating products for the home that are insanely gorgeous – from porcelain tile, countertops, fabrics, wall covering and more. As a designer who’s focused on sustainability, preservation of our natural resources is my top priority. Being able to specify a porcelain floor tile or countertop that looks EXACTLY like stone and saves our planet gets my attention every time.

A couple of years ago I started seeing digitally printed tiles that are pretty amazing. There are some wonderful renditions of concrete floors, wood planking and stone. The beauty of these floors goes well beyond their looks. Virtually maintenance free and made to last, these tiles are a stylish, sustainable choice.

Italian tile company Ceramica Serenissima created this concrete look tile that comes in several sizes and color ways.

Metropolis

                                                                               “Metropolis” by Ceramica Serenissima

Crossville Tile, a Tennessee-based company, has introduced two great lines called Reclamation and Speak Easy.

Digitally printed porcelain tiles with wonderful texture, they’re a fresh take on aged wood with an urban edge. Both Speak Easy and Reclamation are manufactured in the U.S. with Crossville’s EcoCycle manufacturing process and contain a minimum of 4 percent recycled content and is Green Squared certified.

Speak Easy

                                                                                      Speak Easy Sweet Georgia Brown

Reclamation

                                                                                         Reclamation Whiskey Lullaby

When it comes to countertop choices, Formica’s 180 FX line of stone and wood laminates has become a real game-changer. Using digital imagery and creating large-scale formats, you can now create a beautiful surface that’s affordable, and yes, sustainable. The current trend in rare, textured woods was captured by Formica in a pattern called Black Walnut Timber. Taking a cue from the iconic furniture maker George Nakashima, it includes the natural fissures in the wood and even the butterfly joinery detail.

Formica 180 FX

                                                                                             Formica’s Black Walnut Timber

Here’s another of Formica’s 180 FX stone tops in Dolce Vita. It not only has the large-scale look of a slab of granite, but also has the company’s new Ideal Edge detail, which eliminates the tell-tale black line, delivering an even more authentic look. Adding to the beauty of this top is the stainless steel sink by Karran. Yes, you can now have an under-mount sink in a laminate top! The result:  a stunning, high-end look with an affordable price tag.

3420_DolceVita 180fx_Bullnose1

Now you can paper your walls with wood. This realistic wood wallcovering from Walls Republic would look fabulous in a beach house or a country bedroom. Dreamy! Priced at $89 for a 21-in.-wide x 33-ft. bolt, it’s a pretty, affordable way to get a great look without having to hire a carpenter (or cut down a tree!).

Walls Republic

                                                                                      Brushed wood Tuscan R1879

So call if what you will, fake or faux, I love the way this digital world we live in has changed the way we design. If we can create gorgeous interiors while saving our precious natural resources, I’ll take fake over real any day.

Bookmark and Share