K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Inspiration

Jan 13 2016

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Inside the Boutique Showroom

Boerne, Texas is an exclusive town – a diamond in the rough. Located in the heart of the Texas hill country it is generous in treasures and rich in history, with plenty of fine dining and shops to buy rustic furniture and the latest country gear. But one thing it lacked during this time of massive expansion was a tile design center that encompassed tradition and modern flare.

KBB spoke with Stefanie Teat of Tile Studio 925 to find out more.

TS925 show room
Why did you open up here?
Most local remodelers, builders and designers typically drive more than 30 minutes to San Antonio to search for their selections. We noticed the need and aimed our focus at “bringing the best-of-the-best to Boerne.” The homeowners of the surrounding towns such as Kerrville, Comfort, Fair Oaks Ranch, Pipe Creek, Helotes and Leon Springs now have the option to stay close to home. We are a new favorite to neighborhoods like Cordillera, the Dominion and Anaqua Springs. Our priority was to create a comfortable, classy environment where designers can bring their clients, come hang out, use our free Wi-Fi and have a place to work or relax in between projects. We plan to use our studio to bring Boerne and surrounding communities together by hosting classes, mixers, charity events and more.

tile studio store

Why did you pick this particular building?
After researching all of the available spaces along the I-10 corridor, we came across this gem. It was an old, dirty office space, carpeted with low ceilings, and particularly small. It was in need of a lot of work, but we saw that it had potential! With 20 years of remodeling experience, we immediately saw the vision and started creating a design.

Why changes did you have to make?
Due to the limited space, we knew we had to expand UP in height-which meant we had to remove the entire ceiling in order to make it higher. We expanded it to 10 feet. We analyzed how important it would be to have a private workspace for our staff so we built a wall that would also become the prized view of each customer as they entered our doors. We could not afford to waste the closet space so we converted it into a single office for the show room manager.

What are some of your standouts?
Due to the cramped area, we felt the need for a sliding glass door, which would give the appearance of a larger area by being able to see through it and let the light through. This door has become our WOW factor! The slender, vertical, stainless steel door handle helped create the theme for the office cabinet doors as well. After visiting several cabinetry companies, researching online and calculating our need to use every inch of wall and ceiling possible, my husband decided to make the cabinets himself. He knew exactly what he wanted and he got it, right down to the quiet close hinges.

cambria with bow
Talk about the design of the space.
Knowing that we would have an abundance of tiles of all shapes and sizes to display in a mere 600-sq.-ft. space we aimed to make each wall its own unique display. To the left we have custom shelves that each encase 12-in. by 12-in. glass and stone mosaics, and the middle area is for larger tiles and crazy odd shaped wall coverings. Instead of building our shelves up from the floor, we built them up on top of a base that contains diagonal slots – holding more than 400 tiles! Again, as my husband carefully planned this intricate design he realized that he would not be satisfied with anything less than perfection so he simply made them himself.

He then made a huge island that holds a refrigerator, two sides for larger tile planks and even inlayed cabinet doors designed to showcase tile on the outside as well! We chose Cambria’s Brittanica quartz countertop to really jazz it up. The right wall is made up of slat wall from floor to ceiling, which gives us the ability to be creative, artistic and versatile in our displays. We can easily change the scenery at any time, and it really elongates the depth of our store. White walls and bright lights accentuated the array of colors constantly on display. The bathroom was created to showcase the elegance of our upscale tile selections. We used all Emser tile for our bathroom and Caesar Stone for the countertops. The extended eight-foot door was installed to ensure that our Spurs (basketball players) customers won’t hit their heads when they are shopping! For our grand finale we spoiled ourselves with Emser’s Motion Advance porcelain floor planks, which blend perfectly with our color combination and are very durable in our commercial environment.

Why do you think designers like your showroom?
One designer told us that it’s hard to lug huge samples from one store to another, and it takes up a lot of valuable time to drive to several locations. It is also difficult typically building a custom home that requires some of the basic brands that are affordable for a builder’s budget and certain exquisite, specialty tiles in key areas of the home that will wow the home owner and allow the designer to use her creativity. We offer the best of both worlds. Most high end tile stores will only carry upscale, very high priced tile, but we carry both, because as I mentioned, my husband had the designers in mind when he conceived the vision for this place. As we get feedback from our customers our store is evolving to meet their needs and become a one-stop shop.

Dec 30 2015

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Making a Small Space Feel Not So Small

Kathleen Walsh Interior

Measure Twice, Buy Once
In smaller spaces especially, determining the right size for every piece is a necessity. When shopping, stick to your measurements! Even if you have to make selection compromises, everything will plop down in the room and immediately feel right.

Kathleen Walsh Interior

Hidden Storage Using every possible spot for storage is key – and yes, that often means going custom. Use the space under the bed, consider incorporating hidden drawers or shelving into stair structures and push the cabinetry to the ceiling. Incorporate double-hanging, pullout surfaces, flip-down surfaces, hidden drawers – use every trick in the book.

Incorporate the Kitchen
Integrate kitchen cabinetry into the greater space to give you more square footage in which you actively live. Blurring the border between living area and kitchen gives you greater flexibility and better utilizes the space your client has. I like appliances that are beautifully engineered and gorgeous to look at, when you want to admire them, but they also require that they blend in and disappear. Gaggenau’s fine lines and customization allow size variation and function versatility while being beautifully handcrafted and naturally luxurious.

Kathleen Walsh Interior

Be Mindful of Finishes on Furnishings
Using glass and Lucite furnishings will help give you the function that you need without visually taking up space. A few metal pieces will bounce some light around and help alleviate all items from feeling the same. You want varied finishes to allow your eye to move about a room. So you notice it all – it tricks the perception and makes a room seem bigger.

Lighting Makes the Difference
You need light in the center of a room without relying on floor and table lamps, so recess enough lights into the ceiling or consider chandeliers in the center of the room. Sconces work wonders and keep table-tops clear. Light all the shelves with library lights. Put everything on dimmers to achieve differing layers of light.

– By Kathleen Walsh of New York-Based Kathleen Walsh Interiors. Photos of Kathleen Walsh’s Pied à Terre by Marco Ricca

Dec 28 2015

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When Design Comes Home

Above is an image of my parents’ kitchen. I spent the first 18 years of my life in this house and have since watched it evolve with the times and the changing needs of our family. I learned how to bake bread and roast a chicken in this kitchen, and I had my sweet 16 birthday party dinner made in this space. When old friends and family come over, they immediately sit at the island while my mother brings out appetizers and wine. It has become a safe haven for my sister, our closest friends and me.

Believe me, it didn’t always look this way.


This is the way it looked before we had a massive renovation, back when I was about 10 years old. All I remember was that it was dark and tricky to maneuver in. According to my mother, she was fed up with everyone crowding her kitchen and getting tripped over with by children and dogs.

So we took that massive undertaking of renovating and redesigning. We moved into the finished basement for about six months and lived off of a tiny stove and back up refrigerator. Sawdust was everywhere, and my older teenage sister was going crazy with being cooped up.

But to this day, that kitchen has failed to go out of style for my family. Sure, it’s traditional, and they could use a new refrigerator and hood. The only changes they’ve really had to make are to the hardware, which recently moved to square bronze knobs (per my suggestion), and for a new pull-out kitchen faucet (they were skeptical about touchless technology – I did try though). I’ve seen so many more beautiful kitchens in my work with KBB, but this one stands still as my example of what all designers hope to achieve – a kitchen that stands the test of time and the many messy joys a kitchen can bring.

Happy holidays from the staff at Kitchen and Bath Business

Dec 10 2015

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A Little 1950s Charm

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Big gifts come in small boxes, and great designs often start with small rooms. For designer Allison Jaffe of Austin, Texas-based Allison Jaffe Interior Design, one tiny bathroom offered up the opportunity to create a little charm.

“Spatially, there was a standard 3-ft. by 3-ft. shower in a tight, little 1950’s bathroom,” said Jaffe.

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By taking out the linen closet next to the shower and taking some of the space from a closet behind the shower, Jaffe squeezed in a little more square footage into the space. Then there was just the dated aesthetic with the very 50’s-esque turquoise and yellow subway tile to tackle.

“We wanted to keep that 1950s feel, but modernize it with new features,” said Jaffe.

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The classic subway tile stayed on the bottom half of the wall, and small square tiles still grace the floor. Now though, a soft blue-green tile under a wainscoting detail lends a serene ambiance to the room and wraps  into the shower. The rest of the walls are painted a matching color.

“We used that blue tile to punch it up,” she added.

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A shaker-style, white vanity keeps the bath traditional and classic.

“You can’t go wrong with shaker,” said Jaffe. “But rather than standard legs, I did ones with a little more decorative profile. It’s something charming, and besides looking pretty, it’s really functional as well in terms of storage.”

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