K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Inspiration

Jan 26 2015

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NAHB New American Home Makes Statement during Design & Construction Week

Main photo The New American Home, now in its 30th year, is the NAHB show house that exhibits the latest and greatest new home trends and technologies. This year’s home, constructed by Blue Herron Builders, was no exception. It sits in the hills of the desert, outside of Las Vegas, and is a contemporary with warmth and style. The simplicity of the architecture and furnishings are juxtaposed with rich textures and organic color palettes that enhance the stunning desert view. The Entry The entry, an outdoor space with water features, serves also as a casual entertaining space with simple seating, a glass-top table – complete with both fire and water features and one of the home’s 19 televisions. Yes, 19 televisions! It may seem excessive, but apparently, as a society, we have a growing desire to stay connected. As a designer who specializes in kitchen-centric living, I was happy to see an open floor plan in the kitchen. The stylish space also displayed a current trend: no wall cabinets. Tall units, open shelving and a hidden walk-in pantry create ample storage and a clutter-free, streamlined look. Kitchen 1 The Bosch appliances included a sleek, side-swing wall oven (which I voted for in a trade innovative products contest last year and find to be brilliance!) and other integrated appliances in a design in which I would love to cook. Two islands separated the kitchen cooking wall from the great space. The first, a prep island with a Kohler undercount sink, and the second, a stunning Caesarstone counter attached to the wall allowing for a casual meal, gathering of friends or a kids’ homework station. Bosch oven Very versatile, multifunction open space is my favorite type of home floor plan for family fun and entertaining. What I like to call the “great space” (because it is much more than just a “room”) featured ample and comfortable seating, stunning views, a fabulous chandelier and a beautiful gas fireplace, as well as another of the home’s 19 televisions. Great space A hallway to the media room has a textural wall of marble mosaic and another stunning gas fireplace with gemstones covering the flame jets. The media room houses one of the home’s several bars. Another bar in a loft space upstairs from what I called the “great space” continued the vibe of the entertainment, home-party lifestyle as the bar layout had a pub feel. It seems that wine enthusiasm is on the rise, especially as a trend for home entertaining. The lounging space by the bar features not only another TV, comfy lounge seating and a pool table but also a killer glass wine room that captures the trending wine culture in a strong way. The backlit bar and all bath and wall tiles in the common spaces are from Walker Zanger.

Wine wall The master suite follows the trend of well-organized, walk-in closets and less clumsy storage furniture. Behind the comfy bed is a stadium-style seating area for relaxation. The ensuite bath features simple white fixtures, as well as a trending freestanding tub and floating vanities for both him and her. The guest suites and other outdoor living spaces keep with the simple and uncluttered trends. Bedroom Floating vanities The technical aspects of the home are pretty impressive, as well. The energy the home needs to operate is actually produced on site, and many new building technologies are utilized to make the home incredibly energy efficient. Roof end Personally, I am happy to see the continuing interior trends of user-friendly, uncluttered, chic space that is still warm. The floor plan, furnishings, textural elements and lighting truly give an inviting feel. I found The New American Home to be very inspiring even though my market is the New York metro area. More information on the home, it’s impressive HERS rating of -13 and all the other specs and tech information can be found at www.tnah.com.

- Toni Sabatino, NKBA Manhattan Chapter

 

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Oct 27 2014

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An Inside Look at Generation Y (Millennials)

Moen Watch NYC Image_1

Millennials – or Generation Y’ers – as they are often called, are shaping the future of design and upcoming trends. Millennials are described as people who are between the ages of 19 and 36, and they make up about 24 percent of the U.S. population. They also represent a generation in flux – while some are in college or recently graduated and are living with their parents, others are already married professionals caught in the work/family crunch. No matter what stage of life they’re in, the reality is they represent between $1 and $1.7 trillion in annual spending power,and that number will only increase as their youngest members mature.

Recently, Jack Suvack, senior director of consumer and insights for Moen, gave a presentation on this rising generation of these young consumers.

“This up-and-coming generation of young consumers is unlike any segment we have seen in the past,” he said. “They are the most educated, socially aware generation with the potential of possessing a large portion of spending power. These individuals are prepared for what lies ahead and are looking to interact with brands that can offer them a well-rounded, meaningful experience.”

Generation Y holds two-thirds of all outstanding student loan debt. They’re also waiting to start their next stage of life after college. Twenty percent have put off marriage, and 22 percent have delayed having children. In addition, the rate at which Generation Y heads their own households has declined, compared to the population growth[1].

Gen Y holds a clear set of values and attributes, which serves as an important lens for their everyday lives. When looking to engage with brands, these individuals seek out companies with traits that align with their own. Some of these include:

-       Authenticity – This group prides themselves on being true to who they are, and they have come to expect the same from the brands they interact with on a daily basis. These individuals actively seek out companies that position themselves with integrity and promote honest communication.

-       Personalization –This generation has matured under the value that everyone is unique and should be celebrated for individuality and has an innate desire to tailor their experiences to fit their needs.

-       Connected Experiences –These individuals came of age in a connected world with the ability to access anyone and any piece of information at any time. A lifetime of connectivity has caused this generation to expect and value a connected existence.

-       Socially Conscious –While this generation may be known as self-involved, they value the concept of social consciousness. Growing up in a globally connected environment, they are more likely to pay a premium for items offered by socially conscious brands.

So, we can see that this budding generation is educated, tech-savvy and optimistic for meaningful experiences, both personally and professionally, and expect a higher level of service and experience from the brands with which they choose to interact.

[1] Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University tabulations of US Census Bureau, Housing Vacancy Survey & Intercensal Population Estimates

- By Ryan Bellinghausen

 

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Oct 15 2014

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Designers Discuss Favorite Trends & Products

October is National Kitchen and Bath Month, and we thought it would be interesting to ask designers what they thought were some of the most significant trends and products in kitchen and bath design today.

Outdoor Living Environments on the Rise

“There is growing interest in bringing the comfort and hominess we love indoors outside,” said Grace Kelly of Kitchen Designs. “At Kitchen Designs we are also noticing a major upswing in demand for creating outdoor environments, especially outdoor kitchens.” When you specify for the outdoors, it’s important to consider quality components that can withstand the elements.

The Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet and BLANCO kitchen sink and faucet are featured in this outdoor installation by Kitchen Designs.

The Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet and BLANCO kitchen sink and faucet are featured in this outdoor installation by Kitchen Designs.

Timeless Elements Inspire a Sense of Permanence

“In new construction, there is a movement toward traditional kitchens, with an emphasis on quality that inspires a sense of permanence,” said Drew Lang of Lang Architecture, designer and developer of Hudson Woods. “Today’s homebuyer – whether it’s their first, second or third purchase – doesn’t want a trendy kitchen that will need a refresh in five years; they are looking for timelessness, and Hudson Woods evokes precisely that sentiment. Our kitchens are built to last with handcrafted finishes and cutting-edge accouterments.”

Hudson Woods architect Drew Lang sought a timeless look with SMEG appliances.

Hudson Woods architect Drew Lang sought a timeless look with SMEG appliances.

Blending Traditional and Modern Elements

Many clients are looking for the comfort of classic styles but at the same time seek to be fresh and contemporary. “I look for something ‘different’ that has not been over used and is on trend yet [with a] classic style,” said Cheryl Kees Clendenon of In Detail Design. “Just the right blend of traditional and modern.”

Tile of Spain manufacturer Porcelanosa offers just right blend of traditional and modern for this In Detail Design bathroom.

Tile of Spain manufacturer Porcelanosa offers just right blend of traditional and modern for this In Detail Design bathroom.

Another tactic to blend old and new: Use contemporary finishes with traditional hardware patterns by Top Knobs as featured in this In Detail Design kitchen.

Another tactic to blend old and new: Use contemporary finishes with traditional hardware patterns by Top Knobs as featured in this In Detail Design kitchen.

Layered Conversations – Designing for Multi-Uses

”Kitchens these days are all about a layered conversation,” said Christopher D. Martinez, Poggenpohl Paramus, N.J. “How are all the individual pieces working together as a whole for the end user and their guests? The kitchen should communicate both functionally & aesthetically.”

Clients want spaces for storage, cooking and entertaining. Defining workspaces for each, homeowners can prepare meals and remain part of the conversation with guests and family.

Defining workspaces helps homeowners to prepare meals and remain part of the conversation for this Poggenpohl kitchen.

Defining workspaces helps homeowners to prepare meals and remain part of the conversation for this Poggenpohl kitchen.

Baths Are a Calming Getaway from the Stress of Daily Life

Michael Adams recently designed a bathroom space for the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island. While he was designing for the many families in crisis who will be using the space, the need for a calming getaway from the stress of daily life is certainly a trend today in everyday bathroom design.

“I wanted to create a contemporary space that was serene and calm for the families who are staying there,” said Adams of Michael Adams ID. “Kartell by Laufen offered me the look and the functionality for this space where so many families just need a clean environment and a pampering break where all their needs are met in this time of crisis. The fixtures are pure, simple and highly designed. They rise up to meet the need while maintaining the clutter free and calming space I was hoping for.”

The need for a calming getaway from the stress of daily life is certainly a trend today in everyday bathroom design, according to Michael Adams of Michael Adams ID.

The need for a calming getaway from the stress of daily life is certainly a trend today in everyday bathroom design, according to Michael Adams of Michael Adams ID.

 

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Sep 04 2014

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Is Houzz Helping or Hurting?

Image by cooldesign, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by cooldesign, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

K+BB recently asked our Designers Network LinkedIn group: What are some challenges you are dealing with as kitchen and bath professionals? Some of the responses were expected and others were a surprise. Read on and see if you feel the same way, and feel free to comment here or in our LinkedIn group.

Rex G. Hirst, CKD Au, Interior Designer at Let’s Talk Kitchens & Interiors

While I am in Australia, I think our challenge here is a universal one – to find reliable, ethical, creative, commercially savvy design/sales staff who put the client and their needs, wants, etc., ahead of their desire to simply make a pile of money. While we all work for a living, it seems to me that most people just focus on the “what’s in it for me?” While understandable, it’s never going to make you really successful, as your client’s will sense that they are just a paycheck for you, not an opportunity to do something special.

Too many people forget that making money is the result of success, so if you just focus on getting it perfect, the money will always take care of itself. It should be the result of your success, not the reason for working. Every great salesperson I have ever known has been driven by passion, not money. The funny thing is, these people also make the most money.

John Meade, Kitchen and Bath Manager at H. N. Hinckley & Sons, Inc.

My biggest challenge is keeping up the workload. With the economy doing better I have more customers, and they want kitchens that are more custom than ever, which requires more hours. This includes changing dimensions of cabinet boxes and face frames and even modifying door styles. Most of these clients are regular customers, so I have to keep up with their needs. We are not busy enough to hire another designer yet, so I am in that in-between stage with the pressure. It’s not a bad challenge and much better than the alternative – I’ll keep pushing to the next stage.

Houzz and TV Influence

Karen Hockley, CKD, CBD, Kitchen Designer

Having been a sales rep for a cabinet company for seven years and just re-entering the design world has been eye opening. One of the biggest challenges I am seeing seems to be the customer’s budget versus their wants and desires. In the last 10 years, I have seen a change in customers’ wants, which may be a reflection of consumers visiting Houzz and watching HGTV. Technology and innovation is moving so fast.

Ten years ago customers were focused on purchasing quality cabinetry and a great kitchen. What I am seeing now is everyone wants granite or quartz countertops and the latest appliances, and the quality of the cabinetry they purchase is not their primary focus. I wish there were more websites with real kitchens along with budgets for the job. This would go a long way toward helping consumers set realistic goals, expectations and budgets for their projects. It is always a rewarding experience making customers’ dreams come true, even on a limited budget. I believe this and passion for design fuels myself and many designers in the industry.

Cathy Osborne, Designer at Auer Kitchens

Houzz and “Property Brothers” can cause another problem – a sort of “wave the magic wand” syndrome. I have many customers who do have the square footage and the budgets to do those grand rooms you see; they know there will be enough storage and countertop space – with 600 square feet, how can you not? But they think you can skip the design phase and leap directly to a pretty picture of something that looks “just like this Houzz shot”…“except sort of like that one.”

To adapt the look to their space and have something to render and price, one must have a plan. How many islands? How many sinks? Coffered ceiling? Design consultations with certain clients can be frustrating because they get bored with the academics. You never see that step on TV where the fully designed 3-D kitchen springs forth from the space, and it is instantly perfect. Clients are seeking that “big reveal” moment and are disappointed that getting their dream kitchen requires time, hard work and not much drama.

Lai Fung, Project Development Consultant/Designer at Paris Kitchens

HOUZZ and TV renovations shows – kitchens are getting more and more custom and detailed. I’ve been in the kitchen industry for nearly 20 years, and homeowners’ expectations are higher than ever.

Debbi Washburn, Kitchen/Bath Designer

Early on Houzz you saw real, everyday homes and projects – ranches, split levels, capes, etc., great before and after photos of 70s kitchens with avocado green appliances and dark cabinets with vinyl floors, which were turned into beautiful little kitchens. Now when you do searches, most of what you see are these grand kitchens with 10-ft. ceilings. While it is great to see those for design ideas, it would be nice to have a search option for smaller kitchens – spaces that fit that tighter budget many people are working with.

I use Houzz quite frequently with my customers; it helps them express what they are drawn to. Most of the time they don’t even know that the doors are inset/custom or that the counter is some expensive marble or exotic granite, they just like the look and how it makes them feel. Then we look at it together and pull apart the photos to find out WHY they like it. By already knowing their budgets and the scope of the brands I carry, I can discuss with them cost issues and help them find alternatives. My customers often have gone to a big box store first, so not only do I have to get down to that pricing, I still need to show them their dream kitchen so they don’t have to settle.

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