K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

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Mar 26 2014

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Engaging the Senses through the Five Elements of Feng Shui

Image courtesy of dan/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of dan/freedigitalphotos.net

Good feng shui engages all five senses. And while it is great to engage the senses, it is also important to not overwhelm them; your home should feel like your very own safe and peaceful sanctuary. Here are a few tips for your kitchen and bathroom to create the ideal feng shui environment within your home. Kitchen The kitchen is often considered the heart of the home. Whether it is the functionality it provides or its nurturing center, it is usually the room in which everyone – whether family members on an everyday basis or guests during social gatherings – congregates.

Image courtesy of Michelle Meiklejohn/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Michelle Meiklejohn/freedigitalphotos.net

The kitchen also happens to be the room with a natural balance of the five elements of feng shui, which include wood, fire, earth, metal and water. The stove is the home’s strongest fire element and should be the one appliance on which to splurge. Built-in water elements are provided with the sinks, and the metal element has particularly become popular in kitchens through stainless steel appliances. Cabinetry is usually made of wood, which brings in the wood element, and the Earth element can show up in a natural flooring type or countertop surface. So you can see how the kitchen has a natural balance of the five elements, which adds to why it is oftentimes the most favorite room in the home. It is important to pay attention to your clients’ kitchen flooring as well. Surfaces such as tile, granite, concrete and slick surfaces are considered to be yang in nature. Yang energy is more active and modern, whereas yin is quieter and cozier. Hardwood flooring has and will always be one of the most common types of flooring because it gives the warmth of yin energy but also provides a modern feel.

Image courtesy of anankkml/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of anankkml/freedigitalphotos.net

Bathroom The bathroom is a space over which we don’t have much control. It is aligned with drains and plumbing, so it can be difficult to move the shower, sink or toilet. To make the bathroom more peaceful, I would suggest tying a red ribbon around the plumbing pipes coming in and out of the sink. The ribbon should be preferably nine inches long and doesn’t necessarily need to be seen. This is a feng shui methodology technique that uses the color red to neutralize the negative draining energy.

Image courtesy of surachai/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of surachai/freedigitalphotos.net

As part of your bathroom project, you could also hang an octagon-shaped, beveled mirror on the outside of the bathroom door threshold to reflect the negative energy out of the space. Unfortunately there is no good “place” for a bathroom with regard to feng shui, however, some places are better than others. If you are renovating, it is best to not place the bathroom door opening near the kitchen. The energy of the kitchen is the complete opposite to that of a bathroom. The kitchen takes in and nourishes, while the bathroom excretes waste. I suggest placing the bathroom near family-oriented spaces, such as the living room, den or between bedrooms.

Our clients naturally feel better being surrounded by a balance of the five elements of feng shui, so including those in your kitchen and bath projects is a must. I believe in using feng shui methods to connect every aspect of the home – from the foundation to the roof, to the physical and mental state of the mind and body.

- Tisha Morris is a feng shui consultant and the author of Mind Body Home, a book that focuses on the energetic connection made between homeowners and their homes.

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Mar 18 2014

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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.

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Feb 20 2014

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Small, smart conveniences: A look back at Design & Construction Week

Smart move #1: Combining KBIS and IBS shows to create “Design and Construction Week” in Las Vegas. It was a huge hit, generating not only tremendous crowds, but a fresh, positive attitude about what lies ahead in the industry.

Smart move #2: Wearing comfortable shoes. Navigating all three halls of the convention center took every bit of the three-day show. So much to see, so much innovation and just plain pretty stuff. I’m torn between two worlds: that of the designer in me, who wants to keep up with the latest trends in gorgeous kitchen and bath products, and the builder/renovator chic who loves a good-looking roof shingle. A house has to be well built and beautiful both inside and out, right?

So I split my time between those two worlds and saw some pretty awesome stuff. Last year from KBIS in New Orleans, I reported a new trend toward texture and mixed finishes and the emergence of the color grey as ‘the new natural.’ These trends continued to expand at this year’s show and were even more refined. Simple, clean and uncomplicated design, now with a hidden secret: convenience. Yes, it’s all about that. Saving time, saving money, saving space and of course, looking great!

Here are some interesting finds from my hunt. Some smart, space-saving conveniences and technology that won’t break the bank.

Kohler’s “Tailored Collection” vanities
The Tailored Vanity Collection follows a basic four-step process:
1. Choose your exterior: multiple vanity styles, sizes, configurations, installations and wood finishes
2. Choose your interior: user-centric organization accessories: integrated electric outlets, bamboo storage trays and dividers, adjustable shelves and rollout drawers
3. Choose your top: variety of vanity top materials, sizes, shapes and colors
4. Choose coordinating components: finish-matched mirrored solutions, sconces, hardware, bridges and lap drawers

Untitled1 I love the interior accessories: Integrating electrical outlets inside the cabinet allows for plugging in hair dryers, electric toothbrushes, shavers, etc., and keeps the countertop uncluttered. Genius!

Leviton USB Charger devices

Plug your phones or tables in the USB port outlet and save space, conveniently locating them in one small area.

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Or you can combine the outlet and ports together if you need to plug something in. Sometimes the simplest ideas make the most sense.

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Brink’s Home Security “Push Pull Rotate” door lockset
Push Pull Rotate door locks make opening doors easier whether your hands are full or free. A quick bump with an elbow or hip, or a tug with a single finger, can open interior or exterior doors more easily and without having to set down groceries, babies or mobile phones. Although the Push Pull Rotate locks are easier to use, they still stay closed and locked when the user wants them to be – exactly as a traditional lock does. Push Pull Rotate handles provide a new door-opening solution and are ADA compliant.

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Kichler’s LED Tape
LED light tapes have revolutionized the way we use accent and even task lighting in kitchens or, for that matter, any room in the house. So small and compact, they can virtually fit anywhere. Now, Kichler’s LED tape is available to use outside in wet areas to use as accent lighting or to light a path. Convenient, beautiful AND energy efficient!

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SimpliciKey Remote Control Electronic Deadbolt
Isn’t it great that you can now open and close doors and turn on lights and appliances with your smart phone? But most of these systems require some sort of an organized whole-house wiring system, which is not only costly but also kind of confusing. I love this front door lock system. You can use it three ways: with a remote key fob, a numeric entry code or the old fashioned way: with a KEY. The door can also be accessed remotely with a phone app through their new KEYCLOUD system.

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So many great products, so little time. Suffice it to say, I could have used another day!

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Jan 22 2014

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Pink is in? Why, yes it is!

Pink Blog1

Interior designer Perla Lichi (www.perlalichi.com) says that hot pink is a hot new accent color for home décor, especially among people with bold tastes and outgoing personalities.

“This may not be for everyone,” says Lichi, who is known for her classic, highly detailed luxury design, “but vivid colors like hot pink create a happy ambiance that many people find cheerful and upbeat.”

Lichi feels that interior design is always in sync with what’s big in fashion, and she has noticed hot pink shoes and handbags, as well as jewelry – all accessories in the fashion industry.

Pink blog2

“Hot pink is a great color as we bring in the New Year – fun, fresh, bold, and with the right touch, it can brighten any home,” she added.

K+BB followed up with the designer to get some more information on the advent of this and other new accent colors.

Are these colors typically being seen in younger people’s spaces?
Younger people definitely love this hot and fresh combination, but I have noticed that a lot of ladies in their 40s and 50s are now using these colors in their bedrooms.

Do you see a demand for other bold accent colors?
I also see a demand for amethyst purple, which works well together with the hot pink.

Are you designing more kitchen and bath projects that include this color? If so, for what sort of elements is it being used?
Yes, in bathroom I have used hot pink iridescent mosaic inserts. In kitchen, I have used it as a backsplash and as inserts in window treatments – and for sure as hot pink leather on stools.

Where else could a designer use this color in a kitchen or bathroom?
I recommend using this color in those rooms just for accents, that way it is easier to change in case the trend changes or they just want a change in color. In the kitchen, this color could be used when selecting dishes, placements and even appliances like a blender. In bathrooms, it can be selected for rugs, towels, accessories and art. I always encourage people to be adventurous with color, and accessories are a perfect way to do this. And for more permanent elements, why not use it in mosaic or tile inserts?

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