K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Kitchen Design

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” 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 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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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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Dec 13 2013

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5 Ways to Transform the Kitchen in Time for the Holidays

Every day of the year but especially during the holidays, the kitchen is the place to be for hosting and entertaining. GlassTileStore’s founder Eli Mechlovits has compiled a list of five easy ways to transform any kitchen into a functional, fashionable space just in time for the New Year.

1. A Subdued, Neutral Palette
Recent surveys show that kitchen owners still prefer neutral shades of white and gray as kitchen backdrops. These colors provide a minimalist background for just about any kitchen theme and also make a great counterpoint to both natural and industrial materials, such as wood chrome flooring and trimming.

2. Practical, Streamlined Appliances
Fixtures are looking more architectural and practical than ever. For example, high-clearance faucets make it easier to wash bigger pots and pans, and a swivel spout allows users to multi-task. Those bulky appliances are also being replaced by smaller versions. Induction stoves are taking over bigger ranges because they cook faster, look sleeker, are easy to clean and take up less space. There’s also a growing demand for multi-purpose kitchen implements, such as coffee grinder-percolators.

3. Brighter Lights or Bigger Windows
Lighting has always been one of the most significant aspects in a design, and so 2014 continues this with an emphasis on natural lighting. A simple open window can both let light in and let steam out. Drop lights above the kitchen counter can also have changeable shades for an instant makeover plus mood lighting. Energy-saving bulbs, like LEDs, are replacing incandescent ones and can be used as a pilot light.

4. Tiled Backsplashes
Both Functional and Ornamental
Glass tiles, whether they are subway-style ones or colorful mosaic pieces, no longer have to be routine features behind a kitchen stove or sink. Backsplashes are fast becoming favorite accent pieces because of their versatile looks and uses. They can provide a splash of color or texture to a neutral-themed kitchen while allowing convenient clean ups.

5. Better Cabinet Access and Storage
Open shelving, like the ones found in restaurant and hotel kitchens, are entering busy home kitchens. For less active kitchens, pull-out racks for specific utensils and implements keep contents dust-free and hidden out of sight. Cabinet doors are also being made to blend even more into the walls and countertops for a cleaner look and feel.

Home improvement and trend expert, Eli Mechlovitz is president and CEO of GlassTileStore.com.

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