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May 18 2016

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Design Collective Unveils Signature Pantone Color


A SoHo urban loft space designed by interior designer Jennifer Wagner Schmidt, in collaboration with six ELEVATE Design Collective brand designers, showcased custom products from Delta Faucet Co., Formica Corp., Hunter Fan, JELD-WEN, KitchenAid and Schlage – each showcasing the new signature ELEVATE Pantone color: Single Malt (below).

Aiming for a modern, stylish color, the brands’ lead designers worked collaboratively to create a rich yet sophisticated neutral hue. Blurring the line between natural and man-made, Single Malt is warm and rustic, evoking the essence of whiskey, cigars, leather and coffee.

Within a record amount of time during New York Design Week, one apartment walk-up was redesigned to incorporate statement pieces with the Pantone-created color, Single Malt (below). Color accents were applied to a unique selection of products from ceiling fans to kitchen appliances outfitting the ELEVATE urban loft space.

Single Malt

The ELEVATE Design Collective is a first-of-its-kind alliance of six industry-leading brands that have come together to bring home accents to the forefront to help inspire and guide home remodeling and renovations. The six brand designers met at Pantone headquarters to explore common ground and formulate a custom color for their product collections unveiled during New York’s Design Week.

Loft Designers’ Inspirations
Jennifer Wagner Schmidt, owner of JWS Interiors, designed the ELEVATE loft and worked the opposite way in which she is familiar by incorporating the colors and materials first and design aesthetic second. This would be a challenge for any designer, but she drew inspiration from Scandinavian designs with clean whites, sharp blacks and a mix of modern and organic lines, textures and materials.

“My vision for the loft was to use the accent pieces as the starting point and really allow that to drive the color story while keeping the overall aesthetic chic, timeless and luxurious,” she added.

Schmidt collaborated with interior designers Mary Jo Peterson of Mary Jo Peterson Inc., who ensured the overall aesthetic translated into a supremely functional kitchen. Peterson said one challenge as the project manager was that the quick turnaround required her to be very hands on and dedicate more than the average hours normally required.

Scott Dannenfelser, senior design manager with Formica, discussed how his inspiration came from his walks in the New York city streets gathering color schemes from retail store window displays, coffee houses, rustic buildings, cobblestone streets and neighborhood pubs.

“Currently our world has a lot of chaos in it,” he explained, “ so we wanted to offset this with the warmth and comfort of a reassuring natural shade.”

A Look Inside the Loft
The open-concept kitchen featured a dramatic focal point with striking countertops made of large-scale 180fx by Formica Group laminate in a custom Bourbon Trail marble design. KitchenAid appliances, including the 36-in. Multi-Door Freestanding Refrigerator; Single Wall Oven with Even-Heat True Convection; and 44 dBA dishwasher – all in black stainless – further emphasize the clean lines of Scandinavian design. The designers chose Maxton and Cornell Maple cabinets from KraftMaid; Italian Alps ceramic wall tile from Daltile; and the Delta Trinsic Pro faucet in the Venetian Steel finish (below).


The designers agreed it was originally challenging to determine how to tie in the color throughout the apartment, but ultimately the warmth and versatility of the tone balanced with the cool “Scandi” feel. These “Scandi” statements were found everywhere from the steel cages of the beautifully crafted Ronan ceiling fans to the Schlage door hardware – the Northbrook Lever with colored trim accenting the sides of the hardware in upland rose and matte black.


The recently launched JELD-WEN MODA Door Collection of contemporary wood doors with simple minimalistic design offered the accent color ever so subtly on the sides of the barn pantry doors. In the bathroom, Schlage’s decorative Northbrook Lever once again accented the doors, and the Delta Ara Collection introduced a contemporary bathroom design with angular silhouettes found in the faucet and showerheads.

To learn more about the ELEVATE Design Collective, the urban loft and the participating brands, visit ELEVATE Design Collective: http://www.elevatedesigncollective.com/index.html.

– By Helene Taylor, KBB contributing writer

Apr 22 2016

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Best Practices for Getting Published

Blog Coverings Session

Last week during Coverings 2016, I was part of a panel titled “Getting Published,” which focused on best practices for industry professionals and their PR counterparts to get their projects and products under an editor’s radar.

The panel also included Elaine Markoutsas, a columnist with the Chicago Tribune and Modern Luxury Chicago; Eileen Kwun, senior editor of Dwell; Julie Taraska, products editor for Architectural Record; and moderator Paul Makovsky, editorial director for Metropolis.

418 KBB Raw2

Here is an abridged version of the session with some key points to consider when pitching to an editorial personality – specifically mine.

– Email is better than calling since we can’t see pictures on a call. The call will come later if we set up an interview.

– Send professional photos. You can send low-res at first, but make sure you have the high-res versions and the rights to the photos so we have permission to use them. Please do not send a query without a photo.

– For extremely large photos, consider using a platform like Wetransfer or Dropbox to send those. Make sure you tell us who you are and which project it is when you send files from those sources.

– Let us know how old – or new – the project or product is.

– Specifically for projects, tell us if you are pitching it to multiple sources or if it has already been published in a similar publication/outlet.

– If it is a project, let us know what the reader may learn from it. We want to feature more than just an attractive kitchen, bath or showroom.

– Once you have emailed us, we will respond as soon as we can, but let us contact you if we are planning to cover what you sent. Our inboxes are ALWAYS full, so please do not send repeat emails.

– A lot of publications work weeks – and even months out – for their issues, so study the editorial calendar online to see what’s coming up in advance of contacting us.

– Make sure you know to whom you are pitching and that the content applies to that publication.

– It also helps to know the publication’s audience.

Those simple tips will make everyone’s experience easier when it comes to submitting projects/products to media outlets. If you have any questions, please email me at Chelsie.butler@emeraldexpo.com. You can also visit our social media sites to get to know us better:

Twitter: @kbbconnect
Instagram: kbb_magazine
Linked In: KBB Design Network

Apr 13 2016

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Live from Milan

It’s Salone del Mobile this year – the biennial international furniture show, complete with Salone del Bagno and EuroCucina (the bath and kitchen shows), and Milan is packed with international fair-goers and Italian and European designers and manufacturers. We’re giving you a full run-through in our May/June issue, but here is a sneak peek at some of the trends I’ve been seeing at the show.

1) Surprise, surprise – white is definitely still in. Shown here in the design by Karim Rashid for Rational, the neutral color is still the way to go, particularly with contemporary designs.


2) Islands are becoming more innovative and more like the centerpiece, as shown by Icone, a Kelly Massimo Iosaghini Design. The different materials in the island, and the way it works with the functionality of the kitchen, are truly showcased at the show in particular.


3) Even though lacquer and stainless steel are still very in, there’s a sense of the organic everywhere, like this wooden island from Arclinea.


4) With the new kitchen either growing much smaller or much bigger (trends have shown dramatic examples of both this year), drawers and cabinets are moving to new ways to hide or expose their contents. Shown here is Mantis from Binova.

5) At the same time as all the clean lines and handle-less surfaces, vintage shows up in glamorous collections, like in the vintage oven from Rosieres.


More to come from Kitchen and Bath Business – stay tuned with our Facebook, Instagram (KBB_Magazine) and Twitter (@KBBconnect).

Mar 30 2016

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Bathroom Tips for Remodeling on a Budget

Image from phasinphoto, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image from phasinphoto, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Sure, bathroom remodeling is easy if your clients have a big budget – just rip out everything and start over. But what’s a person to do if they have limited funds and a bathroom that is in dire need of a facelift? There are several highly effective, low-cost changes you can make for them that can produce impressive results.

Here are some suggestions listed from least costly to most costly – some obvious and some not-so-obvious:

1. Simple Upgrades. The least expensive bathroom remodeling upgrade is to change the cabinet hardware and accessories, including towel and grab bars. Although these are small items, they say a lot about the condition of the bathroom – especially if they are broken or missing. Be sure to coordinate the color and finish with the faucet and shower fixtures for the best look. Unless you are also changing their cabinets, you will need to pick cabinet hardware that matches the screw holes of the old hardware to avoid having to patch old holes.

2. It’s All in the Paint. Next in order of cost is paint. This may be the single-most effective thing to change when doing a bathroom remodel on a budget. A fresh coat of paint in a new, and uplifting color can make a huge difference in a bathroom. But no matter what your client’s budget is, please don’t go too cheap on the quality. Low-quality paint is a waste of time and money. You want to use a paint that is durable, washable and covers well. I usually advise my clients away from glossy paints because they will show every blemish on the surface, and they are impossible to touch up. If you need to touch up a spot, you will be doomed to recoat the entire wall to get it to look right.

Image from Suriya Kankliang, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image from Suriya Kankliang, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

3. Fixture Perfect. If you’re changing the cabinet hardware during a renovation, you might want to change those plumbing fixtures too. The faucets are the easiest to change and can have a dramatic aesthetic effect on a bathroom remodel. Select faucets that fit in the holes you already have in the countertop; they aren’t all the same. Some have one hole, some have three holes, and the holes might be spaced differently for different faucets.

4. Toilet Tips. For a few hundred dollars more, you can replace your client’s toilet. This is the fixture that gets the most use and can look the worst. Consider a comfort-height model, which are becoming more and more popular. Never get a round-bowl toilet unless nothing else fits in the room – those look cheap and are uncomfortable to use. Always choose the elongated-bowl variety for more comfort and style.

Image from Sira Anamwong, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image from Sira Anamwong, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5. Vanity Vanity. Replacing the vanity can be a bit more costly and may not fit into a bathroom remodel on a tight budget. Sometimes it’s possible to just change the doors on existing cabinets, but often the cabinet needs more repair. The drawers may not work right, or the hinges are shot. However, if the cabinet is functionally sound, replacing it just to change the look may not be worth the cost. Try cleaning it up and possibly painting it with a good alkyd (oil-based) paint to get a hard, smooth finish that’s almost as good as a factory finish.

6. Counters and Sinks. Going further, you might think about replacing the countertop and the sink, which will be the lesser cost of the two. A simple oval, undermount sink is less than $100. Solid countertop surfaces like granite and quartz are expensive, however, the countertop in a bathroom is not nearly as large as in a kitchen. Since these products are sold by the square foot, a new top might just fit into your client’s budget. Try looking through the off-cuts or remnants at a stone countertop company. These are leftover pieces cut from large slabs used for bigger projects. Chances are you can find a piece that will fit your client’s bathroom and come at a discount of up to 20 percent.

Image from Keerati, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image from Keerati, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Cultured marble is a less costly countertop and sink replacement option. This is a synthetic stone-like material that is made with the sink bowl molded right in, and there are more color options than in the past. They are custom made to easily fit even an irregular-shaped top.

If you do all of the things listed here, you would still qualify as doing a bathroom remodeling project on a budget. And the aesthetic effect and your client’s enjoyment will be dramatic.

– William Hirsch is the author of Designing Your Perfect House (www.designingyourperfecthouse.com) and is a member of the American Institute of Architects. He is the former president of the Delaware Society of Architects and is a member of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.