K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Trends

Aug 09 2016

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Help Your Clients Make the Most of Entertaining Outdoors


Coyote’s Asado Smoker

Warmer weather signals the perfect time to take the art of entertaining into the great outdoors. Long gone are the days where a grill, a folding table and chairs constituted a patio. Today’s outdoor spaces are viewed as extensions of our existing living spaces. The experts at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery offer tips to turn your clients’ outdoor space into an alfresco culinary oasis with these thoughtful enhancements.

Grill Marks
Whether built-in or freestanding, the grill is the focal point of every outdoor kitchen. Start with high-quality construction and features that make the cooking experience easier. When selecting a heating element, the choice of a gas versus charcoal grill ultimately comes down to taste versus convenience. Fans of charcoal and wood grills claim to appreciate more flavorful results. Gas grill advocates prefer the convenience and easy maintenance of propane. Or your clients can have it all with a grill that allows them to cook over an open flame, sear on electric grates and smoke-in natural flavors. Above all, don’t isolate the cook! Keep the location of the grill close to the entertainment.

Patio-Perfect Entertaining
Preparation is key for flawless entertaining, so prepare your clients’ outdoor kitchens with practical features. Think through the features of the primary kitchen and bring those elements outdoors. Functional additions like a side burner and warming drawer will provide more space to cook, keep prepared food warm and minimize extra trips in and out of the house. They can serve ice-cold beverages straight from an integrated refrigerator and ice machine. A built-in trash chute will help minimize insects, while a weather-rated sink and pullout bar faucet allows for quick rinsing of meats, fruits and veggies on the spot.

Light It Up
Once the grill and functional additions are selected, make sure the space is well lit for nighttime entertaining. Place task lighting above cooking stations to prepare food. A decorative chandelier, ambient wall sconces and freestanding lanterns can be used to create the perfect ambience for sitting and dining areas, as well as points of entry. Consider accent lighting to illuminate trees, wash walls and light pathways and trails.

Today’s outdoor kitchens are an extension of the indoors.

– Content and photo provided by Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery

Jul 28 2016

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It’s All There in Black and White

Photo from Fabric.com

Photo from Fabric.com

As an interior designer, I’m constantly being asked to write about what the current design trends are. “Trend” meaning what’s popular right now, what people are drawn to – just like fashion, I suppose. Trends come and go, and I’d like to forget a lot of them from years gone by, like Tuscan design. Or in the fashion sense, gaucho pants.

But trends are important. It’s how we run our businesses, based on current styles and preferences. Where do they come from? What starts a new trend? In my opinion, I believe it’s all tied in with what’s going on in the outside world. For example, post-war 1950s was a time of relief, comfort and new beginnings. With that came bright, happy colors that conveyed the optimistic mood of the time (above).

I recently discovered that Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year for 2016 is for all intents and purposes, not really a color. “Simply White” OC-117 is a creamy off-white tint. I won’t get in too deep as to the whys and wherefores of what this means, but given the chaos of the current world climate, it’s pretty obvious to me that we are seeking calm and needing a breath of fresh air (and neutrality) in our somewhat unsettling lives.

simplywhite_OC-117simplywhite_OC-117 simplywhite_OC-117

Photo from Benjamin Moore

But isn’t an off-white color a little boring? Not necessarily. Using this soft neutral as a background and adding layers of texture and contrast, “Simply White” becomes anything but. As designers, it’s our job to take this everyday mundane color and bring it to another level. By adding layers of texture and graphic punch, this otherwise bland color becomes the background to a stunning design.

Simply White Interior

Photo from Benjamin Moore

Adding graphic contrast by using black patterns with white has been a trend in Europe for some time now. This great looking floor tile from MEROLA is a good example of how to add an up-to-date look to a classic black-and-white theme.

Photo from Merola Tile

Photo from Merola Tile

Even inexpensive subway tile can be used as a background for a great shelf detail in a kitchen. By using contrasting gray grout, adding graphic punch with brass shelf brackets and bringing in texture with simple black shelving can turn mundane into magnificent!

Photo from Rejuvenation.com

Photo from Rejuvenation.com

So I’m good with “Simply White” for now. Simple is good, and we could all use a little simplicity right now.

Jun 24 2016

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NKBA’s Manhattan Chapter Explores Pet-Friendly Designs

bideawee 1 (92) resize

These days, pets are part of the family, and more and more kitchen and bath designs are incorporating areas for pet storage, sleeping areas and feeding stations to accommodate this growing trend.

The NKBA Manhattan Chapter recently hosted a 0.1 CEU presentation titled “Design Unleashed: Adapting Interiors for People and their Pets” to address pet-friendly spaces. The program was led by Chris Prince, Manhattan Chapter vice president of programs; and host and speaker Dave Burcher, CKD, with In House Kitchen Bath Home. The presentation, which was underwritten by Wood-Mode Fine Custom Cabinetry, also explored materials, surfaces and furnishings suitable for pets.


The event hosted nearly 70 guests and discussed the business of designing for clients and pets alike. Prince partnered with local animal shelter Bideawee, which brought in several “adoption-ready” dogs for the cocktail and networking hour.


Burcher and his team presented gourmet “doggie-bags” with dog bone cookies, beverages from Chateau La Paws and donations to a pet rescue organization. Raffle prizes included a free vet visit, in-home grooming session, a designer dog bed and a handheld shower from Grohe that is perfect for a pet wash station.

Grohe handheld

Pictured above are Melissa Treuman, director of communications at Bideawee animal shelter; Chris Prince, Manhattan Chapter vice president of programs; and Renee Riddick, Manhattan Chapter president.

Jun 08 2016

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Designing for the “Ohh!” in 90210


Doing business in one of the most famous zip codes in the world, Beverly Hills, is very exciting. However, it can also be a challenge. The residents of 90210 always want the “next big thing.” When it comes to interiors, they want something new and entirely different…something with a real “wow” factor…something their neighbors haven’t seen in person or in glossy magazines.

Most of our projects at Arch-Interiors Design Group are remodels, and the biggest request we’re getting is for size. Homeowners want it bigger physically, visually and conceptually. They want to make an impact and create an illusion of space even in tight quarters. Other design movements in “The Hills” include:

The Great Room Is Here to Stay

Everyone wants a great room, and the kitchen has now blended into this requested space. We typically create an enlarged space by opening up several rooms or even by sacrificing other small spaces such as pantries, breakfast nooks, working desks or, in more contemporary designs, removing the butler’s pantry. Surprisingly for many, the dining room is actually more used for full family meals because of this.

Stainless Fatigue Is a Real Thing

We’ve finally reached the point with appliances where our high-end clientele have “stainless fatigue.” We’re covering all of the appliances with panels, which also help make the room feel larger. Even with double ovens, manufacturers such as Miele are doing the fronts in tinted glass that blends in with the cabinetry. One project we’re currently working on will incorporate this, and the sink will be the only item in the kitchen with a stainless finish.


Miele’s Obsidian Black finish

Use Your Hands for More Than Cooking

In more contemporary kitchens, we’re using finger pulls versus hardware because your eye is not interrupted by the dimensional contrast from hardware allowing for a sleek and smooth surface. We’re also using zero glass front doors in contemporary styles. Hardware, glass fronts and open shelving are still very much an important part of the design in our more traditional kitchen projects.

And the freedom to customize faucets with vendors like California Faucets (there are more than 30 artisan finishes available), one can further create an individual look instead of what people consider to be a “pedestrian faucet” they see everywhere (even if it’s actually only the maid or chef that uses the touch the majority of the time!) For homeowners who do enjoy cooking and desire a more professionally styled faucet, their culinary faucets feature a uniquely flexible stainless steel spring and an industry-first ability to customize the spring in any of the company’s 15 PVD finishes.


California Faucets’ Corsano faucet

CorsanoBlurred Lines

Simple sliding doors to the outside simply will not do. Oversized stacking or accordion doors have become “it.” They give the impression that the usable space of the room has doubled. We’re seeing this not only in Southern California, but also all over the country thanks to vast improvements in glazing technology and, unfortunately, climate changes.

Stretching Storage

When closets and pantries are sacrificed for one larger space, organization becomes much more of a priority. To combat these storage issues, we’re using more tall cabinetry to take the place of full pantries. This all makes the interior fittings much more of a functional focus. When storage is reduced, clients need the interior storage fittings to be as “tricked out” as possible. We have a Pinterest page specifically dedicated to fittings and accessories that can be incorporated into one’s design.

Natural Stone – Not Necessarily the Natural Choice

For countertops, natural stone is still very popular and it’s usually part of most initial design discussions. However, homeowners have started to recognize quartz as a viable alternative thanks to its functional durability. We also try and do special detailing to counter edges – be it larger in scale, with a small reveal or a different unexpected detail.  It does not cost much more, and the client feels you are conscious of doing something unique for their project. Granite has pretty much fallen by the wayside unless it has a very unique motion to it for an island that is meant to be a focal point.

Island Life

The kitchen island is no longer an item to be incorporated “only” if space allows; it’s now a requirement. Today’s kitchen island works harder than those of the past, serving as much more than an area for meal prep. It’s truly a multi-purpose area that adapts to a family’s intense variety of schedules and activities. An element we’re incorporating more and more is charging areas in the form of USB ports and HDMI outlets. Everyone wants access for the myriad electronics so they’re always plugged-in.

kitchen overall3

Another interesting note about islands…for a time, multi-level islands were very common. They incorporated lower food prep areas and higher areas for bar stool seating. Now, clients are happy with the island all on one level since it’s now used frequently when entertaining and serving buffet style meals.

In today’s larger, more open spaces, it takes a lot of thought to create a kitchen that is functional both physically and visually. But when the result is an airy and welcoming family space suitable for virtually any activity, the extra effort is well worth it.

By Christopher Grubb, NKBA, IIDA, President/Founder, Arch-Interiors Design Group