K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Jun 22 2017

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Summer Design Trends

Just like in fashion, trends and colors in the design world can vary based on the season. This summer, we’re talking bright accents and white materials. Michael B. Klein, CEO of Lincolnwood, Ill.-based Airoom Architects and Remodelers, filled us in on the specifics of this season’s trends.


White and Bright: Don’t be afraid of white! A predominately white kitchen makes for a clean, light and airy room. According to a recent study conducted by the National Kitchen & Bath Association, quartz has quickly become the most popular countertop material. Quartz countertops require less upkeep and are non-porous, so they resist staining better than granite and marble.


Contrast and Accent: Accent the bright, white kitchen with some colored cabinets or interesting wood veneered cabinets to create just enough interest to keep it from feeling too stark and typical.


A Mid-Century Modern Twist: Update your living space starting at the top – the ceilings! Our designers have seen an increase in requests for adding exposed trusses. Trusses create an open feel and make the home seem larger than it is. Using reclaimed wood or open beams add drama and a mid-century modern twist.

What trends are you seeing this season? Let us know on our Facebook page or on Twitter @KBBonline.

Jun 16 2017

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Choosing to Give

Recently the second-annual St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway again raised funds for the St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. Each raffle ticket purchased was donated to the hospital, which provides care and support for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases cost free.


The home, built by Nies Homes, features four bedrooms, four-and-a-half  baths, a master suite, a man cave in the garage with a bonus room above, specialty wine and craft rooms in the basement and an oversized covered deck. Local cabinet manufacturer, R.D. Henry, was named local sponsor of the cause and donated cabinets for the home. Located at The Oaks in Derby, Kan., the St. Jude Dream Home has an estimated value of $420,000.

Country Kitchen
“We chose to take on this project because we think it is an amazing cause,” said Kate Caplan of Wichita, Kan.-based Kitchen & Bath Expressions, who completed the design for the kitchen and one bath in the home.

To make the kitchen feel grand and luxurious, Caplan double stacked cabinets throughout the space and used rustic, white finishes to bring in a country feel. For the island, a sleek cabinet finish called Tattered Fence from R.D. Henry was used to accentuate the piece from the perimeter cabinetry.


A new touch faucet, donated by Brizo, was selected for the main kitchen sink, along with Whirlpool appliances donated from Metro Appliances & More. Caplan chose quartz countertops, donated by Quality Granite & Marble, because of the material’s growing popularity. Light fixtures from Accent Lighting with a glass interior and black lining add a final modern touch to the contemporary country design.


Bold Powder Room
“The powder bath is always an area where we can really get creative and use different and bold finishes you wouldn’t normally see in a bathroom,” said Caplan.

In the powder room, the design team wanted to create a fun and creative space that would make a statement. A gold faucet and gold hardware stand out against a gray vanity with an above-counter sink. Gold pendant light fixtures and bath accessories also highlight the mosaic tile backsplash, which includes white, gray and gold tiles.


“It was a rewarding experience to see a community of building contractors and vendors come together selflessly to donate their time, services and products to make this a reality,” said the designer.

Jun 12 2017

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Back to the Original


Gurdon Wattles, a banker credited with funding the first movie studios in Hollywood, owned a mansion in the early part of the 20th century in Hollywood. Last year was the first time the mansion was open for public viewing, to host the Los Angeles Wattles Mansion Showcase.

Happening for the second year in a row, the showcase this time presented a challenge to the designers: celebrate Hollywood with a certain time period in mind. We talked with the bathroom designers in a previous story, but we of course wanted to know more about the kitchen. Designer Kathleen Beall of Dana Point, Calif.-based Beall Design Group, chose the 1920s as her inspiration in designing the home’s kitchen suite.

“I chose the 1920s and the movie ‘The Artist’ to represent the era when the original family, the Wattles, chose to live fulltime in the home,” said Beall, adding that it had been a vacation home for the them up until then.

She had been told that the city, which owned the property, was having difficulties renting out the mansion because the kitchen was in such disrepair. Working with her plumbing showroom, Beall started to restore the kitchen to its original glory.


Restoration Challenges
“The largest hurdle was that I wanted to retain the historic and original Carrera marble herringbone countertop, which meant we would need to restore the original cast-iron sink,” she said.

Since the backsplash tile was shattered and needed replacement anyways, she was able to remove the sink for offsite restoration and replace the unoriginal faucet with a period-style model. By using the original sink, the designer did not have to take out any of the original Carrera herringbone countertop tile.

“My tile installer reattached the herringbone tile counters and cut out and replaced the original grout with new grout,” said Beall. “The counters are a major source of conversation for those visiting the space, as they represent an era of craftsmanship.”


Vintage Look
After replacing the backsplash with subway tile similar to the original, she updated the kitchen appliances with those that feature a period look, like the 1908 La Cornue range. The 1970s-era wall faucet was replaced with a period-style Rohl wall faucet, and a new touch drain was installed. When the house was built in 1908, gas light fixtures were used. The fixtures Beall chose were inspired by the originals and maintain a light and airy look in the kitchen.

“Now a year later, the city has told me that because of the kitchen restoration, the mansion experienced non-stop rentals this past year and often had a waiting list,” said the designer. “They attribute this to the painstaking attention to detail in our restoration of the sink areas and the overall space.”



Photography by Mary E. Nichols

Jun 02 2017

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The Evolving Bathroom


I wish I had a before image still of my bathroom – the change after my redesign was drastic.

After a pipe burst in my condominium complex last year, my master bath was completely destroyed. The advantage was that I could completely redesign it – and use all of the insider’s tips I’d gathered from my job.

This week’s #KBTribeChat discussed bathroom design trends, and I saw how my redesign of nine months ago is already part of a changing discussion. Trends change constantly, and we can’t update our spaces every year – but we can certainly try to keep up.

With my bath, I picked materials and finishes that were hardy and easy to clean, like porcelain wood-look tile. My father and I designed and built a freestanding, furniture-like, black vanity with a square, inset sink. My brother-in-law works for a granite company and got me a slab of white granite with subtle sparkle for the countertop. After we tore off the giant frameless mirror and installed a thinner, framed one – topped with a modern LED light – my bath was transformed. I’ve since moved to be with my husband on the West Coast, and I still miss that bathroom.

The trends I had incorporated were all a part of the discussion this past Wednesday, plus a few new ones that were just coming into play since my redesign. Here are a few I picked up on:

•    Vanities with open shelving are growing in popularity.


•    Seating is now a priority in many baths. 


•    Simpler hardware, inspired by European design, is now trending.


•    The most popular faucet finishes are still chrome and brushed nickel, but copper and matte black are growing.


•    Tile for bathroom flooring will continue to be in because it is versatile and sustainable, and it adds character.


What trends are you most excited about in the bath? Let us know on our Facebook page, on Twitter @kbbonline and Instagram @Kbb_Magazine. Join KBTribeChat next Wednesday at 2 p.m. EST by looking for #KBTribeChat on Twitter.