K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Mar 12 2018

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Space-Age Design

In interior design, anything and everything can be inspiration. For designer Chuck Wheelock of Old Greenwich, Conn.-based Wheelock Design, space travel always sparks the imagination, and he drew from this in a partnership with Perlick.

“Perlick recently celebrated their 100-year anniversary, so we wondered what might be in store for the company in the next century,” said Wheelock. “In the near future, our great events may be a return to the moon and a mission to Mars. Nothing fires our imagination like space travel.”

Inspired by science fiction, new geometry and advanced technology, the firm developed its design for ‘Deep Space Wine,’ a wine room vignette that appeared in Perlick’s booth at KBIS 2018. At the show, Perlick launched its first-ever collection of full-size residential appliances, including 24-in. column refrigerators, freezers and wine reserves, as well as cooking units. Wheelock’s design featured the brand new wine columns, along with the undercounter units.

“Exacting precision is a key element to both the science of space travel and the optimum performance required to store wine,” added the designer, who explained that they related the wine reserves to common elements of a space craft.

Control Console
Space vehicles and bases have control consoles, which place the operator in the center of the control room and centralize all functions in a single space. For the center console, the firm included Perlick’s 24-in. Signature Series because of its temperature consistency, high performance and the control the user has over storing the wine.

Wheelock refers to the importance of the Oculus with a large framed circle at the entrance of the booth. The Oculus is an observatory module of the International Space Station (ISS). Its multiple windows are used to conduct experiments, dockings and observations of the Earth. Windows are necessary to endure confined spaces, but of course they have to be extremely durable to hold oxygen in.

Oxygen is similarly the common enemy of wine. When air gets into a bottle of wine, the wine begins to oxidize. Advanced technology monitors humidity levels in the reserve, and if necessary, pushes additional moisture into the compartment to maintain 60-70 percent humidity.

Columns and Corridors
Beginning with 2001: A Space Odyssey, corridors in space ships make science-fiction believable because they’re so utilitarian by nature. The image of a sealed passageway that clearly connects two other chambers floating in space have become an iconic, cinematic staple of science-fiction films.

This sealed corridor is referenced in the wine columns, which feature 2-in.-thick foamed-in-place walls to create a vibration-free environment. Exposure to light will also damage the wine, so dual-pane glass with UV-resistant coating protects it from harmful light. Illuminating the columns, vibrant blue or white LED roll-on theatre lighting adjusts for display or storage.

“Our display design was inspired by the concept of futuristic advancement and exploration of the unknown,” said Wheelock. “What better way to depict this idea than to pay tribute to space travel and all the imagination and attention it captures.”

Mar 02 2018

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The Future Kitchen

We’ve heard a lot about new appliances, tech and gadgets for the kitchen. But will the kitchen of the future really use all of these? KBB magazine tuned into the NKBA Future Kitchen webinar to find out, and we were surprised what trends we discovered.

1. Changing Demographics. The baby boom generation is getting older and making up a good portion of the population, but that doesn’t mean they are any less active. The kitchen will help them thrive in their own homes longer with smart, universal design.

2. Individualization. Innovations in manufacturing technology mean that more products can be customized on a large scale. This will continue to evolve as homeowners demand more personalization at home.

3. Connected/Disconnected Lifestyle. Homeowners want to be connected, but they don’t want to be distracted by technology, either. Manufacturers will have to hide their new connected technology well to sell.

The GroBox from Cloudponics is an automatic grow box for growing plants at home. Select what you want to grow, plant the seed and the system will nurture the plant from seed to harvest without any maintenance from you.

4. Gathering Events. Staying in is the new going out. Homeowners want more entertaining space, more ways to cook easily and access to recipes for groups.

5. Healthy Lifestyle. Awareness of nutrition and health makes the future client look for ways to preserve fresh produce longer and cook cleaner. Bringing greenery and potted herbs into the kitchen will trend as well.

The SmartSlab Table can warm plates, cool a drink and even cook a meal using discreet digital devices embedded in a razor-thin, ceramic table-top.

6. Alternative Cooking. It might sound gross to our culture, but insects are eaten in 80 percent of the world’s nations and are a healthy, sustainable source of protein. Look out for ways to incorporate cooking them in our future kitchens.

7. Zero Waste Movement. Consumers are becoming more knowledgeable about how much they throw away daily. Grocery stores (and therefore kitchens) will start helping them out with more unpackaged, bulk sources and innovative storage options.

The Ground Fridge from Weltevree is an innovative version of the traditional root cellar, making use of the insulating effect of the ground and the cooling effect of the groundwater. The temperature in the fridge remains stable throughout the year and is ideal for the storage of fruit, vegetables, wine and cheese.

8. Slowing Down. The future consumer will be moving through their day even faster than today’s society and will crave slower practices. Fermentation processes, slow cooking and preserving are expected to rise in popularity, and special storage will need to exist in the kitchen.

What do you think the future kitchen will be like? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter @kbbconnect.

Feb 22 2018

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Kitchen & Bath Tech Trends You Can’t Afford to Miss

A recent National Kitchen & Bath Association webinar gave insight into this important industry topic. As consumer expectations are increasing where technology is concerned, it is important than ever to stay on top of the trends.

Moderated by Ed Wenck, CEDIA content marketing manager, the panel included Jamie Briesemeister, CEDIA’s integration controls, sales & marketing director; Adam Gibson, CMKBD, Adam Gibson Kitchen & Bath Designs; and Christopher Wright, owner of WrightWorks, a remodeling contractor firm.

The panel covered four learning outcomes during the webinar.

Explore Current and Emerging Tech Trends and Their Application to Current and Future Projects
Briesemeister and her team attended the recent Kitchen & Bath Industry Show and were introduced to a plethora of connected appliances, as well as systems that allow users to access their homes remotely. She said voice control was huge, with many products including Alexa, and water leak detection products help homeowners save on their investment.

“We saw many ‘smart’ products, with smart meaning connected in some way to the internet or a mobile device – there is intelligence built in,” said Briesemeister. “I even saw a mirror with smart glass, which can display weather or a calendar and can also act as a touchscreen to control home devices and even email.”

KOHLER’s Verdera voice-lighted mirror with Amazon Alexa

She also said smart refrigerators add value by letting the homeowner view contents remotely (at a grocery store), and a smart stove can send alerts if it has been on too long. Gibson said the number one connected home need his clients specify is audio visual technology, followed by lighting, which can be controlled with a one-button press or a keypad.

Improve the Experience, Save Production Time, Gain Referrals
“I try to bring up the technology conversation early and ask what existing systems are in place,” said Wright. “I want to deliver options, not upselling or forcing anything on my clients, but rather adding to their quality of life. I find they are willing to pay more for the experience and the peace of mind.”

According to Gibson, every kitchen has some technological integration, but he recommends using an integration specialist to correctly do the install.

“I have learned not to be afraid because I have an integrator involved early,” he explained. “Really good electricians know their limits; they do not try anything they are not trained to do.”

The Bosch Built-in Coffee Machine with Home Connect features voice control through Amazon Alexa. 

Establish a Comfort Level with Emerging Technologies
“In the past, integrations were costly, and it was hard to make multiple systems work,” said Wright. “The early step for me was building relationships with tech pros at events and working with them on my projects.”

CEDIA also offers a database of integrators based on zip code. A good integrator is someone who will not slow down a project, who knows exactly what is out there and who does a great job.

“There are different types – those who do faster installations and those who work with a designer,” said Briesemeister. “Find out what kind you are talking to; you may need to know both.”

Tricks of the Trade
There are several advancements that can hide the technology you install in your client’s home, such as faceplates that match the surrounding material. You can also port a subwoofer through a heating and cooling vent to disguise it.

In terms of maintaining the overall project budget, Wright said there is no need to replace all the current technology in a client’s home.

“This alleviates the fear of having to start over from scratch,” he explained. “We want to present options so our clients have the power to decide what they want. Some will want the latest and greatest, and some only need the bare minimum.

Feb 19 2018

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Nancy Fire’s Top Trends

Meet Nancy Fire, design director for HGTV Home and creative director and founder of Design Works International, a lifestyle design studio in New York City that specializes in original textile design, trend development, color and bespoke consulting services.

With more than three decades of expertise in the design industry, Fire works to provide brands, manufacturers and companies with trend research and development. KBB recently sought her out to hear the newest predictions and insights in interior design:

Open Floor Plans
“Designing today is about duality, and that is exactly what an open floor plan provides. These open spaces that function as multiple rooms within a living space are still in demand, with the most common being the great room that combines the kitchen, dining room and living room in one shared space.”

“At Wilsonart, wood is warming up the home with accent shelves that bring a more contemporary and updated approach to bookcase-type style,” said Fire. “Using lighter wood in the home usually creates a brighter vibe and coordinates nicely with other textures and surfaces.”

What Makes a Luxury Home

Fire: “For me, it’s having things in my home that allow me to enjoy my interior space. I am a designer that has always mixed old with new, expensive with affordable and neutrals with pops of color to add personality and substance to a space. In our New York City apartment, the luxury comes from my furniture and accessories, but in the country the luxury comes from my appliances and open floor plan living because we have more space.”

“Moving away from the singular metal trend of seasons past, we’re now witnessing metal mixing through combinations of various finishes throughout the home,” said Fire. Shown here is True Residential’s black matte and copper kitchen at KBIS 2018.

Upcoming Trends

Fire: “People are looking for items with duality – products that do more than one thing. This includes ovens that are convention and steamers, refrigerators that allow you to see what is inside from your phone so you can shop straight from work and compost containers that have wood tops that twin as cutting boards.”

“There was definitely a floral theme at this year’s KBIS,” said Fire. “This Thermador Freedom Kitchen truly expresses our love of art by offering oversized panels of colorful artwork as an expression of custom creativity.”

Other trends Fire noted include:

1. A green thumb is a trend showing up in kitchens; this involves live plant/herb walls integrated in the space itself. This allows a true farm-to-table experience within your kitchen.
2. Colorful hoods in the kitchen are trending this season because they are affordable ways to introduce color. Shape and size as well as substrates are updated and inventive.
3. Accommodating small spaces in the kitchen this is happening on so many levels this season because we are seeing smaller appliance options.
4. Overexposed environmentally-friendly wood shelving is still important. Open shelving is continuing in many ways, as well as recycled beams returning to frame vaulted kitchens.
5. Touches of terrazzo in the kitchen range from flooring, backsplashes, cutting boards and even lighting. This highly versatile, solid surface material is comprised of marble chips embedded into a cement base, then ground flat and coated with a sealer.