KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for March, 2011

Mar 28 2011

Posted by
Comments off

Red, White + GREEN

What’s red, white and green all over? This year’s “Urban Farmhouse” from Green Builder Magazine. Sustainably built in Orlando, FL, for this past January’s International Builder’s Show, it was one of two great homes created by Green Builder Magazine’s VISION HOUSE series. I’ve blogged a little bit about this home in the past, but wanted to share a few aspects of the interiors. Simple in concept, and designed with an open floor plan, it’s a hybrid of both country and contemporary. And it’s not too much of either, so the result is easy and pleasant, neither heavy-handed nor starkly modern.

The exterior harkens back to southern country style, with open porches and large, cottage-style windows. The red shutters not only add a traditional flair, but secretly hide their true function: They are actually incredibly strong hurricane shutters. An EnergyStar silver-colored roof that looks like one found on an old silo is also used as siding on the side entry, further enhancing the “farmhouse” look.


The interior of the house is where it gets GREEN. As the interior designer of the project, I was responsible for keeping the inside as green and sustainable as the outside. Nowadays, it’s not as difficult as it used to be. The kitchen and dining area, pictured below, boasts many gorgeous green products.

Energy-efficient appliances from KitchenAid include an induction cooktop, and an Energy-Star-rated refrigerator and dishwasher. Simple flat-panel-style cabinetry from Merillat is made from plywood with no added urea formaldehyde. Quartz countertops from DeNova that look like modern concrete add a decided modern flair and are GreenGuard-certified for good indoor air quality. The engineered wood flooring from Mohawk gives the appearance of a New York City loft, probably because it’s actually used flooring salvaged from old buildings!

Some other green elements featured in this home were the great pendant lights from Barnwood Electric and the really cool dining room table from Martha’s Vineyard Furniture that is made from dismantled stadium bleacher seats. In the family room, the fireplace wall was covered in Dal-Tile’s terrazzo tile, which is made from recycled marble and stone chips and concrete. During construction, there were so many wooden pallets lying around, I decided to use some of them to create the wooden shelving on either side of the fireplace. There was a piece of laminated floor joist left over from construction, so I used that as a rough but hip looking fireplace “mantle.”

I mentioned before that today, it’s easier to find great green products. All of these beautiful products featured are readily available in home centers, online, or through local showrooms. There’s great selections available at all price points and styles, so there’s no compromise in terms of design or cost.

Some years ago, when I first started talking about sustainable interiors, I said that I wished for a day when “green design” would just be called “good design.” That someday, there wouldn’t be a giant rift between the two. I think that day is here, and I’m looking forward to what’s coming next.

Patricia Gaylor

Mar 24 2011

Posted by
Comments off

Enkeboll’s Art Nouveau Line

For those of you who are looking for some Art Nouveau detailing for your projects, Enkeboll’s Art Nouveau line has some nice pieces to consider.

Enkeboll_Art Nouveau

Define your raised bar or fireplace leg: Art Nouveau Base, 8 in. wide, 42 in. high and 4 in. diameter

Enkeboll debuted these some time ago, but I’m pointing them out now because I’ve been noticing a quiet emergence of this style. Whether designers and manufacturers are calling it “Art Nouveau” or “Beaux Arts” or “turn-of-the-century,” it’s slowly appearing in everything from design competitions to furniture. Some might say it’s in direct opposition to contemporary, but the two can work together surprisingly well together (depending on the style of contemporary, of course).

Enkeboll_Art Nouveau1

Add some splash to a filler or box end: small rosette, 3 1/2 in. wide and 5 in. high

Enkeboll_Art Nouveau2
A decorative panel instead of glass: Art Nouveau panel, 18 in. wide and 28 in. high

These aren’t the pieces that shout “focal point” to me; with the exception of the decorative panel, they’re meant to layer and accent whatever styling you choose.

Enkeboll_Art Nouveau3
Define your bar overhangs and your furniture pieces: Pierced narrow corbel, 8 1/4 in. diameter and 12 in. high

They’re available in standard wood species (red oak, cherry, alder, and maple), as well as specialty woods, such as black walnut or mahogany.
Find them at www.enkeboll.com under “Showcase” and “Collections.”

Until next time,


Mar 18 2011

Posted by

Small luxuries are back

New Research from the National Retail Federation shows that Americans aren’t just spending again; they’re embracing many of the little luxuries they shunned during the recession.

The study focused on the shifting definition of what is essential for consumers and what is discretionary as the economy improves.

In addition to little splurges, consumers are showing an increasing desire for simplicity. I think this is good news for Designers who have been excluded in recent years from remodeling due to Big Box stores pushing DIY retail. This led to much anguish for homeowners as recently discussed by Nick (@cupboards) on his blog Cupboards Online.

Consumers are starting to put a value on their own time again and this will lead them to look for designers they can trust.

If this weren’t true, Ace Hardware wouldn’t be running new ads themed “Get back your weekend.” It’s no wonder they rank higher in customer satisfaction than both Lowes and Home Depot.

Ann Porter

Mar 08 2011

Posted by
Comments off

Are you overlooking the single demographic?

I’ve been musing lately about the “traditional family” home and how so much of the real estate focus is on family lifestyle…yet my actual design demographic is split right down the middle between families and couples/singles.

Is this a trend? It might be. I’m single so my focus might be skewed. However, in the past few years, I’ve designed more kitchens than ever for singles. Whether the person is an empty nester, an up-and-coming professional, or a successful professional of any age, they all have both the wish list and desire to personalize their kitchens—and have the funds to do so.

What I have noticed is that their wish lists can vary slightly from your typical family-of-four-or-greater household. While many of my singles like to cook, they cook pretty basic items during their busy work week. After all, when a typical recipe can feed 4-8 people, there’s only so much one can freeze (and eat). Big-spread cooking is usually done on the weekends or reserved for when family and friends visit. During the week, it’s pretty simple stove top and microwave.

Yet they like the fittings as much as any family—and sometimes even more so—and they’re definitely open to better quality, designer-oriented materials. Part of the reason is they don’t need to worry about the safety factor—small fingers getting burned on the super-heated gas grills or careless knife cuts on their new countertops or selecting a certain product for its spill guard protection rather than its looks—and that can make it fun. They’re open to the glass cabinets with sliding features and the specialty lighting and whatever else you think that will tickle their fancy.

All they ask in return is to be looked after, which is no different than any other client, but if you’ve ever seen a single older person cautiously walk into your showroom like she or he was heading to the lions, you’ll understand what I mean. Just whatever you do, don’t assume when that their significant other or family is right behind them.

Until next time,