KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for April, 2011

Apr 26 2011

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Welcome home

All photos by JB Spector / Museum of Science and Industry

The “Greenest Home in Chicago” is back with new gadgets and inventive ways to live green! The Smart Home (which I designed) is a fully functioning, eco-friendly home at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, is a must-see exhibit for anyone who wants their home, and life, to be smarter, more efficient and more in tune with the environment than it is today.

The Smart Home has been remade for 2011 to simultaneously bring you back to the past and forward to the not-too-distant future. Scout (love their stuff!), a Chicago interior furnishing store, brings its specialty touch for refurbishing and reviving pieces from government and education buildings into a truly eco-friendly and stylish decor. Meanwhile, Gizmodo shares the cutting-edge technology that we’ll soon be using to live, play and relax at home. Appropriate for this mix of the new and old, the Museum has also paired some of Gizmodo’s newest gadgets with some of their vintage counterparts from within the Museum’s collections.

All together, this fusion shows how to make the most of existing materials while searching for the most efficient in new technology. It all comes together in the home that has shown more than 250,000 guests the ways, big and small, to make eco-friendly living a part of everyday life.

Smart Home 2011 @ The Museum of Science+Industry Chicago
The Knoll chairs in the living room have been recovered in fabric made from car tires, and elegant 1930s black and white photographs—reproduced from the Museum’s industrial photography collection—decorate the walls.

The dining area features a table created from recycled planks, and a lighting fixture that uses old fluorescent tubes in an innovative way.

University of Chicago laboratory cabinets were reclaimed and refurbished to serve as unique, functional and beautiful kitchen cabinetry.

Smart Home 2011 @ The Museum of Science+Industry Chicago
The Cybertecture Mirror in the master bath delivers the day’s time, temperature, news and traffic, keeps track of your weight, and even connects to friends on Twitter or Facebook.

Smart Home 2011 @ The Museum of Science+Industry Chicago
The energy dashboard reports how much power is being produced from the Home’s rooftop solar film and 45-ft. wind turbine.

Smart Home Exhibit @ The Museum of Science and Industry
University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners help plant and maintain the Smart Home’s eco-friendly landscape.

Whether you’re into gardening, gadgets or garages, a visit to the Smart Home will reboot your thinking about your home and how to live greener.

For more information: www.msichicago.org

Michelle Kaufmann

Apr 22 2011

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Pershing Galley

This past week I was able to take a peek at a 64-ft. Pershing Yacht. I immediately loved the modern styling. The first place I headed, naturally, was the galley.

Here’s my picture of the galley followed by a professional photo from Pershing.

I think the angle of the sink is really interesting. It can be used by someone while the cook stands at the cooktop.

I tend to prefer modern looking boats and I loved the contrast of the light veneer with the dark floor and countertop. I recently discovered that the Ernestomeda Yacht Division collaborates with Pershing. Ernestomeda is  one of my favorite Italian cabinet lines.

Here’s my picture of the Bosch refrigerator fully paneled. There are catches inside to keep the doors from swinging open although it would seem the appliance gasket would do that but I’ve never tested a refrigerator at sea. A full door may have enough weight to swing open under the right conditions.

galley frig
galley frig2

LED task lighting is used throughout. The only change I might want would be a leather finish on the countertop. The glare off the reflective surface might get to be a little too much after a while. On the other hand, I think there are expectations for boats to have shiny surfaces so you may disagree with my preference.

Ann Porter

Apr 20 2011

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Do you amaze your clients?

One of the biggest challenges for most designers is keeping up with all of the moving parts of the business, and often, client service is an afterthought.

This is extremely challenging if you work alone because you are responsible for every single detail in your business, including sales, marketing, designing, coordinating, accounting, filing, communicating, opening the mail, managing your time, expediting, meeting with clients, subs and vendors, researching, shopping, drawing, etc. Are you tired just thinking about it?

What happens for most of us is that we either work ridiculous hours, or we let some things fall through the cracks. What does that do for your brand and your reputation? It can easily destroy all of the hard work you’ve invested into your business if your clients or vendors know that you don’t follow up on details.

One of the most important parts of client service is finding out what your clients want, how they want it and then giving it to them. How would your clients rate you? Have you asked them?

If you haven’t asked your clients, this could be one of the best ways to get back in touch with clients that are taking a break or haven’t done anything with you for awhile, and it could actually help you build your relationship and lead to more business. If you’re not that busy right now, this could be the most important thing you can do to get your clients working with you again.

Here are a few questions to think about and ask your clients (don’t forget to ask your subs and vendors, too. They are really clients, too.)

•  How would you rate my client service?

•  How well do I communicate with you?

•  How would you like to see either one improve?

•  How would you rate my dependability?

•  How would you rate my integrity?

•  How would you rate my communication skills?

•  What do you like best about my services?

•  What do you like least about my services?

•  On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest, how likely would you be to recommend me to your friends?

The last question is from an interview with Shep Hyken, author of The Amazement Revolution—Seven Customer Service Strategies to Create an Amazing Customer and Employee Experience. Shep says that if your rating is 8 or below, the next question should be, “How can I get that to a 9 or 10?” If you are in the middle of the range, something needs to change immediately.

If you have the courage to call your clients and schedule one-on-one appointments to review this, you will be amazed at what it will do for your business.

Think about adding one client call to your list every single day to schedule a conversation.

—Gail Doby, ASID is co-founder of Design Success University, your shortcut to a more profitable and passion-filled design business. We’d love to hear your thoughts.  If you like this post, please share it with your friends.  Click here to download your free copy of the 2010 – 2011 Interior Design Fee & Salary Survey eBook.

Apr 19 2011

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The next wave of homeowners is coming. Should you be worried?

There’s some interesting information in the Joint Center for Housing Studies Harvard University’s report on “Housing Turnover by Older Owners: Implications for Home Improvement Spending as Baby Boomers Age into Retirement,” released in March.

According to the report, older homeowners (age 55+) accounted for about one third of housing turnover in the U.S. between 1997 and 2007, with the numbers only expected to increase as the Baby Boomer generation grows older.

“The older sellers are not likely to undertake major high-ticket projects like kitchen or bath remodels just to sell a house,” the report states. “Those projects are more likely to be undertaken by younger sellers who had planned to live in the home.”

Read for next generation
The ever-increasing age of the housing stock (the median age of owner-occupied homes was 29 years in 1997 and increased to 32 years by 2007) and the sales of the homes to the next generation of young homeowners are poised to create a growing demand for home improvement in the coming years.

Certainly, I’m seeing it here, in 30-year-old subdivisions where my 30- and 40-something clients are completely revamping and upgrading the entire home before they even move in. The difference in the amount of the remodeling investment is directly related to the number of years the new homeowners are planning to live in the home.

The report adds, “In addition to spending more on remodeling, buyers are more likely to spend a greater share of their remodeling dollars on kitchens and baths and on other interior additions/replacements.”

We’ve all heard that the Baby Boomer generation was the “do-it-for-me” generation and that the next homeowners are the “do-it-yourself” generation. Should you be concerned that the next generation won’t be coming to designers for advice?

I believe it’s the opposite. Given that kitchens and baths have become so custom, this next wave of homeowners are discovering that designing isn’t as easy as it looks. As a DIY homeowner in the showroom last week told me, “Kitchen design is hard! No one told me it would be this hard!”

You can find the online copy of the report at JCHSHU: Masnick, G., Abbe, W., & Baker, K. “Housing Turnover by Older Owners: Implications for Home Improvement Spending as Baby Boomers Age into Retirement.” © 2011

Until next time,