KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for May, 2012

May 31 2012

Posted by

Doing the impossible: recycling used tile

I was recently a speaker at Coverings, the annual tile and stone trade show in Orlando, FL. As a green interior designer, I’ve been asked to speak at several shows around the country about ways to design interiors with sustainable, healthy materials. Finding ‘green’ or sustainable products is somewhat easier now than it used to be even 5 years ago, but it’s still confusing to many people. I mention ways to save energy, water, and promote good indoor air quality, and there’s still a lot of questions about what exactly makes a particular product “green.”

The real answer is that there is no exact answer. Green products mean different things to different people. And not all products are completely “green.” For example, you may find a beautiful glass tile that you’ve been told is made from recycled material and is supposedly “green,” but how much of it is actually made from recycled glass? And if it’s made in China, who’s factoring in all the fuel burned and carbon expelled to get to the USA?

So there’s a ton of things to consider, all of which is very confusing and makes some people want to throw up their hands and just buy the first thing they see that fits the bill. Being constantly vigilant about sustainable products is pretty exhausting to the average person. One of the important points I try to get across to people is that it is very frustrating and confusing, and trying to create a “perfectly green” room or home just isn’t easily attainable. Trying to be as green as you can within the confines of your budget and style is really commendable, and anything over and above that is icing on the cake.

I’ve always been concerned about the tons and tons of waste generated during the demolition process of a home renovation and the fact that it languishes in landfills for eternity. I’ve been on a constant search to find products that can be recycled once their usefulness is over, and it hasn’t been easy.

Until now, post-consumer tile has been considered non-recyclable. While many tile manufacturers have successfully reused scrap powders and unfired tile, hundreds of millions of pounds of damaged or otherwise unsellable fired tile (tile in its finished state) have gone to landfills each year. Additionally, there has been no environmentally friendly manner to dispose of previously installed tile—until now.

I was recently informed about Crossville, a nationally known manufacturer of beautiful ceramic and porcelain tile located in Tennessee, which has several really innovative and amazing programs in place that handle the problem of pre and post consumer waste beautifully and efficiently.

With its Tile Take-Back Program, Crossville, the tile industry’s leader in sustainable initiatives, has solved the major environmental problem facing the tile industry today: recycling fired tile. Crossville has developed a proprietary system of processing ceramic and porcelain tile back into powder used in manufacturing new tile. The resulting new products have a verifiable recycled content, and more than 4 million pounds of tile that Crossville would have previously sent to local landfills have been recycled to date.

Not only does the process allow Crossville to repurpose its own scrap tile, but it allows the company to take back samples and previously installed tile, always a concern for environmentally minded designers and building owners.

Crossville made history with the first cradle-to-cradle installation project in Chicago’s 43-story Federal Building. It harvested all 200,000+ pounds of porcelain tile and sanitary ware from the building and recycled it to create 65,000 sq. ft. of porcelain tile to install back into the project.

Toilets into Tile: Crossville received thousands of pounds of unusable, fired porcelain fixtures from TOTO, and transforms them into beautiful, responsibly made tile products.

It’s companies like Crossville that give me hope that ‘green’ design isn’t just for a select few, and that we are beginning to realize the value of using our resources wisely and well. And beautifully too!

Patricia Gaylor

May 25 2012

Posted by
Comments off

Keeping the F.O.C.U.S.

Sometimes it helps to think of ways to get back on track when we lose sight of our priorities and goals. Here’s are five ways to do just that:

F stands for faith.

Having a passion and deep belief in what you do and the value you provide keeps you going in tough times. It never hurts to re-educate yourself on your business, your customers business or any information that would open up your mind to new ways of working and becoming more valuable to the ones you serve. This process of ongoing learning keeps your enthusiasm up and reinforces your belief that what you have to offer is of value.

O stands for organization.

Clean house. What I mean by that is clearing your desk, wiping your goal board on your wall clean (if you have one). And starting over with a clean slate. When I do this and start a new “to do” list or a short-term and long-term goal list it refocuses my mind on what’s important and allows me to work more efficiently. When we get off track, many times it’s because we become overwhelmed and frustrated because there are so many activities we are immersed in, and many of them are not the ones we need to be spending time on. I know there are so many programs on time management and organization, but you need to create the ones that work for you. We need to keep it simple. A board on the wall with our long term goals and a to do list with the activities listed that will help us reach those goals can make a huge difference in how you work and how you feel.

C stands for concentrated effort.

No great accomplishment happens overnight. Once you list all the activities that are involved in achieving your goal(s), it’s time to do the detail work and concentrate on small successes. By the mile it’s a trial, by the yard it’s hard, but by the inch it’s a cinch. What are you doing everyday to move your business forward one step at a time. No matter how many setbacks, rejections or obstacles you encounter, you have to look for the lessons learned and concentrate on your next move with greater intelligent action.

U stands for understanding.

Great listeners are hard to find but they sure do learn a lot. In any work environment, when you understand your customers and the people around you, it helps you stay focused on what’s important. My daughter just started working where she visits supermarkets and helps with displays. The best thing she could start doing would be to ask each store manager if there’s anything that she or the company is not doing that she could be doing to help with displays, make their job easier or just improve service. The fact that she is asking for ways to serve them better and customize a solution to their individual needs shows she cares and builds a stronger relationship. I told her that no ones ever listened themselves out of a sale.

S stands for service.

Our rewards in life are in direct proportion to our service. Anytime you feel your business is suffering, look for ways to increase your service. What can you do that would have your customers proactively recommend you to others? It doesn’t even have to do with selling your services or products. Many times I’ve helped clients with goals that had to do with helping one of their friends connect to someone that could help their business or even finding work for one of their kids who just graduated college.

The main point here is to look at what others are trying to achieve around you and help them by serving them first and selling after. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written this quote but it’s because it makes so much sense: “You can get anything you want in this Life if you just help enough other people get what they want.”

Barry Farber

May 22 2012

Posted by
Comments off

What I recall of KBIS: Part 3

Is it just me, or do some of the latest bath faucets seem to lean more toward the classic or traditional than the modern?

Similarly, for the kitchen, Rohl showed Cinquanta, a refreshed version of its Italian Country Kitchen Faucet. The name is a reference to the 50th anniversary of the faucet maker Nicolazzi, which is based in Alzo, Italy, a town also known as the “Village of Faucets.”

A modern kitchen faucet was also on display, as were a dual-flush toilet, water-saving showerheads, a Shaws apron front sink with casement edging

and of course, the eye-catching copper stainless sink.

But back to classic inspiration. Amerock showed Abernathy, a mixed material hardware collection that I guess could go traditional or somewhat contemporary (even though it feels more the former to me) and features 1-in.-sq. knobs in three finishes: oil-rubbed bronze, antique silver and satin nickel (below):

For use in large spaces or on appliances, Amerock has introduced 48 oversized pulls, which range in length from 3 in. to 18 in, as well as large knobs in a diversity of shapes. The new hardware comprises extensions to several of the company’s collections, such as Candler, Extensity, Atherly and Essential’Z.

Top Knobs’ Sanctuary II is European-inspired and consists of 30 pieces that can be mixed and matched for a customized look. The line comes in six finishes, including white, aluminum and stainless steel.

The company also showed Cobblestone, which I found interesting.

At the Berenson Hardware booth, I saw the new collections inspired by and named after breast cancer survivors, as well as offerings from R. Christensen, a brand with which I was not familiar. I’m always excited when I come across a company that’s new to me, especially one producing several attractive contemporary-style knobs and pulls:

Finally, I always end up visiting the Kohler booth on the last day of KBIS. I’m not sure why except for the simple reason that it isn’t as crowded and noisy then. As KBIS regulars know, the company’s booth is consistently mobbed each year, and sometimes, seeing new products and learning about them can be a little difficult. And there’s always a lot to see, so I’ll just limit this post to three.

First up is Gilded Meadow, the newest pattern to be added to the company’s Artist Editions collection of bath sinks. It’s available in two colors: Translucent Cashmere and Translucent Blue, both of which are offered with gold or platinum accents.

The sinks measures 16 1/4 in. in diameter. Coordinating 2 1/2-in. x 8-in. tiles are also available.

Although Kohler’s VibrAcoustic sound therapy technology is not new (we ran a piece on it in the magazine—I’ll have to dig it up), it is now available in its Underscore tubs, which comprises nine acrylic models that range in size from 60 in. x 30 in. to 72 in. x 42 in.,; a 48-in. x 48-in. cube-shaped design is also available.

As part of the booth tour, I had the opportunity to try out the Bask heated surface—also offered on the Underscore tubs—which warms the neck and back and offers three temperature settings.

While it’s an oh-so-comfortable feature not only for conventional tubs, I imagine that it would also be great for walk-in models, which require bathers to sit and wait for the tub to fill and drain before and after a bath, respectively.

Look for more post-show coverage in the May/June issue of K+BB Magazine.

May 18 2012

Posted by
Comments off

What I recall of KBIS: Part 2

It’s probably wrong of me to start off this post with this bad photo I took at the Cosentino/Silestone booth, but it does show some of the bath offerings that were on display at the company’s booth. I like the shower tray’s lively pop of color, which, in the right hands, could go a long way in brightening one’s mood in the morning. It’s part of a larger collection, which I was fortunate enough to see in Spain last fall but had to keep mum about until now.

The highlight of the booth was the new Stonium Series, a collection of six Silestone designs that aren’t shy with their veining or color. Available in 63-in. x 128-in. slabs with a 1-, 2- or 3-cm thickness, they include Siridium,





and my favorite, Tritium. I’m not a designer, but wouldn’t this look “hot” atop a stainless-steel cabinet island with legs?

Speaking of hot, but in a far more exotic way, Ann Sacks’ new Shagreen collection features bone-bordered black stingray skin tiles in 4-in. x 5-in., 5-in. x 8-in. and 8-in. x 10-in. formats.

Because each is accented with a whitish spine marking, called a “star,” seeing a group of the tiles together vaguely reminded me of Ross Bleckner’s black-and-white paintings about AIDS, which I saw in a slideshow in college. Bleckner had come to give the graduate art students (not me) a talk about his work and their work. He said something about the latter being too serious before launching into a presentation of his own paintings. I think the irony was lost on him. But I digress…

If Shagreen is too groovy for you, Ann Sacks showed plenty of other options, including a fun, brightly colored collection by Neisha Crosland and a Petrified Wood line comprising 12-in. x 12-in. and 12-in. x 24-in. tiles (as well as custom sizes) in three colors and two patterns: Retro and Log patterns, both of which are shown here in Charcoal:

For a little shine and reflectivity, Pyrite comes in gold or silvered antiqued and gold or silver polished, as well as a mix of both. Sizes are 6 in. x 6 in., 6 in. x 12 in. and 12 in. x 12 in.