KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for September, 2012

Sep 28 2012

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Vintage fun

Have we lost our fascination with bright and shiny things? Perhaps.

According to a pair of meetings I had this week, our interest in distressing, aged finishes and time-worn looks is still going strong. It came up in a trends presentation given by Andy Wells, VP of design at MasterBrand Cabinets, and just today, Jeff Dross, director of education and industry trends for Kichler Lighting, also noted distressed metal as an inspiration for the company’s Missoula hammered antique pewter table and floor lamps.

Similarly, wood-look ceramic tiles have expanded to include reclaimed and weathered wood designs. Case in point, Spanish tile manufacturer Apavisa’s latest is Vintage, a collection of distressed-wood-look tiles in beige, white and gray,

as well as cheerier hues, such as blue, red and green.

A sign of optimism? Maybe. While the trend may have resulted from a need post-economic crash for authenticity, the familiar and what’s tried and true, there’s no reason why you can’t have a little fun at the same time.

Sep 26 2012

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For your viewing pleasure: Frigidaire debuts new TV ad

If you haven’t already seen it, keep a lookout for a new Frigidaire TV commercial, the company’s first in decades.

Sure, TV ads are a-plenty and usually provide the opportune moment for checking on food cooking on the stove, grabbing something from the refrigerator or finishing up laundry. But what is interesting about Frigidaire’s ad—at least to me—is that it runs through the company’s 90-year history of product innovations, which include the introduction of the first electric refrigerator in 1918. The nickname “fridge” comes from “The Frigidaire,” which consumers used to refer to their refrigerators.

Other firsts are also mentioned, of course. All lead up to the company’s latest, the Frigidaire Gallery Range with Symmetry Double Ovens. In case you’re wondering (or not), both ovens are each roomy enough to accommodate a 25-pound turkey.

The TV spot is but one part of a larger campaign that includes traditional print advertising, digital media and in-store promotions. Don’t have time to watch TV? Here’s the ad for your viewing pleasure:

Naturally, not completely satisfied with period re-creations, I decided to dig around in YouTube for actual Frigidaire commercials from way back when…and YouTube did not disappoint. Here’s one on the Imperial Range:

This one is about “The Frigidaire” refrigerator, which seems outdated not only for the obvious reasons, but also for its pacing. I have a pet theory that the microwave has made us hyper-conscious of the duration of a minute and thus very impatient, but I digress…

My favorite, however, is this one, which isn’t a product ad but instead presents a vision of the future kitchen courtesy of Frigidaire:

The new Frigidaire commercial began airing this past Monday nationwide on all major networks. The company has been owned by Electrolux since 1986, but you probably already knew that.

Sep 21 2012

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Softer, gentler colors for 2013

Pretty in yellow? I think so. It’s Benjamin Moore’s Lemon Sorbet 2019-60, which the company has announced as its 2013 color of the year. According to Sonu Matthew, ASID, IIDA and Benjamin Moore’s senior interior designer, the color palette for next year will be dominated by pastels, which may provide some people a welcome break from the “super-saturated and strong hues” that are currently in vogue.

Here’s another shot of the paint color:

Benjamin Moore has also announced 18 other trend colors for 2013, which it is proposing in six combinations.

The first features Teacup Rose, Spring Dust and Baja Dunes:

The second pairs a pale Lemon Ice and Simply White with a soft putty-like Baja Dunes:

In the third combination, the cool airy tones of Antiguan Sky and Sweet Innocence are juxtaposed with a warmer, earthy Dark Mustard:

The fourth, for some reason, makes me think of a beach in the springtime when the visitors are few and the sun is muted by clouds—or maybe I’m just tired. It combines Peachy Keen, Dark Linen and Thundercloud Gray:

The fifth group offsets a cheerful Pink Raspberry with the more somber Blue Ice and Dakota Woods Green:

For cooler heads, this suggested combo comprises Juneau Spring, Woodland White and Polar Sky:

What do you think? Are you ready for a softer and gentler color palette? I know I am. I don’t know if this is also happening in fashion but when my cousin returned from a trip to Scandinavia, she brought back some magazines, one of which featured this sweater, my current obsession:

Sep 18 2012

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Davis & Warshow goes greener

The exterior of Davis & Warshow’s Queens distribution center, which is housed in a 100-year-old building


If you’re a Davis & Warshow customer and you’ve a conscience that’s green, then this bit of news may warm your heart. Last week, I had the opportunity to attend a press event held by the New York-based luxury kitchen and bath distributor to announce that its 209,000-sq.-ft. distribution center in Queens had achieved net-zero lighting costs, thanks in part to the facility’s conversion from fluorescent to LED lighting. During the event, David Finkel, president of Davis & Warshow, was presented with a $63,704 check by executives from local utility company Con Edison. The amount represents the rebates earned from the lighting conversion based on annual kWh saved.

Above: At the event, David Finkel (center), president of Davis & Warshow, was presented with a check for $63,704 by David Pospisil (left), program manager of the Con Edison Commercial & Industrial Energy Efficiency Programs. Also participating in the presentation was Charlie Szoradi (right), CEO of Independence LED, which made the LED tubes. Below: A giant light switch was turned on as part of the festivities.

The retrofit required more than two miles’ worth of LED tubes, making it the largest single-facility installation of its kind in the country. All were sourced from Wayne, PA-based Independence LED and feature a remote driver and finned design to protect against heat and thus ensure longer lamp life. Having left the lighting industry in 2003 when white LEDs were the new hot technology, I was surprised by the lamps’ brightness and by how far the technology has come. Moreover, someone mentioned the conversion has also positively impacted employees at the facility, who report feeling happier about their work environment.

Of course, the energy savings are considerable. Prior to the conversion, lighting accounted for nearly 65 percent of the facility’s total power usage and cost almost $50,000 a year. The new LED installation requires less than $20,000 per year to operate and accounts for less than 50 percent of the building’s energy consumption. With an investment of $250,000, the conversion to LED is expected to pay for itself in five years.

As part of the event, a group of us also climbed onto the roof to see the facility’s solar paneling, which was installed in 2011 and plays a critical role in achieving net-zero lighting costs. Both the solar panels and LED retrofit are part of the company’s Practically Green program, a small-steps approach to greening the company that began in 2008.

Incidentally, as a side note, if you’re interested in solar panels for your own home, a friend of mine suggested visiting One Block Off the Grid.