KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for February, 2015

Feb 26 2015

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Why Wood Cabinets Are Always a Great Choice

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As kitchen buyers, we now have an unprecedented choice of materials and finishes for our cabinets. In fact, homeowners with a taste for the contemporary are more and more often choosing to go with lacquer or laminate cabinets to achieve a sleek look.

Wood Kitchen Cabinets: Beautiful AND Functional

When it comes to elegance and beauty, nothing beats wood. There is something really special about the texture and subtle variety that a living material like wood can bring to an interior. Plus, wood has the extraordinary ability to make a space look modern and edgy while giving it much-needed warmth.

But that’s not all. Wood is also durable and resistant, and, thanks to today’s manufacturing technologies, wood kitchen cabinets can be a very practical solution. Let’s look at two popular types of wood cabinet doors and their characteristics.

Wood Veneer

Wood Veneer Cabinet Doors

Wood veneer doors are composed of a core in solid wood or particle board, which is then covered with veneer – thin sheets of wood treated to guarantee surface protection and produce beautiful aesthetic effects. The result is a door that looks like 100 percent solid wood but is even better than that because:

–       The veneer treatment gives the ability to eliminate odd-looking defects in the wood.

–       It is more economic and uses less wood overall.

–       It is resistant to chipping and deformation.

–       It is easy to clean using a soft wet cloth (with or without a non-abrasive detergent), and wiping it dry is enough.


Melamine Wood Cabinet Doors

Melamine wood cabinet doors are another elegant and cost-effective option. Melamine doors can have a core in solid wood with support in particle panel covered with a sheet of smooth melamine. The melamine finish can be chosen to produce the desired effect, including wood.

Melamine wood doors have very functional characteristics as they are:

–       hard, compact and homogeneous

–       non-porous and hygienic

–       resistant to scratches, humidity, chipping, stains and wear

–       resistant to light and regular heat

–       flammable only if coming in direct contact with fire

Cleaning melamine doors is also very practical. Regular cleaning can be done with a soft cloth and a non-abrasive surface cleaner. When the door gets dirtier, you can use a glass cleaner with soft sponge or brush, making sure to dry up the liquid well to avoid leaving halos or other marks. Limestone residues can be removed with a wet cloth, and vinegar ink stains can go away by rubbing them gently with an alcohol-soaked cloth.

No matter what you like, chances are a kitchen with wood cabinets is going to have the right mix of character, variety and functionality to statisfy you – and then some!

– By Amy Biller, Kitchen Trends Expert, Snaidero USA

Feb 26 2015

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How to Select the Right Toilet for Your Client

Mansfield - Pic - Quantum 1.28

When renovating a bathroom, replacing the toilet can improve performance and use less water, which will obviously save your client on water bills and provide for a more efficient home.

Saving Water = Saving Dollars

Adrianna Miller, product manager with Mansfield Plumbing, recommends starting the search by looking for toilets marked with the WaterSense label. WaterSense is a partnership program by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that seeks to protect the future of our nation’s water supply by offering suggestions for using less water with water-efficient products. Toilets earning the WaterSense label have been certified to be at least 20 percent more efficient without sacrificing performance.

A Water Savings Calculator can help determine how much savings a family can gain by investing in different types of toilets. For example, a family of five can potentially save 20,257 gallons of water a year using a 1.28 GPF toilet, which can equate to an estimated $80 savings in water bills.

The Right Height

When replacing a toilet, consider the height from the floor to the top of the toilet seat. The standard toilet height is anywhere from 14-3/4 to 15-1/2 inches, but there are other versions available that provide more comfortable access for users.

“As we age, it’s more difficult to get up and down from a low-height toilet,” said Miller. “Taller toilets are easier to use for many people, including those who are taller themselves or have physical challenges.” 

Style Counts

Another important consideration for toilet selection is style of the toilet itself. There are both one- and two-piece toilet options, with choices of round or elongated shaped bowls. Different locations for the flushing handle (which can be on the front, side or top of the tank) should be considered, along with colors choices, which traditionally include white, bone and biscuit.

Finally, look at the styles of toilets with both exposed and concealed trapways. The trap performs the important function of removing waste from the toilet bowl during the flushing system. In some toilets you can see the outline of where this plumbing feature occurs at the base and back of the toilet, whereas in others the design completely covers the trapway.

“Selecting a new toilet is all about personal choices that work best for you and your family,” said Miller. “There are sleek-looking designs for contemporary spaces along with more traditional designs. Whether you’re looking for clean, classic lines or soft curves, there’s the ideal toilet for everyone.”

– Courtesy of Mansfield Plumbing

Feb 23 2015

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Small Space with Big, Bold Design


The goal of redesigning this kitchen space was not to make it larger; rather, it was to create an inviting, functional space, which was achieved through updating appliances and cabinetry and adding more storage and workspace.

According to Lynne Shore with RI Kitchen & Bath, the existing kitchen footprint worked well for the homeowners, and it would have been impossible to do any add-ons.

“The space is actually a step below the rest of this old home,” she added. “It sits on a 12-in. crawl space platform and was once a cold pantry storage area that was converted into a kitchen.”

Flooring, cabinets, the island and appliances were all replaced in this "before" space.

Flooring, cabinets, the island and appliances were all replaced in this “before” space.

Project steps included:

–       Replacing a too-large commercial range with a smaller version that better suited their needs

–       Designing around a mechanical box on the window wall and creating storage underneath

–       Converting an access space with a ship’s ladder to the third-floor balcony into a broom and linen closet

Crystal tiles add a “wow” statement over the range.

Crystal tiles add a “wow” statement over the range.

–       Bumping out the dining room wall opposite the range into the kitchen space to make the cabinets more easily accessible

–       Replacing the oversized butcher block island with a smaller, more functional version

The countertop material is Netuno Bordeaux granite for a high-end feel.

The countertop material is Netuno Bordeaux granite for a high-end feel.

–       Replacing the built-ins with classic white beadboard cabinetry for a classy, elegant feel

–       Incorporating the red color of the knobs on the Wolf range throughout the space

–       Updating the ceramic terra cotta floor with an organic sand stone tile, which was also carried up to the tiled backsplash

Fun but tasteful leopard print cushions in the window seat accentuate the red walls.

Fun but tasteful leopard print cushions in the window seat accentuate the red walls.

“Our client immediately fell in love with the red knobs on the Wolfe range – insight we took and ran with,” said Shore. “We also wanted to keep some of the kitchen’s original charm, and overall I think we created a pleasurable space the homeowners are proud of.”

Feb 19 2015

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To Bill or Not to Bill for Your Time

Image by phasinphoto, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by phasinphoto, FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In our K+BB Designers Network LinkedIn Group, Cindy Sherman, a kitchen & bath designer in Fort Morgan, Colo., asked the following questions: Do you charge for your “shopping” time, whether online, thumbing catalogs or meeting with local contacts? If I take the time to do all of the selections and they don’t purchase them through me, I have wasted valuable time. How do you all handle this?

We want to share the responses with you.

Kristi Wyndham, CKD, Lead Designer at Beaches Woodcrafts

As a 35-year veteran in the kitchen industry, I have ALWAYS charged for my time. If you don’t put a value on your time, no one else will. I use it as a qualifier; if they are not willing to put down a design retainer, they are probably not in my market. I do give every client one free hour of consultation to sell myself and my services. This is a verbal consultation and a few pencil sketches…by the time we are 30 minutes into the meeting, they are signing the retainer check. Many of those who have walked away after the hour send their friends to me because they learned the hard way that my fee is worth every dime.

Laura Vlaming, CKD, Certified Kitchen Designer at Arkiteriors

I charge an hourly rate for all design services, period, but no markup on products, since pricing can be found on the Internet. I tell my customers they are paying for my time and my service. If possible, I have the customer pay the vendor directly, telling the vendor I am passing on my discount. My customers are happy about getting the discount, and I’m happy I can get my value in services provided. The caveat is that many times I don’t charge for all the time I actually spend searching for that perfect light fixture or knob.

When it comes to the plumbing fixtures, depending on the project scope, I often have the plumber order the products per my specifications. The plumbers I work with give the customer a good price so they can have control over all the parts required. This works well, so 1) The plumber is responsible for coordinating pick up/deliveries & possible returns or missing parts (time). 2) When the plumber is passing on discounted pricing, it discourages clients from purchasing on the Internet, possibly ordering wrong (or omitting parts required), leading to job delays.

Anne-Marie Harvey, AKBD, Designer/Owner/Author at Fresh Kitchen and Bath Design, LLC

I also charge for all of my time. It says right on my website that clients receive one hour of complimentary time where we discuss the project in detail, but no work begins until I receive the project initiation fee. I also have a four-hour minimum charge, so if someone doesn’t want plans drawn up, for example, just needs help with selections, they must pay an invoice for four hours of my time before we begin.

I often end up spending a bit more time than I bill for, but if you are spending time on someone’s project, you should be paid. I am only designing at this point, so I am not making money on selling products. I know some designers who sell product will return some of the design fee or give a reduced rate if the client buys through them.

Cindy Sherman, K&B Designer in Fort Morgan. Colo.

Thank you for the insights, it seems we all struggle with similar issues – spending more time than we bill for. I have trade accounts with some companies that complement my business, as well as a local showroom. If the client is interested in a particular sink and faucet, it’s easy for me to find one through my resources. To compensate, I can either bill for selection time or add a margin to the product (which is minimal because I still pass along a discount). I guess it’s a way to control that the correct products/specifications/dimensions are selected and make sure they are on site when needed.