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Archive for April, 2015

Apr 30 2015

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Have You Ever Seen a Bathroom Like This?

After 1

A century-old, two-story duplex in New Orleans was subdivided into a four-plex, and the outdoor porch of the ground floor became the sole bathroom to serve directly what became the bedroom of the apartment. The bathroom spanned the length of the northwest wall of the bedroom, eliminating any opportunity for natural light to enter the bedroom. The building was constructed in the shotgun typology of adjoining rooms with no dedicated circulation.


The property was being renovated into a single residence, and this particular bath and adjacent bedroom were to become a guest suite. The intent was to have the window currently relegated to the bath alone to be accessible directly to the bedroom while maintaining a full bath suite.

The result is a sustainable guest suite with a rich interplay of light, views and materials. This guest suite is part of a renovation pursuing LEED certification, and as such there are many sustainable components to the design – with light and views being the primary conceptual drivers.

After 2

The design of the bath suite is the resultant of three programmatic and functional moves:

 Extrude: An aperture was extruded from the existing bathroom window to provide natural light and views to the guest bedroom.

Function 1

 Extend: The bottom of the aperture was extended down to make it programmatic as well as functional as a window seat, reading nook, linen ‘trunk’ and luggage stand.

Function 2

 Pinch: As the initial bathroom had been bifurcated, the base of the aperture had to be pinched to accommodate the bathtub in the wet room of the guest suite. The opposite side of the aperture is the powder room.

Function 3

The result is a sustainable guest suite with an interplay of light, views and materials. Where the existing tub was has now become a wet room dedicated solely to the guest suite. The south end of the existing bath has become a powder room to complete the bath suite for the guest room and serves the formal dining room as well. The door to the powder room is concealed to provide more focus to the aperture, and a single pendant hangs in the center of the aperture for reading.

Kid in aperture

Not only is the guest room now afforded natural light and views, but both the wet and powder rooms have smaller windows focused back to the initial window. Particularly in the late afternoon, the wet room is bathed in southwesterly light. In addition to the indirect reflection over the aperture wall, light shines directly through the small window and into the wet room, glowing against the marble tile.  Even the polished marble ‘sill’ of the small window is reflected onto the wall above the showerhead. The polished surface of the marble allows the profile of the window to reflect again to the opposite wall – the original wall from where it came – its terminus highlighting perfectly the point of ‘pinch.’

Polished marble

The powder room also negotiates the aperture to maximize spatial efficiency. The tank of the dual-flush commode is recessed beneath it with access to its plumbing through the linen trunk. Even the medicine cabinet is recessed to allow more space at the sink. While at the sink, a window is strategically placed to allow a rich view of the taller trees in the center of the neighborhood block.

Northern light

Natural northern light also filters in through this window and is reflected over the aperture wall to reduce the need for power-generated lighting. In this same vein, the upper panels of the existing powder room doors were replaced with translucent acrylic to mine still more natural light from the adjacent window in the dining room.  This complements what is already received from the existing transom.

Material Sustainability
 The recessed panel doors were existing and were heat stripped and sanded.

 The concealed solid core door was purchased from a material salvage store.

 The aperture is clad in lath reclaimed from the renovation itself.

 The baseboard detail is an aluminum reveal: no repainting required.

 The floors were existing and were refinished.

 All paint contains low VOCs.

After Silhouette

Architect(s) of Record: Andrew Liles AIA LEED AP BD+C; General Contractor: Paul Baudean, Paul Baudean Construction LLC; Photography: David Armentor and Andrew Liles AIA LEED AP BD+C

– By Andrew Liles AIA LEED AP BD+C

Apr 22 2015

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What Time of Year Are K&B Renovations Most Popular?

We at K+BB polled our Editorial Advisory Board to see what time of year most of their K&B projects take place. The responses pretty much run the gamut, with many of them claiming that renovations are popular all year long. Spring and summer are popular seasons, but then others renovate more in the fall.

Read their responses and see where you fit in!

Chuck Wheelock h-r
Our clients renovate Kitchens and Baths in spring and fall. Bonuses are paid in late February, and after being cooped up all winter, people welcome a change in springtime. In our area, the summer months are when everyone is outdoors and leaves town for their beach homes. Then in the fall, the race is on to complete before the holidays!

– Chuck Wheelock, Wheelock Maidique/Kitchen Design & Cabinetry


Our client(s) typically renovate during the spring and fall months while their children are still in school. We see a slowdown mid-May and a pick up within a few weeks of school starting. Clients tend to want to be around and involved during the renovation, so summer break is slow – unless they have sacrificed their vacation budget for the project.

– Glenn Ray, Kitchen Master Corp.


Amy Ahearn
Spring is the biggest time here in the Northeast. Factors include bonuses that go out – especially in the financial sector. The weather also plays an important role, as people want to at least be able to grill outside when their kitchen is torn out. Early fall is next biggest – presumably to get the home ready for the holidays.
– Amy Ahearn, CKD, CAPS, Ahearn Cabinetry Designs


Spring then fall. I’d just add that there is always a segment of homeowners who are ok with remodeling around holidays and events, particularly when they do not typically host them. I’d split that segment into two parts: a) they want it when they want it, regardless of timing; and b) they are just Zen-type personalities and are not driven by events or bothered too much with inconveniences. The latter are the best clients!
– Susan Serra, CKD, CAPS,Susan Serra Associates and Bornholm Kitchen


Christopher Grubb
We find a lot of clients want the design to start in the spring and be completed by winter. Most remodels take 12 weeks max, so it doesn’t take into the end of winter – they can usually be completed to enjoy for summer entertaining.

– Christopher Grubb, Arch-Interiors Design Group


Brandy Souza copy
Our renovations in New England are during spring (ordering in March and installing in April/May) due to tax refunds and having graduation parties. The next is fall to have their kitchens ready for the holidays (ordering in Aug/Sept and installing Sept/Oct). This is based on numbers I pulled from our 2012-2015 records.

– Brandy Souza, Kitchen Views


Michelle Henderson
This past year has been an anomaly, but we typically see spikes in foot traffic/sales ramping up from September to November (because of holidays and kids are back to school) and then pick up again in late February early March so their projects are complete before summer, or weddings or parties.

– Michelle Henderson, Banner Plumbing Supply


My experience has always been that summer is the busiest season for remodels as well as new construction. The next push is fall after kids go back to school and holidays approach. Why do they choose that time? I think outdoor grilling, no school schedules and no weather to really contend with.

– Diane Lawson, Markraft Cabinets


Pam Goldstein
My clients usually remodel after school starts so projects can end by Thanksgiving; and then it starts up again around New Years. If they have young children and can take vacation, they like to renovate in the summer during school vacation.

– Pam Goldstein, CMKBD, CAPS, ALLIED, ASID, 
Master Bath Kitchen Designers


Doug Walter - Daylighting
I haven’t noticed a particular trend in when kitchens and baths get renovated, other than there’s a big push in spring and summer to get work wrapped up for the holidays. Then there’s a several-week lull as everyone celebrates the holidays, including New Year’s. Then on January 2nd, the phone starts ringing off the hook for the next season’s remodels!

– Doug Walter, Doug Walter Architects


Troy Pavelka
We have been fortunate in that we are fairly consistently busy year round, except for during the last half of December. With that being said the end of winter and start of spring here in Chicago is the time when we experience peak volume for a number of new appointments and meet with people to discuss the planning for their remodel. People naturally gravitate toward starting the process at this time – it’s the state of mind of coming out of winter and a time of renewal for improving the home.

– Troy Pavelka, Normandy Design Build Remodeling


Our market does not seem to have a “perfect” time to remodel their kitchen – we do it all year! But I do have a fair amount of younger clients who have kids and we work around school schedules A LOT. We also try and time it for summer months so they can utilize outdoor grilling, etc. We are Coastal, so outdoors is a big deal, and we do try and stay away from holiday deadlines. It’s too stressful for all involved!

– Cheryl Kees Clendenon, In Detail Interiors


Rachel Roberts
For us, January-May tends to be the busiest time for kitchen/bath projects to be in production. Lots of folks get everything selected and ordered in the fall/winter, so at the turn of the year, we begin a lot of the projects. Sounds like a lot of folks have said spring, which I would agree!

– Rachel Roberts, Kitchen & Bath Galleries of North Hills


Ebony Stephenson
In Virginia, we do not typically have a certain time of year that our clients renovate. In the summer, the weather can be extremely hot, and sometimes we deal with scheduling issues with hurricanes. Clients with children do like to renovate in the summer so we can work on their house while they are gone on a family vacation. In the winter, the weather can be extreme here, so we must warn clients of schedule changes since safety of our employees is a priority.

– Ebony Stephenson, Criner Remodeling


Projects in Southern California go year round, as we are not as impacted by weather as in the Northeast or other parts of the country.

– Sales Associate with Pirch


Cathy Osborne
Our customers often make their first inquiry about a new kitchen in the winter on the heels of the holidays. That time of year brings out all the shortcomings of their existing space. Colder weather has them cooped up and feeling claustrophobic (open floor plan), it gets dark early (better lighting), they have just finished holiday entertaining and cookie baking (more countertop space), they dragged out seldom-used serve ware, punch bowls, etc. (accessible storage), and as relatives came and went, they were acutely aware that its looking a little tired (general updating).

– Cathy Osborne, Auer Kitchens


Kristina Crestin
I will say in my world there isn’t a time of the year really at all, but some clients choose for work to be done during the summer since they have summer homes they can relocate to during the renovation.

– Kristina Crestin, Kristina Crestin Design


Patti Baumann
We are busy all year with sales from builders, designers, homeowners etc., and they usually work a month or two in advance at least, so I wouldn’t say there is a specific time that’s busier. If I had to choose a season, I would say summer because of the weather, but it’s not dramatic.

– Patti Baumann, Ferguson


Corey Klassen 02
There are three cycles to renovate:

1. January – April – post Christmas (interiors only)

2. May – August  – post tax season and best weather

3. September – December – pre-Christmas and before the poor weather, somewhat post tax, HUGE realtor season.

– Corey Klassen, Corey Klassen Interior Design


Paula Kennedy
In the Northwest we can remodel year round now, thanks to the moderate weather. When people choose to renovate depends on vacations, holidays and school schedules. Clients like doing a kitchen remodel when they can barbeque outside – which here can be from spring through fall. Some like doing it when the kids are in school so they aren’t around during the day with the contractors around; others with older kids like doing it during the summer so the kids will be at camps or outside or doing whatever their schedules require. As our winters have gotten more moderate, we see less of a drop in business during that time.

– Paula Kennedy, CMKBD, CAPS, Timeless Kitchen Design


Bill Feinberg President  CEO
We hope that remodeling is something that our clients always think about doing all year round. I can tell you, however, that many people who plan ahead often try to plan during the summer months – especially those who have families and/or may be off of work or school. Other homeowners, such as many of the snowbirds that we get here, also try to plan for work after the busy winter season when the crowds are less – especially in the condo market.

– Bill Feinberg, Allied Kitchen & Bath


Sandra Espinet
Our busy time is January to May. This is when my clients give us their new ideas and get us to start quoting and designing. From May to November is our “get it done” time since the homes are mostly unoccupied and we can do demolition and renovation work.

– Sandra Espinet, Designer


Toni Sabatino 1
I find most clients like to remodel in the summer here in the Northeast. The ability to barbeque outside seems to be very helpful for people staying in a suburban home during the remodel. There are also those who come in after the summer and realize they want to make some changes before the holidays. I discourage that in favor of good planning and starting the project at the beginning of the year. Starting at a time that is going to be the most stress free for the client in terms of events and commitments for the holidays, birthdays, etc., is the way I best like to approach the process.

– Toni Sabatino,  Toni Sabatino Style


Ray Wiese
I think the timing today is more based on priority of need to remodel, space (capacity) and ability to remodel (budget and desire) and simplifying the process of remodeling (will it be easy to navigate and understand the buy?). I still believe there is a cycle of commonality (spikes, ebbs, etc.), but it is as fluid as the changes in our lifestyles and technology.

– Ray Wiese, CMKBD, The Wiese Company


David Hagney

Most of our construction in the North is dictated by climate, especially with new homes and additions. The goal is to get started in a climate-controlled environment before winter sets in so that the work can continue uninterrupted. In these cases, we try to schedule the shell construction to be completed by late fall.

– David Hagney, AIA, ACHA, NCARB, LEED AP, Hagney Architects

David Stimmel

We have found that in the last few years the work is steady no matter what the time of year. Some clients want it done while their kids are in school; others want to have the work performed while they are away during the summer. I really see it as steady across the board. It is not unusual for last-minute shoppers to show up on November 1st thinking they can have it done before Thanksgiving, however, those customers are few and typically don’t understand the time it takes to create something special. We also find diversifying our advertising budget to cover different seasonal venues helps to create that even flow of work.

– David Stimmel, Stimmel Consulting Group

Nar Bustamante

As a showroom operator who does not want seasonal ups and downs, I’ve decided that the power to change comes from within. I try to let people know when the best time is to remodel their kitchen based on their life structure. I have created categories that people are quite happy to comply with.

  • Single people with no kids: Remodel anytime or as soon as possible.
  • Couple without kids: Remodel anytime or before spring so you can enjoy summer (this locks in winter projects).
  • Couple with kids: Remodel while kids are in school; this minimizes headaches at home or kids running around during the remodel.
  • Retired people: Best to plan remodel during a vacation…this gives space to work.
  • The hurry up I need it tomorrow people: Have them write a check as they speak (put your money where your demands are).
  • The I don’t have a big budget people: Fit them in where there are gaps in your schedule.

Once you fill out your year with this method, then you have work year round and then anything else that comes in over the top of that is where that magic happens!

– Nar Bustamante, Nar Fine Cabinetry

Apr 20 2015

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Randy Fiser on Designing for Wellness

IMG_0808 copy

At Coverings ’15, Randy Fiser, CEO of the American Society for Interior Designers (ASID) explained not only that design matters, but that it actually matters for wellness.

“Design is not just nice to have. It enhances a person’s life and shapes who we are,” he explained. “Design matters.”

In recent years, there has been a significant wellness movement; businesses are striving to create better work environments for their employees. Google, for example, prides itself on having been named the happiest company in America. We are seeing an increase in wellness centers along with “Stay Well” hotels and rooms, which play on the belief that people deserve to spend time in healthy environments.

Why are we seeing this shift?

Aside from the fact that people are focusing more on their health and wellbeing, more than 90 percent of a company’s operating costs are linked to human resources. Companies are seeing steady increases in their employees’ long-term disability claims and general absenteeism. Things such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, smoking and low physical activity are all on the rise. Studies are now showing that many of these conditions can be combatted through design.

Natural ventilation, low-VOC products, access to daylight and creating a space that promotes movement are some examples of what is being proven to increase worker productivity.

“A typical company of 1,000 employees with an average compensation cost per employee of $13.24 per hour, could increase its profits by $3.9 million annually by increasing the productivity margin as little as 6 percent,” said Fiser, who also noted that studies show an employee will select a company with a better work environment over one that is offering a better salary, and it all leads back to positive design.

Human-centric design, active design and designing for longevity are the keys when it comes to designing for wellness, and today’s businesses are looking to do just that. As interior designers, you not only have the ability to transform a space, but you also have the ability and the power to profoundly impact and transform the lives of your clients.

– By Marisa Hillman, K+BB freelance writer

Apr 13 2015

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Anatomy of a Houzz “Hit” Kitchen

5010 Kitchen Stools

A photo of the kitchen of one of Godden/Sudik Architect’s kitchens for Berkeley Homes (with Harvard Communities) in the North Sky development at Ridgegate in Lone Tree, Colo., has gathered 91,258 Impressions, 278 Clicks and has been added to 1,176 Ideabooks in just three months since they started tracking this data, and they really have no idea why!

The numbers easily double the next most popular of the firms’ 201 other project photos. The keywords were a simple listing of the obvious features: triangular island, counter stools, pendant lighting and recessed lighting, so that probably wasn’t it. Was it the huge curved island? The color scheme? The lighting? The stools?

By going to the list of users who added the photo to one of their Ideabooks, clues are found. Comments center around “island shape,” “blend of browns and grays” and “the curve.” (One user just wrote “Hate,” so they know there were really only 1,175 users who liked it, not 1,176!) Alex Jewett, project manager for this work, thinks “it really picks up on most of the major trends in kitchen designs for 2015 identified on Houzz (“Kitchen Trends that Seem Here to Stay”), like easy to entertain in, open to other rooms, island plan and larger kitchens.”

Scott Sudik, design principal of the architectural firm responsible for the layout, explained that the oversize (7- by 10 ft!) island was deliberately placed to keep the guests out of the work area while leading them into the dining area that is just behind the photographer’s vantage point.

“We wanted the range and hood to be a strong focal point, while the sink on the island ensures the cook has a good view when working at prep or clean up,” said Sudik. “We placed the refrigerator so it was easily accessible to both the cook and the diners, and the 12-in.-deep buffet cabinets expand the kitchen footprint while providing useful storage for dining necessities.”

This home won two awards at IBS this year from the NAHB National Sales and Marketing Council for Best Architectural Design and Best Interior Merchandising. Interior Designer Diane Ellis of Ellis Hays Design explained that she put together the palette of colors and materials starting with the fabrics, then the floor, then the granite and cabinets and finally the “jewelry,” as she calls the glass tile that was installed vertically.

Credits: Godden/Sudik Architects; Berkeley Homes and Harvard Communities; Ellis Hays Interior Design; and Eric Lucero Photography.

Cabinets: Mid Continent with slate gray stain on cherry, Kentwood prefinished maple floor with Cannon Beach stain, Grandin Road stools, Alaska White Granite.

– By Doug Walter, AIA, senior architect, Godden/Sudik Architects, Centennial, Colo., www.goddensudik.com.