KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for December, 2015

Dec 30 2015

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Making a Small Space Feel Not So Small

Kathleen Walsh Interior

Measure Twice, Buy Once
In smaller spaces especially, determining the right size for every piece is a necessity. When shopping, stick to your measurements! Even if you have to make selection compromises, everything will plop down in the room and immediately feel right.

Kathleen Walsh Interior

Hidden Storage Using every possible spot for storage is key – and yes, that often means going custom. Use the space under the bed, consider incorporating hidden drawers or shelving into stair structures and push the cabinetry to the ceiling. Incorporate double-hanging, pullout surfaces, flip-down surfaces, hidden drawers – use every trick in the book.

Incorporate the Kitchen
Integrate kitchen cabinetry into the greater space to give you more square footage in which you actively live. Blurring the border between living area and kitchen gives you greater flexibility and better utilizes the space your client has. I like appliances that are beautifully engineered and gorgeous to look at, when you want to admire them, but they also require that they blend in and disappear. Gaggenau’s fine lines and customization allow size variation and function versatility while being beautifully handcrafted and naturally luxurious.

Kathleen Walsh Interior

Be Mindful of Finishes on Furnishings
Using glass and Lucite furnishings will help give you the function that you need without visually taking up space. A few metal pieces will bounce some light around and help alleviate all items from feeling the same. You want varied finishes to allow your eye to move about a room. So you notice it all – it tricks the perception and makes a room seem bigger.

Lighting Makes the Difference
You need light in the center of a room without relying on floor and table lamps, so recess enough lights into the ceiling or consider chandeliers in the center of the room. Sconces work wonders and keep table-tops clear. Light all the shelves with library lights. Put everything on dimmers to achieve differing layers of light.

– By Kathleen Walsh of New York-Based Kathleen Walsh Interiors. Photos of Kathleen Walsh’s Pied à Terre by Marco Ricca

Dec 29 2015

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Design Your Best: Tips for the Professional

!Kitchen_Konstantin Kildinov_19

The kitchen and bath are the most elaborate rooms in the house and define the house’s character; and a great kitchen can raise the price of a mediocre home. As a designer or contractor, it is your job to provide the consumer with the best value for their budget and best design for their lifestyle.

Don’t Stay in the Box

As a designer, it is important to find new ways to differentiate each room in the house. Customers don’t want a cookie-cutter home. Instead of a generic or ready-made backsplash, use a unique patterned stone slab such as a cool onyx or something completely unpredictable that has a uniqueness of character. These little upgrades will set you apart when a customer is deciding on a designer for their renovation and design needs.

Bathroom_ Fabrizio Carraro_Pina House_03Unique patterned stone slab goes a long way.

Function – and Experience – First

The most important design aspect to keep in mind when renovating a kitchen is to make it functional. These nuances require experience such as knowing how to deal with dimensions and what is the most optimal place to locate any functional part of the kitchen (and the same applies for a bath.) This is why customers are hiring a professional. Make sure you are always putting function first and show your clients when they need clarification. Point out common mistakes made by less experienced designers or DIY’ers. No matter how well you market yourself, nothing can substitute for experience.

!Kitchen_Anya Garienchick (project of Alyona Yudina)_06

Think function first in the kitchen.

Sell Yourself

In today’s world, the contractor and designer must know how to market themselves, and a lot of referrals happen digitally. It is your job as a professional to increase your odds for business. Take a beginner class in online communication and social media. Create a basic website with relevant contact information, and update your social media presence to increase your chances of being hired.

!Bathroom_INT2 Architecture_Interior RDD_02

Find ways to differentiate every room in the house.

Style Sells

Finally, make sure you have consistent style. If you are not naturally a very aesthetic person, make sure that if you plan to mix and match color and patterns in your design that it does not clash or cheapen the overall look. One of the biggest renovation mistakes includes a well-thought-out renovation overshadowed by bad design elements.

– By Raf Howery, CEO of Kukun, a company that offers transparent home renovation tools, helping consumers hire the right professional at the best price. Learn more at www.mykukun.com.

Dec 28 2015

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When Design Comes Home

Above is an image of my parents’ kitchen. I spent the first 18 years of my life in this house and have since watched it evolve with the times and the changing needs of our family. I learned how to bake bread and roast a chicken in this kitchen, and I had my sweet 16 birthday party dinner made in this space. When old friends and family come over, they immediately sit at the island while my mother brings out appetizers and wine. It has become a safe haven for my sister, our closest friends and me.

Believe me, it didn’t always look this way.


This is the way it looked before we had a massive renovation, back when I was about 10 years old. All I remember was that it was dark and tricky to maneuver in. According to my mother, she was fed up with everyone crowding her kitchen and getting tripped over with by children and dogs.

So we took that massive undertaking of renovating and redesigning. We moved into the finished basement for about six months and lived off of a tiny stove and back up refrigerator. Sawdust was everywhere, and my older teenage sister was going crazy with being cooped up.

But to this day, that kitchen has failed to go out of style for my family. Sure, it’s traditional, and they could use a new refrigerator and hood. The only changes they’ve really had to make are to the hardware, which recently moved to square bronze knobs (per my suggestion), and for a new pull-out kitchen faucet (they were skeptical about touchless technology – I did try though). I’ve seen so many more beautiful kitchens in my work with KBB, but this one stands still as my example of what all designers hope to achieve – a kitchen that stands the test of time and the many messy joys a kitchen can bring.

Happy holidays from the staff at Kitchen and Bath Business

Dec 16 2015

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Revamped, Repurposed Condo Bath


The 12-in. by 12-in. floor tile color is Gray Penny
Porcelain Mosaic from Floor & Décor.

I went to my friend Chandler Brown’s house last weekend for a holiday open house, but I think he really wanted to show off his newly remodeled bathroom, which is awesome. I do not have a “before” picture, but believe me, there is a huge difference in the adjustments he chose to make to the space. My iPhone pictures do not do the space justice.

“The bathroom was very dated with original, apartment-style finishes,” said Brown, “and I wanted a new, updated look with more functionality.”


Another issue was the 30-in. vanity, which he had to lean down to use because most are a 36-in. standard height. He decided to have the entire space gutted from floor to ceiling and made the following improvements:

  • – The laminate floors were replaced with tile.
  • – The built-in vanity was replaced with a taller unit with legs for a more furniture-style look.
  • – The pre-fab garden tub is now a floor-to-ceiling, spa-like, glass-enclosed shower.

Close up of one tile

Brown purchased the shower and
wall tiles from Home Depot.

“My contractor was amazing and helped me choose materials that would be functional, long lasting and modern,” said Brown. “Working with him, I selected tiles that were aesthetically pleasing and were in keeping with the other design elements in my home.”

Brown had a budget to renovate one room in his condo – the kitchen or the bathroom – another decision the contractor helped him make.

“We ultimately went with bathroom because it was in need of better functionality, whereas the kitchen was more aesthetics,” he said. “Once we decided on the room, the contractor recommended we do the entire bathroom, including flooring, painting, new baseboards, new toilet…to have consistency among finishes while staying on budget.”

Shower Floor Tile