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Archive for January, 2016

Jan 25 2016

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Kitchen Design Contest Winners and Forecast Results Announced

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From left to right: Suk, Otten, Quinn and Secter

Sub-Zero and Wolf recently revealed the results of their anticipated 2016 Kitchen Design Forecast. The event – Design Pros Call It – was recently held at the company’s Manhattan showroom and featured renowned designer Matthew Quinn, as well as the three first place winners of its 2013-14 Kitchen Design Contest.

The contest consisted of 53 regional winners and eight global winners, all of whom were polled on trends in kitchen design, appliances, materials, the role of the kitchen and kitchen “must-haves.”

Quinn, a previous Kitchen Design Contest winner, served as one of seven judges in the contest in which the three first place winners were William Suk (traditional), Mikal Otten (transitional) and Dovide Secter (contemporary).

When he first sits down with a client, Quinn says he most often takes the 50/50 design approach, which means a 50 percent focus on art and aesthetics and 50 percent on the science of living. The science aspect begins immediately by asking questions like where do they shop and what do they cook. He takes the time to be present and observe actual meals, particularly breakfast and dinner, which allows him to observe such things as food preparation and traffic congestion.

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One anecdote he shared was a client who had a tradition of lighting a single candle every night at dinner, which naturally kept electronic devices away from the table. It was a ritual that was clearly important to his client, so Quinn designed a small glass-encased area to showcase the candle.

“The kitchen is often thought of as the hard space of the home with all its hard surfaces,” he said. “We want to bring softness to it.”

All three contest winners and Quinn agreed that one of the primary roles of a kitchen design professional is to help make the client’s life easier and their time in the kitchen more efficient.

“Time is a great luxury. I do everything I can to help clients save time,” said Quinn. “A good designer can save a family 10 minutes every day, which equals up to 61 hours per year. It’s real numbers like these that get people excited.”

Poll Results: What’s In and Out

Quinn discussed a litany of key items derived from the poll of the 53 winners, including the following:

  • – Seven of 10 designers say the open floor plan is still in demand.
  • – 72 percent of designers agree the formal dining room is a phasing out (almost half of their clients are asking to have it removed).
  • – White is still the most popular color in the kitchen, followed by accent colors gray, blue and black.
  • – The hottest appliances are the convection steam oven and induction cooktop.
  • – Microwaves continue to lose popularity among designers and their clients.
  • – Integrated appliances are in demand, with more panels and panel overlays being used.
  • – Wood is the No. 1 material of choice, followed by quartz and stainless steel.
  • – 82 percent of design pros says the kitchen island is a must-have, and most say a recycling center is important as well.
  • – Outdoor kitchens are becoming increasingly popular.
  • – More clients are incorporating the needs of children as their interest in cooking increases.
  • – Aging Americans are looking for “cleaner” designs to showcase their best pieces when downsizing (or right-sizing) from home to condo.
  • – Organic design is increasing in popularity, particularly salvaged woods and recycled materials.
  • – Vertical gardens are practical for those with limited outdoor space.

Quinn said that while there is growing interest in the modern aesthetic, the most popular and widely categorized style of kitchen design is transitional.

“Timeless is different than classic,” he said. “Most designers start out with function, but that doesn’t mean we completely abandon form. If that was the case, we’d end up with a commercial-looking kitchen.”

After speaking on design trends, Quinn then turned the discussion over to the three 1st place winners.

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William Suk – 1st Place Traditional Kitchen for his “Chelsea Townhouse” design

Bill Suk of Suk Design Group LLP (New York City) said he faced the huge obstacle of creating a kitchen where there was none. Other obstacles were falling mortar, unleveled floors and a precarious staircase. They added a second story and built direct access to garden. His Chesea Townhouse design sold at a whopping $16.2 million, a price tag that Suk says is still the highest-priced sold property in the area.

Organic design topped Suk’s design forecast, including salvaged materials and textures and vertical gardening. For color trends, he said gray is the new white.

“I’m seeing more primary grays and black stainless steels, although I’m not necessarily a fan,” he said, adding that for countertops he’s seeing more wood and ceramics. “I am a big fan of stone. I’ve always felt that synthetics simply don’t have enough life in them.”

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Mikal Otten – 1st Place Transition Kitchen for his “Mountain Bliss” design

Mikal Otten of Exquisite Kitchen Design (Denver) transformed a vacation home in Vail. Some of the major obstacles in his project included low ceilings, no natural light and relocation of the kitchen to the living area where the fireplace sat. Luckily, he said, the bones of the structure were good because his clients “wanted to bring the outside in.” His parting advice on trend was to not be afraid of using dark colors, especially when there are so many excellent LED options available.

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Dovide Secter – 1st Place Contemporary Kitchen for his “Hide and Seek” design

Dov Secter of Secter Design Limited (Winnipeg, Maintoba, Candada) specializes in residential design with an aesthetic lean toward sleek and modern. It should be noted that this was Secter’s first time entering the design contest, and he lives in the prize-winning home with his wife and two young daughters.

“One of the greatest challenges was to build a modern family house,” he said. “Hosting guests, having enough storage and eating healthy are all important elements to me and my wife.”

Secter’s “hide and seek” approach meant he wanted to conceal certain elements of the kitchen. For example, he took common countertop appliances and stored them in floor-to-ceiling cabinets. A design trend that Secter mentioned is taking mainstream designs, like Ikea’s popular cookie-cutter designs, and making them more unique and individualized.

The 2015-2016 contest entry period will open in February 2016 and run through February 2017. Visit subzero-wolf.com/contest for further information.

By Carrie Farley

Jan 14 2016

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5 Best Practices for KBIS Marketing

 

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1. Stand Out. With hundreds of exhibitors, thousands of attendees and more events, sessions and activities than we can count, there are many opportunities to get your brand noticed at the show. Here are a few approaches to make sure that you stand out:

·      Partner Up: Joining forces with like-minded brands helps increase your footprint and impact. Cross promote your major products in partner booths, join forces to sponsor (and sit on) a panel session, and collaborate to co-host an experience for media or bloggers.

·      Get Involved: Make sure that your brand has a presence outside of your booth. Take advantage of networking opportunities, co-host educational sessions or sponsor a party or event. These activities get you out in front of people in unexpected ways and keep your brand name top of mind.

·      Find Your Voice: Identify a key point person to speak out on your behalf and help you rise above the clutter. Having a singular voice creates consistency of message and helps elevate you as an expert in your field.

2. Get Scheduled. Once you have your game plan in place, it’s not enough to simply stand in your beautifully designed booth and hope to catch media as they tour the show floor. Our job as an agency is to identify media who would be a good fit for your brand or product collection and make sure that you’re fitting into their busy schedules.

3. Do Your Homework. The real work is in the planning, which ensures that your time on site is as productive as possible. We help our clients develop a detailed schedule, making special note of important sessions to attend, networking events and appointments. We do our homework before, during and following the show to make sure that no opportunity is lost.

4. Be Social. Attendees are increasingly turning to social media to find out what’s trending at major events. Posting consistently and compellingly from your booth and around the show will ensure that you have a voice in that conversation.

·      Listen: Monitor the show hashtags to make sure you’re abreast of the latest trends and news.

·      Join In: Like, comment on and reply to messages from influential people. Provide value to these conversations beyond just talking about your products.

·      Get Creative: Make sure that your visuals are clear, compelling and sized appropriately for each channel. Short videos, GIFs and other dynamic content also help to catch the eye.

·      Go Live: Unveiling a product? Think about experimenting with Periscope or other live video offerings to give followers a behind-the-scenes debut.

5. Have Fun. And remember, have fun! These types of events are great opportunities for building relationships. Attending networking events, dinners and parties creates chances for you to meet new people, solidify friendships and cultivate partnerships. Enjoy!

– By Sharp Communications. Follow the Sharp team on Twitter @sharp_think or by using #SHARPxKBIS”

Jan 13 2016

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Inside the Boutique Showroom

Boerne, Texas is an exclusive town – a diamond in the rough. Located in the heart of the Texas hill country it is generous in treasures and rich in history, with plenty of fine dining and shops to buy rustic furniture and the latest country gear. But one thing it lacked during this time of massive expansion was a tile design center that encompassed tradition and modern flare.

KBB spoke with Stefanie Teat of Tile Studio 925 to find out more.

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Why did you open up here?
Most local remodelers, builders and designers typically drive more than 30 minutes to San Antonio to search for their selections. We noticed the need and aimed our focus at “bringing the best-of-the-best to Boerne.” The homeowners of the surrounding towns such as Kerrville, Comfort, Fair Oaks Ranch, Pipe Creek, Helotes and Leon Springs now have the option to stay close to home. We are a new favorite to neighborhoods like Cordillera, the Dominion and Anaqua Springs. Our priority was to create a comfortable, classy environment where designers can bring their clients, come hang out, use our free Wi-Fi and have a place to work or relax in between projects. We plan to use our studio to bring Boerne and surrounding communities together by hosting classes, mixers, charity events and more.

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Why did you pick this particular building?
After researching all of the available spaces along the I-10 corridor, we came across this gem. It was an old, dirty office space, carpeted with low ceilings, and particularly small. It was in need of a lot of work, but we saw that it had potential! With 20 years of remodeling experience, we immediately saw the vision and started creating a design.

What changes did you have to make?
Due to the limited space, we knew we had to expand UP in height-which meant we had to remove the entire ceiling in order to make it higher. We expanded it to 10 feet. We analyzed how important it would be to have a private workspace for our staff so we built a wall that would also become the prized view of each customer as they entered our doors. We could not afford to waste the closet space so we converted it into a single office for the show room manager.

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What are some of your standouts?
Due to the cramped area, we felt the need for a sliding glass door, which would give the appearance of a larger area by being able to see through it and let the light through. This door has become our WOW factor! The slender, vertical, stainless steel door handle helped create the theme for the office cabinet doors as well. After visiting several cabinetry companies, researching online and calculating our need to use every inch of wall and ceiling possible, my husband, Trenton Teat, decided to make the cabinets himself. He knew exactly what he wanted and he got it, right down to the quiet close hinges.

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Talk about the design of the space.
Knowing that we would have an abundance of tiles of all shapes and sizes to display in a mere 600-sq.-ft. space we aimed to make each wall its own unique display. To the left we have custom shelves that each encase 12-in. by 12-in. glass and stone mosaics, and the middle area is for larger tiles and crazy odd shaped wall coverings. Instead of building our shelves up from the floor, we built them up on top of a base that contains diagonal slots – holding more than 400 tiles! Again, as Trenton carefully planned this intricate design he realized that he would not be satisfied with anything less than perfection so he simply made them himself.

He then made a huge island that holds a refrigerator, two sides for larger tile planks and even inlayed cabinet doors designed to showcase tile on the outside as well! We chose Cambria’s Brittanica quartz countertop to really jazz it up. The right wall is made up of slat wall from floor to ceiling, which gives us the ability to be creative, artistic and versatile in our displays. With our handy, rolling ladder, we can easily change the scenery at any time, and it really elongates the depth of our store. White walls and bright lights accentuated the array of colors constantly on display. The bathroom was created to showcase the elegance of our upscale tile selections. We used all Emser tile for our bathroom and Caesar Stone for the countertops. The extended eight-foot door was installed to ensure that our Spurs (basketball players) customers won’t hit their heads when they are shopping! For our grand finale we spoiled ourselves with Emser’s Motion Advance porcelain floor planks, which blend perfectly with our color combination and are very durable in our commercial environment.

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Why do you think designers like your showroom?
One designer told us that it’s hard to lug huge samples from one store to another, and it takes up a lot of valuable time to drive to several locations. It is also difficult typically building a custom home that requires some of the basic brands that are affordable for a builder’s budget and certain exquisite, specialty tiles in key areas of the home that will wow the home owner and allow the designer to use her creativity. We offer the best of both worlds. Most high end tile stores will only carry upscale, very high priced tile, but we carry both, because as I mentioned, Trenton had the designers in mind when he conceived the vision for this place. As we get feedback from our customers our store is evolving to meet their needs and become a one-stop shop.

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Jan 07 2016

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Seven 2016 Trends to Watch from Houzz

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All photos from Houzz

Bathrooms that Feel More Like Living Spaces

Graphic wallpaper, ornate chandeliers and furniture-like pieces turn sterile spaces into feeling more like home, as shown in the photo above.

Colored Stainless Steel Appliances

Black stainless steel is making a buzz on Houzz. In a poll, nearly two-thirds of Houzzers say they would consider the dark alternative to shiny metal. Not into the darkness? Head to the light with Whirlpool’s Sunset Bronze finish.

Outdoor Fabric Used Inside

Outdoor fabrics are becoming increasingly harder to distinguish from traditional indoor fabrics, and many Houzzers are bringing them indoors, where their durability make them perfect for high-traffic living room and dining furniture.

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Fireplaces and Fire Features

New advances mean you can have all the ambience without the smell, pollution or hassle of traditional wood-burning fireplaces. Plus, fireplaces are making a comeback as living room focal points in lieu of the dark void of a TV screen.

Statement Mirrors in Bathrooms

So long medicine cabinets; hello, statement mirrors. Think large, wood-framed beauties, backlit modern marvels and ornate vintage gems that take style to another level in a bathroom.

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The Rise of the Bidet

Manufacturers are creating bidets more catered to American markets – and they’re taking off. According to Houzz data, bidets are included in five percent of renovated master bathrooms.

Modern Material Mix In the Kitchen

Houzzers looking for something a little livelier than white cabinets and granite countertops mix several modern materials, finishes and colors. Try stainless steel perimeter countertops with creamy white quartz island countertops and painted blue glass-fronted perimeter cabinets with painted white glass island cabinets. Toss in some reclaimed wood shelves or ceiling beams, and you’re on your way to an eclectic, upbeat space.