KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for April, 2016

Apr 25 2016

Posted by
Comments off

What Italian Homes are Really Like

After hunting down products and trends at Salone del Mobile in Milan last week, I spent the nights at Airbnbs and got an insider’s look at Italian kitchen and baths. Both of the places I stayed were lovely (if you haven’t done Airbnb, I highly recommend it), but unless you pay a fortune, expect to be living like most of the locals: tight quarters and very old bones.

06c11ef2-ddde-42eb-b8f2-b71c9bf66f98Location One: Milan

While at the show in Milan, I stayed a little outside the city center to be closer to the fairgrounds. The young couple I stayed with – a special needs teacher and an artist – had a little more room than most with this suburban locale. My section of the space included a fairly large bathroom by European standards that had obviously been recently remodeled.

There was the typical bath with a shower handle (always fun to maneuver) and a tiny shower squeezed by the door. The shower itself was missing interior lights and it only was hot for about three minutes – also very Italian – but other than that it was definitely an update. The sink was wide and featured a Brizo faucet, and the floor tile was some type of marble.

The couple’s kitchen definitely had some interesting character. As you can see, some of the cabinet doors were missing and instead were replaced with sheets of fabric. (I have heard that some Europeans literally take their cabinetry with them when they move, so maybe that happened here). The multi-colored drawers that remained looked rather fitting next to the plaid coverings. Other than that, it was just functional. The high point though was the balcony right off the kitchen. There was one off the main living space and my bedroom as well. Since the area was near a park and a soccer stadium, it was neat to hear the wildlife mixing with screaming Italian football fans late at night.

Location Two: Monterosso

My second stay was in Monterosso, a tiny coastal town in Cinque Terre on the Mediterranean coast. This was a studio apartment that I had to myself. It had a cheery palette of white, high walls and azure blue cabinetry and detailing. As you can see, this was more the teeny tiny kitchen you would expect. There was about a foot of prep space (I used the kitchen table instead) and the oven somehow became a storage area for extra pots and pans.

The bathroom as well was a squeeze, with a laundry machine propped between the toilet and the sink. There was a shower though, with hot water for about two minutes this time – but it gets you moving quick if nothing else.

All in all, it’s what I’ve come to expect from Italian homes over all my trips there – it’s tiny, functional, full of character (both good and bad) and always lets in the Italian air and surroundings beautifully.

And this is me eating gelato (pistachio flavored!) after a very long day of hiking at Cinque Terre. It was freezing there, but it’s never too cold for gelato!

Apr 22 2016

Posted by
Comments off

Best Practices for Getting Published

Blog Coverings Session

Last week during Coverings 2016, I was part of a panel titled “Getting Published,” which focused on best practices for industry professionals and their PR counterparts to get their projects and products under an editor’s radar.

The panel also included Elaine Markoutsas, a columnist with the Chicago Tribune and Modern Luxury Chicago; Eileen Kwun, senior editor of Dwell; Julie Taraska, products editor for Architectural Record; and moderator Paul Makovsky, editorial director for Metropolis.

418 KBB Raw2

Here is an abridged version of the session with some key points to consider when pitching to an editorial personality – specifically mine.

– Email is better than calling since we can’t see pictures on a call. The call will come later if we set up an interview.

– Send professional photos. You can send low-res at first, but make sure you have the high-res versions and the rights to the photos so we have permission to use them. Please do not send a query without a photo.

– For extremely large photos, consider using a platform like Wetransfer or Dropbox to send those. Make sure you tell us who you are and which project it is when you send files from those sources.

– Let us know how old – or new – the project or product is.

– Specifically for projects, tell us if you are pitching it to multiple sources or if it has already been published in a similar publication/outlet.

– If it is a project, let us know what the reader may learn from it. We want to feature more than just an attractive kitchen, bath or showroom.

– Once you have emailed us, we will respond as soon as we can, but let us contact you if we are planning to cover what you sent. Our inboxes are ALWAYS full, so please do not send repeat emails.

– A lot of publications work weeks – and even months out – for their issues, so study the editorial calendar online to see what’s coming up in advance of contacting us.

– Make sure you know to whom you are pitching and that the content applies to that publication.

– It also helps to know the publication’s audience.

Those simple tips will make everyone’s experience easier when it comes to submitting projects/products to media outlets. If you have any questions, please email me at Chelsie.butler@emeraldexpo.com. You can also visit our social media sites to get to know us better:

Twitter: @kbbconnect
Instagram: kbb_magazine
Linked In: KBB Design Network

Apr 15 2016

Posted by
Comments off

Showing Off Products in Italy

Every evening after attending Salone del Mobile, the biennial international design show in Milan, I’ve wandered around the design district into different showrooms. And yes, they are quite different than most I’ve seen in the U.S.

1)    Vivid colors and simplicity go hand in hand. Such as at the Geberit showroom, where only a handful of products were shown against a background of hot pink, blue and a tropical green. A wall of bamboo stems gave the showroom a sense of a futuristic environment.


2)    Words sometimes say it better. The Kartell by Laufen showroom had a mixture of different vignettes and a theme phrase, “The Perfect Emotion in the Bathroom,” throughout the space. I also noticed a sublime scent throughout – not overwhelming, but enough to plant the subliminal message that you use their product, and you will smell that good.

3)    Location can make the showroom. I wasn’t even looking for the Fantini showroom, but a lovely courtyard caught my attention. Inside was a beautiful arched doorway covered with vines, and sure enough, the Fantini showroom was inside. That was more than enough to bring me inside to see more.

4)    Create the home clients only dream of. The SCIS showroom did just that, with the feel of a glamorous white home complete with Roman arches, fine artwork and of course, luxury kitchenware.

5)    Explain while you inspire. The Axor showroom, which focused on their new line of faucets, pulled out a mixture of logical displays and beautiful, larger-than-life photographs. I also found a room completed devoted to one washbasin, and interestingly enough, surrounded by mirrors.


6)    If it’s your tune, play up the starkness. The Bulthaup showroom – which had three small levels around a spiraling staircase – definitely focused on Europe’s love of white and straight-lined functionality. Each display was a standalone, with little décor or color mixed in to focus entirely on the product itself.


Apr 13 2016

Posted by
Comments off

Live from Milan

It’s Salone del Mobile this year – the biennial international furniture show, complete with Salone del Bagno and EuroCucina (the bath and kitchen shows), and Milan is packed with international fair-goers and Italian and European designers and manufacturers. We’re giving you a full run-through in our May/June issue, but here is a sneak peek at some of the trends I’ve been seeing at the show.

1) Surprise, surprise – white is definitely still in. Shown here in the design by Karim Rashid for Rational, the neutral color is still the way to go, particularly with contemporary designs.


2) Islands are becoming more innovative and more like the centerpiece, as shown by Icone, a Kelly Massimo Iosaghini Design. The different materials in the island, and the way it works with the functionality of the kitchen, are truly showcased at the show in particular.


3) Even though lacquer and stainless steel are still very in, there’s a sense of the organic everywhere, like this wooden island from Arclinea.


4) With the new kitchen either growing much smaller or much bigger (trends have shown dramatic examples of both this year), drawers and cabinets are moving to new ways to hide or expose their contents. Shown here is Mantis from Binova.

5) At the same time as all the clean lines and handle-less surfaces, vintage shows up in glamorous collections, like in the vintage oven from Rosieres.


More to come from Kitchen and Bath Business – stay tuned with our Facebook, Instagram (KBB_Magazine) and Twitter (@KBBconnect).