KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for October, 2016

Oct 27 2016

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Inside the D.C. Design House

The-Chic-Laundry-Room---Allie-Mann10                             Photos by Stacy Zarin Goldberg

The 2016 D.C. Design House, which moved to the fall this year, features 21 transformed spaces by D.C. area designers. In addition, local art firm Studio Artistica led art projects with Children’s National Medical Center patients, volunteers and staff, and the pieces were for sale with all proceeds going to the hospital.

Listed at $10.8 million by Nancy Itteilag of Washington Fine Properties, the five-story, 11,242-sq.-ft. home includes seven bedrooms, eight full bathrooms, two half baths, three kitchens, five fireplaces, a sauna, exercise and party rooms, a wine cellar, an elevator plus an infinity pool. Built in 2010 by Gibson Builders and situated on a three-quarter-acre lot in the Wesley Heights/Berkley neighborhood, the home, designed by Bethesda, Md.-based GTM Architects, most recently was used as the temporary residence of the French Ambassador while his home was undergoing renovations. It is also located next door to the 2013 D.C. Design House location.

KBB spoke with Allie Mann of Washington, D.C.-based Case Design/Remodeling, Inc. to get a glimpse of the experience and find out about her design for the chic laundry room.

The-Chic-Laundry-Room-BEFORE2                               Before the Remodel

KBB: What was your goal in this room?
AM: The goal of this space was to turn something that is traditionally thought of more as utility into something beautifully useful – a space as well-designed as it is practical.

The-Chic-Laundry-Room---Allie-Mann9                          Photos by Stacy Zarin Goldberg 
KBB: By what were you challenged by?
AM: There were two unsightly electrical panels in the space and in the corner. Working on something to camouflage them was tricky with the spacing and layout. I came up with a nice piece of artwork to fit the space. Though it is not centered on the wall or in the room, it accomplishes the task.

KBB: What was your favorite part of your project?
AM: My favorite part of the project has to be the backsplash tile. It’s a water jet mosaic that is so rich with interest. It’s unexpected in this space.
The-Chic-Laundry-Room---Allie-Mann7                             Photos by Stacy Zarin Goldberg

Ticket sales as well as a portion of proceeds from boutiques and designer sales, with most items in designers’ spaces available to purchase, are donated to Children’s National, with more than $1.5 million raised in eight years.

Oct 26 2016

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Remodeling Today with Christopher Grubb

  AIDG-WGN-Aug2016-9242Photo courtesy of Arch-Interiors Design Group

Beverly Hills interior designer and KBB Editorial Board member Christopher Grubb recently talked with television and radio personality Lou Manfredini on the Chicago morning show “Mr. Fix it.” At the show, Grubb shared ideas for updating the home with today’s hottest trends, even for those on a budget. KBB spoke with the designer, who hails from Beverly Hills-based Arch-Interiors Design Group, to see how he gets a trendy look with less cost.

KBB: What are the biggest trends you are seeing today?
CG: Gray – whether it is a stained wood, thermofoil or lacquer for cabinets or gray countertops. We have been doing all-white kitchens for a year, and it is a nice complement to the crispness of white. Quartz countertops have also been popular, and the trend continues in their use and introductions of new finishes. Granite has faded from use. I speak with vendors in stone yards, and they now sell only a few types or those that are unexpected.

Full-height backsplashes are another new trend. We are still doing backsplashes with tile, but with more contemporary projects, the desire is to have a clean, contemporary flow from counter to backsplash.

AIDG-WGN-Aug2016-0712                       Photo courtesy of Arch-Interiors Design Group

Then there are smart kitchen features. Several islands we are designing are incorporating file drawers, pencil drawers, etc., because they have become the new “working desk” in the kitchen. We outfit drawers with electrical and HDMI plugs as well as connections for the telephone so it doesn’t have to sit on the counter. One other popular feature we are doing is putting electrical and HDMI plugs under overhang counters on the island for convenience, but it also keeps a clean look.

KBB: How can designers help clients save money but still be on trend?
CG: Quality appliances come in a variety of price points. Most of our clients show me their desires, which are name-brand, high-end appliances. That’s the moment I need to tell them their appliance package is between $25,000 to $30,000! Most companies are doing appliances that will take a panel matching their cabinetry, and that saves on appliance cost.

  • Paint or refinish existing cabinetry to gray or an updated finish. When I discuss this with a client, the reaction is, “Paint the wood?!” They can’t see that it’s outdated and painting is an affordable way to update. One can also replace cabinet doors and drawer faces that will stretch a budget.
  • Open shelving is also becoming popular. One can remove a section or two of their upper cabinets, patch and paint the walls and install shelving for this look.
  • Make an existing island a feature. Often one’s kitchen may be timeless, but the client wants something to make it feel updated. One suggestion is to take an existing island that may match to the existing countertops and cabinetry and refinish the existing doors/drawers and replace the countertop itself to complement their existing counters.

AIDG-WGN-Aug2016-Pendant3                       Photo courtesy of Arch-Interiors Design Group

KBB: Explain “stainless steel fatigue” and what you mean by alleviating it.
CG: For years, stainless steel has dominated the look for appliances, hence I say that clients are starting to get tired of it and don’t want their kitchen to look like everyone else’s. We use panels that match the cabinetry, which blends the appliances in with the cabinetry and also makes the kitchen seem much larger to the eye. Double ovens are a challenge, but some appliance manufacturers are creating ovens with glass fronts in brown and white so they too blend into the cabinetry.

KBB: Talk about creating art on vinyl.
One can take a favorite image, such as a skyline of a city, an abstract art piece or even a photo they have taken on vacation. As long as it is high resolution, it can be enlarged and screened onto vinyl that applies like wallcovering and really gives a wow affect to the room.

AIDG-WGN-Aug2016-1021                          Photo courtesy of Arch-Interiors Design Group

Oct 25 2016

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#Styling Spaces

modern-family-eat-in-kitchen-1Last week’s #KBTribeChat was hosted by designer Toni Sabatino of Toni Sabatino Style, one of our Editorial Advisory Board members. We talked about why we have design rules and the fun we have in breaking them, and here’s what we gathered:

  1. Where do you learn the rules?
    – Rules (meant to be broken) come from accepted conventional thinking as well as school and association training.
    – We are taught the rules at a young age. Building a foundation of knowledge is important, and stifling creativity is wrong.
    – Rules are often based on experience. Tradition can dictate the rules too.
  2. Do you consider current trends to be rules?
    – We think current trends serve as great guidelines for showcasing relativity and pushing the rules in new directions.
    – Current trends should inspire but not necessarily set the rules.
    – If we all rely on what’s trending, it’s not exiting or new.
  3. What is your chief source of inspiration?
    – Instagram allows you to be inspired by design all over the world – the great wanderlusts around the globe – cities, mountains, lakes, beaches.
    – I am strongly driven by people and nature.
    – Customers can even be a great source of inspiration.
  4. What are our thoughts about color combos: red and purple? Clash or complementary juxtaposition?
    – Why not? Red and purple are great standalone colors and look amazing as abstract art.
    – The color combo can be tricky but also a success if you layer them on prime white/black/gray base tones.
    – Opposite colors, once taboo in design, are often used to bring balance to spaces.
    – Opposite colors are juxtaposed in nature all the time.
  5. Do you find nature to be a rule maker or a rule breaker?
    – Colors in nature are good for inspiration, and colors in nature never clash.
    – Nature is the ultimate rule breaker. Her fusion of shapes, colors and textures redefines beauty and possibilities.
    – Nature is an inspiration, not a rule.
    – Nature reminds us that design doesn’t have to be symmetrical and that lines don’t have to be straight.Join this week’s KBTribeChat by typing #KBTribeChat into Twitter at 2 pm EST.

Oct 17 2016

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Food and Fun for a Great Cause


As members of the press, the editors at KBB get invited to a host of industry events all over the U.S. – sometimes internationally. I recently attended an awesome event in a non-journalistic capacity. I was simply there to support my friend who helps make it happen and to learn more about the cause the event itself supports. The 5th-annual Harvest on the Hooch at the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Atlanta celebrated farm to table food with a garden party tasting event presented by Whole Foods and hosted by top local chefs and top-notch restaurants.


But the most important thing is that it is a fundraiser for the Unity Garden, which supplies more than four tons of fresh produce yearly to the North Fulton Community Charities food pantry.


I admit I had never been to the center before, nor had I visited the Unity Garden, so my boyfriend and I took advantage of everything the event had to offer: photo opps with life-sized carrots, tours of the garden, a gander at the mini alpacas and many chickens on the property and some really, really great food.


As you can see in the picture below, this event offered much more than mere samples – we dined on fried chicken drumsticks, Thanksgiving turkey and stuffing sandwiches and whole servings of pasta.


Aside from stuffing our faces, we actually learned a few things at the event. The Chattahoochee Nature Center’s mission is to connect people with nature, and it definitely did that for us on our visit.