KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for December, 2016

Dec 22 2016

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Changing a City with Design

We all know our surroundings affect nearly every aspect of our life, and sometimes it’s the smallest, silliest things that make a big difference. I discovered one of these in my new city: the Seattle Design Nerds.

Headed by licensed architects Jeremy Reding and Trevor Dykstra, the volunteer non-profit group is dedicated to designing in the public realm as well as engaging designers with the public. I spoke with Dykstra to find out more.

KBB: Why did you start Seattle Design Nerds?

Dykstra: We wanted to form a group that focused on interactive outdoor projects, and that eventually lead us to the Design Nerds Society (founded in Vancouver, B.C.).  Each Design Nerd chapter operates autonomously, and each one has slightly different goals, but they all focus on their city, public space and collaboration.

KBB: What is the purpose behind the organization?

Dykstra: We like to say that the Seattle Design Nerds are here to make Seattle (more) awesome. That means we’re focusing on what we love about a place and highlighting that rather than ascribing ‘problems’ that need solutions. 

We have no paid staff or employees, we’re all doing this in our free time and we have over 200 members, but the core group is around 20. The membership is made up of architects, graphic designers, interior designers, furniture designers, interaction designers, mechanical engineers and yes, even non-designers. We’re free to join and open to all, and that includes making our entire process open to anyone who stops by. Because we believe in design by doing rather than simply generating ideas, we typically brainstorm as a group by making prototypes and quickly testing ideas physically rather than sitting around a table.”

KBB: What have some of your favorite projects been?
Our very first project as a group was a 120-ft.-long, 16 ft.-tall inflatable space we called CREATURE. It was installed in Nord Alley in Pioneer Square, and we assembled the entire thing in public parks using shipping tape and bits of plastic, because we had no access to a workspace and no funding. We inflated the entire thing using half a dozen fans we found at Goodwill and filled it with beach balls; it turned the entire alleyway into an indoor playground. That project has a special place in our hearts, not only because it was the first but also we literally didn’t know if it would all work.

creature2                                                                                 The Creature

Earlier this year we collaborated with a school district in Spokane to create an Augmented Reality Sandbox using software developed by a researcher at UC Davis.  We designed it in such a way that the plans could be downloaded and sent to a computer numeric control (CNC) anywhere in the world. The parts work like Legos so that they can be assembled without any tools or construction background. We’ve since made those prototype plans and cutting files available as a shareware download for other schools and museums around the nation.

Sandbox                                                                     Augmented Reality Sandbox

Another favorite is a project we call the ReFractor. The ReFractor is another inflatable space made from triangular pieces of plastic, reflective mylar and cardboard. It’s a mobile event space that has popped up around Seattle and packs down into a small box. We’ve had dancers in it, created a lounge, projected the football game and more all in public spaces on a moment’s notice. This year we took it down to Austin, Texas, for SXSW Eco, where it appeared downtown in Brush Square Park and served as a lounge for the conferences after-party.

refractor                                                                               The ReFractor

KBB: Explain your most recent project, Redmond Lights, and what you expect to come of if.

Dykstra: The Redmond Lights is a new experience for us, and we’re excited by the images of past years. When we were considering the theme of the event [holiday traditions, cultures and faiths in the city] we gravitated toward an inflated option as they not only create excellent lanterns, but they also have a friendly and comforting look. We’ve experimented with inflatables and lights in the past, but we’re ramping up the scale of that for Redmond Lights.  

We’re working on creating a 200-ft.-long inflatable called the GlowWorm, which will be filled with color-changing LEDS and feature inspirational quotes from Leonard Cohen and Dr. Maya Angelou. The piece is so long that we’ve been using the hallways of Inscape Arts (the building where we’re assembling) as our workspace.”

gloworm                                                                            The Redmond Lights

Dec 22 2016

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A Bar Area with a Surprise Function


This kitchen project – Maui Renovation – by Interior Design Solutions in Pukalani, Ha., featured a one-of-a-kind bar that also serves as the laundry area. According to the designer, Valorie Spence, the previous layout featured a narrow, dark hallway between the living room and the bedrooms that the client wanted to eliminate and modernize with a new electrical panel and washer and dryer that were fully integrated.

“We wanted that space to have multi-uses and become part of the living room area, as well as be useful when entertaining as a bar/drink station and not look like a laundry room,” she explained.


Spence chose a Rain Forest marble countertop and an Alyse Edwards glass backsplash called “Shake that Thing” for the bar area, which features a large-format Durango stone fossil shell limestone flooring. The cabinets are in vertical-matched grain koa with satin glass panel uppers, Blum full-extension hardware, Snadero Certosa drawer pulls and line-voltage LED lighting.

“It was a very challenging area because it was in the center of the space with plumbing walls, electrical panel and enclosing walls around the old laundry,” explained Spence. “The builder and I worked with the other trades to design and open up the space with a reconfiguration of the plumbing and electrical enclosures.”

The designer said more of her clients are requesting that these bar areas be designed into the living spaces for a more open feeling and that large gathering tables are becoming the center of food and drink in our current design philosophy.

Dec 19 2016

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Three K&B Trends for 2017


Wolf warming drawer. Image courtesy of Wolf.

As the kitchen and bath industry heads into trade show season and manufacturers prepare to unveil their latest innovations, the product experts at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery share three trends they expect to have a major moment in 2017.

Compact Design Gives Rise to Expanded Flexibility

Compact design coupled with high-powered performance ushers in a wave of products that delivers the most from a small space. As manufacturers design more appliances that offer luxurious functionality in a fraction of the space, we expect to see more designers, builders and remodelers developing creative ways to layer products where homeowners want to use them. For example, compact dishwashers allow for installation in a media room in addition to the kitchen, while a ventless dryer can be placed anywhere in the home. Built-in coffee makers that don’t require a dedicated plumbing line can be installed just about anywhere including a guest room, home office, master closet or all three.

Water Delivery Your Way

With the ever-growing options for dedicated faucets and fixtures, the plumbing infrastructure of a home is the starting point of possibilities. For the kitchen, pot fillers, bar faucets and filtered water dispensers all work in tandem to provide water delivery where homeowners use them most. Master baths will continue expansion to include bidets with programmable settings and hands-free faucets and toilets that reduce the spread of germs. The showering experience will further integrate the use of multiple showerheads, body sprays and handshowers to deliver an immersive customized water experience that also uses technological advances to preserve overall water usage. Digital showering systems will rise in popularity with enhanced personalized water delivery experiences that incorporate light, music and steam.


Kohler Composed bathroom faucet and Kohler Veil intelligent skirted one-piece elongated toilet with integrated bidet functionality. Image courtesy of Kohler.

Farmhouse Modern

As the popularity of farmhouse chic evolves, more neutral colors, living finishes and natural materials blended with modern technology and luxurious details will be on the rise. For lighting, anticipate the inventive use of reclaimed wood paired with innovative LED lamping, especially in outdoor applications. The farmhouse sink will continue to make a statement in the kitchen, yet with updated designs, dimensions and finishes in soft golds and matte blacks to pair with contemporary faucets.


Thompson Traders’ Haven apron-front sink. Image courtesy of Thompson Traders.

Dec 19 2016

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Bathroom Crushes

The latest KBTribeChat on Wednesday, Dec. 14 looked at one of our favorite topics: beautiful bathrooms. Industry manufacturers gathered to discuss and brag about bathrooms they have designed and loved and how more of these lovely havens can be brought to life.

Stunning surfaces are often the focal point of beautiful bathrooms. Share installations that prove this point from showers to countertops to flooring and walls.

How can we be dazzled with plumbing fixtures? We know it happens! Share your design crush faucets, sinks, shower fittings and tubs!

What bathroom lighting has wowed you lately?

Sometimes we find ourselves crushing on the details. What bathroom organizers, storage solutions or tech has delighted you?

Built-in appliances in the bathroom? Yes, please! What appliances take luxury to the next level in the bathroom?

Join the next KBTribeChat by typing #KBTribeChat in Twitter on Wednesdays from 2-3 p.m. EST.