KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for 2017

Dec 28 2017

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This Year’s Interior Design Trends

2018 is finally here, so we found out what interior designers from the New York Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) see as trends in interior design for the coming year.

Sunshine Colors Our World. Karen Wolf, Associate ASID, of Karen B. Wolf Interiors in South Orange, N.J., forecasts sunshine yellow as on trend for 2018.


“Positive, confident, vibrant and enthusiastic, this color represents the future and our incoming Gen Z consumers,” said Wolf. “For a technologically savvy group, yellow is the missed sunshine they seek while plugged in and inside. We have not seen this color emerge for quite some time; it feels fresh, happy and young!”

Handcrafted Accessories. Homemade is a recurring macro trend that is rooted in celebrating home-grown artisans and artistry from all over the world. A rebuff of modern technology, this trend embraces the tactile senses and the spirit of craftsmanship based on the local source it derives from.

 “From the Aztec-themed pillow craze of last year and this year’s love for Peruvian alpaca, the trend is timeless and will continue to find new forms powered by advances in technology and the human touch,” said Wolf. “In 2018, look for Japanese/Persian folkloric themes and motifs. Also on the radar is Delftware, or Dutch pottery. First spotted in Europe, Dutch pottery is now reinterpreted as minimalist and also boasts Chinoiserie-inspired designs.”

Lighting Goes Linear. The long and lean linear chandelier has become the newest trend in lighting, according to Faith Hochman, Associate ASID, of FH Home Designs, Inc. in Mahwah, N.J.

“Its length creates a wow factor over a kitchen island or dining table,” said Hochman. “Available with shades and/or multiple lights to create bright light or ambient lighting, its sleekness will instantly change and enhance the beauty of your rooms. Manufacturers have flooded the market with a great range of styles in every budget and style.”

What’s Hot in the Kitchen & Bath. “White and gray are still maintaining their hold on color trends but are being softened with bluer hues,” said Sharon L. Sherman, ASID, of Thyme & Place Design in Wyckoff, N.J.


According to Sherman, white and navy are staples of the design world. Navy is softer than black but still provides the dramatic contrast. Gray is being softened with taupe undertones, providing warmth to the color palette. Matte black and charcoal gray are starting to make appearances in appliances; stainless is still king, but these finishes are being seen more often. Color on ranges – bright red, yellow and blue – is also creating pops in the kitchen.

Spacing It Out. Though open-plan living has its detractors of late [with some clients choosing to keep kitchens separate from the other spaces,] it is here to stay in 2018, according to Ivee Fromkin, Allied ASID, of Monmouth Beach, N.J.

“Jam-packed schedules and the prevalence of technology have made it more important than ever for today’s families to mingle and spend valuable time together,” she said.

Dec 21 2017

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Home for Christmas

Before the renovation

The day before Christmas Eve, my husband and I will be flying from the West Coast back to Atlanta – the city we both grew up in and where both of our families live. I have not been back home since last Christmas and am looking forward to seeing one important change in my childhood house: an updated kitchen.

My parents have lived in this home for more than 30 years. They have renovated their master bath, updated every room’s decor and redesigned the kitchen once before – but about 18 years ago. Like many other baby boomer clients, they are thinking of downsizing in the next few years and need the home to retain a high resale value, but until they are ready to sell they want a place to entertain friends and family.

While they could not do a full renovation of the kitchen, I helped convince them that there are several easy and affordable ways that would modernize the space. The old, traditional stainless steel sink had to go, and the worn granite countertops needed replacing. The floral backsplash, which my father had carefully installed when I was 10, really needed an update. Finally, the refrigerator, the hood and the cooktop were all aging.


It took about two months to get everything chosen and in – with a few bumps along the way (the dishwasher came in cracked, and the tile guy ran out of tile) –  but the resulting kitchen is much improved. The sink is now one of Kohler’s beautiful, white apron-front sinks paired with a stainless steel Delta faucet. The original four-burner cooktop was replaced with a KitchenAid five-burner natural gas unit with a dramatic Elica hood above it.

The kitchen gained a more modern look with white Calacatta Gold quartz countertops from Premier Surfaces; there is subtle veining around the perimeter countertops and more dramatic black-and-white veining on the island. My favorite part is the backsplash, which per my suggestion, is a simple 6-in., white subway tile installed in a herringbone pattern. A stainless steel, French-door refrigerator completes the ensemble.


It might have taken a lot of work, but my parents love their new kitchen. We are the kind of family that always hosts, and I expect we will be celebrating many holidays in this space.


So designers, be proud that the job you do truly makes a difference in others’ lives and gives people a little joy every day.

Happy holidays from Kitchen and Bath Business!

Dec 18 2017

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Market Smart: Make a Big Splash for Little Cash


If you’re spending big money on marketing, you’re probably wasting it.

Some of the best marketing that kitchen and bath professionals can do costs the least. Some of the most powerful promotion costs nothing at all. You can take the “price” out of your promotion and make a maximum impact for a minimal investment.

Step one in that process is to identify and promote your “Only.” This million-dollar marketing word can turn a bland brand into a killer commercial.

Are you the area’s ONLY kitchen and bath specialist who is also a Certified Living in Place Professional? Is yours the area’s ONLY award-winning design firm? Is yours the ONLY one that offers such a wide variety of cabinets? Tell me what only you do, and I’ll work only with you.

Once you have identified your “Only” phrase, include it in your social media profiles and in the “About Us” section on your website and Houzz site. Establish your expertise in the local marketplace, and communicate your credibility through videos, blog posts, articles and social media commentary. Use these low-cost and no-cost platforms to address kitchen and bath industry challenges, changes and trends. Include information wherever and whenever possible about your industry experience and accomplishments.

Make blogging the focal point of your “Big Splash, Little Cash” marketing campaign. Use your blog to offer solutions to the key problems your clients face. Your blog can:

·         Boost your credibility

·         Attract prospective buyers

·         Establish you as a resource for the trade media and other industry “influencers”

·         Enable you to start conversations about industry trends

·         Enhance your search engine rankings

·         Drive traffic to your website. Studies show that websites with blogs get 55 percent more visitors than those without them.      

Expand one of your posts or articles into a short report, and grow your database by offering the report online at no cost to those who provide you with their contact information. Then reach out to that database on a regular basis. Get into the “smile and dial” habit; make 10 contacts a day to those you need to know, and you’ll pump up your promotional pipeline in no time. Share that online special report with industry bloggers and the trade media, and offer to assist them the next time they’re looking for an industry expert to consult or quote.

Writing articles and columns and submitting news releases to industry and general media outlets are great ways to generate free publicity – the best advertising that kitchen and bath pros can’t buy. Savvy design professionals also use public speaking as an economical and efficient way to position themselves as industry authorities. Presenting seminars, classes and workshops to groups of prospective clients is smart marketing at its best.

You need not – and should not – fly solo in your personal marketing efforts. Partner in your promotion by aligning with allied professionals, and seek marketing support from vendors and suppliers. The good news is that you don’t need a big marketing budget to make a big marketing impact. There’s no need to be rich to get recognized. You can use no-sweat, low-cost marketing strategies to make a big splash for little cash.

Fred Berns, a design industry coach and copy writer, is the author of the audio program entitled Million Dollar Marketing on a Shoestring Budget.

Dec 18 2017

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Coloring the Farmhouse Look

Growing up, I spent most of my childhood riding horses and climbing trees. When I went to college in Athens, Ga., I could leave town and in 15 minutes be in rural country. So even before the farmhouse look was in, I was totally on board.

Waco, Texas-based designer and HGTV host Joanna Gaines is often credited with spearheading this style. She is known for creating family-friendly and open spaces with touches of rusticity and charm.


Recently, KBB spoke with her about 2018 trends, particularly color and how this will play into the farmhouse look.

Why Neutrals
Gaines: The neutral trend remains popular, with whites, beiges and grays popping up everywhere – from Instagram and Pinterest to design magazines and home décor shows like “High Point.” Both consumers and designers gravitate toward these colors because they’re versatile, timeless and easy to design around.

                      Credit: Magnolia Home by Joanna Gaines™ 

New Trends
Gaines: Moving into 2018, I think we will see two trends push to the forefront. Classic neutrals will move from transparent whites to creamy hues designed to bring warmth to a space. That being said, 2018 will also give bold pops of color their time to shine! From muted pastels to natural earth tones and even inky blues, we anticipate classic hues will be paired with bright accent choices, enriching any space in the home.

Trends in the Kitchen
Gaines: Paint is one of the easiest and most budget-friendly ways to update a space. The kitchen is the heart of every home, making it one of the most important spaces to find a hue that your client’s family will love. We’ve been using a lot of Blackboard, a dark black with hints of deep blue from my Magnolia Home collection, which is perfect for shiplap or cabinetry in the kitchen and pairs well with both neutral accents or bold pops of color.

                  Credit: Magnolia Home by Joanna Gaines™ 

Trends in the Bathroom
Gaines: For bathrooms, keeping things simple is so important, and muted pastels are an ideal color scheme. Delicate, misty blues, pinks and yellows evoke a comfortable feeling when paired with warm neutrals featured in tiles and countertops. I love It Is Well, a sky blue muted with shades of gray, or Rainy Days, a powder blue with an overcast tint of gray, for a bathroom. Paired with shiplap, one of my favorites, as an accent for trim or cabinetry, these colors add a soft touch to the bathroom.                        Credit: Magnolia Home by Joanna Gaines™