K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for 2017

Mar 26 2017

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Designing a Future Kitchen

The future of the smart home might start with the kitchen. With elements like Wi-Fi-connected appliances, intelligent food devices and new cooking methods, the kitchen has a lot of potential in the tech world. But even with all of the technology, a new kitchen still has to take into account finishes and materials that will stay on trend for years to come.

One design firm in San Francisco took these ideas into account in a recent kitchen project. KBB magazine spoke with the designer, I-Ching Ueng, senior designer and studio manager of Poggenpohl San Francisco, to find out more.


KBB: What were the client’s requirements?
Ueng: The client was interested in materials that could stand up to daily use, were warm and inviting and also timeless. Some finishes can be too trendy; in five years you can get tired of certain finishes. We tried to select finishes that would not become an issue in five years.

KBB: What were you challenged by and what were your solutions?
Ueng: For me, it was challenging to come up with a design for a kitchen that was large and in the center of house. It was hard to fill that volume and also not take away from the fine architectural details of the site. We want to step out but not distract from the detail.


KBB: Describe your design for the island.
Ueng: The waterfall counter ties in with the minimalism and modern look of the home – while the easy-to-maintain wood finish underneath grounds it and adds storage and functionality.

KBB: Are there any high-tech features in this kitchen?
Ueng: Beyond the handle-less cabinets that are touch to open, a series of Gaggenau appliances is featured throughout – from a wine storage unit to a coffee center. These high-end appliances offer cutting-edge technology. It’s a true chef’s kitchen.


KBB: What was your favorite part of this project?
Ueng: This was a dream kitchen that was done for future owners unknown. It was fun to work with the client to design a kitchen of the future where potential owners could come back to us and customize further for their personal needs.

Mar 20 2017

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Inside Magic


After attending the Architectural Digest Show this past week, I was invited to visit the brand new Häfele showroom in the Flatiron District of Manhattan. The showroom itself is a step up from their previous location near Central Park. Although the neighborhood is more out of the way, the expansive windows and the ability to be on one floor won the company over.

The hardware and lighting technology Häfele is known for is showcased around the showroom in two working kitchens, office spaces and in different kinds of sliding doors. One standout addition catching everyone’s eye is a series of remote-controlled sliding walls.

These four walls have product on both sides, so to save space the walls were put on tracks. This way they can open on demand, revealing a hallway in the middle for people to walk through. The three other walls, meanwhile, remain closed until needed. This saves space and introduces potential consumers to the high-tech nature of some of the company’s products.


Another major theme of the showroom is lighting. As Scott Kaminski, marketing and PR manager of Häfele introduced it, light can be considered a furniture piece. A placard in the showroom suggested the interaction of light in a room has an influence on well-being. Bright, cold light enhances alertness, while softer light sources enhance relaxation. LED technology within furniture brings in a whole other dimension to a design.


As designers, you know integrated lighting is essential for today’s kitchen and bath, but have clients recognized this? Unless the cabinet manufacturer explicitly includes special hardware – like swing-outs – do clients know they can make the interiors of their cabinets much more functional? One concern another designer brought up was that there is disconnect between hardware and cabinet manufacturers. Clients might assume their cabinetry comes with special interior hardware, but that is often not the case. In addition, designers have to educate themselves on how to bring the two together in a design.

What do you think? Have you been challenged by any disconnect between interior hardware and cabinetry? What are your favorite types of interior hardware to use? Let us know on our Facebook page, our Twitter @kbbconnect or on Instagram @KBB_magazine.

Mar 13 2017

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The Laundry Room 2.0


Laundry Room by Christie Board, Board by Board Inc. Photo by Bella Vita Photography

This room used to be the one shoved into a corner, a closet or a basement and forgotten. It is notoriously messy, stressful and busy but also essential to the smooth running of a family home. Having an organized laundry room – no matter how small – has always been valued, but now having a beautiful laundry room is also in demand.

This week’s KBTribeChat looked at today’s laundry room and the demands, the trends and the exciting products changing the way we look at this hardworking room.

Most Desired Feature
It’s not just one feature – as usual, clients want a multi-functional space that is both beautiful and accessible. Countertop space and an abundance of storage is a must, and also having hanging rods and places to fold is helpful. Sinks are also growing in demand. Above all, people want ways to simplify this chore so they have more time for what’s important to them.

Top Load vs. Front Load
Participants argued that while front-loaders look better and stack easily, top-load washers are more accessible. Also, a front-loader washer can develop mold if not cleaned consistently.

Making a Small Laundry Room Larger
Laundry rooms are usually one of the smallest areas in the home. Taking advantage of vertical space and light colors, however, can make all the difference. For the best use of space, a designer could stack a front-load washer/dryer, install retractable hanging space and design custom storage for the clients’ family.

Energy Efficiency
Most clients are looking to save water and energy. While eco-friendly products are a popular request, some clients still want “all the bells and whistles” in their laundry machine and falsely believe that less water equates to dirtier clothes. Even if they do not invest in a highly energy-efficient appliance, laundry machines and dryers still use less water and energy than in previous years.

Where Are We Headed?
Like the open-plan kitchen, the laundry room is transforming into a multifunctional space that combines mudroom, laundry and craft area all in one. They are also likely to be a part of the smart home phenomenon – which may include Wi-Fi connectivity or remote control.

What do you love most about today’s laundry rooms? Let us know on our Facebook page, on Twitter @KBBConnect or on Instagram @Kbb_magazine.

Mar 10 2017

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Times Are Changing in the Kitchen and Bath Industry

It’s striking to me how much has changed in the kitchen and bath industry over the past 10 years.

There have been many changes in communication, product sourcing, smart technology and consumer awareness, and they can all be traced back to the release of the first iPhone in 2007. Smartphones have changed the ways we communicate, shop and learn, and they have changed the way we live in our kitchens. Mal Corboy, a well-known Auckland, New Zealand, kitchen designer says all of this evolution has changed the design process. (http://i.stuff.co.nz/lifestyle/home-property/83715964/howmuch-has-the-modern-kitchen-changedin-the-past-10-years)

Most residential design/build project communications used to be done in person, by phone and by email. Dream Kitchen Builders still uses those tools, but now we also use messaging and social media apps, and we use these business tools to communicate via mobile devices.

The amount of kitchen and bath information that’s available to consumers is enormous and growing larger every day. This has made us all educated buyers and given consumers more control of each aspect of a design/build project.

We’re now experimenting with smart appliances and wireless devices in the kitchen and bathroom that use artificial intelligence to help us get things done. I cook, so I give voice commands to Siri to set a timer to adjust my music and more while I’m cooking. I’m hands free, so I don’t have to stop what I’m doing. Smart technology hasn’t gone mainstream yet, but appliance and device makers are designing and producing amazing new kitchen and bath products, and early adopters are trying them out and talking about them to their friends.

Last but not least, every kitchen and bath product seems to have almost limitless options and price points and many include free shipping. Clients are now buying kitchen and bath products online and sourcing them internationally. Kitchens and bathrooms have always evolved, but the changes we are now seeing are so revolutionary that they are disrupting the way kitchen and bath business is done – changing the relationship between professionals and consumers and changing the way we live.

 Scott Koehler is the owner of Dream Kitchen Builders, a design-build firm in North Carolina.