K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for April, 2017

Apr 21 2017

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Delta Faucet Event Unveils New Products

KBB was recently invited to attend a press event at Delta Faucet Co.’s new Manoogian Center, a $15,000-million addition to the company’s headquarters in Indianapolis that celebrates its founder, Alex Manoogian.

We were given a look behind the scenes to see where the inspiration for the company’s designs originates, how they test packaging to ensure the products are getting to their customers safe and sound, how they incorporate new technology into their collections and how they test products for various certifications.

“We think faucets are of the utmost importance,” said Brian Noble, senior director, Brizo and marketing services. “After all, people interact with them multiple times a day.”

The Model Shop in the Innovation/Research Lab on the lower level

In terms of inspiration, Judd Lord, senior director of industrial design, and his team do a lot of traveling to national and international events to study various trends, including furniture and even automotive.

“We want to get out there and activate our senses,” he explained, adding that the creation of entire collections from start to finish takes anywhere from 18 months to two years.

My personal favorite was the RSVP Collection – a very literal, elegant take on the female figure.

Regarding new technology, it is helpful to keep looking forward to determine future needs.

“I started working on our H2O Kinetic technology in 2001 because I knew water regulations and the green movement were coming,” said Paul Patton, senior R&D/regulatory manager. “It’s important to pay attention to regulations coming down the road.”

What’s New for Delta and Brizo

Whereas research points to aesthetics being first on consumers’ lists of requirements, function/performance is following along closely. Brizo takes both seriously with its fashion-forward approach, as well as tech elements that include an electronic proportioning valve offered in some of its collections.

The Litze Bathroom Collection was introduced at KBIS 2016, and now the brand offers the Litze Kitchen Collection (above), which will be available later this year. It is available with three different spout options, two choices of handles and five finishes. When asked during KBIS 2017, attendees were most enamored with the black and gold split-finish option.

Brizo is also introducing the Vettis Bath Collection (above), which was inspired by the Vettisfossen waterfall in Norway, and both brands have created new display systems to elevate their products in the showroom setting (Delta below left, Brizo below right).

Apr 17 2017

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A Family Legacy

It is rare to find a family-run business that has survived more than a century of change – including two World Wars, the introduction of gas fuel and the rate of innovation seen today. One range-maker has done just that, and I was honored to explore the culture, land and the people who created and sustained the company.

We were first immersed in the region of Emilia-Romagna in Midwestern Italy. The region is known for its Parmesan cheese and prosciutto ham – the making of which can be considered an art form. I first saw the making of Parmesan cheese from beginning to end. I stole up into a centuries-old attic to see barrels of balsamic vinegar, which are aged for more than 20 years. The craftsmanship and care the people put into their products is obvious, and the history is perhaps what makes these companies so genuine.

One of the most prominent manufacturers in the region is Bertazzoni, which started in the late 19th century in a small Italian town called Guastalla, outside of Parma. Francesco Bertazzoni, who made precision-weighing machines for the cheese industry, wondered if the wood-burning stoves being used for heating railcars could be used for an indoor range. By 1907, he and his son Antonio had begun making their own stoves by hand and sending them all over Italy.

19th Century: These precision-measuring instruments were made by Francesco Bertazzoni for local trades, from Parmesan cheesemakers to pharmacists.

Their story progressed over the last century to gas fueling and modern looks, including a collection specifically for the American market. Today Bertazzoni is known as a luxury brand that combines different technologies together – gas, electricity, induction, microwave and steam – with the heart of Italian cooking in mind.
1930s: Stove performance improved with hot gases from the fire forced around the sides of the stove to maximize heating efficiency.

We were invited to experience this first hand by cooking with a local chef in the Bertazzoni kitchen. I love to cook, but Italians cook much differently – and often much better – than we do. I saw how a convection oven could caramelize brown sugar just right on sliced Roma tomatoes and how a proofing option could help a focaccia bread rise perfectly. I really don’t think there is anything better than focaccia bread straight from the oven, drizzled with local olive oil.

 Inside the Bertazzoni kitchen, we learned to make dishes like these lasagna rolls.

After several hours of cooking and chatting, everyone – including the fifth and sixth generations of the Bertazzoni family – sat down together and shared wine, fresh mozzarella cheese and a cake celebrating 135 years of business. We stayed long past sunset, when the chef finally declared that he needed to go home to feed his dog. It’s very Italian to arrive as strangers and leave as family, and that’s what good food, a great kitchen and a lovely place can cook up.

Exploring Parma was magical – it’s like a storybook of quiet streets and charming cafes.

Apr 03 2017

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Going Formal


Most clients today describe their desired aesthetic as transitional, relaxing or modern. But what happens when a client asks for a formal design? Designer Nancy Henry of Glenview, Ill.-based DDK Kitchen Design Group faced this challenge with a master bathroom in Chicago.

“When two professional, hardworking adults come home, they want to feel great in their own personal spaces,” she said, adding that one client is an electrical contractor. “The formal look, of course, applies more to females. Whether it’s soaking in their tub or just visually looking around, that beautiful feeling is what they desire.”

In addition to this aesthetic, the couple wanted two sinks and more storage without layout congestion. There were several angles in the room that presented a problem to the design team; just the parallelogram shape of the room suggested potential overcrowding. The design team worked around this by continuing the vanity along one wall and into a corner for a streamlined design, and they installed more mirrors. The shower and the whirlpool tub take up the wall opposite the vanity.


“This is a client who still loves a whirlpool tub despite the popularity of soaker tubs,” added the designer.

The original tub had no steps to enter it easily, so Henry created a marble step – the same material as the tub’s exterior. The shower area was brought forward to streamline the visual lines of the built-in tub and incorporate the seat between them.

Along with marble floors and walls, the luxury and formality of this room comes from the cabinetry. By Dutch Made Cabinetry, a privately held Amish company, the cabinets are hand finished with an ivory paint and a light brown glaze. The crystal chandelier, crystal sconces and toe kick lighting – installed by the client’s electrical contracting company – finished off the elegant feel.


“My favorite part of any design is always being pleased with the outcome and at the same time, having the client thrilled with the final results,” said Henry. “With this one I really loved the expansiveness the framed mirrors added in making the room sparkle and feel larger.”

Photographer: Mike Kaskel, Chicago