K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for July, 2017

Jul 31 2017

Posted by
Comments off

Cracking the Technology Myth


One of the most difficult tasks a designer faces is convincing their client to invest in something with which they may not be familiar. Often that challenge comes when it comes to technology, and unless the client is a tech-savvy millennial, they are often skeptical of why a smart home would be worthwhile.

This past week the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) presented a webinar entitled, “Smart Technology in the Kitchen and Bath,” which was moderated by John Morgan, a past president for the NKBA. The webinar focused on developing comfort in discussing smart technology, understanding the smart-home concept and identifying ways to incorporate smart-tech solutions.

One of the key points the panel discussed were the beliefs clients tend to have when it comes to smart home technology. These “myths” include:

•    It is not necessary.
•    It will break the budget.
•    Current technology will become obsolete as new technology evolves.
•    Technology breaks easily and requires more maintenance.
•    Technology is only a luxury.

The panel also agreed that many designers shy away from offering technology because it sounds complicated. However, bringing that discussion to the table early with a client can truly pay out. Before the walls are put up, find out how your client might save time and energy with smart-home solutions.

Today’s solutions are often linked to apps, which all ages can easily use and relate to, without a user manual or learning curve. These apps and other communicative technology can control everything from lighting to heating and cooling and security systems in a home. A client can have a more secure peace of mind knowing who has entered and left their house remotely and whether any appliances were accidentally left on. They can more easily focus on entertaining their guests by checking on meals from their phone. It is more than convenience; it is also ideal for today’s multitasking society.

Resale value is another selling point. While consumers will probably always consider the way a house looks first, the advantage of smart technology can make the difference in how fast a home sells. In addition, new home builds often are being specced with the wiring for smart technology, so it makes sense to be ahead of the curve and include it in a redesign.

Despite the fears both designers and clients might have about smart-home technology, it is coming into our homes no matter what. During this tech boom, however, designers can get ahead by educating themselves. Be sure to attend CEDIA, the smart home industry show, which is taking place September 5-9 in San Diego. We will continue to cover CEDIA and the connected home, so stay tuned – our homes are about to be a part of the future.

Jul 25 2017

Posted by
Comments off

Bringing Light In


Since I moved to the Pacific Northwest, I’ve seen a number of beautiful designs in my region. Two of our friends have recently purchased homes – one is a new build with an open-concept plan, and another is a renovated 100-year-old farmhouse. Here it can be rainy and cold seven months out of the year, so it’s even more important that our interiors are visually appealing.

The local NKBA Puget Sound recently highlighted some of the most standout designs in their 2017 Design Awards. Designer Shannon Boyle, AKBD, of Seattle-based Elements Kitchen + Bath, worked alongside Vawn Greany, CMKBD, of Mercer Island, Wash.-based Collaborative Interior Design on a coastal kitchen redesign, which won the 2017 NKBA Puget Sound Design Competition President’s Award.

Set on the Pacific Ocean, this view is stunning in the summer and moody in the winter. The kitchen had been renovated in recent years, but the dark cabinetry and low ceilings made the room dim – which is a fatal flaw in an area that experiences a lot of dark days. Boyle and Greany instead transformed this kitchen into a modern space that will be filled with light year round.


Goal:
The ultimate objective for this kitchen design was to create a cohesive, efficient and open floor plan that works well for entertaining and everyday living.

Challenges: The existing floor plan was very chopped up because of the structure of the home. There were beams and structural posts that created inefficient flow throughout the kitchen and eat-in dining area. The design team added an addition to the corner of the home to square off the space, which allowed them to create a more open and cohesive floor plan. A new beam was also added over the wet bar area and concealed with two new structural posts inside the walls.

Materials: Pulling together a crisp, neutral color scheme of finish materials and layering new LED lighting in a series of pendants and suspended track lighting provides a bright and contemporary backdrop against the Pacific Northwest’s natural elements. Dura Supreme white-painted cabinetry with dark-stained maple cabinetry in the kitchen and a textured laminate cabinet finish were added to the wet bar area. Cambria Britannica quartz countertops create a cohesive bond between all the spaces. Adding Pental Sculpture Nero tile in the wet bar makes a major statement that helps balance the Puget Sound views.

Favorites: “The wet bar and statement tile wall are my favorite part of this design; we took an awkward area and gave it major drama and purpose in the space,” said Boyle. “It balances well with the view of the Puget Sound, so you have 360 degrees of cool views!”

Jul 17 2017

Posted by
Comments off

Artificial Intelligence and Interior Design

Above image: A simulation of a design created by Artificial Intelligence.

It’s not just science fiction. Artificial intelligence (AI) is starting to leak into our daily lives, from Siri to smart appliances and Amazon Alexa. According to a recent report from Tractica, a market intelligence firm, AI software applications will grow from $1.4 billion in 2016 to $60 billion by 2025.

Planner 5D, a consumer-focused interior design app, is currently creating machine learning algorithms that will train on more than 40 million real user projects. The app’s AI is also learning general interior design rules, technical requirements and how to match colors and styles. For example, the app is learning that a TV cannot be placed in front of a window or it will reflect light; that a bed should stand sideways to a window and that a couch should be placed in front of a TV or a fireplace in the living room.

Our question was, will technology like this make professional designers irrelevant in the future? We talked with Alexey Sheremetyev, co-founder of Planner 5D, to find out more.

The Advantages of AI in an App

Speed is the main factor. Any design project takes a long time, because a person working on it needs to think each detail over and sometimes mistakes happen. Computers work much faster and use information that has been collected from other users and projects. AI doesn’t make mistakes either, unless there was a human error in programming. Therefore, AI can design any typical project much faster and with better quality. A user will only have to edit the final product according to their wishes. That also affects the price, making design much cheaper, since the process will be much faster.

AI and Clients

A user has to choose a space they will be designing, put down the walls and windows and indicate the address of the house. AI will then calculate sunlight and other parameters necessary for the project. Then a user has to choose what kind of space this will be (bedroom, kitchen, living room, etc.), select the style (Provence, modern, Scandinavian, etc.) and color palette. In a few minutes, they will have their project ready.

AI and Interior Designers

If a designer is working on creative projects, AI can hardly help. But if a designer is creating various similar-looking projects by using one template that only needs to be adjusted and modified, then this is a job for AI. For example, AI can be successfully used for a multi-apartment buildings or new-build developments where the houses look similar and have similar floor plans. A designer can prepare one project, and AI will be able to adjust it to other apartments or houses.

What influence do you think AI will have on the industry? Let us know on Facebook or on Twitter @kbbconnect.

Jul 09 2017

Posted by
2 Comments

Micro-Design


New York City apartments are notoriously small, but living in small quarters is a growing phenomenon globally. Particularly in larger metropolitan areas, people are looking for less-expensive, more efficient ways of living. One solution is the micro-apartment – a studio space with the optimum minimalist layout.


Designer Ajay Chopra of New York City-based Echo Design + Architecture designed one of these spaces for a client living in Manhattan. The space is only 220 square feet, so the design team needed to make every inch count.

“Architecturally speaking, the square footage was not a lot of space to work with, especially when you’re trying to include a full apartment’s worth of functional features,” said Chopra. “The goal was to create a micro-apartment that appeared far more spacious than it actually is without sacrificing practicalities of everyday living.”


Hidden Kitchen
The team found that the best way to conceal clutter in the kitchen was by hiding it completely behind a fold-out wall, creating that illusion that the space is larger than it really is. Behind the wall, the custom kitchen cabinetry is arranged to maximize space. For example, the door and cupboard panels can be maneuvered to double up as a table.

“This clean, simplified way of living encourages you to only have what you need,” said Chopra. “Beyond that, each element in the kitchen is multifunctional, designed to keep things contained and less distracting while also providing flexible usage for each feature.”

Behind the fold-out walls are small appliances like a microwave, mini-fridge and mini-oven. Outside, the walls in the kitchen are covered in chalkboard paint to create an interactive element and add a personal touch to the space.

Natural Light
Instead of using a regular door that would open out and take up limited space, frosted sliding barn doors were used to divide the bathroom from the bedroom. The sliding features also make the studio space feel more continuous.


“We utilized a white color palette, from features like mosaic tiles to the floating sink and shelving, to make the 5-ft. by 5-ft. bathroom feel clean and open,” said the designer. “The sealed bamboo flooring creates a visual contrast from the white scheme to create further depth in the space and ensure that the white walls really pop.”

These white-paneled walls were also Chopra’s favorite part of the space.  This aspect of the design took the longest to construct because many different modular pieces were incorporated. Even the TV has the same paneling, complete with a 180-degree rotating feature that allows the viewer to see the screen from anywhere in the apartment.


“I love that the dynamic paneling minimizes excess and declutters the space, encouraging the resident to focus on experiences outside the home,” said Chopra. “Working on a project like this has made me rethink the importance of necessity versus excess, while developing an innovative solution to maximize the space that was available.”