KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for October, 2017

Oct 30 2017

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Art of the Table


After everything has been installed and all of the furnishings are in place, a beautifully set table is the final touch in a renovation. One recent event in New York City honored this form of art.

Bilotta Kitchens and Replacements, Ltd., in association with media sponsor Traditional Home, hosted the seventh-annual “Art of the Table.” The event featured five New York City-based interior designers and the five distinctive vignettes they designed at the Bilotta Kitchens showroom in New York City.

The participating designers for this event were Rajni Alex of Rajni Alex Design; Rayman Boozer of Apartment 48; Jennifer Flanders of Jennifer Flanders Inc.; Julie Schuster of Julie Schuster Design Studio; and Asler Valero of Asler Valero Interior Design. We spoke with each of them to find out more about their table settings.

“I tried to use the gardens of Versailles as inspiration to enhance a modern kitchen and create a colorful and convivial atmosphere. I loved the opportunity to mix old with new.”

– Rayman Boozer of Apartment 48



“My goal was to create a space that feels inviting and warm – a place where you would want to spend time with family and friends. I was not going for a completely polished look. Rather, I was trying to convey the idea of ‘getting ready’ to have people over in a very real way – setting out all the dishes in piles, organizing the silverware, cutting the flowers, baking cookies – all to prepare the house for guests.”

– Jennifer Flanders of Jennifer Flanders Inc.

“I used organic materials like dry lentils, stones from the Mediterranean Sea, bay leaves, corn husks and the table cloth fabric, ‘IMERA’ by ELITIS, which is made out of jute. I wanted to mix the white, sleek kitchen with sophisticated accessories, organic materials and whimsical art, while keeping a balance where each one stands on its own.”

– Asler Valero of Asler Valero Interior Design

“We layered fine china patterns with delicate crystal and sparkling silver from Replacements to set the stage. Beautiful floral arrangements from Starbright Floral Designs are reminiscent of an English garden and add subtle drama to the space. Delectable treats from Chantilly Patisserie, antique books, a bold black-and-white photograph and a beautifully framed print of an English manor from J. Pocker add to the overall ambience and elegance of the space.”

– Rajni Alex of Rajni Alex Design

“I wanted to evoke the amazing, vivid memories we all have of beautiful alfresco dining experiences: a summer evening, when the air absolutely caresses your skin. The scent of ripening grapes or night-blooming florals wafting into the arbor where the table is set to welcome family and good friends. For “Tuscan Garden Party,” I wanted to recreate these favorite alfresco dining memories we all have –when the tinkle of crystal glasses is punctuated with the laughter of friends enjoying one another’s company too much to allow the evening to end.”

– Julie Schuster of Julie Schuster Design Studio

Oct 23 2017

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Millennial Pink vs Matte Black


For anyone who knows or follows me, two things are obvious: I adore the color pink, and I love technology. With a previous career at Microsoft and living in tech heaven (Seattle), I am constantly inundated with the newest and shiniest trend. However, as an early Gen X who grew up slightly behind the times, I tend to avoid the fads and trends until they are tried and true.  This was also drilled into me with tech – let the bugs get worked out before installing the newest version.

Years ago, manufacturers started talking about what the next “stainless” would be, and they started working on slate, charcoal, rose gold, brass and black finishes for appliances and fixtures. I was HIGHLY skeptical! It even took me a while to adopt gray as the new neutral, but let’s face it, it actually IS neutral.

I was asked for my input on what I saw at #KBIS2017 recently, and I thought I’d be different and toss out there what I was seeing, which was pink. I was sure it really wasn’t what they were hoping for, but since then pink has exploded.


There are several reasons:

1. There is a resurgence of mid-century modern aesthetics where shades of pink were definitely a key feature.

2. “Millennial Pink” is actually a term and a color! I sat in on a CEU recently talking about millennials and the speaker said, “Trends and tech trickle up.” It’s the younger generations who are really pushing what’s new. Also, if you travel Europe at all, you will quickly notice shades of pink are a main staple of fashion, design and marketing.

                                                                              Millennial Pink

3. Pink surrounds us with a calm sense of joy and comfort and yet has a lightness about it. In lighter, more subdued shades, it can be a really nice neutral in many different palettes.

Back to Black
Up until VERY recently, I was a hold out on this new black until I started seeing these new cars on the street that were literally painted in a black matte finish. When a finish reaches the auto industry, you know it’s something to pay attention to. I have also long kept an eye on fashion from the East Coast and the runway to see what will be trickling down to our homes.


I saw a combo in a trade magazine of a matte black range with brushed brass accents in a color board next to a modern black matte faucet with brushed brass accents. Suddenly just like that it clicked! I am admittedly in the fan club of the matte black finish.

Black brings us a grounding and a rootedness. There is a grown-up sense of sophistication. The matte surface brings a depth of texture you just can’t help but want to touch. There’s an earthiness to it.

Both of these delightful colors together are a powerful combination. Enjoy!

Paula Kennedy CMKBD CLIPP Timeless Kitchen Design Copyright 2017

Oct 11 2017

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Design for Everyone

The National Kitchen & Bath Association recently hosted a webinar titled “Top Tips for Implementing Universal Design Strategies” with Dani Polidor, CKD, CBD, owner of Suite Artistry, in Rochester, N.Y. She is NCIDQ and CAPS certified and has been a Design for a Difference ambassador since 2014.

According to cohousing.org, universal design/build presents a shift in the approach to residential design and construction. Comfort and convenience, regardless of age, stature or ability, is the hallmark of inclusive design.

Why Was CAPS Created? 

  • – Americans prefer to remain in their homes as they age rather than to seek assisted living or other arrangements.
  • – Older consumers want a reliable means to identify the professionals they can trust to remodel their homes. Help facilitate the evolution of the home as needs arise.

Polidor identified the seven principles of universal design:

  • – Flexibility in Use
  • – Simple & Intuitive Use
  • – Equitable Use
  • – Tolerance for Error
  • – Perceptible Information
  • – Low Physical Effort
  • – Size and Space for Approach and Use

And she identified the different groups of people who could benefit from universal design:

  • – People with height restrictions
  • – Those who speak different languages
  • – The elderly
  • – Individuals who are disabled
  • – Even those without disabilities

She also shared real-life examples to identify solutions for designing for clients with various needs.

  • Hearing Impaired. Visual, motion and auditory assistive technology
  • Mobility & Accessibility Issues. Ramps, elevators, chair lifts; lever handles and electronic controls; occupancy sensors and rocker switches; drawers and open shelves; lowered cooking surfaces and drawer-style appliances; wall-mounted lavatories and comfort-height toilets; thermostatic or pressure-balanced shower controls; tubs that fir the size, shape and ability of the user; grab bars and benches in showers
  • Sight Impaired/Sensitive. Window films, remote-controlled shades; contrasting floor patterns and colors; large display screens

Oct 09 2017

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Living Big in Small Spaces

The Decatur Tiny House Festival – a celebration of living small – took place last week in Decatur, Ga. Organized by Tiny House Atlanta and City of Decatur, the festival offers three days of thought-provoking speakers and more than 20 innovative tiny houses to tour.

KBB spoke with downsizing experts Claudia Morris Barclay and Catherine Lee, who presented “How to Downsize and Organize Your Way to Happiness” during the festival, to find out more about this trend.


KBB: Why do you think the tiny house movement is growing?
Lee: I think people are realizing that keeping up with the Joneses isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. A bigger house not only means a bigger house payment, it means more upkeep, astronomical utility bills and rooms that go completely unused. With a tiny house you can’t have any of that extra stuff that isn’t bringing you happiness.

There’s also the environmentally friendly aspect of the tiny house movement. People are becoming more aware of their impact on the environment. Tiny houses require less than a medium-to-large single-family home, and that’s incredibly appealing.

Morris-Barclay: Many people also now work remotely, and tiny houses on wheels in particular give them the option to live a more nomadic lifestyle if it suits them. They can continue the work they love, from home, in any location in the world. For retirees or people with different ability levels, who may not want to live a nomadic lifestyle, a tiny house on a foundation can be a great option. The tiny house movement, ultimately, creates options. Everyone, no matter your lifestyle, has a place within the movement and are not restricted by income, location, lifestyle, age or ability level.”


KBB: What can the average homeowner do to minimize their belongings?
Lee: Homeowners who live on their own can probably be more ruthless and quick about minimizing, whereas households with kids might have to take a step-by-step approach. One technique that is less intimidating than a giant purge is the one-in-one-out policy. If you purchase a pair of shoes, you have to get rid of a pair you currently own. Another way to ease into minimalizing is keeping a laundry basket in a closet that you fill with items to give away. When the basket gets full, it’s time to make a trip to a donation center.


Morris-Barclay: Pull everything out where you can see it. You will soon realize that you have duplicates of items because the original was buried so deep in a storage area that you forgot it existed. Ditch the duplicates. Take note of the things that you actually use every day. If you haven’t seen it or touched it in six months or more, get rid of it. Move into a smaller space. It’s easier to find the motivation to let go of unnecessary things if you are tripping over them constantly because you have no assigned place to keep them. Clutter is much more distressing in a smaller space.”


KBB: Why do you believe less can make you happier?
Lee: Having less is incredibly freeing. A lot of times you don’t realize how stressed out you are by all of your stuff until you start getting rid of things. I think so many people are overwhelmed by their possessions and know they’re unhappy about them but are also equally scared to get rid of them. Once you get over the hump of letting go, minimalizing becomes much easier.



Morris-Barclay: A lot of stress is created by the presence of ‘stuff,’ especially the pretense of things that lack a specific purpose. When you do have the urge to de-clutter, there is often a feeling of guilt associated with getting rid of things that have monetary or sentimental value. The less you have, the fewer restrictions there are on where you can go and what you can do – translating to fewer decisions an individual has to make on a daily basis.

Catherine Lee started her blog, AsianCajuns, with her twin sister in 2007. After writing about fashion and style for eight years, they realized their interests had moved away from trendy clothes and fast fashion to simplifying their style and minimizing their lives. They revamped AsianCajuns to focus on their journey of living with less – posting weekly regarding minimalizing your wardrobe, organizing your closet and applying the KonMari method – a de-cluttering technique – to your entire home. She is the downtown development manager for the City of Decatur.

Claudia Morris-Barclay is the entertainment and lifestyle consultant for ClaudiaMB Consulting and is known as a dynamic problem solver who offers her clients resourceful, inventive and attainable solutions for modifying their spaces. Claudia has been working in conjunction with the Container Store for more than seven years, is a tiny house enthusiast and is an original member of Tiny House Atlanta.