KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for January, 2018

Jan 26 2018

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It’s All in the Details

By Patricia Gaylor

I don’t think any one of us in the design and building business think we have an easy job. Some of the design shows on TV make us look like wizards, and the edited version of a home renovation show seems like it’s done in the blink of an eye.

They make it look so effortless and easy! As we all know, it’s anything but that. The reason we make it look that way is because of our desires, talents, education, training and the constant quest to keep ourselves informed and current. We work at it. Most of us live it and breathe it.

That’s why KBIS and Design & Construction week is so important. The collection of creative souls in one space is necessary to fuel the passion for our craft, surround ourselves with like minds, exchange ideas and further our education.

So most (not all) of the design shows the public attends are backed by thousands of hours of real work and dedication by our trade.

To me, last year’s KBIS was all about style. There was a major shift toward cleaner, more modern design, with a focus on mixed finishes, textures and interest in creating a more personal design experience for your client. So this year, I was anxious to see how this trend would evolve even further, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Technology took center stage, with most manufacturers showcasing phone- or voice-activated products. It was everywhere. From pre-heating your shower, remotely peering into your refrigerator, asking your kitchen faucet to measure out a precise amount of water for a recipe – this was the year of Alexa, Siri and smart phone connectivity. Of course, I had no doubt that this would happen someday, but here it was. Secretly, I was a bit overwhelmed by it all and observed that some of these applications are practical and some are just convenient. This is more than a trend, I’m sure. We are at the very beginning of another huge shift in the way we design and build around the rapid improvements in technology.

At this year’s show, the current trend for clean, modern design was still front and center. But there was also great attention to detail and craftsmanship. Tile designs ran the gamut from simple to ornate patterns, small or large format, embossed or raised details and anything in between. Tile is, after all, art for your floors or walls so you can create an artful, personal space for your client. Some of the tile designs from SOMER Tile look handcrafted or even aged. The BRAGA tile captures the artistic look of cement tiles in ceramic.


What goes on inside your cabinetry is just as important as what’s outside. Interior charging stations put messy cords and wires inside a drawer, so you can charge your phone or tablet in a designated area and out of sight. In the bath, interior drawers can be customized to fit your needs. Rev-A-Shelf drawer systems include up to seven storage compartments with five acrylic bins to organize even the smallest items. A pullout grooming organizer solves the problem of storing a bulky hairdryer and puts combs and brushes upright for easy access. Their slide-out, under-sink organizer puts both large and small items at your fingertips.


At SMEG, elevating a mundane appliance to an artform was courtesy of a limited-edition line by Dolce + Gabbana. I’m swooning over this one.

At GE Monogram, the mantra was “Elevate Everything,” which summed up the key theme of the company’s thoughtful attention to detail and craftsmanship. Introducing its first indoor electric pizza oven, GE partnered with a small Michigan-based woodworking company, Anvil Goods, which created a handcrafted walnut and brass pizza peel. This hand-sculpted piece is the perfect partner with GE’s oven, showcasing the personal, purposeful design of everyday objects and elevating them to an art form.

Thanks, KBIS, for delivering a great show, reminding us that our business is always evolving and changing and that the smallest details can fuel the passion for our never-ending quest for good design.

Patricia Gaylor is the owner of Little Falls, N.J.-based Patricia Gaylor Interior Design

Jan 22 2018

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It’s a Colorful Year

When all of the paint companies started announcing their color of the year, the trend was far from obvious. From a moody green to a bold red, the trending colors of the year seem to have only one characteristic in common: none of them fall into the cool neutral category like in recent years.

While we dove into these trends in our January issue, we decided to look back and explore more of the determining factors behind some of these colors and where we can expect to see them this year.

Benjamin Moore’s Caliente AF-290

The Shade: Caliente AF-290 is a vibrant, charismatic shade of red.

The Reasoning: The team selecting the color of the year brought together images and other color examples that covered a range of destinations, industries and experiences. For instance, one team member attended several events where red was a key color, while another person looked at how red is being used in interior design and in the auto industry and as a visual storyteller in art and retail. 

Where to Use It: This color can be used in a mid-century modern design for a bold, abstract stroke or in a modern farmhouse project for crisp, red detailing. Red could also give a beach house an unexpected touch of color.

Dunn-Edwards’ The Green Hour

The Shade: The Green Hour is a mysterious blue-green with a gray undertone.

The Reasoning: Darker colors and green are trending as the culture grows more interested in the environment and in health. The Green Hour provides a complex and moody mix of grayed green-blue. This color is also reminiscent of twilight, which around the turn of the century was called The Green Hour (l’heure verte) in France, because of the popularity of the green absinthe drink in bars, cafés and bistros.

Where to Use it: The Green Hour painted in a high sheen on kitchen cabinetry would infuse luxury into a space. When it is painted on the walls, accented with industrial accents and pops of white, the tone can also create a loft-like, contemporary space.

Oceanside from Sherwin-Williams

The Shade: Oceanside is a rich, bluish-green, jewel-toned hue.

The Reasoning: Searches on the Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap app, online and social trends and contract and hospitality trend research have revealed a tendency for blue-green colors. This jewel tone reflects the positivity and connection with nature consumers are looking for in their homes.

Where to Use it: This tone is fit for both interior and exterior spaces, like a bedroom accent wall, a new look for a home office or a pop of color on the front door. It goes well with midcentury-modern and can update a home when paired with white marble and copper metallic tones. It also can be mixed with corals and yellows or with other calming shades of blue.

Pantone’s Ultra Violet

The Shade: Ultra Violet is a provocative blue-tinged purple shade.

The Reasoning: This color is meant to be a reflection of the ingenuity, creativity and visionary thinking of this age. With its cultural connections to artists like Prince and Jimi Hendrix and its association with individuality, Ultra Violet symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity.

Where to Use It: Ultra Violet can be used as an accent piece, like for an appliance or accessory. Rooms painted Ultra Violet can be paired with dark-colored woods and leather for a romantic and moody feel. This tone can also be softened by pairing it with other shades in the same color family, like blush, mauve and lilac.

Jan 15 2018

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What Design School Didn’t Teach You

Wherever your trade was learned, it is unlikely that it taught you how to handle everything in your chosen field. Such things as difficult clients, marketing struggles and disaster installs are some situations a designer cannot learn in a classroom.

One Modenus Lounge Talk, “Things They Didn’t Teach You in Design School,” at last week’s Kitchen and Bath Industry Show explored just this issue. Panelists included designer Cheryl Kees Clendenon of Pensacola, Fla.-based In Detail Interiors; Leanne Wood, principal of Flying Camel Advertising and PR; and KBB’s managing editor, Erinn Loucks. The panel discussed best ways to get published, how to use social media to your advantage and how to choose the best clients.

Picture Perfect. All three panelists agreed that good-quality photography is one of the best investments a designer can make. Professional photography on their websites and social media platforms can attract potential clients and can be used for pitches to interior design magazines. 

Using Instagram. This is an excellent tool for marketing your brand, however, it should not be mixed with your personal account. Unless it’s design related, save the photos of your kids at the beach for another place. Be sure not to always post other designer’s projects, and use the platform more to showcase your own designs.

Getting Published. Editors love to see new projects! All you need to grab our attention is to send us professional photography and characteristic features that might fit our publication. Designs that include universal features, sustainability, challenges or even unique colors or materials are great to point out. This goes for all trade and consumer publications; think creatively about how to present your projects, and consider what you as a reader would like to see and learn.

Choosing Your Clients. Starting out, it might seem like you should take every client who comes your way. However, knowing you can work well with them can start your career off with a good reputation and an easier project. Know how your personality works with other personalities and what kinds of projects at which you would excel. This will help eliminate problem clients and potential challenges from the outset.

What did you learn at KBIS 2018? Share with us on Facebook or on Twitter @KBBconnect. 

Jan 05 2018

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Ultra-Violet Perspective

Pantone’s long-awaited 2018 Color of the Year is Ultra Violet, a contemplative and moody color meant to symbolize unconventionality and mindfulness. According to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, this blue-based purple was inspired by the inventiveness and imagination of this age.

““Deep purples break the barrier of primarily feminine appeal and broaden its usability into a darker, sophisticated, jewel-tone realm,” added Stephanie Pierce, director of design and trends at MasterBrand Cabinets. “Pantone’s Ultra Violet encompasses these traits, as well as an energetic electricity to add more personality to the home.”

KBB looked for ways manufacturers are incorporating this trending color into their products, where we might spot it at KBIS and how designers might be using it this year in their projects.

Crossville’s Argent Porcelain Stone deepens the already rich look of natural argent stone with a saturated shade inspired by Ultra Violet. Shown here is Grapes of Wrath.


Formica Laminate’s Cassis is a simple way to showcase Ultra Violet in an easytoclean and maintain format. Cassis is available in standard finishes like matte, gloss or microdot.


The Northstar Model 1949 refrigerator from Elmira Stoveworks is now available in Ultra Violet. Along with being Energy Star compliant, the refrigerator features adjustable glass shelving, tall bottle storage and a crystal crisper with a glass cover.


The Dream Up V2 Espresso Machine, available in Intense Violet, offers a frothing tip for perfect foam and a stainless-lined aluminum thermoblock for superb insulation.

Now available in Ultra Violet, the Lust Sideboard from Jetclass is comprised of lacquered wood with either steel or brass accents and two styles of feet.

Where have you seen Ultra Violet? Let us know on our Facebook page and on Twitter @kbbconnect.