KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for June, 2018

Jun 26 2018

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Inclusive Design: Bathrooms


We have clients who are preparing their homes for every stage of life. From aging parents moving back in, to families with young children, today’s homes are being designed to serve multiple generations, personal lifestyles and physical abilities. So how do we design bathrooms to meet the needs of all people? The answer is inclusive design!

As a Certified Living in Place Professional (CLIPP), I believe inclusive design has the ability to be safe, accessible AND beautiful! Just because its function is to make life more manageable for those who are accessibly challenged doesn’t mean it can’t be eye-catching, sophisticated and chic. Remember, incorporating inclusive design features into your client’s new bathroom guarantees access to everyone and will save you money in the long run.

Some of my favorite ways to apply inclusive design within the context of bathrooms include:

– Towel bars arranged in a series offer a fun design solution that allows users of all heights to access.

– An under-mount tub with a generous deck serves nicely as a transfer surface to get in and out of the unit without sacrificing aesthetics.

– Threshold-free showers are easily installed by an experienced contractor and, once in, provide a beautiful, seamless look that can make a small bathroom appear larger.

– Hand-held showers allow users of all heights, ages and physical abilities to shower at their most comfortable level.

–Vanity nightlights built into the cabinetry create a safer space by increasing nighttime visibility. Lighting can be integrated with mirrors and medicine cabinets too.

– Bold pops of color can be used to make inclusive design more whimsical and fun. It also helps the user better assess depth of field.

– Grab bars and other safety features are becoming more attractive all the time. Consider integrating those near the entryway, toilet and shower.

– Contrasting tiles at horizontal sight line level enhance visual clarity and increase balance.

– Anti-slip floor materials come in all different shapes and sizes. Textured and rough-finished surfaces in tile and stone are naturally slip-resistant and look beautiful.

– Clearance is key. Where space allows, aim for a 36-in. clearance from sink to toilet to shower.

Jun 22 2018

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Reducing Environmental Impact at Home

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, roughly one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption – about 1.3 billion tons – gets lost or wasted every year. Even if just one-fourth of this could be saved, it would be enough to feed 870 million hungry people globally.

With these statistics in mind, KBTribeChat host and KBB Editorial Advisory Board member Paula Kennedy held this week’s discussion on reducing food waste and energy usage in the kitchen.

Appliance and Storage Solutions

  • Many refrigerators offer features and temperature-controlled areas to keep fruits and vegetables fresher longe
  • Installing a compost bin in a new design encourages homeowners to throw away less and recycle more of their food into the soil
  • Innovative practices – like using a steam oven to rehydrate bread – should be explained to homeowners when they purchase a new appliance.
  • Using high-quality appliances that cook food more efficiently without the user’s expertise will lessen the throwing out of ruined meals.

Future Food Storage

  • Food will always have an expiration date, but hopefully smart storage will one day remind homeowners of those dates.
  • Vacuum sealing and canning are coming back in style, so the future kitchen may cater more to those.
  • With daily delivery options available for food, the need for a pantry will be reduced.
  • High-pressure processing, a new storage technique currently only offered commercially, can kill pathogens and bacteria but preserve vitamins and nutrients. If it can be translated for residential homes, it can greatly help keep foods longer.

Energy and Water Usage

  • Just having an open kitchen with plenty of natural lighting eliminates the need for always turning on the lights.
  • LED lightbulbs should now be a staple in the home.
  • Low-flow faucets and motion- and voice-activated faucets encourage homeowners to use less water.
  • An energy-efficient dishwasher uses significantly less water than handwashing dishes.
  • Energy-efficient windows and proper window treatments save energy on lighting, air conditioning and heating.

How are you helping your clients to reduce waste in their projects? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter @KBBconnect.

Jun 22 2018

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From Los Angeles to Germany


Recently taking place over three exclusive evenings in Los Angeles, Gaggenau’s Restaurant 1683 paid homage to Gaggenau’s origins in the Black Forest in Germany. The name of the pop-up restaurant is a reference to the appliance company’s founding as an ironworks in 1683. The Los Angeles event marks the latest installment for Gaggenau’s 1683 series, which debuted in New York City in 2016.

Originally launched as an interactive dining experience complete with tableside cooking, this pop-up features models dressed in Black Forest folk clothes performing live interpretations of a cuckoo clock’s automata.  Chef Daniel Humm of New York City’s Eleven Madison Park created the menu for the event and prepared it tableside.

Inside the elegant dining room, seating was under a canopy of 22-ft.-tall trees and surrounded by snow. The sights and sounds of a working metal forge placed in the center of the lofty space represent the brand’s history. For this event, Gaggenau supported Operation Smile– a nonprofit medical services organization- and welcomed the organization’s brand ambassadors as hosts for the exclusive evenings.


KBB spoke with Natascha Kruusi, brand manager for Gaggenau USA, to find out more about the design and how this restaurant echoes the identity of its brand.

KBB: What was your goal in this space?

Kruusi: We wanted to transport guests from the streets of downtown Los Angeles into the lush surroundings of a serene winter night in Germany’s Black Forest.

KBB: How does the restaurant reflect the Gaggenau brand?

Krussi: Inspired by the brand’s rich history, from hand-forged beginnings to its evolution into the pinnacle of culinary luxury, the interiors and decor throughout Restaurant 1683’s lofty location are carefully selected to show Gaggenau’s admiration of functionalism, natural materials and luxury.

KBB: What was the menu like?

Krussi: Chef Humm created an extraordinary menu with his team, including eggs benedict with caviar and asparagus, chicken roasted with nettles and new potatoes and peaches grilled with honey and lemon thyme.


KBB: What was your favorite part of this space?

Krussi: The sunset bar is one of my favorite spaces in the restaurant as it captures the breathtaking views of a West Coast sunset and features a bar handcrafted entirely from a single oak tree sourced directly from the Black Forest. The rustic interior design of this space combined with the modern skyline of LA gives a sense of the brand’s long history from past to present.

Jun 18 2018

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Smart Technology: Yay or Nay?


The debate continues about whether smart technology makes sense in the kitchen. It’s hard to argue against appliances that notify owners of problems and schedule service. However, some object to delegating tasks and thinking to smart devices and worry that they are making us lazy – or worse, dumb and anti-social.

Who Is Interested in Smart Home Tech?
Because the baby boomer population continues to grow and people are busier than ever, one can easily make the case for employing smart technology in kitchen design. Configuring smart devices and appliances with smart phones, Google Home or Amazon Alexa lets you remotely complete tasks that normally require your presence or direct touch.

According to The New York Times article, “To Invade Homes, Tech Is Trying to Get in Your Kitchen,” only 5 percent of Americans own smart appliances. In a related survey from October 2017, RICKI – Research Institute for Cooking & Kitchen Intelligence revealed statistics about who is interested in smart technology: 69 percent of Generation X, 62 percent of millennials, 23 percent of baby boomers and only 2 percent of the mature population. If only 5 percent of Americans own smart appliances, these percentages translate to fairly small numbers, and interest does not necessarily result in a purchase.

Appliance Brands Need to Walk the Talk
I live in the North Carolina region known as Research Triangle Park, which is home to numerous IT companies from hi-tech startups to well-established giants like IBM. Local designers enjoy a higher level of interest in technology products here.

During a recent visit to The Appliance Center in Durham, N.C., I spoke with owner, Stu Stewart, and  marketing director, Kim Stewart. They supply appliances to the building and design communities, as well as homeowners. They report seeing a limited number of homeowners or builders seeking smart appliances, and 80 percent of consumers are not computer-savvy. The Appliance Center’s staff receives training on smart technology from the brands, which equips them with the knowledge to educate their customers.

Appliance sellers need to be educated and current with smart technology to efficiently sell it. Combine uneducated consumers with untrained sales professionals, and the percentages noted by RICKI are not surprising. If the seller cannot explain the benefits and uses of smart features, how likely is s/he to make the sale?

Maybe Bertazzoni president, Paolo Bertazzoni, has the right idea – the enduring Italian appliance company does not want its appliances to rely on a smart phone. The main objective for their appliances is that they cook well.
                              Bertazzoni’s 48-in. six burner and griddle

We live in exciting and changing times in the design industry. Some consumers will find the idea of smart technology in the kitchen irresistible. But me, I’d rather spend the extra money on a snazzy range and sit around the table talking with my family.