K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Chelsie Butler

Chelsie Butler

Mar 10 2017

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Times Are Changing in the Kitchen and Bath Industry

It’s striking to me how much has changed in the kitchen and bath industry over the past 10 years.

There have been many changes in communication, product sourcing, smart technology and consumer awareness, and they can all be traced back to the release of the first iPhone in 2007. Smartphones have changed the ways we communicate, shop and learn, and they have changed the way we live in our kitchens. Mal Corboy, a well-known Auckland, New Zealand, kitchen designer says all of this evolution has changed the design process. (http://i.stuff.co.nz/lifestyle/home-property/83715964/howmuch-has-the-modern-kitchen-changedin-the-past-10-years)

Most residential design/build project communications used to be done in person, by phone and by email. Dream Kitchen Builders still uses those tools, but now we also use messaging and social media apps, and we use these business tools to communicate via mobile devices.

The amount of kitchen and bath information that’s available to consumers is enormous and growing larger every day. This has made us all educated buyers and given consumers more control of each aspect of a design/build project.

We’re now experimenting with smart appliances and wireless devices in the kitchen and bathroom that use artificial intelligence to help us get things done. I cook, so I give voice commands to Siri to set a timer to adjust my music and more while I’m cooking. I’m hands free, so I don’t have to stop what I’m doing. Smart technology hasn’t gone mainstream yet, but appliance and device makers are designing and producing amazing new kitchen and bath products, and early adopters are trying them out and talking about them to their friends.

Last but not least, every kitchen and bath product seems to have almost limitless options and price points and many include free shipping. Clients are now buying kitchen and bath products online and sourcing them internationally. Kitchens and bathrooms have always evolved, but the changes we are now seeing are so revolutionary that they are disrupting the way kitchen and bath business is done – changing the relationship between professionals and consumers and changing the way we live.

 Scott Koehler is the owner of Dream Kitchen Builders, a design-build firm in North Carolina.

Feb 01 2017

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He Said/She Said: Successfully Designing for Couples

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In a relationship, many situations require compromise. Designing a dream space for two shouldn’t be one of them. Award-winning interior designer, Christopher Grubb, believes that designing for two is all about successful negotiation and never about compromise. As a Beverly Hills-based designer accustomed to demanding clientele, Grubb draws on his experience to explain to designers, contactors and remodelers what it takes to make both partners feel they’re being heard and that both of their needs are being met.

Some tips he uses when working with couples include:

Have them pull inspiration images separately. I will joke that I’ve seen in some relationships there is a design override between couples. I’m not saying my clients have that, but it helps me understand what they BOTH want. We as designers can quickly see the commonality of their desires in their images to guide the design to satisfy both of their desires.

Answering the question: “What are the trends?” I don’t exactly subscribe to trends but do see “movements” in design. I can point some trends I see but usually ask them what do YOU see as trends? It gives me a chance to hear what they think and what they like and seem excited about. Of course the next question is how on trend do you want your space to be or how timeless to see how much they really want to be trendy.

Never take sides – no matter who signs the check. Designing for a couple becomes a very intimate relationship, and remodels are stressful. I’ve been in emotional situations often, and to disarm the situation, I will respond with my observations of what each has said they like during the process and remind them we are designing as a team effort.

– Playing therapist. Remodels create a lot of stress with the interruption of ones living space, the financial investment, strangers in their home, etc. We all want to design, and the process of the final result is arduous to say the least. Many calls are the client simply venting and wanting someone who will listen. Another successful action I use is to call and ask, “How are you and how are things going?” This reiterates that I care both about the project and my clients’ mental wellbeing.

– Never compromise – always negotiate. Many clients see the grand total or a project, and their first question is “Can we find materials that are less money?” I remind them that the construction is the majority of the cost, and I don’t want them to compromise on a material and later regret they didn’t get what they wanted. They will walk into their space everyday and be disappointed they didn’t get what they really wanted. Another situation is when one of the couples wants something that is more expensive or the other partner feels is unnecessary. One may like the gorgeous tub fill and the other balks. IF you’ve listened, you can negotiate and remind the other that they wanted the towel warmer and add that it is beautiful and functional. They have both gotten what they want.

– Avoid stereotyping. Many think the husband will be all about the cost or succumb to the old adage “Whatever she wants.” Or that the wife will want a bathtub (that actually only 25 percent of people use). My success is listening and not going into a project with any pre-conceived ideas.

Top image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Jan 16 2017

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KBB Does KBIS 2017

Our hard-working staff at KBB was truly dedicated to all things KBIS last week. We traversed the two massive halls looking for the latest product trends, and we were heavily involved in the show programming this year. We attended several parties, visited a showroom and toured a design home – all in just three days. The following is a photo diary of our staff at work – enjoy!

1Trio

Erinn Loucks, Chelsie Butler and Natasha Selhi at the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s “Magic of Design” party at Epcot.

2Aladdin photo

Getting our picture taken with Aladdin at Magic of Design. Left to right: Chelsie Butler, Travis Hunt, Rebecca Corbett, Selhi & Diana Gallagher

3Orlando Jones

Natasha and Chelsie were lucky enough to meet the evening’s MC – Orlando Jones.

4KBB Booth

Some of our Editorial Advisory Board members coming to see us on the first day in the KBB booth. Left to right: Toni Sabatino, Ebony Stephenson, Diane Kennedy, Chelsie Butler

5Me with Brad

Chelsie Butler pictured with Brad Hunter of HomeAdvisor during one of four information-filled discussions during KBIS

6EAB with Toni

Toni Sabatino, Natasha Selhi and Chelsie Butler at the annual KBB Editorial Advisory Board meeting

7EAB

Celebrating the KBB Editorial Advisory Board with a quick pic after our annual meeting

8Travis_image

Travis Hunt keeping track of his steps while visiting multiple exhibitor booths

9Travis at booth

Here he is learning about all of Lenova’s new products.

10Erinn at socialmedialounge

Erinn Loucks learning social media strategies from other brands at the Social Media Lounge in the South Hall.

11The Bash

Chelsie Butler, Brian Pagel and Natasha Selhi celebrating another successful KBIS at The Bash

12Erinn

Post-show, Erinn relaxed at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

 

Dec 22 2016

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A Bar Area with a Surprise Function

LAUNDRY AFTER

This kitchen project – Maui Renovation – by Interior Design Solutions in Pukalani, Ha., featured a one-of-a-kind bar that also serves as the laundry area. According to the designer, Valorie Spence, the previous layout featured a narrow, dark hallway between the living room and the bedrooms that the client wanted to eliminate and modernize with a new electrical panel and washer and dryer that were fully integrated.

“We wanted that space to have multi-uses and become part of the living room area, as well as be useful when entertaining as a bar/drink station and not look like a laundry room,” she explained.

LAUNDRY OPEN

Spence chose a Rain Forest marble countertop and an Alyse Edwards glass backsplash called “Shake that Thing” for the bar area, which features a large-format Durango stone fossil shell limestone flooring. The cabinets are in vertical-matched grain koa with satin glass panel uppers, Blum full-extension hardware, Snadero Certosa drawer pulls and line-voltage LED lighting.

“It was a very challenging area because it was in the center of the space with plumbing walls, electrical panel and enclosing walls around the old laundry,” explained Spence. “The builder and I worked with the other trades to design and open up the space with a reconfiguration of the plumbing and electrical enclosures.”

The designer said more of her clients are requesting that these bar areas be designed into the living spaces for a more open feeling and that large gathering tables are becoming the center of food and drink in our current design philosophy.