K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Patricia Gaylor

Patricia Gaylor

Patricia Gaylor has practiced as a green interior designer in the Northeast for more than a decade. Recognized for her earth-inspired style, she was handpicked two years in a row by renowned architect and best-selling author Sarah Susanka for the Home by Design Show house, and the Not So Big Show house at the International Builders' Show. Gaylor recently completed the interiors of Green Builder Magazine's ReVisionhouse in Las Vegas for IBS 2010. She was also the interior designer for BASF's Better Home, Better Planet initiative with a Near Zero Energy home in New Jersey. Gaylor's involvement with the BASF energy-efficient home, as well as her appearance on Good Morning America, during which she discusses the initiative, can be seen on her website at www.patriciagaylor.com.

Jan 26 2017

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The Schizophrenia of Design

Barn Doors

One of my jobs as an interior designer is selecting paint colors and related design materials (plumbing fixtures, tile, lighting, etc.) for a homebuilder in Florida. This particular company builds around a dozen spec homes a year, all of which are traditional in style. Not a heavy ‘traditional’ look; one geared more toward young family buyers – with open floor plans and simple, clean lines – which is the current ‘trend.”

There’s that word again…

I have a little difficulty with the word trend, only because I remember trends from years past I’d rather not ever see again. But they come back, in different forms, as basically just a re-worked old ‘trend.’ For example, what was once called a Tuscan look has returned in a cleaned-up version called Napa style. Less ornamentation, lighter in feel, but with all the same elements.

I’m asked countless times to write articles and speak about current design trends. This is the reason I go to trade shows – so I can see all the beautiful new products that are the style of the moment. And that’s the problem – our ‘moment’ has become just that. Because of social media and related outlets, trends are reported instantly and unfortunately change just as rapidly.

The builder I work for was showing the latest home they built to a realtor, who mentioned that the barn door slider we used on the first- floor room that is used for an office and doubles as a guest room was so “2016.” And as I write this, it’s January of 2017. So one month into a new year, and I’m already out of style?

3 Za_MantleDetail__MG_3203.5jb

A few months ago, I wrote a blog about Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year being Simply White and how a ‘non-color’ can work beautifully by building texture and contrast around it. This year’s B. Moore’s color is the polar opposite, a dark, beautiful shade of dusky purple called Shadow.

So there’s the split. Every time I open a magazine or go on my computer, there’s a newer trend. This could be a real problem for the average person who’s re-decorating or remodeling their home and attempts to make a decision they can stick with. What’s the solution for us designers and specifiers who see it all and have to make a living doing it?

First, whatever you do, do it well. Nothing goes out of style more quickly than a cheap, hastily done design. Follow trends, but make them your own. Add your own style. Tread lightly, don’t kill it. My personal style is clean traditional, but I’ve done contemporary, urban farmhouse, industrial, craftsman, etc. The key to a long-lasting design is simplicity and quality, which never go out of style.

So whatever the trending style is, or the color of the year or even the minute may be, just do it well. It’s our business to promote styles and trends, after all.

Jul 28 2016

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It’s All There in Black and White

Photo from Fabric.com

Photo from Fabric.com

As an interior designer, I’m constantly being asked to write about what the current design trends are. “Trend” meaning what’s popular right now, what people are drawn to – just like fashion, I suppose. Trends come and go, and I’d like to forget a lot of them from years gone by, like Tuscan design. Or in the fashion sense, gaucho pants.

But trends are important. It’s how we run our businesses, based on current styles and preferences. Where do they come from? What starts a new trend? In my opinion, I believe it’s all tied in with what’s going on in the outside world. For example, post-war 1950s was a time of relief, comfort and new beginnings. With that came bright, happy colors that conveyed the optimistic mood of the time (above).

I recently discovered that Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year for 2016 is for all intents and purposes, not really a color. “Simply White” OC-117 is a creamy off-white tint. I won’t get in too deep as to the whys and wherefores of what this means, but given the chaos of the current world climate, it’s pretty obvious to me that we are seeking calm and needing a breath of fresh air (and neutrality) in our somewhat unsettling lives.

simplywhite_OC-117simplywhite_OC-117 simplywhite_OC-117

Photo from Benjamin Moore

But isn’t an off-white color a little boring? Not necessarily. Using this soft neutral as a background and adding layers of texture and contrast, “Simply White” becomes anything but. As designers, it’s our job to take this everyday mundane color and bring it to another level. By adding layers of texture and graphic punch, this otherwise bland color becomes the background to a stunning design.

Simply White Interior

Photo from Benjamin Moore

Adding graphic contrast by using black patterns with white has been a trend in Europe for some time now. This great looking floor tile from MEROLA is a good example of how to add an up-to-date look to a classic black-and-white theme.

Photo from Merola Tile

Photo from Merola Tile

Even inexpensive subway tile can be used as a background for a great shelf detail in a kitchen. By using contrasting gray grout, adding graphic punch with brass shelf brackets and bringing in texture with simple black shelving can turn mundane into magnificent!

Photo from Rejuvenation.com

Photo from Rejuvenation.com

So I’m good with “Simply White” for now. Simple is good, and we could all use a little simplicity right now.

Jun 19 2014

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A Passion for Design

Nate Berkus

What makes a kitchen really great? According to Nate Berkus, it’s all about YOU.

Last night I attended a press event in New York City for LG Electronics, a world leader in electronics and home appliances, to view their new ‘Studio’ signature line. According to Nate, who stood before a gorgeous kitchen he designed with LG’s sleek new appliances, it’s all about the things that matter to you. He talked about how daunting a task it is to design a kitchen, given the high cost and the idea that it’s such a long-term commitment.

How do you design a space you love that will withstand the test of time?

“I’m excited to help consumers create a signature kitchen incorporating the best foundational elements from the LG Studio suite that will help make this space both intensely personal and functional for years to come,” said Berkus, artistic advisor for the LG Studio high-end kitchen suite.

Aside from the fact that Nate is personable and friendly, his passion for design is what makes him the great designer that he is. He talked about how important personal style is in any design project. It’s not enough to design a space that functions well. Adding your own personal elements is what truly makes it yours. Starting off with a well-designed suite of appliances and infusing your individual style is what will create a timeless, fluid space.

So that vintage set of glasses or the funky canister you bought at a flea market, are all integral parts of your personal space. Marrying old and new, smooth and textured, dark and light – and mixing metal finishes is what makes a kitchen YOURS, or as Nate says, “intensely personal.”

Designers take note: It’s not enough to design a well laid-out, functional kitchen. Taking it further and creating a very personal space for your client is what will make you a GREAT designer. Listen to your client intently, ask questions about their lifestyle, their collections and their passions. Take risks, and think outside the box. Be passionate.

Thanks, Nate.

You can view the new line of Signature Studio appliances from LG at: http://www.lg.com/us/appliances/discoverlgstudio

 

Mar 18 2014

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Faux Real: Digital image printing comes of age

When I was a girl growing up in the 60s, DIY wood paneling was all the rage for creating a quick new look at home. I remember my father paneling a kitchen in a version of ‘pickled’ oak, 4×8 sheets of it nailed over old wallpaper. My mom added her decorating touches to it with a black and white checkerboard vinyl floor and finished it off with a duet of appliances in avocado green. So chic!

So that was my initiation into faux wood, followed by the ubiquitous “walnut” desks and TV stands made of plastic. So suffice it to say, it would take a lot to change this designer’s perspective on anything that mimics real wood, but isn’t. For that matter, my opinion on anything that’s fake, or ‘faux’ as it’s now known, hasn’t been so great.

But that has all changed. Digital printing has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for creating products for the home that are insanely gorgeous – from porcelain tile, countertops, fabrics, wall covering and more. As a designer who’s focused on sustainability, preservation of our natural resources is my top priority. Being able to specify a porcelain floor tile or countertop that looks EXACTLY like stone and saves our planet gets my attention every time.

A couple of years ago I started seeing digitally printed tiles that are pretty amazing. There are some wonderful renditions of concrete floors, wood planking and stone. The beauty of these floors goes well beyond their looks. Virtually maintenance free and made to last, these tiles are a stylish, sustainable choice.

Italian tile company Ceramica Serenissima created this concrete look tile that comes in several sizes and color ways.

Metropolis

                                                                               “Metropolis” by Ceramica Serenissima

Crossville Tile, a Tennessee-based company, has introduced two great lines called Reclamation and Speak Easy.

Digitally printed porcelain tiles with wonderful texture, they’re a fresh take on aged wood with an urban edge. Both Speak Easy and Reclamation are manufactured in the U.S. with Crossville’s EcoCycle manufacturing process and contain a minimum of 4 percent recycled content and is Green Squared certified.

Speak Easy

                                                                                      Speak Easy Sweet Georgia Brown

Reclamation

                                                                                         Reclamation Whiskey Lullaby

When it comes to countertop choices, Formica’s 180 FX line of stone and wood laminates has become a real game-changer. Using digital imagery and creating large-scale formats, you can now create a beautiful surface that’s affordable, and yes, sustainable. The current trend in rare, textured woods was captured by Formica in a pattern called Black Walnut Timber. Taking a cue from the iconic furniture maker George Nakashima, it includes the natural fissures in the wood and even the butterfly joinery detail.

Formica 180 FX

                                                                                             Formica’s Black Walnut Timber

Here’s another of Formica’s 180 FX stone tops in Dolce Vita. It not only has the large-scale look of a slab of granite, but also has the company’s new Ideal Edge detail, which eliminates the tell-tale black line, delivering an even more authentic look. Adding to the beauty of this top is the stainless steel sink by Karran. Yes, you can now have an under-mount sink in a laminate top! The result:  a stunning, high-end look with an affordable price tag.

3420_DolceVita 180fx_Bullnose1

Now you can paper your walls with wood. This realistic wood wallcovering from Walls Republic would look fabulous in a beach house or a country bedroom. Dreamy! Priced at $89 for a 21-in.-wide x 33-ft. bolt, it’s a pretty, affordable way to get a great look without having to hire a carpenter (or cut down a tree!).

Walls Republic

                                                                                      Brushed wood Tuscan R1879

So call if what you will, fake or faux, I love the way this digital world we live in has changed the way we design. If we can create gorgeous interiors while saving our precious natural resources, I’ll take fake over real any day.