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 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 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?

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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.

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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