KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Paula Kennedy

Paula Kennedy

Oct 23 2017

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Millennial Pink vs Matte Black

For anyone who knows or follows me, two things are obvious: I adore the color pink, and I love technology. With a previous career at Microsoft and living in tech heaven (Seattle), I am constantly inundated with the newest and shiniest trend. However, as an early Gen X who grew up slightly behind the times, I tend to avoid the fads and trends until they are tried and true.  This was also drilled into me with tech – let the bugs get worked out before installing the newest version.

Years ago, manufacturers started talking about what the next “stainless” would be, and they started working on slate, charcoal, rose gold, brass and black finishes for appliances and fixtures. I was HIGHLY skeptical! It even took me a while to adopt gray as the new neutral, but let’s face it, it actually IS neutral.

I was asked for my input on what I saw at #KBIS2017 recently, and I thought I’d be different and toss out there what I was seeing, which was pink. I was sure it really wasn’t what they were hoping for, but since then pink has exploded.

There are several reasons:

1. There is a resurgence of mid-century modern aesthetics where shades of pink were definitely a key feature.

2. “Millennial Pink” is actually a term and a color! I sat in on a CEU recently talking about millennials and the speaker said, “Trends and tech trickle up.” It’s the younger generations who are really pushing what’s new. Also, if you travel Europe at all, you will quickly notice shades of pink are a main staple of fashion, design and marketing.

                                                                              Millennial Pink

3. Pink surrounds us with a calm sense of joy and comfort and yet has a lightness about it. In lighter, more subdued shades, it can be a really nice neutral in many different palettes.

Back to Black
Up until VERY recently, I was a hold out on this new black until I started seeing these new cars on the street that were literally painted in a black matte finish. When a finish reaches the auto industry, you know it’s something to pay attention to. I have also long kept an eye on fashion from the East Coast and the runway to see what will be trickling down to our homes.

I saw a combo in a trade magazine of a matte black range with brushed brass accents in a color board next to a modern black matte faucet with brushed brass accents. Suddenly just like that it clicked! I am admittedly in the fan club of the matte black finish.

Black brings us a grounding and a rootedness. There is a grown-up sense of sophistication. The matte surface brings a depth of texture you just can’t help but want to touch. There’s an earthiness to it.

Both of these delightful colors together are a powerful combination. Enjoy!

Paula Kennedy CMKBD CLIPP Timeless Kitchen Design Copyright 2017

Oct 02 2017

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Understanding the Creative Mind

       “Creativity is more than a career, it’s a way of life!” – Paula Kennedy

Creative personalities are as varied as there are individuals; like the book from my generation, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,” which is way too simplified compared to reality. But just like in that book, there are enough commonalities that we can attempt to help those of us driven to understand what makes us tick.

Years ago I discovered this great book on the topic, “A Whole New Mind-Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future,” by Daniel Pink.

First, to understand creativity we have to start with the fundamentals of how our brain works.

The right brain is all about this present moment; it thinks in pictures and learns kinesthetically through movement of our bodies. It processes information in forms of energy streaming simultaneously through all our sensory systems and explodes into an enormous collage of what this present moment feels like, looks like, smells like, tastes like and sounds like.

The left brain equally important! It thinks linearly and methodically and is designed to take that collage of the present moment; the it goes to work to pick out the minute details. It then associates all that with past knowledge and finally projects into the future the possibilities. It’s also the brain chatter in our head, reminding us of the grocery and to-do lists. It’s a calculating intelligence.

Go online to find a right brain/left brain test to see where you fall on the scale. Left brain people can be just as creative; it’s a muscle that can be practiced, and it may come more naturally to some of us.

The second bit of Brain 101 that we must understand is that the two sides are linked and NEED each other to function correctly. They were intended to communicate with each other. The synapses between the two can get disconnected.

o    There’s a reason we can’t find our keys when we are stressed and looking for them, but as soon as we stop looking, miraculously we remember and find them.

o    There’s a reason the 4 a.m. AHA moments happen or we have these brainstorms at the most inopportune time, like when I’m flat on my back at the end of yoga in Savasana!

Stress causes anxiety and a fight or flight reaction, disconnecting and severely limiting the communicating synapses from working. At 4 a.m. you were asleep in a relaxed state!

There are many things that block creativity, and in future posts we’ll explore some more specifics. Likewise, there are MANY things that help us cultivate a creative lifestyle.
Here’s one of my favorite tips. How often do you let your inner child out?

Why is this important?

All these traits support someone who is engaged with the world around them, allowing them to see the subtle connections between seemingly unrelated things.

I’ll leave you with a cute acronym I came up with.

Stay tuned for an ongoing discussion through this blog for more inspiration on how to get your creative mojo ignited!

Paula Kennedy
Ignite Creativity Guru

Aug 14 2017

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Islands – Ideas for the Pulse of the Kitchen

Written by Paula Kennedy, KBB Editorial Board Member and founder of Seattle-based Timeless Kitchen Design

We all agree the kitchen is the heart of the home. Given that, I believe the kitchen ISLAND is the heartbeat, or the PULSE of that heart. It’s like a magnet! You can’t help but be drawn to it; it has an energy all its own.

Growing up at my Grammies’ house, I would sit on a stool at the kitchen table, which back then served as the island. That stool had years of paint layers, and every grandchild grew up with it. We would sit there decorating sugar cookies for hours or rolling out homemade cinnamon buns or pretending to help with canning.

My fondest memories visiting my parents as an adult are at their kitchen island. We would talk for hours sitting there, even though their stools were uncomfortable if you sat too long. But there was a sense that the magic would be broken if we moved to a more comfortable chair or room. They recently moved and downsized and no longer have an island, but the kitchen table serves just as well! My sister’s busy household has an island that is like a magnet, but it isn’t very big. It has a gas cooktop right in the middle of it, which severely limits countertop space and brings up safety concerns, yet we still gather − we can’t help it.

The is a critical element in our design; it can go really right or really wrong. What’s fascinating is that no matter how well or poorly designed, the island still draws us to it in a way no other element in the kitchen can. The sense of community and connection is palpable.

Island Ideas
I was recently inspired to craft this Pinterest board − https://www.pinterest.com/paulakennedyckd/kitchen-islands/ − to get you inspired and keep you thinking out of the box. No more pedestrian kitchens here please! Think about it, we have the honor of designing homes, kitchens and kitchen islands that will bring families and friends together for generations.

Below are a few areas I want to really emphasize before you get lost in Pinterest, again:

Island sinks are almost always necessary, I’d say nine out of 10 times. This one below is my new favorite way to accomplish this goal. Make sure they also have a soap dispenser and garbage disposal. The island sink is no longer just the bar sink or a cute item they have to have to keep up with the Jones.’

Bar stools, get out of your rut if you are in one! Please help the MAGIC by having comfortable seating. Heights are important to get right, and please do give us a place to rest our feet.

Convertible, modular and flexibility − these concepts and function are in high demand and will only increase as trends continue to change.

Do you treat the ends of the island with as much care as the rest of the design?

We could go on and on, but they won’t let me.

  • Accent material or color, only if it makes sense in the design
  • Attached “table” – see great Pinterest examples
  • Attached banquettes
  • Appliances in the island, microwaves, undercounter refrigeration, secondary dishwashers
  • Think outside the box with re-purposing furniture
  • Countertops – mix it up!
  • Visually stimulating, steal the show or be a supporting actor?
  • Avoid the block of cabinets, open it up to add interest and to aid visual illusion of a larger space

Please follow the NKBA Guidelines while designing the Pulse of the Kitchen. How many steps would you want to take to complete cooking for your family? How far would you want to walk with a hot dish out of the island? How many kids, dogs or adults do you want underfoot when preparing a meal? Enjoy the Pinterest board, it has a narrative all its own. Happy island designing!

Paula Kennedy, CMKBD CLIPP, Timeless Kitchen Design, COPYRIGHT 2017