KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Bath Design

Jul 22 2018

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A Fresh Redesign


Often the best redesigns start with the worst original spaces. For one master bath in Ramsey, N.J., the existing space had a large and unused tub under the window, a small lower vanity and shower and an exposed toilet with no privacy. Designer Julia Kleyman of Ridgewood, N.J.-based Ulrich, Inc. stepped in to transform this space into a refreshing, modern bath.

Customized Shower

She used AutoCAD to lay out the new space and took out the tub to make room for a larger shower with a seat.

The new shower boasts a glass enclosure and white and gray tile, along with a mural of blue tile to create a focal point. Sharing a wall with a bench, a niche with three differently sized shelves offers additional storage to the homeowners.

“The client wanted a large shower with a place to house many products,” said Kleyman. “We provided a custom-shaped niche for his-and-hers products to solve this issue.”

Creating Privacy

It was important to the homeowners that the toilet had more privacy without it being in a completely separate room. To do this, the design team created a peninsula that is higher than the standard counter heigh, which divides the room but still gives it the appearance of openness.

“The white color on the peninsula keeps the space flowing and light,” said Kleyman. “It also offers additional towel and product storage.”

Fresh and Contemporary

Another request the homeowner had was for a vanity built for two and an updated but traditional look. To give the mainly white and gray space warmth and a touch of the traditional, Kleyman chose a maple vanity with a dark brown finish.

“This finish gives a modern furniture touch to the large amount of cabinetry,” she said, adding that the vanity has a drawer with an outlet inside so the hairdryer can be conveniently stored.

The new vanity also contributes to the openness of the bath with a gray and white porcelain tile backsplash that extends to the ceiling, drawing the eye up.

“With a wall of large dramatic tile, the vanity is its own focal point,” said Kleyman.


Designer: Julia Kleyman, Ulrich Inc.
Photographer:Peter Rymwid

Cabinetry: Wood-Mode Fine Custom Cabinetry
Countertops:
  Zodiaq
Faucets: Moen
Flooring: Piepur Grigio
Mirror: Baci
Mosaic Tile: Tommy Bahama
Sinks: Kohler
Vanity Lighting: Maxim Lighting

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.

May 03 2018

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10 Ways Smart Lighting Can Enhance the Kitchen & Bath

System design and installation by Gramophone, Timonium, Md.

So much happens in the kitchen and bath that it’s often difficult to have the lights at the right intensity levels at all times. When you’re clients are cooking, they need the lights brighter; lower when they sit down to eat. As they apply makeup or shave, they’ll want the lights bright, but when unwinding in a hot bath at the end of the day, an intensity level that mimics candlelight is apropos.

In the past, we’ve relied on dimmer switches to adjust the intensity levels of the lights. While this approach still works well, smart lighting products have introduced a whole new level of convenience and control to the management of home lighting. Plus, these solutions are so much more cosmetically pleasing than the switches of yesteryear.

Here are 10 ways smart lighting can add value to the kitchen and bath:

1. Clears “Wall Acne.” It’s not unusual to see kitchen and bath walls blanketed with huge banks of light switches. There are two problems with this setup: It’s difficult to remember which switch controls which group of lights, and the numerous faceplates eat up a big chunk of wall space. Lighting keypads, by contrast, provide six to eight pushbuttons that can control all of the lights and take up only the space of a single-gang junction box.

2. Creates Activity-Based Preset Lighting Levels. Each pushbutton on a keypad can be programmed to set the intensity level of a predetermined group of lights, called a lighting “scene.” For example, a morning button on a kitchen keypad can brighten the undercabinet lights to 50 percent and the fixture over the island to 30. A cleaning button can raise every light to full intensity, and a romantic button can lower the lights to an intimate 25 percent. Likewise, in the bathroom, specific lights can adjust on the fly based on whichever button is engaged: morning, night, relaxation and so on.

Home systems design and installation by Global Custom Integrations, Hawthorne, N.Y., in this and below photo

3. Showcases Decorative Details. The wood grain of fine cabinetry, the mix of colors of a granite countertop and other visually stunning architectural details look even better with the right lighting. You designer who specializes in lighting can choose the best light source, fixture and placement, while a home systems installer can suggest the best levels of brightness.

4. Improves Comfort. With standard, non-smart lighting, the lights can feel blinding during midnight trips to the bathroom or the kitchen. A smart lighting system ensures that the lights are easy on the eyes during certain hours of the night.

5. Adds an Element of Automation. Imagine having your clients’ kitchen lights set at the perfect level when they arrive home from work. It’s possible with a smart lighting system. Driven by sophisticated microprocessors, it can adjust the lights automatically based on conditions like the time of day, occupancy and even the location of their smartphone (a feature called geofencing).

6. Personalizes the Space. Some people like a room brightly lit; others prefer an atmosphere that’s soft and subdued. A smart lighting system has the intelligence to set the lights based on who’s at home.

7. Sets the Mood. The biggest trends in home lighting are color and tunable white light. Smart LED bulbs are available that can glow in a rainbow of hues. This is all controllable through a mobile app, keypad or even voice commands. The bathroom can bask in a sea of blue to promote relaxation; a red hue can evoke a festive atmosphere when entertaining guests in the kitchen. If infusing the kitchen and bath with colored lighting seems too drastic of an approach, a subtler mood-setting alternative is “tunable white lighting.” These LED bulbs adjust their color temperature – as well as their brightness levels – to mimic daylight patterns. This can have a huge impact on the look and feel of the kitchen and bath.

8. Boosts Energy Efficiency. Dimming a light by 25 percent can cut electricity costs by 20 percent, according to Lutron Electronics. You can save even more if that light source is an LED, which uses significantly less electricity than an incandescent bulb. LED bulbs also last years longer – a huge perk if the kitchen or bath has hard-to-reach light fixtures.

9. Synchs with Music and Other Systems. Lights can go a long way toward setting the mood of a room; when a smart lighting system has been programmed to synchronize with a music system, the kitchen and bath can take on a whole new attitude. Classic music can play when the lights are dim; hip-hop when they are bright, for example. This can be easily accomplished by pressing a single button on a keypad or launching a command from a mobile app. A security system, thermostats and motorized shading can be integrated, as well, to completely alter the atmosphere of the room.

10. Provides Peace of Mind. Nobody intends to leave the lights on when they leave the house or go to bed. Lighting systems can be accessed and controlled remotely from a mobile app so that the kitchen and bath are always illuminated (or not illuminated) perfectly

Lisa Montgomery is the editor of Electronic House

Mar 26 2018

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Why It’s Important to Have a Great Plumbing Supplier

So you’re a kitchen and bathroom designer, you went to KBIS, and you saw all these amazing fixtures you want use. Or, you just signed your first kitchen/bathroom client, and you are wanting to find the best fixtures for them. Many designers head online to purchase fixtures or order them through a company that sells fixtures. Me? I head to my plumbing showroom, and here’s why.

For my first kitchen, my client indicated that they wanted a granite sink. I went online and found what I thought was a good one on a big-box site. I ordered it and took it over to my client’s home. Days later, he asked for the flange and the disposal switch, and I had completely forgotten to purchase those. Had I specified the sink through my plumbing supplier, my rep would have asked me the question about the flange, etc. Also, I later discovered that she had a professional-grade granite sink that came with a better warranty for my client.

Then there was the time I specified a wand and an overhead shower for a client’s bathroom, and she wanted to use each separately and then use them together. Guess what? Because of the recent drought in California, the code has changed, and that’s no longer allowed. Do you know who I learned that from? My plumber supplier, who had just taken a course on it.

Of course, there have been many times I’ve walked in with a specific budget, and my plumbing supplier has been able to steer me in the direction of a line that would fit the overall design but still allow my client to buy soap and towels for the bathroom or kitchen. I could continue to list reasons to find yourself a great plumbing supplier, but you get the gist!

By Sarah C. Wilson, Chansaerae Designs, LLC