K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Bath Design

Jun 02 2017

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The Evolving Bathroom


I wish I had a before image still of my bathroom – the change after my redesign was drastic.

After a pipe burst in my condominium complex last year, my master bath was completely destroyed. The advantage was that I could completely redesign it – and use all of the insider’s tips I’d gathered from my job.

This week’s #KBTribeChat discussed bathroom design trends, and I saw how my redesign of nine months ago is already part of a changing discussion. Trends change constantly, and we can’t update our spaces every year – but we can certainly try to keep up.

With my bath, I picked materials and finishes that were hardy and easy to clean, like porcelain wood-look tile. My father and I designed and built a freestanding, furniture-like, black vanity with a square, inset sink. My brother-in-law works for a granite company and got me a slab of white granite with subtle sparkle for the countertop. After we tore off the giant frameless mirror and installed a thinner, framed one – topped with a modern LED light – my bath was transformed. I’ve since moved to be with my husband on the West Coast, and I still miss that bathroom.

The trends I had incorporated were all a part of the discussion this past Wednesday, plus a few new ones that were just coming into play since my redesign. Here are a few I picked up on:

•    Vanities with open shelving are growing in popularity.


•    Seating is now a priority in many baths. 


•    Simpler hardware, inspired by European design, is now trending.


•    The most popular faucet finishes are still chrome and brushed nickel, but copper and matte black are growing.


•    Tile for bathroom flooring will continue to be in because it is versatile and sustainable, and it adds character.


What trends are you most excited about in the bath? Let us know on our Facebook page, on Twitter @kbbonline and Instagram @Kbb_Magazine. Join KBTribeChat next Wednesday at 2 p.m. EST by looking for #KBTribeChat on Twitter.

Apr 21 2017

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Delta Faucet Event Unveils New Products

KBB was recently invited to attend a press event at Delta Faucet Co.’s new Manoogian Center, a $15,000-million addition to the company’s headquarters in Indianapolis that celebrates its founder, Alex Manoogian.

We were given a look behind the scenes to see where the inspiration for the company’s designs originates, how they test packaging to ensure the products are getting to their customers safe and sound, how they incorporate new technology into their collections and how they test products for various certifications.

“We think faucets are of the utmost importance,” said Brian Noble, senior director, Brizo and marketing services. “After all, people interact with them multiple times a day.”

The Model Shop in the Innovation/Research Lab on the lower level

In terms of inspiration, Judd Lord, senior director of industrial design, and his team do a lot of traveling to national and international events to study various trends, including furniture and even automotive.

“We want to get out there and activate our senses,” he explained, adding that the creation of entire collections from start to finish takes anywhere from 18 months to two years.

My personal favorite was the RSVP Collection – a very literal, elegant take on the female figure.

Regarding new technology, it is helpful to keep looking forward to determine future needs.

“I started working on our H2O Kinetic technology in 2001 because I knew water regulations and the green movement were coming,” said Paul Patton, senior R&D/regulatory manager. “It’s important to pay attention to regulations coming down the road.”

What’s New for Delta and Brizo

Whereas research points to aesthetics being first on consumers’ lists of requirements, function/performance is following along closely. Brizo takes both seriously with its fashion-forward approach, as well as tech elements that include an electronic proportioning valve offered in some of its collections.

The Litze Bathroom Collection was introduced at KBIS 2016, and now the brand offers the Litze Kitchen Collection (above), which will be available later this year. It is available with three different spout options, two choices of handles and five finishes. When asked during KBIS 2017, attendees were most enamored with the black and gold split-finish option.

Brizo is also introducing the Vettis Bath Collection (above), which was inspired by the Vettisfossen waterfall in Norway, and both brands have created new display systems to elevate their products in the showroom setting (Delta below left, Brizo below right).

Apr 03 2017

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Going Formal


Most clients today describe their desired aesthetic as transitional, relaxing or modern. But what happens when a client asks for a formal design? Designer Nancy Henry of Glenview, Ill.-based DDK Kitchen Design Group faced this challenge with a master bathroom in Chicago.

“When two professional, hardworking adults come home, they want to feel great in their own personal spaces,” she said, adding that one client is an electrical contractor. “The formal look, of course, applies more to females. Whether it’s soaking in their tub or just visually looking around, that beautiful feeling is what they desire.”

In addition to this aesthetic, the couple wanted two sinks and more storage without layout congestion. There were several angles in the room that presented a problem to the design team; just the parallelogram shape of the room suggested potential overcrowding. The design team worked around this by continuing the vanity along one wall and into a corner for a streamlined design, and they installed more mirrors. The shower and the whirlpool tub take up the wall opposite the vanity.


“This is a client who still loves a whirlpool tub despite the popularity of soaker tubs,” added the designer.

The original tub had no steps to enter it easily, so Henry created a marble step – the same material as the tub’s exterior. The shower area was brought forward to streamline the visual lines of the built-in tub and incorporate the seat between them.

Along with marble floors and walls, the luxury and formality of this room comes from the cabinetry. By Dutch Made Cabinetry, a privately held Amish company, the cabinets are hand finished with an ivory paint and a light brown glaze. The crystal chandelier, crystal sconces and toe kick lighting – installed by the client’s electrical contracting company – finished off the elegant feel.


“My favorite part of any design is always being pleased with the outcome and at the same time, having the client thrilled with the final results,” said Henry. “With this one I really loved the expansiveness the framed mirrors added in making the room sparkle and feel larger.”

Photographer: Mike Kaskel, Chicago

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.