K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Creativity

Jun 16 2017

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Choosing to Give

Recently the second-annual St. Jude Dream Home Giveaway again raised funds for the St. Jude Children’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. Each raffle ticket purchased was donated to the hospital, which provides care and support for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases cost free.


The home, built by Nies Homes, features four bedrooms, four-and-a-half  baths, a master suite, a man cave in the garage with a bonus room above, specialty wine and craft rooms in the basement and an oversized covered deck. Local cabinet manufacturer, R.D. Henry, was named local sponsor of the cause and donated cabinets for the home. Located at The Oaks in Derby, Kan., the St. Jude Dream Home has an estimated value of $420,000.

Country Kitchen
“We chose to take on this project because we think it is an amazing cause,” said Kate Caplan of Wichita, Kan.-based Kitchen & Bath Expressions, who completed the design for the kitchen and one bath in the home.

To make the kitchen feel grand and luxurious, Caplan double stacked cabinets throughout the space and used rustic, white finishes to bring in a country feel. For the island, a sleek cabinet finish called Tattered Fence from R.D. Henry was used to accentuate the piece from the perimeter cabinetry.


A new touch faucet, donated by Brizo, was selected for the main kitchen sink, along with Whirlpool appliances donated from Metro Appliances & More. Caplan chose quartz countertops, donated by Quality Granite & Marble, because of the material’s growing popularity. Light fixtures from Accent Lighting with a glass interior and black lining add a final modern touch to the contemporary country design.


Bold Powder Room
“The powder bath is always an area where we can really get creative and use different and bold finishes you wouldn’t normally see in a bathroom,” said Caplan.

In the powder room, the design team wanted to create a fun and creative space that would make a statement. A gold faucet and gold hardware stand out against a gray vanity with an above-counter sink. Gold pendant light fixtures and bath accessories also highlight the mosaic tile backsplash, which includes white, gray and gold tiles.


“It was a rewarding experience to see a community of building contractors and vendors come together selflessly to donate their time, services and products to make this a reality,” said the designer.

May 18 2017

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Updating the Twenties

This is certainly the season for show homes – we’ve seen everything from a luxury Hollywood mansion redesign to a high-tech house in Arizona. Another one caught our eye in Lake Forest, Ill., with a fascinating history and a unique kitchen design: the Lake Forest Showhouse and Gardens.

The home is an estate designed by architect Howard Van Doren Shaw, one of the most respected turn-of-the-century architects. Shaw received a nod in the The Great Gatsby as the architect of character Daisy Buchanan’s Lake Forest home.

        The office nook features elegant touches like a ceiling tray and a cozy window seat.

The Historic Preservation Award-winning English country estate is set on more than two acres featuring gardens with bluestone patios, fountains and a large fire pit. The house is a five-bedroom and five-and-a-half bath structure with a five-room coach house and kitchen. The house was built in 1922 as the summer residence for a prominent lawyer named J.O. Hinkley.

Chicago-based designer Leslie Martin of M & M Interior Design redesigned the kitchen in this Gatsby-inspired home for the event. Since this was a historic home, she was only allowed to change certain aspects of the kitchen.

    The heavy wooden island contrasts the white cabinetry around the perimeter of the kitchen.

“We were tasked with working with the existing architecture, but with a kitchen this lovely it wasn’t a tough assignment,” said Martin. “Our goal was to freshen the space and make it come to life.”

She began by painting the ceiling in a high-gloss finish, which opened up the kitchen and made the large room feel even grander. By doing so it also neutralized the space and gave the designer an opportunity to play with color in other areas like the office nook, which features floral touches in yellow and green.

    Tiny details in the cabinetry give the kitchen a modernized version of 1920s character.

The ceiling lights were replaced with pendants that have a modern edge while still remaining suitable for a space with traditional bones. Martin then accessorized the space with a mixture of timeless materials like vintage hotel silver, marble, blue and white porcelain and copper – along with some modern designs like cake plates and lighting.

“Table lamps were brought in for the counter because mood lighting is important in every room, including the kitchen,” explained Martin.

Photography: Anthony Tahlier

May 17 2017

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12 Practical Ideas to Improve a Galley Kitchen

“I have a small kitchen remodel to do, but nothing can be done with it,” is heard too often – especially in New York City where galley kitchens are often the standard design layout. I use the term, ‘layout,’ loosely, as minimum thought has gone into maximizing the use of the space.

Galley kitchens are named for a ship’s parallel, usually narrow work areas, yet they are not necessarily featureless. Some have height or length to exploit to take full advantage of the function and form that can be attained by new kitchen cabinets.

Every family and cook has their own routine in the kitchen. We all get used to working in our space – not realizing that even minor changes might improve the food preparation experience and enliven the kitchen.

Understanding the cook’s work habits in the renovation of a small galley kitchen is essential as there is very little margin for error. Here are 12 practical and appealing ideas to aid your renovation.

1. Use Stove Smarts. If you rarely cook with more than two burners, placing the stove against the side wall (shown below) provides more work space on the remaining countertop area. A 24-in.-wide stove has the same number of burners – only with less space between them and on each side.In a small kitchen, a two-burner 12- or 24-in. cooktop can be set into a built-up, 3-in.-thick counter above the dishwasher.

2. Consider the Microwave. For tall clients, a microwave/convection oven placed on top of a short refrigerator will suffice. The bottom of the microwave is most convenient at the level of the person’s armpit; too high, and the chance of spilling the contents increases.

3. Increase Storage. For shorter people, 15-in.-deep wall cabinets increase storage, and the cabinets still don’t feel uncomfortably close to your client’s face.

4. Invest in Smaller Appliances. Space-saving dishwashers 18 inches wide or a single dish drawer will allow for larger base cabinets. Refrigerators that are narrower and shallower are also taller and offer more aisle space and room for storage.

5. Hang up the Hood. If your clients don’t fry on the stove, they probably don’t need a hood. The bottom of the cabinet over the stove can now be level with the adjacent cabinets, providing additional storage and offering a more unified kitchen remodel. Sheet metal can be easily attached to the underside of the cabinet for protection.

6. Provide Cabinet Access. Horizontal kitchen cabinet doors that lift up or flip up (shown below), as well as sliding doors, elongate the space and provide access without doors swinging in one’s face.

7. Cabinet Drawers. Deep pot drawers in a galley kitchen may be a better choice than cabinets with rollout shelves behind doors. Removing the pot at the front of the drawer may only require opening it 12 inches, whereas rollouts need wider doors fully opened to access the shelves.

8. Organize the Look. When the amount of appliances equals the cabinetry or when the row of base cabinets is a different color than the appliances, place a matching cabinet panel on the dishwasher or match the cabinet doors to the appliances. This will eliminate what I call ‘the missing tooth look.’

9. Unify the Look. Having the kitchen sink and the countertop the same color achieves a more unified look (shown below). Materials that blend with a sink include stainless steel, slate and Corian. A black quartz sink can also successfully blend into a dark countertop.

10. Create Height & Contrast. Achieve height by coordinating the cabinet above the refrigerator with the refrigerator color to add a strong vertical, cohesive form. Having the refrigerator cabinet touch the ceiling with all others a little lower creates a contrast.

11. Use Horizontal Cabinets. The perception of a longer kitchen space can be achieved with an arrangement of horizontal cabinets (shown below). Horizontal doors create linear movement but act as a headband in reducing the perception of height when placed above regular swinging doors.

12. Add Detail. To relieve the monotony of all solid cabinets: a) insert a small open shelf, b) design an interesting cut-out in a flat-panel door, or c) insert clear or textured glass. Don’t overdo it, however, as an abundance of objects can be too visually busy in a limited space.


– By Mark Rosenhaus, Rosenhaus Design Group

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