K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Inspiration

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 17 2017

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A Family Legacy

It is rare to find a family-run business that has survived more than a century of change – including two World Wars, the introduction of gas fuel and the rate of innovation seen today. One range-maker has done just that, and I was honored to explore the culture, land and the people who created and sustained the company.

We were first immersed in the region of Emilia-Romagna in Midwestern Italy. The region is known for its Parmesan cheese and prosciutto ham – the making of which can be considered an art form. I first saw the making of Parmesan cheese from beginning to end. I stole up into a centuries-old attic to see barrels of balsamic vinegar, which are aged for more than 20 years. The craftsmanship and care the people put into their products is obvious, and the history is perhaps what makes these companies so genuine.

One of the most prominent manufacturers in the region is Bertazzoni, which started in the late 19th century in a small Italian town called Guastalla, outside of Parma. Francesco Bertazzoni, who made precision-weighing machines for the cheese industry, wondered if the wood-burning stoves being used for heating railcars could be used for an indoor range. By 1907, he and his son Antonio had begun making their own stoves by hand and sending them all over Italy.

19th Century: These precision-measuring instruments were made by Francesco Bertazzoni for local trades, from Parmesan cheesemakers to pharmacists.

Their story progressed over the last century to gas fueling and modern looks, including a collection specifically for the American market. Today Bertazzoni is known as a luxury brand that combines different technologies together – gas, electricity, induction, microwave and steam – with the heart of Italian cooking in mind.
1930s: Stove performance improved with hot gases from the fire forced around the sides of the stove to maximize heating efficiency.

We were invited to experience this first hand by cooking with a local chef in the Bertazzoni kitchen. I love to cook, but Italians cook much differently – and often much better – than we do. I saw how a convection oven could caramelize brown sugar just right on sliced Roma tomatoes and how a proofing option could help a focaccia bread rise perfectly. I really don’t think there is anything better than focaccia bread straight from the oven, drizzled with local olive oil.

 Inside the Bertazzoni kitchen, we learned to make dishes like these lasagna rolls.

After several hours of cooking and chatting, everyone – including the fifth and sixth generations of the Bertazzoni family – sat down together and shared wine, fresh mozzarella cheese and a cake celebrating 135 years of business. We stayed long past sunset, when the chef finally declared that he needed to go home to feed his dog. It’s very Italian to arrive as strangers and leave as family, and that’s what good food, a great kitchen and a lovely place can cook up.

Exploring Parma was magical – it’s like a storybook of quiet streets and charming cafes.

Mar 20 2017

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Inside Magic


After attending the Architectural Digest Show this past week, I was invited to visit the brand new Häfele showroom in the Flatiron District of Manhattan. The showroom itself is a step up from their previous location near Central Park. Although the neighborhood is more out of the way, the expansive windows and the ability to be on one floor won the company over.

The hardware and lighting technology Häfele is known for is showcased around the showroom in two working kitchens, office spaces and in different kinds of sliding doors. One standout addition catching everyone’s eye is a series of remote-controlled sliding walls.

These four walls have product on both sides, so to save space the walls were put on tracks. This way they can open on demand, revealing a hallway in the middle for people to walk through. The three other walls, meanwhile, remain closed until needed. This saves space and introduces potential consumers to the high-tech nature of some of the company’s products.


Another major theme of the showroom is lighting. As Scott Kaminski, marketing and PR manager of Häfele introduced it, light can be considered a furniture piece. A placard in the showroom suggested the interaction of light in a room has an influence on well-being. Bright, cold light enhances alertness, while softer light sources enhance relaxation. LED technology within furniture brings in a whole other dimension to a design.


As designers, you know integrated lighting is essential for today’s kitchen and bath, but have clients recognized this? Unless the cabinet manufacturer explicitly includes special hardware – like swing-outs – do clients know they can make the interiors of their cabinets much more functional? One concern another designer brought up was that there is disconnect between hardware and cabinet manufacturers. Clients might assume their cabinetry comes with special interior hardware, but that is often not the case. In addition, designers have to educate themselves on how to bring the two together in a design.

What do you think? Have you been challenged by any disconnect between interior hardware and cabinetry? What are your favorite types of interior hardware to use? Let us know on our Facebook page, our Twitter @kbbconnect or on Instagram @KBB_magazine.

Mar 13 2017

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The Laundry Room 2.0


Laundry Room by Christie Board, Board by Board Inc. Photo by Bella Vita Photography

This room used to be the one shoved into a corner, a closet or a basement and forgotten. It is notoriously messy, stressful and busy but also essential to the smooth running of a family home. Having an organized laundry room – no matter how small – has always been valued, but now having a beautiful laundry room is also in demand.

This week’s KBTribeChat looked at today’s laundry room and the demands, the trends and the exciting products changing the way we look at this hardworking room.

Most Desired Feature
It’s not just one feature – as usual, clients want a multi-functional space that is both beautiful and accessible. Countertop space and an abundance of storage is a must, and also having hanging rods and places to fold is helpful. Sinks are also growing in demand. Above all, people want ways to simplify this chore so they have more time for what’s important to them.

Top Load vs. Front Load
Participants argued that while front-loaders look better and stack easily, top-load washers are more accessible. Also, a front-loader washer can develop mold if not cleaned consistently.

Making a Small Laundry Room Larger
Laundry rooms are usually one of the smallest areas in the home. Taking advantage of vertical space and light colors, however, can make all the difference. For the best use of space, a designer could stack a front-load washer/dryer, install retractable hanging space and design custom storage for the clients’ family.

Energy Efficiency
Most clients are looking to save water and energy. While eco-friendly products are a popular request, some clients still want “all the bells and whistles” in their laundry machine and falsely believe that less water equates to dirtier clothes. Even if they do not invest in a highly energy-efficient appliance, laundry machines and dryers still use less water and energy than in previous years.

Where Are We Headed?
Like the open-plan kitchen, the laundry room is transforming into a multifunctional space that combines mudroom, laundry and craft area all in one. They are also likely to be a part of the smart home phenomenon – which may include Wi-Fi connectivity or remote control.

What do you love most about today’s laundry rooms? Let us know on our Facebook page, on Twitter @KBBConnect or on Instagram @Kbb_magazine.