K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Inspiration

Feb 19 2018

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Nancy Fire’s Top Trends

Meet Nancy Fire, design director for HGTV and creative director and founder of Design Works International, (http://designworksintl.com/) a lifestyle design studio in New York City. Her multi-discipline design studio specializes in original textile design, trend development, color and bespoke consulting services.

With more than three decades of expertise in the design industry, Fire works to provide brands, manufacturers and companies with trend research and development. KBB recently sought her out to hear the newest predictions and insights in interior design:

Open Floor Plans
Fire:
“Designing today is about duality, and that is exactly what an open floor plan provides. These open spaces that function as multiple rooms within a living space are still in demand, with the most common being the great room that combines the kitchen, dining room and living room in one shared space.”

“At Wilsonart, wood is warming up the home with accent shelves that bring a more contemporary and updated approach to bookcase-type style,” said Fire. “Using lighter wood in the home usually creates a brighter vibe and coordinates nicely with other textures and surfaces.”

What Makes a Luxury Home

Fire: “For me, it’s having things in my home that allow me to enjoy my interior space. I am a designer that has always mixed old with new, expensive with affordable and neutrals with pops of color to add personality and substance to a space. In our New York City apartment, the luxury comes from my furniture and accessories, but in the country the luxury comes from my appliances and open floor plan living because we have more space.”

“Moving away from the singular metal trend of seasons past, we’re now witnessing metal mixing through combinations of various finishes throughout the home,” said Fire. Shown here is True Residential’s black matte and copper kitchen at KBIS 2018.

Upcoming Trends

Fire: “People are looking for items with duality – products that do more than one thing. This includes ovens that are convention and steamers, refrigerators that allow you to see what is inside from your phone so you can shop straight from work and compost containers that have wood tops that twin as cutting boards.”

“There was definitely a floral theme at this year’s KBIS,” said Fire. “This Thermador Freedom Kitchen truly expresses our love of art by offering oversized panels of colorful artwork as an expression of custom creativity.”

Other trends Fire noted include:

1. A green thumb is a trend showing up in kitchens; this involves live plant/herb walls integrated in the space itself. This allows a true farm-to-table experience within your kitchen.
2. Colorful hoods in the kitchen are trending this season because they are affordable ways to introduce color. Shape and size as well as substrates are updated and inventive.
3. Accommodating small spaces in the kitchen this is happening on so many levels this season because we are seeing smaller appliance options.
4. Overexposed environmentally-friendly wood shelving is still important. Open shelving is continuing in many ways, as well as recycled beams returning to frame vaulted kitchens.
5. Touches of terrazzo in the kitchen range from flooring, backsplashes, cutting boards and even lighting. This highly versatile, solid surface material is comprised of marble chips embedded into a cement base, then ground flat and coated with a sealer.

Feb 01 2018

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A Heart for Universal Design

The concept for universal design started in the 1950s, when wounded veterans returning from World War II found their homes uncomfortable and unsafe to live in. This issue continues today, for both aging Vietnam veterans and soldiers returning from conflicts in the Middle East.

John Gallina and Dale Beatty know this problem first hand. After having served on the North Carolina National Guard, the two 25-year-olds went on to join the 1st Infantry Division during Operation Iraqi Freedom. On Nov. 15, 2004, their unit was on a mission to provide security for an engineer unit that was sweeping for mines. Their vehicle struck two anti-tank mines, leaving Beatty a double amputee below the knees and Gallina with severe back injuries, a traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress.


As both men reintegrated into their communities, they found that their own homes needed to change. Their communities came together to help provide for them and show their support. They decided to pay this kindness forward – recognizing that there are so many other veterans with the same needs they had – and together co-founded Purple Heart Homes.

This nonprofit seeks out veterans in desperate need of home solutions, which range in everything from installing a wheelchair ramp or an ADA-accessible bath to beautifying a kitchen. These projects use a combination of volunteer and paid designers, contractors and builders and take place in most states.

“We provide a bit of comfort and security in the home and a greater connectivity with those in the community,” said Gallina, who explained in an interview with KBB that many volunteers are neighbors or community members. “You feel different after being in a war zone. Having a suitable home makes these veterans feel more comfortable in their community and not so different.”

Beatty also explained that this is particularly impactful for Vietnam veterans, who at the time were often not honored for their service because of the controversial war.


“When we can go into a neighborhood and rally the community around a veteran who never had a parade coming home or got thanked for their services, that has an impact,” he said. “The healing and impact comes from our engagement with them and showing them that there are people that care and understand, and they are probably their neighbors.”

For more information about Purple Heart Homes and to hear more about how to volunteer or donate, visit http://purplehearthomesusa.org.

Jan 22 2018

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It’s a Colorful Year

When all of the paint companies started announcing their color of the year, the trend was far from obvious. From a moody green to a bold red, the trending colors of the year seem to have only one characteristic in common: none of them fall into the cool neutral category like in recent years.

While we dove into these trends in our January issue, we decided to look back and explore more of the determining factors behind some of these colors and where we can expect to see them this year.

Benjamin Moore’s Caliente AF-290

The Shade: Caliente AF-290 is a vibrant, charismatic shade of red.

The Reasoning: The team selecting the color of the year brought together images and other color examples that covered a range of destinations, industries and experiences. For instance, one team member attended several events where red was a key color, while another person looked at how red is being used in interior design and in the auto industry and as a visual storyteller in art and retail. 

Where to Use It: This color can be used in a mid-century modern design for a bold, abstract stroke or in a modern farmhouse project for crisp, red detailing. Red could also give a beach house an unexpected touch of color.

Dunn-Edwards’ The Green Hour

The Shade: The Green Hour is a mysterious blue-green with a gray undertone.

The Reasoning: Darker colors and green are trending as the culture grows more interested in the environment and in health. The Green Hour provides a complex and moody mix of grayed green-blue. This color is also reminiscent of twilight, which around the turn of the century was called The Green Hour (l’heure verte) in France, because of the popularity of the green absinthe drink in bars, cafés and bistros.

Where to Use it: The Green Hour painted in a high sheen on kitchen cabinetry would infuse luxury into a space. When it is painted on the walls, accented with industrial accents and pops of white, the tone can also create a loft-like, contemporary space.

Oceanside from Sherwin-Williams

The Shade: Oceanside is a rich, bluish-green, jewel-toned hue.

The Reasoning: Searches on the Sherwin-Williams ColorSnap app, online and social trends and contract and hospitality trend research have revealed a tendency for blue-green colors. This jewel tone reflects the positivity and connection with nature consumers are looking for in their homes.

Where to Use it: This tone is fit for both interior and exterior spaces, like a bedroom accent wall, a new look for a home office or a pop of color on the front door. It goes well with midcentury-modern and can update a home when paired with white marble and copper metallic tones. It also can be mixed with corals and yellows or with other calming shades of blue.

Pantone’s Ultra Violet

The Shade: Ultra Violet is a provocative blue-tinged purple shade.

The Reasoning: This color is meant to be a reflection of the ingenuity, creativity and visionary thinking of this age. With its cultural connections to artists like Prince and Jimi Hendrix and its association with individuality, Ultra Violet symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity.

Where to Use It: Ultra Violet can be used as an accent piece, like for an appliance or accessory. Rooms painted Ultra Violet can be paired with dark-colored woods and leather for a romantic and moody feel. This tone can also be softened by pairing it with other shades in the same color family, like blush, mauve and lilac.

Jan 05 2018

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Ultra-Violet Perspective

Pantone’s long-awaited 2018 Color of the Year is Ultra Violet, a contemplative and moody color meant to symbolize unconventionality and mindfulness. According to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, this blue-based purple was inspired by the inventiveness and imagination of this age.

““Deep purples break the barrier of primarily feminine appeal and broaden its usability into a darker, sophisticated, jewel-tone realm,” added Stephanie Pierce, director of design and trends at MasterBrand Cabinets. “Pantone’s Ultra Violet encompasses these traits, as well as an energetic electricity to add more personality to the home.”

KBB looked for ways manufacturers are incorporating this trending color into their products, where we might spot it at KBIS and how designers might be using it this year in their projects.

Crossville’s Argent Porcelain Stone deepens the already rich look of natural argent stone with a saturated shade inspired by Ultra Violet. Shown here is Grapes of Wrath.


Formica Laminate’s Cassis is a simple way to showcase Ultra Violet in an easytoclean and maintain format. Cassis is available in standard finishes like matte, gloss or microdot.


The Northstar Model 1949 refrigerator from Elmira Stoveworks is now available in Ultra Violet. Along with being Energy Star compliant, the refrigerator features adjustable glass shelving, tall bottle storage and a crystal crisper with a glass cover.


The Dream Up V2 Espresso Machine, available in Intense Violet, offers a frothing tip for perfect foam and a stainless-lined aluminum thermoblock for superb insulation.

Now available in Ultra Violet, the Lust Sideboard from Jetclass is comprised of lacquered wood with either steel or brass accents and two styles of feet.

Where have you seen Ultra Violet? Let us know on our Facebook page and on Twitter @kbbconnect.