K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Inspiration

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.

Jun 12 2017

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Back to the Original


Gurdon Wattles, a banker credited with funding the first movie studios in Hollywood, owned a mansion in the early part of the 20th century in Hollywood. Last year was the first time the mansion was open for public viewing, to host the Los Angeles Wattles Mansion Showcase.

Happening for the second year in a row, the showcase this time presented a challenge to the designers: celebrate Hollywood with a certain time period in mind. We talked with the bathroom designers in a previous story, but we of course wanted to know more about the kitchen. Designer Kathleen Beall of Dana Point, Calif.-based Beall Design Group, chose the 1920s as her inspiration in designing the home’s kitchen suite.

“I chose the 1920s and the movie ‘The Artist’ to represent the era when the original family, the Wattles, chose to live fulltime in the home,” said Beall, adding that it had been a vacation home for the them up until then.

She had been told that the city, which owned the property, was having difficulties renting out the mansion because the kitchen was in such disrepair. Working with her plumbing showroom, Beall started to restore the kitchen to its original glory.


Restoration Challenges
“The largest hurdle was that I wanted to retain the historic and original Carrera marble herringbone countertop, which meant we would need to restore the original cast-iron sink,” she said.

Since the backsplash tile was shattered and needed replacement anyways, she was able to remove the sink for offsite restoration and replace the unoriginal faucet with a period-style model. By using the original sink, the designer did not have to take out any of the original Carrera herringbone countertop tile.

“My tile installer reattached the herringbone tile counters and cut out and replaced the original grout with new grout,” said Beall. “The counters are a major source of conversation for those visiting the space, as they represent an era of craftsmanship.”


Vintage Look
After replacing the backsplash with subway tile similar to the original, she updated the kitchen appliances with those that feature a period look, like the 1908 La Cornue range. The 1970s-era wall faucet was replaced with a period-style Rohl wall faucet, and a new touch drain was installed. When the house was built in 1908, gas light fixtures were used. The fixtures Beall chose were inspired by the originals and maintain a light and airy look in the kitchen.

“Now a year later, the city has told me that because of the kitchen restoration, the mansion experienced non-stop rentals this past year and often had a waiting list,” said the designer. “They attribute this to the painstaking attention to detail in our restoration of the sink areas and the overall space.”



Photography by Mary E. Nichols

May 25 2017

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A Sunny Extension


The homeowners of one turn-of-the-century home in Ballarat, Australia, wanted to still honor their home’s original design, but they had to meet the needs of their growing family.

“The house was too small, and baby number three was on the way,” said designer Mick Moloney of Ballarat-based Moloney Architects. “Our requirements were for a robust family home, but we were challenged by a tight budget.”


To open up the small home and create a working kitchen space, the team added what looked like a “wooden box” to the rear of the home with a glass-covered side. Using low-cost materials like plywood and formply wood, they were able to join the new area to the original home through a connection space. This allows the original roof structure to remain unchanged.

This addition also takes advantage of the sun with its open side. It was important to the clients to have an eco-friendly home, and the sunlight helps to naturally heat up the home in the cooler environment.


“This group of vertical windows captures long shafts of sunlight that reach right to the very back of our central living space,” said Moloney, who worked alongside Jules Moloney on the project. “The space receives plenty of natural light and also has a positive psychological effect of feeling warm and cheery. It makes those chilly Ballarat winters much more bearable.”

Using SketchUp, the team designed a layout that centers around the island. This long island needed to match the openness of the surrounding design, so the team made it completely open underneath.


“We wanted the island to float off the floor – a bit like a piece of furniture with legs,” he said. “Seeing underneath the unit makes the space feel lighter and larger.”

Dark cabinets contrast the prevalence of light-colored wood in the space. These cabinet faces are made from inexpensive black formply, and the rear service bench is stainless steel – perfect for a busy family. The island is topped with Carrara marble for a touch of natural texture to complete the composition.

“Everyday they can have a cup of tea and sit and watch the kids play in the garden,” said Moloney. “It can get down below freezing in Ballarat, and we’ve found the sunlight access here in the kitchen keeps up cheer throughout the winter.”

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