KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for KBIS

Jul 12 2018

Posted by
Comments off

Member Advantages

By Loren Kessell, NKBA

Sometimes the need for a career change and passion for the kitchen and bath industry meld together to ignite someone’s spark. Paula Kennedy, CMKBD, and a member of KBB’s Editorial Advisory Board, is one of those people. She is celebrating her 20th year in the kitchen and bath industry and as a member of the National Kitchen & Bath Assn. (NKBA).

“I fell in love with kitchen and bath design, as it offered my left brain the joy of digging into the technical details and my right brain the ability to play with space and color,” said Kennedy.

                              Photo by Willett Professional Pictures

After reinventing herself – she previously held a corporate job – Kennedy dove headfirst into the industry and continues to excel. For the NKBA, she has served as the vice president of membership, treasurer, vice president of programs, chapter representative and president of its Puget Sound Chapter. She has also served on local and national committees and has been a Voices from the Industry (VFTI) speaker.

Kennedy spoke to the NKBA about her experiences with the association and her member profiles.

NKBA: What do you consider the best benefits of your membership?
Kennedy: Professional growth was huge for me! I feel like I grew up in this industry. Being a volunteer allowed this shy, quiet girl to become a confident, well-spoken leader, business entrepreneur, mentor, teacher and industry expert. I never would’ve dreamed of being that 20 years ago. Continuing education gives me credibility. Partnering and collaborating on inventing new products, curriculum development, speaking and consulting in creating specifier loyalty outreaches and programs also expand and diversify my career.

NKBA: How has your chapter benefited you?
Kennedy: Ongoing local participation allowed me to have local industry and consumer presence and visibility. Being involved in the local chapter, however, has given me incredible professional growth that I may not have gotten otherwise. And, in 20 years I grew personally from a wallflower to a teacher and speaker. Being involved allowed me the opportunity to learn and grow. I remember my first chapter meeting. Up front talking was a woman who was the chapter president, and I remember thinking, “I could never do that.” But 20 years later, I was the chapter president and on the national board and teaching!

NKBA: Did attending meetings help you make professional connections?
Kennedy: The resources I gained spanned from manufacturers and suppliers that aided my design business early on in my career and even still today. I also connected with magazines for writing articles. Winning design competitions allowed my work to be published. Later in my career, it offered me new and current opportunities of product inventions, CEU development and curriculum development for manufacturers.

NKBA: What have you learned at chapter presentations?
Kennedy: Ongoing education to retain my certification, product knowledge and business development. Johnny Grey truly inspired me to think outside the box, think about kitchens of tomorrow and to completely think differently about my approach to design. Also, Canyon Creek Cabinet Co. — local in Washington — hosted us at the plant and let us use distressing tools on raw cabinet doors. Then, they stained and finished them for us and sent the door sample to us to keep! I may be a creative right-brain designer, but I’m also a hands-on, left-brain geek. I need hands-on and soak it up talking to the engineers.

NKBA: What do you love about the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show?
Kennedy: I’ve attended 19 of the last 20 years, and now I have friends in the business. I also love seeing everything that’s new.

NKBA: How do you share your knowledge?
Kennedy: Through VFTI, blog posts, magazine articles, NKBA special committees, being a Chapter CEU provider, mentoring new members, mentoring local students and teaching at a local college. Also, I’m part of the KBB Editorial Advisory Board.

NKBA: Have you ever been a VFTI speaker or considered becoming one?
Kennedy: Yes, from nearly the beginning of the VFTI program! I have three [presentations] and it’s hard to choose. I think I’d love to highlight “Ignite Creativity,” as it has the biggest following, and it’s where my heart and soul is — inspiring others to go beyond their self-induced limitations to live a creative life that will reignite their careers, satisfaction and lead to living a more meaningful life.

NKBA: How do you mentor the next design generation?
Kennedy: This is what it’s all about! I mentor by connecting new members, mentoring local students as a guest speaker, and I serve on two advisory councils and teach at a local college part time.

NKBA: Have you created opportunities on the chapter level?
Kennedy: I’ve helped other new board members become speakers, I’ve helped develop new programs and processes, and as a region director I put on regional chapter officer training, I did local chapter officer training for years — even after not being a chapter representative anymore.

Apr 23 2018

Posted by
Comments off

Did Someone Say “Pizza?”

It’s not uncommon these days for interior designers to suggest their clients add luxury appliances like wine refrigerators or built-in coffee centers to their kitchens, but how many times have you suggested that a client add a pizza oven to their home?

Frankly, I never have. But that’s all going to change following my time at the 2018 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) in Orlando and the Design Bloggers’ Conference in Beverly Hills, Calif. My experiences there with a few incredible pizza ovens have put the appliance in the forefront of my mind.

Not only do pizza ovens add a fun specialty element to home kitchens, but they’re also much more versatile than you may expect. Besides producing literally the best pizza you’ve ever had, a home pizza oven can be used to make delicious calzones, crusty homemade breads and even fire-roasted appetizers and side dishes using ingredients ranging from seafood to potatoes to fresh veggies. Once your client has the hang of cooking with their pizza oven, they’ll use it all the time!

When it comes to specifying a specific model for your clients, there are a bevy of options from which to choose. You’ll need to educate yourself on the merits of electric vs. wood burning, built-in vs. stand alone and even outdoor vs. indoor so you know exactly what to recommend for each client’s needs.

Say a client’s kitchen layout simply won’t accommodate a built-in model. Suggest a freestanding outdoor unit instead. But if you’re designing a client’s kitchen from scratch in a full renovation or a new build, show them how you can easily fit a streamlined, built-in model into their layout.

My first exposure to the Monogram 30-in. Pizza Oven was at KBIS (top photo), and I encountered it again at the closing party of the Design Bloggers Conference. Let me tell you, the pizza that came out of this oven was AMAZING. Granted, it was in part so delicious due to the fact that lauded chef Nick Liberato was handcrafting the gourmet pizza pies. After having the opportunity to actually taste pizzas made in this oven, I am thoroughly convinced that a pizza oven is an absolutely necessary addition to any dream kitchen.

The Monogram pizza oven’s looks are beautiful, as well. This model’s design has a brushed stainless exterior with discreet touch controls. The oven is flush  and blends well with all of the other appliances in the kitchen. This particular pizza oven blends the crisping performance of a more traditional coal or wood-burning oven but with better accuracy and ease. Its LCD controls allow the user to easily customize the settings to their exact taste. No more family arguments over thin and crispy vs. soft and chewy crust! Now everyone can have what they want – without loading down the delivery guy with four different pizzas!”

But perhaps the best part about this built-in oven is the installation process. It easily fits in a standard 30-in. width cabinet cutout, and it comes already equipped with an integrated vent system. That makes fitting a pizza oven into the design plan no more difficult than if you’d specified a cabinet. And since no additional ductwork is needed, your client saves big on construction costs.

The second pizza oven I’m a new fan of is a fantastic option for those clients whose kitchen space won’t allow for a built-in model (or those who’d simply prefer their pizza oven outdoors). The Kalamazoo Gourmet Pizza Oven is a stainless steel appliance that creates pizzeria-style pizzas without having to leave your home! The adjustable top and bottom gas burners can reach higher temperatures than a standard home oven – without the dreaded task of tending to a wood fire.

At around $7,000 each, you can choose from the freestanding outdoor model or the indoor built-in version, depending on your clients’ preferences and available space.

Just think how much your clients will enjoy eating at home after you steer them toward adding this simple luxury to their kitchen or outdoor living space. From now on, I am going to suggest pizza ovens to all my kitchen design clients. And if I’m lucky, they’ll even invite me over for a pizza party or two!

Mar 12 2018

Posted by
Comments off

Space-Age Design

In interior design, anything and everything can be inspiration. For designer Chuck Wheelock of Old Greenwich, Conn.-based Wheelock Design, space travel always sparks the imagination, and he drew from this in a partnership with Perlick.

“Perlick recently celebrated their 100-year anniversary, so we wondered what might be in store for the company in the next century,” said Wheelock. “In the near future, our great events may be a return to the moon and a mission to Mars. Nothing fires our imagination like space travel.”

Inspired by science fiction, new geometry and advanced technology, the firm developed its design for ‘Deep Space Wine,’ a wine room vignette that appeared in Perlick’s booth at KBIS 2018. At the show, Perlick launched its first-ever collection of full-size residential appliances, including 24-in. column refrigerators, freezers and wine reserves, as well as cooking units. Wheelock’s design featured the brand new wine columns, along with the undercounter units.

“Exacting precision is a key element to both the science of space travel and the optimum performance required to store wine,” added the designer, who explained that they related the wine reserves to common elements of a space craft.

Control Console
Space vehicles and bases have control consoles, which place the operator in the center of the control room and centralize all functions in a single space. For the center console, the firm included Perlick’s 24-in. Signature Series because of its temperature consistency, high performance and the control the user has over storing the wine.

Oculus
Wheelock refers to the importance of the Oculus with a large framed circle at the entrance of the booth. The Oculus is an observatory module of the International Space Station (ISS). Its multiple windows are used to conduct experiments, dockings and observations of the Earth. Windows are necessary to endure confined spaces, but of course they have to be extremely durable to hold oxygen in.

Oxygen is similarly the common enemy of wine. When air gets into a bottle of wine, the wine begins to oxidize. Advanced technology monitors humidity levels in the reserve, and if necessary, pushes additional moisture into the compartment to maintain 60-70 percent humidity.


Columns and Corridors
Beginning with 2001: A Space Odyssey, corridors in space ships make science-fiction believable because they’re so utilitarian by nature. The image of a sealed passageway that clearly connects two other chambers floating in space have become an iconic, cinematic staple of science-fiction films.

This sealed corridor is referenced in the wine columns, which feature 2-in.-thick foamed-in-place walls to create a vibration-free environment. Exposure to light will also damage the wine, so dual-pane glass with UV-resistant coating protects it from harmful light. Illuminating the columns, vibrant blue or white LED roll-on theatre lighting adjusts for display or storage.

“Our display design was inspired by the concept of futuristic advancement and exploration of the unknown,” said Wheelock. “What better way to depict this idea than to pay tribute to space travel and all the imagination and attention it captures.”

Feb 22 2018

Posted by
Comments off

Kitchen & Bath Tech Trends You Can’t Afford to Miss

A recent National Kitchen & Bath Association webinar gave insight into this important industry topic. As consumer expectations are increasing where technology is concerned, it is important than ever to stay on top of the trends.

Moderated by Ed Wenck, CEDIA content marketing manager, the panel included Jamie Briesemeister, CEDIA’s integration controls, sales & marketing director; Adam Gibson, CMKBD, Adam Gibson Kitchen & Bath Designs; and Christopher Wright, owner of WrightWorks, a remodeling contractor firm.

The panel covered four learning outcomes during the webinar.

Explore Current and Emerging Tech Trends and Their Application to Current and Future Projects
Briesemeister and her team attended the recent Kitchen & Bath Industry Show and were introduced to a plethora of connected appliances, as well as systems that allow users to access their homes remotely. She said voice control was huge, with many products including Alexa, and water leak detection products help homeowners save on their investment.

“We saw many ‘smart’ products, with smart meaning connected in some way to the internet or a mobile device – there is intelligence built in,” said Briesemeister. “I even saw a mirror with smart glass, which can display weather or a calendar and can also act as a touchscreen to control home devices and even email.”

KOHLER’s Verdera voice-lighted mirror with Amazon Alexa

She also said smart refrigerators add value by letting the homeowner view contents remotely (at a grocery store), and a smart stove can send alerts if it has been on too long. Gibson said the number one connected home need his clients specify is audio visual technology, followed by lighting, which can be controlled with a one-button press or a keypad.

Improve the Experience, Save Production Time, Gain Referrals
“I try to bring up the technology conversation early and ask what existing systems are in place,” said Wright. “I want to deliver options, not upselling or forcing anything on my clients, but rather adding to their quality of life. I find they are willing to pay more for the experience and the peace of mind.”

According to Gibson, every kitchen has some technological integration, but he recommends using an integration specialist to correctly do the install.

“I have learned not to be afraid because I have an integrator involved early,” he explained. “Really good electricians know their limits; they do not try anything they are not trained to do.”

The Bosch Built-in Coffee Machine with Home Connect features voice control through Amazon Alexa. 

Establish a Comfort Level with Emerging Technologies
“In the past, integrations were costly, and it was hard to make multiple systems work,” said Wright. “The early step for me was building relationships with tech pros at events and working with them on my projects.”

CEDIA also offers a database of integrators based on zip code. A good integrator is someone who will not slow down a project, who knows exactly what is out there and who does a great job.

“There are different types – those who do faster installations and those who work with a designer,” said Briesemeister. “Find out what kind you are talking to; you may need to know both.”

Tricks of the Trade
There are several advancements that can hide the technology you install in your client’s home, such as faceplates that match the surrounding material. You can also port a subwoofer through a heating and cooling vent to disguise it.

In terms of maintaining the overall project budget, Wright said there is no need to replace all the current technology in a client’s home.

“This alleviates the fear of having to start over from scratch,” he explained. “We want to present options so our clients have the power to decide what they want. Some will want the latest and greatest, and some only need the bare minimum.