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Archive for KBIS

Feb 22 2018

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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.

Jan 26 2018

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It’s All in the Details

By Patricia Gaylor

I don’t think any one of us in the design and building business think we have an easy job. Some of the design shows on TV make us look like wizards, and the edited version of a home renovation show seems like it’s done in the blink of an eye.

They make it look so effortless and easy! As we all know, it’s anything but that. The reason we make it look that way is because of our desires, talents, education, training and the constant quest to keep ourselves informed and current. We work at it. Most of us live it and breathe it.

That’s why KBIS and Design & Construction week is so important. The collection of creative souls in one space is necessary to fuel the passion for our craft, surround ourselves with like minds, exchange ideas and further our education.

So most (not all) of the design shows the public attends are backed by thousands of hours of real work and dedication by our trade.

To me, last year’s KBIS was all about style. There was a major shift toward cleaner, more modern design, with a focus on mixed finishes, textures and interest in creating a more personal design experience for your client. So this year, I was anxious to see how this trend would evolve even further, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Technology took center stage, with most manufacturers showcasing phone- or voice-activated products. It was everywhere. From pre-heating your shower, remotely peering into your refrigerator, asking your kitchen faucet to measure out a precise amount of water for a recipe – this was the year of Alexa, Siri and smart phone connectivity. Of course, I had no doubt that this would happen someday, but here it was. Secretly, I was a bit overwhelmed by it all and observed that some of these applications are practical and some are just convenient. This is more than a trend, I’m sure. We are at the very beginning of another huge shift in the way we design and build around the rapid improvements in technology.

At this year’s show, the current trend for clean, modern design was still front and center. But there was also great attention to detail and craftsmanship. Tile designs ran the gamut from simple to ornate patterns, small or large format, embossed or raised details and anything in between. Tile is, after all, art for your floors or walls so you can create an artful, personal space for your client. Some of the tile designs from SOMER Tile look handcrafted or even aged. The BRAGA tile captures the artistic look of cement tiles in ceramic.


What goes on inside your cabinetry is just as important as what’s outside. Interior charging stations put messy cords and wires inside a drawer, so you can charge your phone or tablet in a designated area and out of sight. In the bath, interior drawers can be customized to fit your needs. Rev-A-Shelf drawer systems include up to seven storage compartments with five acrylic bins to organize even the smallest items. A pullout grooming organizer solves the problem of storing a bulky hairdryer and puts combs and brushes upright for easy access. Their slide-out, under-sink organizer puts both large and small items at your fingertips.


At SMEG, elevating a mundane appliance to an artform was courtesy of a limited-edition line by Dolce + Gabbana. I’m swooning over this one.

At GE Monogram, the mantra was “Elevate Everything,” which summed up the key theme of the company’s thoughtful attention to detail and craftsmanship. Introducing its first indoor electric pizza oven, GE partnered with a small Michigan-based woodworking company, Anvil Goods, which created a handcrafted walnut and brass pizza peel. This hand-sculpted piece is the perfect partner with GE’s oven, showcasing the personal, purposeful design of everyday objects and elevating them to an art form.

Thanks, KBIS, for delivering a great show, reminding us that our business is always evolving and changing and that the smallest details can fuel the passion for our never-ending quest for good design.

Patricia Gaylor is the owner of Little Falls, N.J.-based Patricia Gaylor Interior Design

Jan 15 2018

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What Design School Didn’t Teach You

Wherever your trade was learned, it is unlikely that it taught you how to handle everything in your chosen field. Such things as difficult clients, marketing struggles and disaster installs are some situations a designer cannot learn in a classroom.

One Modenus Lounge Talk, “Things They Didn’t Teach You in Design School,” at last week’s Kitchen and Bath Industry Show explored just this issue. Panelists included designer Cheryl Kees Clendenon of Pensacola, Fla.-based In Detail Interiors; Leanne Wood, principal of Flying Camel Advertising and PR; and KBB’s managing editor, Erinn Loucks. The panel discussed best ways to get published, how to use social media to your advantage and how to choose the best clients.

Picture Perfect. All three panelists agreed that good-quality photography is one of the best investments a designer can make. Professional photography on their websites and social media platforms can attract potential clients and can be used for pitches to interior design magazines. 

Using Instagram. This is an excellent tool for marketing your brand, however, it should not be mixed with your personal account. Unless it’s design related, save the photos of your kids at the beach for another place. Be sure not to always post other designer’s projects, and use the platform more to showcase your own designs.

Getting Published. Editors love to see new projects! All you need to grab our attention is to send us professional photography and characteristic features that might fit our publication. Designs that include universal features, sustainability, challenges or even unique colors or materials are great to point out. This goes for all trade and consumer publications; think creatively about how to present your projects, and consider what you as a reader would like to see and learn.

Choosing Your Clients. Starting out, it might seem like you should take every client who comes your way. However, knowing you can work well with them can start your career off with a good reputation and an easier project. Know how your personality works with other personalities and what kinds of projects at which you would excel. This will help eliminate problem clients and potential challenges from the outset.

What did you learn at KBIS 2018? Share with us on Facebook or on Twitter @KBBconnect. 

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).