KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Kitchen Design

Jul 09 2018

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City Life

The 2018 Metro Designer Showhouse, which recently took place in Edgewater, N.J., tasked a team of designers to redesign six residences within a newly built condominium, the Glass House. With 12,000 square feet of waterfront space, the Glass House showcases skyline views of Manhattan and the Hudson River in each residence.

The showhouse aims to draw attention to Edgewater Harbor and offers visitors and potential buyers a glimpse of what might be the lifestyle for someone buying a luxury condo at the Glass House – where the second of its two buildings is now being completed.

Designer Anna Maria Mannarino of Mannarino Designs, Inc. in Holmdel, N.J., put her talents to work on a three-bedroom condo. With a modern Italian style, the condo features custom wallcoverings created by the designer, as well as pieces from her new pillow line. KBB spoke with Mannarino to find out more in particular about how she introduced a botanical twist to the condo’s luxurious kitchen.


KBB: What was your inspiration behind the kitchen design?

Mannarino: I hoped to create a chef’s dream space and entertaining haven with a bit of an industrial vibe.

KBB: By what were you challenged?
Mannarino: Since this showhouse was in a brand new condo, giving an existing kitchen its own personality was the challenge. A few elements we changed were replacing chrome hardware with brass, adding a textured wallcovering to the walls of the island and adding an industrial workstation in the nook.

KBB: What materials did you use to create a botanical look?
Mannarino: The light fixture created by Flowerbox Wallgarden is made of all-natural greens, which are preserved and maintenance free.

KBB: What was your favorite part of this design?
Mannarino: The light fixture, for sure! The combination of the natural botanicals, metal frame and hanging Edison lights captivate any visitor and draw them in.”

Jul 09 2018

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Appliances for Growing Your Own

Whether or not you favor cannabis legalization, medicinal and recreational marijuana for the masses is gaining momentum. Cannabis researchers report North American legal pot sales jumped 34 percent in 2016 to $6.9 billion, and spending on legal cannabis worldwide is expected to hit $57 billion by 2027.

Several companies are racing to serve the cannabis markets, and a new category of home appliances is cropping up to position itself for new revenue growth.

Sustainable Choices
Canadian company Danby Appliances already has a home herb-growing appliance called the Danby Fresh Eco to facilitate sustainably growing favorite herbs, micro-greens and flowering plants all year round in the home.


A new appliance called GYO was co-developed between Danby and BloomBoss, a leading manufacturer of high-efficiency, high-performance LED grow lights. It is a grow box designed specifically for home cannabis cultivation. GYO (pronounced “jee-yo” and stands for “grow your own”) contains a turnkey system to grow plants hydroponically – all the consumer needs to do is plug it into a standard 120-volt outlet, fill the reservoir, plant their seeds or cuttings and grow. The appliance is a self-contained environment that masquerades as a sleek mini-refrigerator and includes systems to regulate temperature and humidity. Powering the grow is an energy-efficient BloomBoss TrueSun LED, which keeps monthly operating costs low and increases the potency, flavor and aroma of the cannabis grown in it.

Cloudponics’ GroBox
San Francisco-based Cloudponics is first company to offer a completely automated system for growing marijuana (or any other plants) in your home. The GroBox controls air temperature, nutrients, humidity, water flow, airflow, light schedule and pH balance to sustain consistent, repeatable and predictable yields all with a mobile app. According to Cloudponics, the Grobox can produce about eight ounces of dried, cured cannabis every four months.

In case your client lives in an apartment building or has kids, the box locks and can only be accessed by those who have the app on their phone, A refill service delivers filters, sensors and nutrients tailor made for 60 different strains every six months for $200.

Leaf
Another refrigerator-shaped grow box available to the home market is the Leaf. Developed by Corsica Innovations of Boulder, Colo., Leaf is a self-contained, automatic grow box that’s designed to yield a bountiful harvest of mint, basil, strawberry, kale or other plant types with no green thumb or prior horticultural knowledge required.

The box itself measures 62 inches high by 27 inches wide by 25 inches deep. It is finished in anodized aluminum and comes equipped with sensors, nutrient packs and blue spectrum-enhanced PAR lighting, an HD camera for remote viewing and a mobile app. The Leaf platform also includes a social network that allows home growers to share live-stream feeds of their plants and share recipes and growing tips.


The company introduced its concept for the Leaf automated cannabis growing appliance in 2015. Corsica Innovation has raised approximately $4.5 million in equity from investors such as Boca Raton, Fla.-based cannabis-focused private equity firm Phyto Partners and cannabis investment firm CJV Capital Ltd. The Leaf is $2,990 and is expected to ship in the third quarter of 2018.

These appliances probably aren’t going to be permanently built into kitchens any time soon until federal restrictions are lifted. Do you think these buzz-worthy appliances are worth the hype? Will we see more major appliance manufacturers enter this market? I think we will – probably under different names at first. Large companies have shareholders to think about, and the thing that makes them the happiest is money. The growth of this market is too big to ignore.

Jun 22 2018

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Reducing Environmental Impact at Home

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, roughly one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption – about 1.3 billion tons – gets lost or wasted every year. Even if just one-fourth of this could be saved, it would be enough to feed 870 million hungry people globally.

With these statistics in mind, KBTribeChat host and KBB Editorial Advisory Board member Paula Kennedy held this week’s discussion on reducing food waste and energy usage in the kitchen.

Appliance and Storage Solutions

  • Many refrigerators offer features and temperature-controlled areas to keep fruits and vegetables fresher longe
  • Installing a compost bin in a new design encourages homeowners to throw away less and recycle more of their food into the soil
  • Innovative practices – like using a steam oven to rehydrate bread – should be explained to homeowners when they purchase a new appliance.
  • Using high-quality appliances that cook food more efficiently without the user’s expertise will lessen the throwing out of ruined meals.

Future Food Storage

  • Food will always have an expiration date, but hopefully smart storage will one day remind homeowners of those dates.
  • Vacuum sealing and canning are coming back in style, so the future kitchen may cater more to those.
  • With daily delivery options available for food, the need for a pantry will be reduced.
  • High-pressure processing, a new storage technique currently only offered commercially, can kill pathogens and bacteria but preserve vitamins and nutrients. If it can be translated for residential homes, it can greatly help keep foods longer.

Energy and Water Usage

  • Just having an open kitchen with plenty of natural lighting eliminates the need for always turning on the lights.
  • LED lightbulbs should now be a staple in the home.
  • Low-flow faucets and motion- and voice-activated faucets encourage homeowners to use less water.
  • An energy-efficient dishwasher uses significantly less water than handwashing dishes.
  • Energy-efficient windows and proper window treatments save energy on lighting, air conditioning and heating.

How are you helping your clients to reduce waste in their projects? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter @KBBconnect.

Jun 18 2018

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Smart Technology: Yay or Nay?


The debate continues about whether smart technology makes sense in the kitchen. It’s hard to argue against appliances that notify owners of problems and schedule service. However, some object to delegating tasks and thinking to smart devices and worry that they are making us lazy – or worse, dumb and anti-social.

Who Is Interested in Smart Home Tech?
Because the baby boomer population continues to grow and people are busier than ever, one can easily make the case for employing smart technology in kitchen design. Configuring smart devices and appliances with smart phones, Google Home or Amazon Alexa lets you remotely complete tasks that normally require your presence or direct touch.

According to The New York Times article, “To Invade Homes, Tech Is Trying to Get in Your Kitchen,” only 5 percent of Americans own smart appliances. In a related survey from October 2017, RICKI – Research Institute for Cooking & Kitchen Intelligence revealed statistics about who is interested in smart technology: 69 percent of Generation X, 62 percent of millennials, 23 percent of baby boomers and only 2 percent of the mature population. If only 5 percent of Americans own smart appliances, these percentages translate to fairly small numbers, and interest does not necessarily result in a purchase.

Appliance Brands Need to Walk the Talk
I live in the North Carolina region known as Research Triangle Park, which is home to numerous IT companies from hi-tech startups to well-established giants like IBM. Local designers enjoy a higher level of interest in technology products here.

During a recent visit to The Appliance Center in Durham, N.C., I spoke with owner, Stu Stewart, and  marketing director, Kim Stewart. They supply appliances to the building and design communities, as well as homeowners. They report seeing a limited number of homeowners or builders seeking smart appliances, and 80 percent of consumers are not computer-savvy. The Appliance Center’s staff receives training on smart technology from the brands, which equips them with the knowledge to educate their customers.

Appliance sellers need to be educated and current with smart technology to efficiently sell it. Combine uneducated consumers with untrained sales professionals, and the percentages noted by RICKI are not surprising. If the seller cannot explain the benefits and uses of smart features, how likely is s/he to make the sale?

Maybe Bertazzoni president, Paolo Bertazzoni, has the right idea – the enduring Italian appliance company does not want its appliances to rely on a smart phone. The main objective for their appliances is that they cook well.
                              Bertazzoni’s 48-in. six burner and griddle

We live in exciting and changing times in the design industry. Some consumers will find the idea of smart technology in the kitchen irresistible. But me, I’d rather spend the extra money on a snazzy range and sit around the table talking with my family.