K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

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Mar 10 2017

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Times Are Changing in the Kitchen and Bath Industry

It’s striking to me how much has changed in the kitchen and bath industry over the past 10 years.

There have been many changes in communication, product sourcing, smart technology and consumer awareness, and they can all be traced back to the release of the first iPhone in 2007. Smartphones have changed the ways we communicate, shop and learn, and they have changed the way we live in our kitchens. Mal Corboy, a well-known Auckland, New Zealand, kitchen designer says all of this evolution has changed the design process. (http://i.stuff.co.nz/lifestyle/home-property/83715964/howmuch-has-the-modern-kitchen-changedin-the-past-10-years)

Most residential design/build project communications used to be done in person, by phone and by email. Dream Kitchen Builders still uses those tools, but now we also use messaging and social media apps, and we use these business tools to communicate via mobile devices.

The amount of kitchen and bath information that’s available to consumers is enormous and growing larger every day. This has made us all educated buyers and given consumers more control of each aspect of a design/build project.

We’re now experimenting with smart appliances and wireless devices in the kitchen and bathroom that use artificial intelligence to help us get things done. I cook, so I give voice commands to Siri to set a timer to adjust my music and more while I’m cooking. I’m hands free, so I don’t have to stop what I’m doing. Smart technology hasn’t gone mainstream yet, but appliance and device makers are designing and producing amazing new kitchen and bath products, and early adopters are trying them out and talking about them to their friends.

Last but not least, every kitchen and bath product seems to have almost limitless options and price points and many include free shipping. Clients are now buying kitchen and bath products online and sourcing them internationally. Kitchens and bathrooms have always evolved, but the changes we are now seeing are so revolutionary that they are disrupting the way kitchen and bath business is done – changing the relationship between professionals and consumers and changing the way we live.

 Scott Koehler is the owner of Dream Kitchen Builders, a design-build firm in North Carolina.

Dec 19 2016

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Three K&B Trends for 2017


Wolf warming drawer. Image courtesy of Wolf.

As the kitchen and bath industry heads into trade show season and manufacturers prepare to unveil their latest innovations, the product experts at Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery share three trends they expect to have a major moment in 2017.

Compact Design Gives Rise to Expanded Flexibility

Compact design coupled with high-powered performance ushers in a wave of products that delivers the most from a small space. As manufacturers design more appliances that offer luxurious functionality in a fraction of the space, we expect to see more designers, builders and remodelers developing creative ways to layer products where homeowners want to use them. For example, compact dishwashers allow for installation in a media room in addition to the kitchen, while a ventless dryer can be placed anywhere in the home. Built-in coffee makers that don’t require a dedicated plumbing line can be installed just about anywhere including a guest room, home office, master closet or all three.

Water Delivery Your Way

With the ever-growing options for dedicated faucets and fixtures, the plumbing infrastructure of a home is the starting point of possibilities. For the kitchen, pot fillers, bar faucets and filtered water dispensers all work in tandem to provide water delivery where homeowners use them most. Master baths will continue expansion to include bidets with programmable settings and hands-free faucets and toilets that reduce the spread of germs. The showering experience will further integrate the use of multiple showerheads, body sprays and handshowers to deliver an immersive customized water experience that also uses technological advances to preserve overall water usage. Digital showering systems will rise in popularity with enhanced personalized water delivery experiences that incorporate light, music and steam.


Kohler Composed bathroom faucet and Kohler Veil intelligent skirted one-piece elongated toilet with integrated bidet functionality. Image courtesy of Kohler.

Farmhouse Modern

As the popularity of farmhouse chic evolves, more neutral colors, living finishes and natural materials blended with modern technology and luxurious details will be on the rise. For lighting, anticipate the inventive use of reclaimed wood paired with innovative LED lamping, especially in outdoor applications. The farmhouse sink will continue to make a statement in the kitchen, yet with updated designs, dimensions and finishes in soft golds and matte blacks to pair with contemporary faucets.


Thompson Traders’ Haven apron-front sink. Image courtesy of Thompson Traders.

Dec 06 2016

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Neolith Joins the Tiny House Movement

Neolith Tiny House Launch Party (www.BenRosePhotography.com)

Neolith’s Tiny House pays homage to the material by displaying a number of applications in a small space, including exterior and interior cladding, flooring, countertops, shower walls, fire places and furniture.

According to Mar Esteve, marketing manager for TheSize, the goal of the mobile space is to bring Neolith closer to the residential A&D community across different states and to showcase all the properties of the material: lightweight (great for transportation), durable, uv-unalterable; anti-grafitti, etc.

“We want to convey the message that every space – no matter how big or small – can look great and high end if the right materials are selected,” added Esteve. “We want to communicate that TheSize is aligned with sustainable architecture as well as a way of live.”

Neolith is seen in the Tiny House in the following applications:
– Exterior Cladding (Calacatta gold, Basalt Black, Textil White and Iron Frost)
– Interior Floors (Strata Argentum)
– Interior Walls (Iron Frost)
– Countertops and Island (Estatuario Polished)
– Bathroom Walls (La Beheme, Calacatta Gold)
– Fireplace (Steel Marengo)

The home features an OG36 36- in. outdoor barbeque grill with four individually contained burners for independent heat control, including a sear zone to seal in juices and a two-position rotisserie system. The master bath features the TOTO Neorest 550H toilet with a heated seat, built-in bidet system and choice of an efficient 1.0 or 0.8 gallon per flush. This is paired with a Kiwami Renesse lavatory faucet and a slim Villeroy & Boch washbasin and vanity, which is wall-mounted to save space. The shower includes an Upton rain showerhead and Gyrostream body sprays with rotating heads. In the guest bath, there is the TOTO Aquia Wall-Hung Toilet that takes up less floor space, gives the bathroom a more open feel and is easier to clean.

Nov 28 2016

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Kohler…Bold, Hospitable and Right on Trend

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Editor’s Note: The Kohler Company recently had its annual Media Trends Summit at the company’s facilities in Kohler, Wis. One of our Editorial Advisory Board members, Toni Sabatino of Toni Sabatino Style, attended on behalf of KBB and shares her experience, as well as some new product trends.

Arriving at the American Club is a pretty magical experience. The beautiful historic building has been updated and outfitted to five-star glory; it is picturesque, comfy and includes both a world-class golf course and spa.

The Media Trends Summit experience included a look at new products, several presentations, a factory tour, some great lunches and dinners with members of the company and Kohler family and a choice of a world-class spa experience or golf lesson. I chose a spa treatment, Lavender Rain, a heavenly hour of exfoliation and hydrotherapy accompanied by relaxing music and aromatherapy.

The rooms at the American Club have unique decor items relating to historical figures, and the bathrooms in the guest rooms are full of luxury Kohler products. The charm of the brick buildings and furnishings is reminiscent of a bygone era of opulence, which is a perfect pairing with the hospitality of the Kohler Company and family.

Mr. Herbert Kohler V., Jr., current executive chairman, shared the history of the Kohler Company, the Kohler family and this area of Wisconsin with our group over cocktails and dinner at Riverbend, a restored Kohler family home converted to a private club. The Kohler commitment to quality is notable in every detail. The restorations of the buildings and farm-to-table food selections are both examples of the passion the Kohler family brings to all of its endeavors.

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The new product offerings are no exception. The Veil toilet (above) is Kohler’s entry into the wall-hung hygienic toilet market. It features remote operation, washing and drying features, a self-clean system and heated seat all with the sleek attractive styling I have come to expect from Kohler. A new offering in the bathing category – a solid surface freestanding tub – comes in two sizes and at an excellent price point. Artifacts, the eclectic, artful faucet collection from Kohler boasts several new matte finishes. New entries to the lavatory sink market include tactile finishes that work perfectly with more artisanal and fashion-focused interior design. Shown below is Kohler’s Purist faucet, which offers clean lines and soft curves.

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Mark Bickerstaffe, director of new product development, shared a presentation on marking the importance of softer whites, matte black and mixed metals, warm neutrals, shadowy tones, textural quality and personality pieces being of major factors in the interior design market place. “Sultry” is a word that comes to mind when thinking of the thought-provoking images presented during the presentation. It seems that super clean lines and crisp grays are being replaced by an eclectic mix of metals, light reflectivity, glamour and romance with a smoky dose of intrigue.

Artisanal products and finishes continue to be notable trends to watch for. I can confirm the emergence of warmth, matte metal and a host of soft, textured, eclectic finishes to be prevalent in the furnishings at the Highpoint Fall Market. I find the Kohler’s new entries to the market to be right on trend. I also find that in our global world, where we have access to everything, creating a unique, sultry, artisanal space that fits like good fashion is a trend that will be with us for a while.

– Toni Sabatino