K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Projects

Feb 01 2017

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He Said/She Said: Successfully Designing for Couples


In a relationship, many situations require compromise. Designing a dream space for two shouldn’t be one of them. Award-winning interior designer, Christopher Grubb, believes that designing for two is all about successful negotiation and never about compromise. As a Beverly Hills-based designer accustomed to demanding clientele, Grubb draws on his experience to explain to designers, contactors and remodelers what it takes to make both partners feel they’re being heard and that both of their needs are being met.

Some tips he uses when working with couples include:

Have them pull inspiration images separately. I will joke that I’ve seen in some relationships there is a design override between couples. I’m not saying my clients have that, but it helps me understand what they BOTH want. We as designers can quickly see the commonality of their desires in their images to guide the design to satisfy both of their desires.

Answering the question: “What are the trends?” I don’t exactly subscribe to trends but do see “movements” in design. I can point some trends I see but usually ask them what do YOU see as trends? It gives me a chance to hear what they think and what they like and seem excited about. Of course the next question is how on trend do you want your space to be or how timeless to see how much they really want to be trendy.

Never take sides – no matter who signs the check. Designing for a couple becomes a very intimate relationship, and remodels are stressful. I’ve been in emotional situations often, and to disarm the situation, I will respond with my observations of what each has said they like during the process and remind them we are designing as a team effort.

– Playing therapist. Remodels create a lot of stress with the interruption of ones living space, the financial investment, strangers in their home, etc. We all want to design, and the process of the final result is arduous to say the least. Many calls are the client simply venting and wanting someone who will listen. Another successful action I use is to call and ask, “How are you and how are things going?” This reiterates that I care both about the project and my clients’ mental wellbeing.

– Never compromise – always negotiate. Many clients see the grand total or a project, and their first question is “Can we find materials that are less money?” I remind them that the construction is the majority of the cost, and I don’t want them to compromise on a material and later regret they didn’t get what they wanted. They will walk into their space everyday and be disappointed they didn’t get what they really wanted. Another situation is when one of the couples wants something that is more expensive or the other partner feels is unnecessary. One may like the gorgeous tub fill and the other balks. IF you’ve listened, you can negotiate and remind the other that they wanted the towel warmer and add that it is beautiful and functional. They have both gotten what they want.

– Avoid stereotyping. Many think the husband will be all about the cost or succumb to the old adage “Whatever she wants.” Or that the wife will want a bathtub (that actually only 25 percent of people use). My success is listening and not going into a project with any pre-conceived ideas.

Top image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dec 22 2016

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A Bar Area with a Surprise Function


This kitchen project – Maui Renovation – by Interior Design Solutions in Pukalani, Ha., featured a one-of-a-kind bar that also serves as the laundry area. According to the designer, Valorie Spence, the previous layout featured a narrow, dark hallway between the living room and the bedrooms that the client wanted to eliminate and modernize with a new electrical panel and washer and dryer that were fully integrated.

“We wanted that space to have multi-uses and become part of the living room area, as well as be useful when entertaining as a bar/drink station and not look like a laundry room,” she explained.


Spence chose a Rain Forest marble countertop and an Alyse Edwards glass backsplash called “Shake that Thing” for the bar area, which features a large-format Durango stone fossil shell limestone flooring. The cabinets are in vertical-matched grain koa with satin glass panel uppers, Blum full-extension hardware, Snadero Certosa drawer pulls and line-voltage LED lighting.

“It was a very challenging area because it was in the center of the space with plumbing walls, electrical panel and enclosing walls around the old laundry,” explained Spence. “The builder and I worked with the other trades to design and open up the space with a reconfiguration of the plumbing and electrical enclosures.”

The designer said more of her clients are requesting that these bar areas be designed into the living spaces for a more open feeling and that large gathering tables are becoming the center of food and drink in our current design philosophy.

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 16 2016

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Powder Room Perfection


Lori Carroll of Lori Carroll & Associates recently won the 2016 International Design of the Year Award from Designer Kitchen & Bathroom, a trade publication in Essex, England, for her “Gemstone” bathroom. The award celebrates innovation and inspiration and is open to entrants from around the world. It is judged by a panel of professionals with expertise in kitchen and bathroom design, architecture, retail, interior design and business.

KBB spoke with Carroll about her project and why it was a no-brainer for this award.

What was the idea behind the design of this bathroom? 

Carroll: Luxury is all about the experience. I wanted to create a powder room design that allowed guests to relax and reflect in uncompromising style. Ambient light, high-end materials and rich tones and textures were all the qualities for a truly amazing space.

What were the homeowner’s goals, and how did you achieve those?

Carroll: These well-traveled clients definitely wanted a powder room in their new custom home that was different from any others they had seen. Each element in the design appealed to their adventurous side from the intricate stone slabs to the spectacular wall sconces that sparkle like jewelry for a one-of-a-kind bathroom.


What are the standouts of the space?

Carroll: Of course the onyx gets the most attention in this powder room, however, even the smallest details stand out, including fixtures like a Neo Metro Mini Loo stainless toilet powder coated in amber bronze. Dazzling sconces guide the way into this powder room; hand-formed, angle-cut crystal rods are infused with mineral crystalline that creates a spectacular display over the vanity.

Did you overcome any challenges along the way?

Carroll: The greatest challenge was keeping the powder room design as unique as the architectural features to provide the most impact. Using sources of light to avoid a dark, heavy feeling generated the small footprint and resulted in an energized space guest could enjoy.


What criteria did your bathroom meet to win the award?

Color has everything to do with setting the tone in a space; adding light orchestrates the perception of that color. When designing this alluring powder room, the rich hues in the specialty paint finish and a glass bead wall covering became the backdrop for layers of light, each highlighting elements that make this bathroom unique.