K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Trends

Apr 12 2018

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Tile Trends to Watch Out for in 2018

It’s no secret that tile makes a statement! And it can be a great conversation piece too.

We finally recently just wrapped up our very own kitchen remodel (https://bit.ly/2v9b9r7). Our own personal projects always get put on the back burner when it comes to our clients work, am I right? But we are so pumped to share what we did to the space. The number one thing my husband and I knew we wanted to do was to incorporate some cool tile design. We are a family that loves to entertain, and we wanted to have a wall of art, if you will. We’re also seeing a huge shift in tile and wanted to share with you what we’re seeing and what we did in our own home design and within our clients’ projects.

Handmade

Handcrafted, hand-painted and homemade tiles are the new rage. The quality is amazing, and in this kitchen, they turned out perfectly. Even though the tile and the cabinets are both white, the handmade look makes the tile stand out. Handmade tile looks so much richer than generic tile and brings in a character that isn’t found anywhere else.

Bold Patterns
Bold patterns are a great way to make a statement in the kitchen or bathroom and become the focal point of the space. For this bathroom, our clients were looking for a black-and-white modern look. They wanted to create a wet room space, and the black-and-white tile combined with a bolder pattern makes this bathroom feel clean, modern and chic. By choosing a bolder pattern on the floor, it draws your eye around the room and gives it a luxurious vibe.

Adding Texture
Texture adds depth and contrast. In this bathroom, our clients were looking for a modern farmhouse vibe and rather than incorporating all subway tile, we added a hexagon niche and floor. It creates a pretty focal point and brings in a beautiful texture that makes it feel like you’re showering at a spa.

Imperfection
Imperfect tiles look handmade and old world. Their character brings in the feel of a 100-year old home that was built by craftsmen. You can easily tell that the tiles are higher quality and handmade, rather than all perfectly the same and created by a machine.

Brighter Color
Bringing in color can transform your space from neutral and plain to fun and bright. The tiles in this shower are made by U.S. company Mercury Mosaics, and this fish-scale pattern is inspired by the movement of the ocean. The bright blue color reminds us of the Caribbean and adds excitement to the space.

New Shapes & Patterns
When we remodeled our kitchen, we wanted to incorporate some new patterns and shapes to create a unique wall that would become the statement piece. On this wall, we installed a custom hood and floating shelves, so the backsplash is definitely the main feature. Creating a custom backsplash allows you to choose the shapes and patterns you want and becomes like a piece of art in your kitchen. I can’t complain about cooking while looking at that!

Apr 08 2018

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Talking About and Getting Started with Smart Tech


Get Up to Speed

  1. Install a smart lock on your door. If you’re not handy with tools, bring in someone who is and experiment. I installed an August Smart Lock Pro, and I’m controlling it by voice from Siri on my iPhone. The cool thing about this device is that it only replaces the deadbolt and not the door knob, so you have two independent options for locking and unlocking your home.
  2. Contract with professionals who are already installing smart things in homes like the experts from the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA). You might include their proposal in your contract or suggest that your homeowner pay them directly. Either way, you will learn something and get involved in smart technology.
  3. Take a class online or in person to learn the basics about smart technology. If you already have a smartphone, you’re halfway there. If you have some mechanical aptitude and like figuring out how things work, then this a new opportunity for new expertise and income that’s worth considering.

 

Talking About Smart Technology
Technology gets new vocabulary and definitions often, so here are some of the frequently used words and definitions for discussing smart homes and smart kitchens with your clients.

  • Smart. Currently smart means online in the kitchen industry. It doesn’t necessarily have to do with artificial intelligence.
  • Local Network. Typically this is a single office or a home, where a smart device does not have to be online to operate. For example, a temperature or moisture sensor can let your clients know when conditions change in their home. The downside is they won’t know about those until they return home.
  • Hub. A hub is a machine that collects and distributes data to and from and between smart devices in the home.
  • Smart Speaker. This is a voice device that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to learn and communicate online via the cloud or built into a computer chip (local) like in a smartphone or even in an appliance.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI). The ability of a machine to do tasks that previously required human skill or human intelligence, including learning and problem solving. Examples: voice and image recognition.
  • IOT (Internet of Things). Smart things talking to smart things with no human involved. Example, a moisture sensor on the kitchen floor telling your client’s smartphone that there’s a leak in the house.
  • Machine Learning. Algorithms (computer code) that cause a machine, like a smartphone, to learn. Example, your smartphone voice assistant (Siri/Alexa) learns from input without being explicitly programmed by a human.

 

Voice Control in Smart Homes and Kitchens
Voice technology for home automation is evolving rapidly but not without some bumps in the road. Here are some things to consider.

1. Voice control of smart devices is top of mind for everyone, but home automation systems with manual switches can be voice enabled as an option that I would recommend to my clients.

2. Some smart devices are close to being voice controllable but are not quite ready yet. For example, an appliance manufacturer hasn’t been approved for use with Apple HomeKit but is working on it.

3. Some systems like Apple HomeKit are better at controlling many devices in multiple rooms and can automate actions among devices. For example, a system can automatically turn on a kitchen light when a smartlock is unlocked. Some systems like Amazon Alexa, for example, are better at ordering and buying food and scheduling deliveries to your client’s home. Voice systems have niches, and the concept of a unified ecosystem for all home automation may not be the best solution for every home.

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.

Feb 19 2018

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Nancy Fire’s Top Trends

Meet Nancy Fire, design director for HGTV Home and creative director and founder of Design Works International, a lifestyle design studio in New York City that specializes in original textile design, trend development, color and bespoke consulting services.

With more than three decades of expertise in the design industry, Fire works to provide brands, manufacturers and companies with trend research and development. KBB recently sought her out to hear the newest predictions and insights in interior design:

Open Floor Plans
Fire:
“Designing today is about duality, and that is exactly what an open floor plan provides. These open spaces that function as multiple rooms within a living space are still in demand, with the most common being the great room that combines the kitchen, dining room and living room in one shared space.”

“At Wilsonart, wood is warming up the home with accent shelves that bring a more contemporary and updated approach to bookcase-type style,” said Fire. “Using lighter wood in the home usually creates a brighter vibe and coordinates nicely with other textures and surfaces.”

What Makes a Luxury Home

Fire: “For me, it’s having things in my home that allow me to enjoy my interior space. I am a designer that has always mixed old with new, expensive with affordable and neutrals with pops of color to add personality and substance to a space. In our New York City apartment, the luxury comes from my furniture and accessories, but in the country the luxury comes from my appliances and open floor plan living because we have more space.”

“Moving away from the singular metal trend of seasons past, we’re now witnessing metal mixing through combinations of various finishes throughout the home,” said Fire. Shown here is True Residential’s black matte and copper kitchen at KBIS 2018.

Upcoming Trends

Fire: “People are looking for items with duality – products that do more than one thing. This includes ovens that are convention and steamers, refrigerators that allow you to see what is inside from your phone so you can shop straight from work and compost containers that have wood tops that twin as cutting boards.”

“There was definitely a floral theme at this year’s KBIS,” said Fire. “This Thermador Freedom Kitchen truly expresses our love of art by offering oversized panels of colorful artwork as an expression of custom creativity.”

Other trends Fire noted include:

1. A green thumb is a trend showing up in kitchens; this involves live plant/herb walls integrated in the space itself. This allows a true farm-to-table experience within your kitchen.
2. Colorful hoods in the kitchen are trending this season because they are affordable ways to introduce color. Shape and size as well as substrates are updated and inventive.
3. Accommodating small spaces in the kitchen this is happening on so many levels this season because we are seeing smaller appliance options.
4. Overexposed environmentally-friendly wood shelving is still important. Open shelving is continuing in many ways, as well as recycled beams returning to frame vaulted kitchens.
5. Touches of terrazzo in the kitchen range from flooring, backsplashes, cutting boards and even lighting. This highly versatile, solid surface material is comprised of marble chips embedded into a cement base, then ground flat and coated with a sealer.