K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Archive for Trends

Mar 13 2017

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The Laundry Room 2.0


Laundry Room by Christie Board, Board by Board Inc. Photo by Bella Vita Photography

This room used to be the one shoved into a corner, a closet or a basement and forgotten. It is notoriously messy, stressful and busy but also essential to the smooth running of a family home. Having an organized laundry room – no matter how small – has always been valued, but now having a beautiful laundry room is also in demand.

This week’s KBTribeChat looked at today’s laundry room and the demands, the trends and the exciting products changing the way we look at this hardworking room.

Most Desired Feature
It’s not just one feature – as usual, clients want a multi-functional space that is both beautiful and accessible. Countertop space and an abundance of storage is a must, and also having hanging rods and places to fold is helpful. Sinks are also growing in demand. Above all, people want ways to simplify this chore so they have more time for what’s important to them.

Top Load vs. Front Load
Participants argued that while front-loaders look better and stack easily, top-load washers are more accessible. Also, a front-loader washer can develop mold if not cleaned consistently.

Making a Small Laundry Room Larger
Laundry rooms are usually one of the smallest areas in the home. Taking advantage of vertical space and light colors, however, can make all the difference. For the best use of space, a designer could stack a front-load washer/dryer, install retractable hanging space and design custom storage for the clients’ family.

Energy Efficiency
Most clients are looking to save water and energy. While eco-friendly products are a popular request, some clients still want “all the bells and whistles” in their laundry machine and falsely believe that less water equates to dirtier clothes. Even if they do not invest in a highly energy-efficient appliance, laundry machines and dryers still use less water and energy than in previous years.

Where Are We Headed?
Like the open-plan kitchen, the laundry room is transforming into a multifunctional space that combines mudroom, laundry and craft area all in one. They are also likely to be a part of the smart home phenomenon – which may include Wi-Fi connectivity or remote control.

What do you love most about today’s laundry rooms? Let us know on our Facebook page, on Twitter @KBBConnect or on Instagram @Kbb_magazine.

Mar 06 2017

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A Preview of ISH

On March 14, Frankfurt, Germany, will host more than 2,400 exhibitors and thousands of attendees looking for new and exciting products for the bathroom. With a focus on sustainable sanitation solutions, innovative bathroom designs and energy-efficient heating technologies – as well as environmentally friendly ventilation technology – the show will showcase European trends and groundbreaking products.

There are still two weeks to go, but we gathered a few standout products together for a quick teaser of the show.


1. Made of Fine Fire Clay, the collection of Cameo washbasins from Valdama brings smooth lines into the room and includes details like a slightly raised, slim perimeter rim. The unusual square-shaped central waste drain with rounded edges is made of ceramic, and the overflow outlet is artfully hidden from view.


2. Designed by Monica Graffeo, DOT by Thermomat is a cable that acts like a towel holder for the washbasin and bidet, but it is also a useful support for accessories like a hairdryer or brush.


3. Zucchetti.Kos presents an addition to the Closer family with a new line of taps. Designed by Diego Grandi, the tap was created to control and direct the flow of water as the user wishes.


4. Touch and Steam from Effegibi is a column steam generator with digital controls and integrated functions for heating, color therapy, aromatherapy and steam diffusion.

Feb 01 2017

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He Said/She Said: Successfully Designing for Couples

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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

Jan 26 2017

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The Schizophrenia of Design

Barn Doors

One of my jobs as an interior designer is selecting paint colors and related design materials (plumbing fixtures, tile, lighting, etc.) for a homebuilder in Florida. This particular company builds around a dozen spec homes a year, all of which are traditional in style. Not a heavy ‘traditional’ look; one geared more toward young family buyers – with open floor plans and simple, clean lines – which is the current ‘trend.”

There’s that word again…

I have a little difficulty with the word trend, only because I remember trends from years past I’d rather not ever see again. But they come back, in different forms, as basically just a re-worked old ‘trend.’ For example, what was once called a Tuscan look has returned in a cleaned-up version called Napa style. Less ornamentation, lighter in feel, but with all the same elements.

I’m asked countless times to write articles and speak about current design trends. This is the reason I go to trade shows – so I can see all the beautiful new products that are the style of the moment. And that’s the problem – our ‘moment’ has become just that. Because of social media and related outlets, trends are reported instantly and unfortunately change just as rapidly.

The builder I work for was showing the latest home they built to a realtor, who mentioned that the barn door slider we used on the first- floor room that is used for an office and doubles as a guest room was so “2016.” And as I write this, it’s January of 2017. So one month into a new year, and I’m already out of style?

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A few months ago, I wrote a blog about Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year being Simply White and how a ‘non-color’ can work beautifully by building texture and contrast around it. This year’s B. Moore’s color is the polar opposite, a dark, beautiful shade of dusky purple called Shadow.

So there’s the split. Every time I open a magazine or go on my computer, there’s a newer trend. This could be a real problem for the average person who’s re-decorating or remodeling their home and attempts to make a decision they can stick with. What’s the solution for us designers and specifiers who see it all and have to make a living doing it?

First, whatever you do, do it well. Nothing goes out of style more quickly than a cheap, hastily done design. Follow trends, but make them your own. Add your own style. Tread lightly, don’t kill it. My personal style is clean traditional, but I’ve done contemporary, urban farmhouse, industrial, craftsman, etc. The key to a long-lasting design is simplicity and quality, which never go out of style.

So whatever the trending style is, or the color of the year or even the minute may be, just do it well. It’s our business to promote styles and trends, after all.