K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Jan 15 2018

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What Design School Didn’t Teach You

Wherever your trade was learned, it is unlikely that it taught you how to handle everything in your chosen field. Such things as difficult clients, marketing struggles and disaster installs are some situations a designer cannot learn in a classroom.

One Modenus Lounge Talk, “Things They Didn’t Teach You in Design School,” at last week’s Kitchen and Bath Industry Show explored just this issue. Panelists included designer Cheryl Kees Clendenon of Pensacola, Fla.-based In Detail Interiors; Leanne Wood, principal of Flying Camel Advertising and PR; and KBB’s managing editor, Erinn Loucks. The panel discussed best ways to get published, how to use social media to your advantage and how to choose the best clients.

Picture Perfect. All three panelists agreed that good-quality photography is one of the best investments a designer can make. Professional photography on their websites and social media platforms can attract potential clients and can be used for pitches to interior design magazines. 

Using Instagram. This is an excellent tool for marketing your brand, however, it should not be mixed with your personal account. Unless it’s design related, save the photos of your kids at the beach for another place. Be sure not to always post other designer’s projects, and use the platform more to showcase your own designs.

Getting Published. Editors love to see new projects! All you need to grab our attention is to send us professional photography and characteristic features that might fit our publication. Designs that include universal features, sustainability, challenges or even unique colors or materials are great to point out. This goes for all trade and consumer publications; think creatively about how to present your projects, and consider what you as a reader would like to see and learn.

Choosing Your Clients. Starting out, it might seem like you should take every client who comes your way. However, knowing you can work well with them can start your career off with a good reputation and an easier project. Know how your personality works with other personalities and what kinds of projects at which you would excel. This will help eliminate problem clients and potential challenges from the outset.

What did you learn at KBIS 2018? Share with us on Facebook or on Twitter @KBBconnect. 

Jan 05 2018

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Ultra-Violet Perspective

Pantone’s long-awaited 2018 Color of the Year is Ultra Violet, a contemplative and moody color meant to symbolize unconventionality and mindfulness. According to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, this blue-based purple was inspired by the inventiveness and imagination of this age.

““Deep purples break the barrier of primarily feminine appeal and broaden its usability into a darker, sophisticated, jewel-tone realm,” added Stephanie Pierce, director of design and trends at MasterBrand Cabinets. “Pantone’s Ultra Violet encompasses these traits, as well as an energetic electricity to add more personality to the home.”

KBB looked for ways manufacturers are incorporating this trending color into their products, where we might spot it at KBIS and how designers might be using it this year in their projects.

Crossville’s Argent Porcelain Stone deepens the already rich look of natural argent stone with a saturated shade inspired by Ultra Violet. Shown here is Grapes of Wrath.


Formica Laminate’s Cassis is a simple way to showcase Ultra Violet in an easytoclean and maintain format. Cassis is available in standard finishes like matte, gloss or microdot.


The Northstar Model 1949 refrigerator from Elmira Stoveworks is now available in Ultra Violet. Along with being Energy Star compliant, the refrigerator features adjustable glass shelving, tall bottle storage and a crystal crisper with a glass cover.


The Dream Up V2 Espresso Machine, available in Intense Violet, offers a frothing tip for perfect foam and a stainless-lined aluminum thermoblock for superb insulation.

Now available in Ultra Violet, the Lust Sideboard from Jetclass is comprised of lacquered wood with either steel or brass accents and two styles of feet.

Where have you seen Ultra Violet? Let us know on our Facebook page and on Twitter @kbbconnect.

Dec 28 2017

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This Year’s Interior Design Trends

2018 is finally here, so we found out what interior designers from the New York Chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) see as trends in interior design for the coming year.

Sunshine Colors Our World. Karen Wolf, Associate ASID, of Karen B. Wolf Interiors in South Orange, N.J., forecasts sunshine yellow as on trend for 2018.


“Positive, confident, vibrant and enthusiastic, this color represents the future and our incoming Gen Z consumers,” said Wolf. “For a technologically savvy group, yellow is the missed sunshine they seek while plugged in and inside. We have not seen this color emerge for quite some time; it feels fresh, happy and young!”

Handcrafted Accessories. Homemade is a recurring macro trend that is rooted in celebrating home-grown artisans and artistry from all over the world. A rebuff of modern technology, this trend embraces the tactile senses and the spirit of craftsmanship based on the local source it derives from.

 “From the Aztec-themed pillow craze of last year and this year’s love for Peruvian alpaca, the trend is timeless and will continue to find new forms powered by advances in technology and the human touch,” said Wolf. “In 2018, look for Japanese/Persian folkloric themes and motifs. Also on the radar is Delftware, or Dutch pottery. First spotted in Europe, Dutch pottery is now reinterpreted as minimalist and also boasts Chinoiserie-inspired designs.”

Lighting Goes Linear. The long and lean linear chandelier has become the newest trend in lighting, according to Faith Hochman, Associate ASID, of FH Home Designs, Inc. in Mahwah, N.J.

“Its length creates a wow factor over a kitchen island or dining table,” said Hochman. “Available with shades and/or multiple lights to create bright light or ambient lighting, its sleekness will instantly change and enhance the beauty of your rooms. Manufacturers have flooded the market with a great range of styles in every budget and style.”

What’s Hot in the Kitchen & Bath. “White and gray are still maintaining their hold on color trends but are being softened with bluer hues,” said Sharon L. Sherman, ASID, of Thyme & Place Design in Wyckoff, N.J.


According to Sherman, white and navy are staples of the design world. Navy is softer than black but still provides the dramatic contrast. Gray is being softened with taupe undertones, providing warmth to the color palette. Matte black and charcoal gray are starting to make appearances in appliances; stainless is still king, but these finishes are being seen more often. Color on ranges – bright red, yellow and blue – is also creating pops in the kitchen.

Spacing It Out. Though open-plan living has its detractors of late [with some clients choosing to keep kitchens separate from the other spaces,] it is here to stay in 2018, according to Ivee Fromkin, Allied ASID, of Monmouth Beach, N.J.

“Jam-packed schedules and the prevalence of technology have made it more important than ever for today’s families to mingle and spend valuable time together,” she said.

Dec 21 2017

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Home for Christmas

Before the renovation

The day before Christmas Eve, my husband and I will be flying from the West Coast back to Atlanta – the city we both grew up in and where both of our families live. I have not been back home since last Christmas and am looking forward to seeing one important change in my childhood house: an updated kitchen.

My parents have lived in this home for more than 30 years. They have renovated their master bath, updated every room’s decor and redesigned the kitchen once before – but about 18 years ago. Like many other baby boomer clients, they are thinking of downsizing in the next few years and need the home to retain a high resale value, but until they are ready to sell they want a place to entertain friends and family.

While they could not do a full renovation of the kitchen, I helped convince them that there are several easy and affordable ways that would modernize the space. The old, traditional stainless steel sink had to go, and the worn granite countertops needed replacing. The floral backsplash, which my father had carefully installed when I was 10, really needed an update. Finally, the refrigerator, the hood and the cooktop were all aging.


It took about two months to get everything chosen and in – with a few bumps along the way (the dishwasher came in cracked, and the tile guy ran out of tile) –  but the resulting kitchen is much improved. The sink is now one of Kohler’s beautiful, white apron-front sinks paired with a stainless steel Delta faucet. The original four-burner cooktop was replaced with a KitchenAid five-burner natural gas unit with a dramatic Elica hood above it.

The kitchen gained a more modern look with white Calacatta Gold quartz countertops from Premier Surfaces; there is subtle veining around the perimeter countertops and more dramatic black-and-white veining on the island. My favorite part is the backsplash, which per my suggestion, is a simple 6-in., white subway tile installed in a herringbone pattern. A stainless steel, French-door refrigerator completes the ensemble.


It might have taken a lot of work, but my parents love their new kitchen. We are the kind of family that always hosts, and I expect we will be celebrating many holidays in this space.


So designers, be proud that the job you do truly makes a difference in others’ lives and gives people a little joy every day.

Happy holidays from Kitchen and Bath Business!