K+BB Collective | The Designers' Corner

May 25 2017

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A Sunny Extension


The homeowners of one turn-of-the-century home in Ballarat, Australia, wanted to still honor their home’s original design, but they had to meet the needs of their growing family.

“The house was too small, and baby number three was on the way,” said designer Mick Moloney of Ballarat-based Moloney Architects. “Our requirements were for a robust family home, but we were challenged by a tight budget.”


To open up the small home and create a working kitchen space, the team added what looked like a “wooden box” to the rear of the home with a glass-covered side. Using low-cost materials like plywood and formply wood, they were able to join the new area to the original home through a connection space. This allows the original roof structure to remain unchanged.

This addition also takes advantage of the sun with its open side. It was important to the clients to have an eco-friendly home, and the sunlight helps to naturally heat up the home in the cooler environment.


“This group of vertical windows captures long shafts of sunlight that reach right to the very back of our central living space,” said Moloney, who worked alongside Jules Moloney on the project. “The space receives plenty of natural light and also has a positive psychological effect of feeling warm and cheery. It makes those chilly Ballarat winters much more bearable.”

Using SketchUp, the team designed a layout that centers around the island. This long island needed to match the openness of the surrounding design, so the team made it completely open underneath.


“We wanted the island to float off the floor – a bit like a piece of furniture with legs,” he said. “Seeing underneath the unit makes the space feel lighter and larger.”

Dark cabinets contrast the prevalence of light-colored wood in the space. These cabinet faces are made from inexpensive black formply, and the rear service bench is stainless steel – perfect for a busy family. The island is topped with Carrara marble for a touch of natural texture to complete the composition.

“Everyday they can have a cup of tea and sit and watch the kids play in the garden,” said Moloney. “It can get down below freezing in Ballarat, and we’ve found the sunlight access here in the kitchen keeps up cheer throughout the winter.”

May 18 2017

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Updating the Twenties

This is certainly the season for show homes – we’ve seen everything from a luxury Hollywood mansion redesign to a high-tech house in Arizona. Another one caught our eye in Lake Forest, Ill., with a fascinating history and a unique kitchen design: the Lake Forest Showhouse and Gardens.

The home is an estate designed by architect Howard Van Doren Shaw, one of the most respected turn-of-the-century architects. Shaw received a nod in the The Great Gatsby as the architect of character Daisy Buchanan’s Lake Forest home.

        The office nook features elegant touches like a ceiling tray and a cozy window seat.

The Historic Preservation Award-winning English country estate is set on more than two acres featuring gardens with bluestone patios, fountains and a large fire pit. The house is a five-bedroom and five-and-a-half bath structure with a five-room coach house and kitchen. The house was built in 1922 as the summer residence for a prominent lawyer named J.O. Hinkley.

Chicago-based designer Leslie Martin of M & M Interior Design redesigned the kitchen in this Gatsby-inspired home for the event. Since this was a historic home, she was only allowed to change certain aspects of the kitchen.

    The heavy wooden island contrasts the white cabinetry around the perimeter of the kitchen.

“We were tasked with working with the existing architecture, but with a kitchen this lovely it wasn’t a tough assignment,” said Martin. “Our goal was to freshen the space and make it come to life.”

She began by painting the ceiling in a high-gloss finish, which opened up the kitchen and made the large room feel even grander. By doing so it also neutralized the space and gave the designer an opportunity to play with color in other areas like the office nook, which features floral touches in yellow and green.

    Tiny details in the cabinetry give the kitchen a modernized version of 1920s character.

The ceiling lights were replaced with pendants that have a modern edge while still remaining suitable for a space with traditional bones. Martin then accessorized the space with a mixture of timeless materials like vintage hotel silver, marble, blue and white porcelain and copper – along with some modern designs like cake plates and lighting.

“Table lamps were brought in for the counter because mood lighting is important in every room, including the kitchen,” explained Martin.

Photography: Anthony Tahlier

May 17 2017

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12 Practical Ideas to Improve a Galley Kitchen

“I have a small kitchen remodel to do, but nothing can be done with it,” is heard too often – especially in New York City where galley kitchens are often the standard design layout. I use the term, ‘layout,’ loosely, as minimum thought has gone into maximizing the use of the space.

Galley kitchens are named for a ship’s parallel, usually narrow work areas, yet they are not necessarily featureless. Some have height or length to exploit to take full advantage of the function and form that can be attained by new kitchen cabinets.

Every family and cook has their own routine in the kitchen. We all get used to working in our space – not realizing that even minor changes might improve the food preparation experience and enliven the kitchen.

Understanding the cook’s work habits in the renovation of a small galley kitchen is essential as there is very little margin for error. Here are 12 practical and appealing ideas to aid your renovation.

1. Use Stove Smarts. If you rarely cook with more than two burners, placing the stove against the side wall (shown below) provides more work space on the remaining countertop area. A 24-in.-wide stove has the same number of burners – only with less space between them and on each side.In a small kitchen, a two-burner 12- or 24-in. cooktop can be set into a built-up, 3-in.-thick counter above the dishwasher.

2. Consider the Microwave. For tall clients, a microwave/convection oven placed on top of a short refrigerator will suffice. The bottom of the microwave is most convenient at the level of the person’s armpit; too high, and the chance of spilling the contents increases.

3. Increase Storage. For shorter people, 15-in.-deep wall cabinets increase storage, and the cabinets still don’t feel uncomfortably close to your client’s face.

4. Invest in Smaller Appliances. Space-saving dishwashers 18 inches wide or a single dish drawer will allow for larger base cabinets. Refrigerators that are narrower and shallower are also taller and offer more aisle space and room for storage.

5. Hang up the Hood. If your clients don’t fry on the stove, they probably don’t need a hood. The bottom of the cabinet over the stove can now be level with the adjacent cabinets, providing additional storage and offering a more unified kitchen remodel. Sheet metal can be easily attached to the underside of the cabinet for protection.

6. Provide Cabinet Access. Horizontal kitchen cabinet doors that lift up or flip up (shown below), as well as sliding doors, elongate the space and provide access without doors swinging in one’s face.

7. Cabinet Drawers. Deep pot drawers in a galley kitchen may be a better choice than cabinets with rollout shelves behind doors. Removing the pot at the front of the drawer may only require opening it 12 inches, whereas rollouts need wider doors fully opened to access the shelves.

8. Organize the Look. When the amount of appliances equals the cabinetry or when the row of base cabinets is a different color than the appliances, place a matching cabinet panel on the dishwasher or match the cabinet doors to the appliances. This will eliminate what I call ‘the missing tooth look.’

9. Unify the Look. Having the kitchen sink and the countertop the same color achieves a more unified look (shown below). Materials that blend with a sink include stainless steel, slate and Corian. A black quartz sink can also successfully blend into a dark countertop.

10. Create Height & Contrast. Achieve height by coordinating the cabinet above the refrigerator with the refrigerator color to add a strong vertical, cohesive form. Having the refrigerator cabinet touch the ceiling with all others a little lower creates a contrast.

11. Use Horizontal Cabinets. The perception of a longer kitchen space can be achieved with an arrangement of horizontal cabinets (shown below). Horizontal doors create linear movement but act as a headband in reducing the perception of height when placed above regular swinging doors.

12. Add Detail. To relieve the monotony of all solid cabinets: a) insert a small open shelf, b) design an interesting cut-out in a flat-panel door, or c) insert clear or textured glass. Don’t overdo it, however, as an abundance of objects can be too visually busy in a limited space.


– By Mark Rosenhaus, Rosenhaus Design Group

May 15 2017

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Tips for Outdoor Kitchen Design


With summer just around the corner, clients are again thinking about spending more time outdoors. Certainly there is no better way to enjoy the warm weather than with cooking in an outdoor kitchen. We spoke with Beverly Hills, Calif.-based designer and KBB Editorial Advisory Board member Christopher Grubb to find out his tips on designing these popular spaces:

•    Always position the kitchen so the chef can see the guests and feel participatory in entertaining rather than just being the cook.

•    I prefer countertops 42 inches high because this hides any mess created during and after cooking. Barstools are also a perfect element for guests to sit, have a glass of wine and converse with the chef.

•    I like doing the edge of the counter oversized for a dramatic detail.

•    Don’t neglect the “face.” Years ago many clients just wanted to stucco the front of the kitchen to match the exterior of the home, but now I encourage using an element that echoes the pool liner or any other material on the exterior of the house, like stack stone.

•    Medallions in the bottom of a spa are a great way to add visual interest and elegance. Many companies have standard designs you can customize to echo the other materials used throughout.

•    I like putting LED strips under the countertops or in the toe kick. The glow of light is particularly beautiful at night, and it really shows off any accent you have added to the front of the kitchen.

•    Holes for umbrellas are still popular to provide shade on sunny days.

•    Encourage clients to invest in the appliances and accessories they really want. For many, they want a barbecue. Once you start on the journey of creating an outdoor kitchen with them, items like dual refrigerators, beverage centers, hot and cold water, warming drawers – even a beer tap take it to the next level of function and beauty.

How are you designing outdoor kitchens for this summer? Let us know on our Facebook page, on Twitter @kbbconnect and Instagram @Kbb_Magazine.