Monday, November 10, 2014

On the Prowl for Product

As a designer I spend a lot of time looking at product.  I attend a countless number of tradeshows, workshops, and showroom events all in pursuit of product knowledge.  All my clients are different and they all deserve products in their homes that not only meet functional requirements  and visual aesthetics but,  also suit their personalities.  It's all about meeting the clients' needs and personality which means I am constantly on the prowl for product. 

Currently I have two bath remodels going on, so vanities, sinks, and tile options are taking up most of my prowling this month.  In terms of style, bathrooms that make less visual noise are in demand these days.  The Zen approach is great for the client that wants to feel relaxed and rejuvenated in their bathing space.  Depending on the budget, this could mean a steam shower with a floor to ceiling glass enclosure, a shower with mood lighting and music, or just a simple tile laid horizontally.  The horizontal line is a very soothing line. 

Kohler sink vanity
Kohler sink vanity open
It's important to have the design in place before you look for product.  Once the design is complete it's easier and less confusing if you have a plan of the design in front of you when you are in the showrooms.  It's good to know if your cabinet needs to be a one sink 36" cabinet or a two sink 60" cabinet so you will only focus on the items you need.  It is very easy to get distracted in the showrooms.  It's like the candy shop.  I keep my clients on track.

There are numerous outlets for finding bathroom vanities.  Cabinets by Robern or Kohler with their variety of storage and electrical options may be just the right choice for you and they are available in many retail stores as well as for the trade showrooms.

However if you need multiple cabinets such as a tall linen closet along with a matching vanity then you will most likely need your designer to work with a cabinet company. The picture on the right is an Elmwood cabinet with an integrated sink from Caesar Stone.  Rather than furniture legs it is being floated above the floor.  With this cabinet you can get granite, or quartz countertops with an integrated sink or the more typical drop in, undermount  or vessel sinks.

There is a great deal of options regarding bathroom sinks.  Very popular at the moment is the integrated trough sinks.  I have worked with both Caesar Stone and Silestone to achieve this look.

Today, I spent over 4 hours looking at tile with clients.  Choosing tile for a bath remodel is one of the most fun parts of designing.  It does take time however. Here's a first cut sampling of  tiles chosen for one of the remodels.  My client took home samples so that she could see them  in the light of her own bathroom.  Light is a big factor in design.

In the course of tile selection you may have to go to more than one showroom.  In this particular showroom one of my clients saw a wood grain porcelain tile but the color wasn't quite right.  As soon as that happened than I suggested another showroom which I know has a wider selection of that particular type of tile.

And that is why designers spend so much time prowling for product.  We like to know what's out there and where it is, so that we can take our clients to the most suitable showroom for their remodel.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Traveling Philly's Past.

I've been very busy traveling this summer for both business and pleasure.  Although the bath remodel in Philly was a design of modern conveniences I often visited houses that belong to another era, making me feel as though I don't just travel between time zones but travel back in time.  On tour at the Court Inn in Newtown, Pa, I found some interesting items.

Take this kitchen that was built in 1740: 

It was one of two kitchens in the Court Inn,  home of the Historical Society,  and both have operational beehive ovens which they use from time to time for events.

My favorite item from the past though was this rope style bed below.  There is one continuous rope going horizontally and then tied at the post and another one going vertically and tied at the post.  It was a nice step up from sleeping on the floor, was easy to store and easy to travel with if need be, making it a very functional piece of furniture.  But not so easy to tighten when the rope became loose with usage.  I don't know what the lone traveler did in a situation like this. This bed clearly requires two people to work the rope.  No wonder they weren't any gyms in those days.  this would be laborious.

I love history.  I spend hours down in Philly taking pictures, walking streets where Franklin, Washington and Jefferson walked.  My next walk through time will be walking the path that Franklin took when he first landed in Philadelphia.  He notes it well in his autobiography, so I have it on my to-do list. 


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Salone del Mobile - A Design and Art Extravaganza

As a kitchen and bath designer I try to attend as many tradeshows as possible to keep abreast of new and innovative products.  In addition to KBIS which is a must for me, I also had the pleasure of attending EuroCucina, The International Kitchen Furnishings Exhibition held in Milan every two years.   Wow!  What a fabulous event!

Salone del Mobile is an international design and art venue that is comprised of five components including: EuroCucina (Kitchen Furnishings Exhibition), & Technology for the Kitchen.   I was attending this event on a double mission - kitchen/bath designer and  writer.  As a kitchen/bath designer my focus was on the kitchen and bath pavilions but there was a whole other side to this event that was just as compelling.

In an article written for the June printed edition of K+BB(Kitchen and Bath Business), I covered many of the innovative kitchen and bath products that I saw at the event.  However,  recently I wrote an article for one of my favorite online designer magazines:  DesignerCircleHq.  This article: Salone del Mobile,  A Show  Within a Show,  is not kitchen oriented but instead addresses some of the other inspiring elements of the event.  Just click on the title to read the article.


Tuesday, May 20, 2014

On Assignment at EuroCucina

As many of you know I was in Milan in April for EuroCucina, the International Kitchen Furniture Exhibition.  EuroCucina is a biennial event where over a hundred International companies debut their newest and most innovative kitchen products within their creatively designed kitchen spaces.  Usually when I attend one of my design events, I write several post relating to the experience but this time I decided to pen my thoughts and ideas for the Kitchen and Bath Business (K+BB} magazine.  K+ BB is one of the most respected and well-read magazines in the industry.  With its excellent articles and eye on trends it is a great resource for design and trade professionals.  K+BB has a online magazine and a printed magazine.  Below is the article that I co-authored with Chelsie Butler, Executive Editor of  K+BB. The article appears in the May/June issue of the printed magazine.  To read the article here you may have to change the zoom size to at least 150% via the Tool bar.


Thursday, March 13, 2014