Thursday, March 13, 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Illuminated Backsplash

Backsplash Turned Off
From concept to completion a kitchen remodel can take a few months depending on the complexity of the design, and the size of the kitchen.  At some point in the design process, you'll need to talk about the backsplash. It often becomes a budgetary issue, so a client may choose to  just paint the area. However, there are lots of other options: tile designs(ceramic/natural stone), glass, metals (stainless, hammered copper), granite or other countertop extension up the wall and now there is Luminsplash.

Backsplash Lighting Turned On
Luminsplash is a 3/8" panel that can be ordered up to a 24" by 96" size piece.  The pattern ATI (Advanced Technology Inc.) displayed at KBIS is pictured on the right and is called Subway Tiles.  There is a dimmable light behind the laminate used to highlight the counter area.  This lighting feature offers an even distribution of light across the backsplash.  Of course, an even distribution can also be achieved by under cabinet lighting. This is just another option in the realm of kitchen design.

There are many design patterns available through ATI from which to choose.  Another great feature to this backsplash option is that you can customize your design. You can use a photo of your favorite ocean scene or a cityscape that you love and, since it's a panel, you can also change the scene whenever you want a change of scenery.

I love designing backsplashes and this option makes  a highlighted Tuscany wine scene in a bar alcove off the kitchen possible. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Design & Construction Week 2014 - Part Two - The Copper Craze

It was evident at the tradeshow this year that copper with its warm color tones is enjoying a resurgence in the building and design industry.  Copper is in its own class of excellence.  It can accent any style of d├ęcor: contemporary, traditional or transitional. Copper can be used as accessories to soften a modern setting, as wall panels to set the tone for a section of the room, as a focal point like the hood over the kitchen island, or just simply a hammered copper backsplash mixed with other materials. Sometimes homeowners want the color and look  of copper but not the maintenance. 

Rohl, who has offered high-end kitchen and bath products since 1983, displayed their eye-catching and award-winning stainless copper sink.  This handcrafted, stainless copper finish sink is constructed of  a 16" gauge commercial grade stainless steel and specifically designed for the high-end residential market.   It comes in either the single or double bowl  incorporating a  "quiet coat" insulation with  sound-deadening technology.   
The view below shows the thick coating for an undermount installation of the sink.  There's a radius edge around the bottom making it easier to clean while the sides have a very defined zero-edge.

This stainless copper finish sink  is great for homeowners who want that fabulous look of copper but not the maintenance. The copper color is achieved by fusing a thin layer of specialty metal to the surface.  It's very durable and can easily be cleaned with soap and water.  Because since there is not actually any copper used, the sink will not oxidize or patina over time.

Contemporary Look
Amerock, a hardware  company headquartered in Mooresville, North Carolina, continually creates new hardware designs and colors based on consumer trends and preferences.  This year their  new brushed copper pulls/ knobs took center stage.  Copper can be used in rustic settings or  it can add elegance and richness to a contemporary setting.

RangeCraft, the range hoods made to order, can help the designer create that perfect kitchen focal point.   Superior craftsmanship and handcrafted in the United States, this company offers the homeowner  a  wide variety of hammered /antique copper, brushed stainless steel and  the non directional stainless steel existing designs from which to select,  or the homeowner can have a uniquely designed hood using any material and any finish of their choosing.

Within the Elmwood Fine Cabinetry booth there was a fabulous glass with resin door that would be great in the kitchen as a refrigerator door.  It would be the focal point of the room at that point.  The picture on the left  is a
glimpse of the refrigerator door they were showing in the booth.  The door style is called Eclipse.  It is a polished Stainless Steel frame that looks like it has mitered corners but is actually all  one piece.  The insert in the frame is an architectural resin of your choice.  This copper colored one was the favored eye candy among the attendees in the booth when I was there.

There were many other elements like decorative tiles and fabrics that showed the desire to have the warmth and richness of copper present in as many rooms as possible  in your home.


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

First Ever Tasting in Tempe at the Tempe Center for the Arts


Crowds of people descended on  Tempe's  Center for the Arts on Saturday, February 9th.  Located on the banks of Tempe's Town Lake it's a perfect setting for people to gather to enjoy wine/beer, chocolate and food while basking in the sun of Arizona's winter season.  From 1-4 pm the grounds were alive with music and conversations. 

 The theme of the day was love and romance, so  local vendors provided a chance to buy some  jewelry, flowers, chocolates for that special person.  There were several breweries like Four Peaks and San Tan  passing out beer and Uncle Bears Bar and Grill was there with pork and beef sandwich bits and beer as well.

Being a kitchen designer I am forever checking out cooking equipment when its present at a venue.  For the cooking pleasure of the attendees, several chefs were on hand  and Sub Zero Wolf was their oven of choice.  The cooking demos are usually a lot of fun and after you sample as much food as you like then it's time for dessert.  There were several pastry places and the little bunt cakes from Nothing Bunt Cakes in Ahwatukee were fabulous.

Also on the scene was Mark Cords, a local comedian and star of   The Spouse Whisperer.  I hear that is hilarious.   He was there giving out goodies and  answering  questions about his upcoming show at the Phoenix Theatre that runs from February 20th  through to March 2nd.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Design & Construction Week 2014 - Part One - Overview

More than 75,000 design/build professionals were expected to attend the Design and Construction Week in Las Vegas last week and I've no doubt that expectation was met.  The combination of KBIS (Kitchen and Bath Industry Show) and IBS (International Builders Show) offered more exhibitors for designers and trade professionals to see and to take advantage of the variety of learning opportunities the combined forces presented.  They built the Show, people came, and it did not disappoint.
The mega Show was divided into three large buildings; North Hall dedicated to KBIS, Central Hall to IBS and South Hall featured more of IBS and WCI (Window Covering Industry).  It's best to plan ahead as much as possible and yet always leave enough time for discovery.  The show constantly surprises.

As I made my way through the registration area, I entered the showroom floor at the Kohler Booth.  The Kohler business started with the plumbing industry that we associate as Kohler but today it is home to a variety of furniture and home decorative products such as Robern, Kallista and Ann Sacks Tile and Stone Inc., so I spent a lot of time in the Kohler section.


Kohler Kitchen and Bath products are endless.  I love the new Sensate - touchless kitchen faucet.  This is great for cooks with sauce on the hands and good for all the generations living under one roof.  It just takes a wave of your hand behind the spout to turn it on or off.  It's a pull down hose with a magnetic docking  system that locks the hose back into place.  The faucet comes with a two-function sprayhead: spray and steam.   

Kohler has some fabulous sinks as well.  This red enameled cast iron double sink is an eye catcher. Cast Iron can definitely live up to the daily beatings from pots and pans but it also comes with a life long warranty against chipping.  It comes in a wide range of shapes and you have a choice of 20 colors.


Since Kohler has Kallista under its wing you also see Mick deGiulio's fabulous stainless steel sinks here.  Fabricated with a 16 gauge sink for durability this multi tiered sink  is a real task master. There are a variety of  accessories such as the teak cutting board and a flatware  tray. 


A little known fact that people outside of the Midwest may not realize about  Kohler is that it is owner of  the American Club, a 5 star hotel resort in Kohler Wisconsin.  The Chefs of the American Club were looking for a better turtle candy and 100 batches later, the Kohler original recipe for their chocolates was born.  Like every office worker in America knows, chocolate always brings people back.  So, I was at this display everyday of the show.
On my first pass through the KBIS North Hall, I tried  to pick up the common themes or occurrences .  There were several things that popped up as I made my way through the  crowd:  Copper Craze,  Technology in the Kitchen. Mixed Materials and The Italian Influence.   

So much to see and hear in 3 days time.   What a whirlwind!