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.

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