Category Archives: foodie

KBIS, “trends” and INSPIRATION

KBIS kbbThe Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, known as KBIS is part of a yearly home improvement and building convention known as Design and Construction Week. I love attending the show, networking with industry partners, checking out new products, absorbing industry news and information and generally having fun.

As part of the Kitchen & Bath Business trade magazine Editorial Advisory Board, I walk the show looking for anything really innovative or particularly beautiful to report on. I also keep an eye open for trends. Personally, I tend not to follow “trends” but feel they play an important role in our industry. The designer that is working for a higher end client can weave together a tapestry that is a combination of lifestyle, architecture, functional art and purpose. The retailers, DIY-ers, design students and budding HG network producers need to see what is new, sexy and available to the mass markets to keep our industry fresh and deserving of all the attention.

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This season, a movement toward “warmth”, earthy tones, deep tones, and mixed metals took over the show booths. Natural woods, mixed in innovative ways, with very simple straight lines has created a look of “organic modernism” that I really love. The blend of glass, slate and other natural stones, texture, matte finishes and artisanal accents creates a warm environment that is easy to personalize with pops of color or personal effects. A nod to industrial or chic glam or mid century can all be accomplished with lighting and accessories when working in this new warm neutral palette.

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Classic square inset shaker cabinetry still seems to dominate. I am a believer in the theory that classic white inset shaker will never go out of style. I also love the use of inset to create modern and industrial moods as well. I was happy to see the classic lines of inset shaker in a new mix of wood textures, interesting colors and finishes to keep it fresh.  Another  “trend” of note I was experiencing is the move towards industrial styled “foodie” faucets in the kitchen.I love this trend and anything that adds fun and authenticity to kitchen life. Industrial inspired metal lighting in soft matte and satin finishes were seen in so many of the lifestyle vignettes. Mixing metals is another trend that I think is here to stay. The mis-matched metals for lighting, appliances, faucets, hardware add an authentic, personal vibe to a space as opposed to a “match-y” stiff feeling. The introduction of more copper adds warmth, too. Hoods, farm sinks, lighting and hardware with all sorts of functional art type styling were all over the show floor and should be available online or at a retail shop.

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“Convenience is KING” is another thought that I take away from the show. Beautiful product that helps us to organize or is low maintenance is always a bonus. Of note this year? Opulent closet organization, vanities with personal storage compartments and a 3D printed counter surface that is impervious to burning, staining, scratching and UV fading. A pretty miraculous counter surface indeed, and soon to a retailer near you.

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KBIS 3d print surface I love this business. I love the impact that good home design has on our daily lives and I love to bring the best of the best to you! Happy remodeling :)

Food, Wine and Inspiring Design – San Francisco Style

Recently I was invited to experience a few days in San Francisco as part of the #zephyrbloggerretreat2016

Zephyr, an innovative range hood and ventilation manufacturer, had much to offer us in both product knowledge and company culture.

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The amazing few days included a  farm to table dining experience at Boulettes Larder, an educational in depth wine tasting and proper pairings at the Joseph Phelps Vineyard, an understanding of the beauty of the Napa Valley vineyards and wine grottos (as well as a wonderful lunch served in a wine cave), at the Rutherford Hill Winery and some truly incredible art and more wine(!) at the stunning Hall Winery which has thought provoking sculpture gardens. “But wait- there’s more!” Yes, there is more……..an inspired interior design walk through the design district of San Francisco (our group was welcomed by the Nido showroom, the Daltile showroom and the Coup d’Etat showroom), and the highlight of these action packed few days, a look into the design thinking and philosophical mind of Zephyr collaborator Fu-Tung Cheng, at the Zephyr Showroom.

The presentation was engaging, enlightening and seriously inspiring as we were shown through years of philosophy and design thinking resulting in some intense architectural outcomes.

I felt the emotion of Fu-Tung’s personal victory as the work of seven years concluded in the “Moon Door” entry to his family garden. I understood organic modernism in a new way as I watched a home take shape during the presentation. I felt Fu-Tung’s love of concrete as a design medium as well as building material with the introduction of Shapecrete, his venture into sharing that love in 20LB pails.

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The Cheng Design philosophy, the organic connection of things, ease of living and homage to natural elements is a perfect pairing with the Zephyr Brand. The designs are simple yet thought provoking and at times playful. A model meant to be reinterpreted by applying decorative surfacing is actually lovely enough in shape and style that the majority left it as is. Another model, Horizon, the brainchild of Zephyr collaborator, Robert Brunner, is truly a sleek glass wall sculpture. It evokes that mood of organic modernism that works so well with the current trend of design for living interpreted as simple, personalized, functional art as home or common space.

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So impressive to me is the Zephyr company culture, the how and why of their organic design philosophy, collaborations and marketing instincts. The generosity in sharing the things that they value that create that company culture is impressive down to John Smilanic, the showroom manager, creating our custom Zephyr pumpkin desserts as part of our showroom experience lunch.

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While the shapes and finishes of the Zephyr product line are thought provoking, the quality of the product is also extremely noteworthy. The DCBL suppression system technology used in the product makes the ventilation quieter, more energy efficient and practically silent.  A demonstration of this was a hood holding a piece of paper to the bottom while we were being shown the features. We could not even hear it. Better ventilation creates a healthier home environment. It seems to me that the culture of slow food, farm to table and healthier living will certainly embrace this technology in home design.

My brand of design is to bring out the passion of the inhabitants, pay homage to the lifestyle and enhance the environment of the space. I begin a home design with the kitchen and let the flow of the lifestyle emanate from that place where we feed our family, friends and ultimately our souls.

My takeaway from this experience is that Zephyr is a brand worth investigating when beginning the re-imagination of the home. Ventilation is a key ingredient to healthier living.

-Toni :)

Some Moments in the Sun

dallas ids trip with all thingsI recently went to Dallas for the annual Interior Design Society National Conference. The trip was so enriching on so many levels. My friend, Suzanne Felber, a fellow designer, Dallas native, and fellow member of the Thermador Design Council was my guest and Dallas tour guide. The Dallas Market Center, where the IDS conference was held, offers floor after floor of finely curated furnishings, some incredibly artfully displayed. Aside from the eye candy of the market, the conference offered education on topics such as building a better business, artful uses of LED lighting, Feng Shui and child safety related to window treatment cords. All good things to know.:) The conference closed with an awards dinner and I am proud to share that I won an Interior Design Society  “Designer of the Year” award in the kitchens over 50k category! Yes, a moment in the sun! My love for kitchen design is partly due to my love of food culture. I love cooking, entertaining and all things design that give you that space to feed your inner foodie. I think feeding your friends and family feeds your soul. I also think of art and music as “soul feeders”, too, and was amazed by the sculptures at Fair Park, the Nasher Museum, the Hilton Anatole, where I stayed the week and even the shopping area known as NorthPark Center. The feasts for the eyes were everywhere and fed my mind with inspiration. Speaking of feeding or “grazing” as I have come to know it, I was privileged to attend the Raiser Grazer event put on by Les Dames D’escoffier Dallas Chapter. The “Dames” went all out with food, drink, music and decor to transform a farmers market space into an elegant salon featuring the delectables of Dallas’ finest. The enticing dishes kept me grazing all right! Broth, soups, meat and vegetarian dishes, amazing desserts and innovative cocktails at table after table sent me to foodie nirvana. As the sun set on the evening and my Dallas trip, I was full with gratitude. :)

Nostalgia with a Modern Twist!

mid century world kitchen llc I was invited by my fab foodie friend and cookbook author Leeann Lavin to an event held by World Kitchen LLC to show some product they are launching and fell in love! The colorful and somehow sophisticated-ly whimsical Vintage Charm Brand is a winner! The updated Pyrex and Corelle tableware give the comfort of Gramma’s kitchen and the luxurious feel of something curated to be modern and artful even though it’s meant for everyday. Mid Century Modern design has those clean simple lines and vibrant color that make for happy, easy living and these haute housewares are simply perfect to accessorize with things you can actually use! Check them out! Coming soon to a retailer near you!

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Tidbits & Trends from Design & Construction Week 2015

DSC_4711 KBIS (17) It’s a few weeks after design and construction week and I still can’t stop talking about it. Held in Las Vegas and comprised of several shows featuring the best in home furnishings and construction materials, this is by far the best trade show I have ever been to. The trends for simple lines, glitzy lighting, lush textures, fab faucets and fittings and amazing appliance configurations are all things that make me smile. My unabashed enthusiasm for the Thermador brand continues full force with the introduction of an apartment sized gas range with 5 star burners and the beauteous collection of refrigeration and wine columns that are the stuff “champagne wishes and caviar dreams” are made of! Can I really mean “gorgeous refrigeration’? YES! And what about wine? It seems that our “wine culture” is growing rapidly! Cooking with wine, wine pairings, wine dinners, and tastings are all on the rise and the home entertainer is taking note! With these beautiful columns, you can really add that entertaining experience so easily by creating your own custom wine and refrigeration wall. These pieces can be customized in so many ways………. and really integrate with any home fashion statement.

As a kitchen designer that believes in kitchen-centric living, I was happy to see continued trends for open floor plans that integrate the kitchen and more cabinetry millwork to adjacent spaces. There is also an increase in the popularity of banquettes. This casual dining idea is cozy and a great space saver. Welborn Cabinetry showed this trend well with a display that made you want to move right in!

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Another trend I see is to have less kitchen wall cabinetry in favor of more tall cabinets, open shelving and walk in pantry space. The New American Home has a stunning kitchen great space that is an attractive example of this streamlined trend.

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Other trends that I saw both on the show floor and at the this incredible show house were floating vanities and freestanding tubs. For more on my visit to The New American Home, please see the K+BB online blog http://kbbcollective.kbbonline.com/nahb-new-american-home-makes-a-statement-during-design-construction-week.html

And for my thoughts on bath trends please see the February/March issue of Embark Magazine…I am overjoyed to be a contributor to this exciting new platform.

I am truly captivated by the stunning array of new fashion forward products available from so many manufacturers. Brizo has a line of faucets by Jason Wu and Walker Zanger has put out Sterling Row, a tile line that actually includes houndstooth! I love it!! Rich textures, metallics, vibrant colors, and sexy silhouettes can all be found at the building supply! Design and Construction week is beginning to feel like “HOME Fashion Week” to me and I can not wait to see what the new looks are next year!

 

Summing Up Design and Construction Week

show collage 4So what is Design and Construction Week? Let me sum it up with this little equation: Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) + International Builders’ Show (IBS) = Design and Construction Week.

As a new member of the K+BB Editorial Advisory Board, I made my best effort to walk the entire show, seeking out beauty, function and innovation. I really enjoyed the fabulous booths from some of my industry favorites like Kohler, Wellborn, Robern and Brizo. I also loved the retro Merillat kitchen set up as a mid-century modern photo booth. A show highlight for me was finding the booth featuring the Falmec Mare E.Ion hood that I helped to select as winner of the Kitchen Product of the Year in the K+BB Product Innovator Awards. Another highlight came on Thursday morning. During a light drizzle, I took the bus ride out to The 2014 New American Home. The home was fabulous! Although a two story, indoor water fall may not be practical for most of my market, I was inspired to see some stunning wall treatments, innovative outdoor living spaces, beautiful baths and …you guessed it… an open kitchen plan.

Now for my show favorite, and let me say it is true I might be biased in favor of certain lines. I have long been a fan of Thermador . From the introduction of the pro grand range and refrigeration columns through to the steam ovens, coffee systems, and now the frameless induction cooktop series, I have enjoyed showing my foodie clients all that this line has to offer. My unabashed enthusiasm for this appliance company with the tag line “No Dinner Party Too Large”  has actually led to a position on their design council and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

Thermador + Bosch + Caesarstone + Genius Design of Mick de Giulio = One Killer IBS Booth!

So, yes, happily biased, but all that aside, the IBS booth featuring Thermador, Bosch and Caesarstone, designed by Mick de Giulio was amazing! The simple, clean lines, open flow and textural choices were stunning. I especially loved the use of polished steel in one of the Caesarstone countertops. I really enjoyed watching Chef Kyle create the perfect tuna bite on the new induction cooktop with accessory Teppanyaki pan. I enjoyed eating it, too! Relaxing in the lounge area adjoining the functioning kitchen, I took in the Caesarstone presentation of the “House Beautiful Kitchen of the Year Retrospective”. It reinforced all that I believe about kitchen-centric design. I have always felt that open kitchen plans honor the foodie, the entertainer and most simply, the family.

So I will close with this equation: Open Kitchen + Innovative Design + Friends and Family = Good Living!

Are You Happy In The Kitchen?

Well. are you?

If you are a foodie, a kitchen that makes you happy is a true necessity. Having gadgets and makers, a few great cookbooks and recipes, along with great cookware and a good set of knives are essential in my view. Gramps always said that you need the right tool to do a good job. I find that there is nothing like standing at the rangetop and grabbing the wisk from the adjacent drawer as you whip up that Hollandaise! Or looking into your well organized, partitioned drawer and grabbing your pancake flipper just before that batter starts to bubble. Maybe you need a lowered counter surface for baking and rolling out dough. A cookbook shelf may be something you need or a spot for that European style coffee maker you just have to have? What about that cheese curler you can also use for chocolate. Such a great gift, just what you wanted but where, oh where, are you going to put it? Designing a kitchen that flows with organization and looks like a dream is where I come in. I am knowledgeable and actually passionate about such things as warming drawers that will take a full sized catering sheet, ventilation cfm’s and convertible refrigeration. I will discuss your shopping habits, fresh food needs and storage requirements for both the things you already have and those you haven’t gotten yet because you had no place to put them. And then? I bet you’ll be truly happy in your kitchen!