You may be and not even know it! “Technicurean”, is a new term, cross pollinating tech enthusiasm with epicurean tendencies, creating the perfect pairing for modern entertaining at home. Signature Kitchen Suite, a brainchild of the tech minded folks at LG, is a new entry into the luxury home appliance market that brings technology in the kitchen to a whole new level. I have been intrigued by a sous vide feature that is a full top bay of a 48″ professionally styled range, with individual timers that will alert to your cell phone. If you are unaware of sous vide, it is a technique for keeping food at the perfect serving temperature for hours! I have been intrigued by the entire brand, really, that calls itself “true to food”, since the initial launch last year. My interest was further piqued by experiencing the timers of the Signature Kitchen Suite range at the CEDIA EXPO, a technology trade show, while participating in the Design Connection Tour, bringing together interior designers and technology companies and integrators. Who wouldn’t want tech to make the kitchen more convenient when entertaining and paying homage to your inner foodie? On a very exciting note, I have been invited to try out these appliances and experience the brand culture of Signature Kitchen Suite at their experience center in California this week. I will be in the fine company of designer, blogger and social media maven members of MODENUS Designhounds, while eating, drinking, cooking, touring vineyards, learning features and soaking up all the “true to food” technicurean culture I can! I am sure there will be much to report. Stay tuned!
CEDIA, an acronym for the Custom Electronics Design and Installation Association, has been around for some time. According to their website, “the association powers integrators’ passion by providing development pathways that move them to the next level by providing education, community, resources, and vision. CEDIA members deliver technology solutions that allow people to have their best moments in life from the comfort of their own home: life lived best at home.”
As an interior designer, I am always inquisitive about ways to improve a space, not just making it look better but making it function better, so getting a better understanding of technology for the home is a natural. I recently attended the CEDIA Expo as part of Design Connection Tour aimed at giving interior designers a look at current tech offerings. The CEDIA Expo was like a pop up theme park for A/V and home automation techies, and the eye and ear candy were everywhere!
The smart mirror offered by Seura advertised that mornings will never be the same… I agree! This touch screen mirror connects you with your world as you ready yourself to face it!
New 8K television technology from Samsung and something called “the wall” offered a picture that made you want to reach into the screen! The “Frame” and ambient mode also from Samsung, offer solutions so beautiful you can leave the TV in plain sight or hide it in plain sight! An interior designer’s dream!
I challenge you to find the TVs in the gallery above!
Home theatre offerings from Barco Residential were impressive and there is something to work with every aesthetic. They won an award at the show!
Solutions for hiding the TV behind art from Leon Speakers piqued my interest. They also offered a multitude of custom speaker solutions and had a great airstream trailer in the booth!
Check out this Leon Speakers video
I also saw new offerings from Nexus 21, a company that creates automated TV lifts, that has been a go to on some of my projects.
Home security and automation of lighting and entertainment come up when discussing lifestyle with clients. Voice control from Josh.ai as well new solutions that integrate EVERYTHING with your smart phone from Control 4 were mind blows in terms of creating homes that have a user experience that equals the aesthetic. I feel that is the goal of good interior design.
During the show I had the opportunity to host a panel on that topic, The Impact Of Technology On Lifestyle Design, sponsored by Women in Consumer Technology. Our panel talked about the need for the design community and tech community to work together to enhance the smart home experience. Tech has come a long way. You can go all in without fear of obsolescence as the model can include cloud based updates and integrate new equipment to existing systems or you can start small with a single automated light switch and add on later. The possibilities are fascinating!
What was sci-fi when I was a kid is now sci-fact and I’m excited to work with more tech specialists to create real world solutions for my clients that are investing in upgrading their lifestyle by upgrading their homes. If you are remodeling or building new, make sure you take a look at the new tech and have your designer add a technologist to your design build team!
In closing I must also say that I LOVE the energy of the AV crowd and all the people I have met during this experience! Shout out to THE AV LIFE !!
On my recent Designhounds jaunt to Euro Cucina, I experienced a few eye opening moments that had me rethinking luxury living and appliance options to create that luxury statement. This new luxury is actually understated in look. All the pieces are true high performance, things like shot-peened stainless steel interiors, used in medical equipment for its natural antimicrobial properties. The options in sizes and modular pieces add to this personalized high performance and enhance the luxury kitchen experience.
Flush integrated cooking appliances like those of Fisher Paykel, can be lined up horizontally to create a kitchen space that offers ease of use and a great look no matter your cooking and entertaining style.
The under counter refrigeration offerings can be hidden from view and I am loving the convenience of the pull out door with slide out shelves. Perfection for a coffee bar, baking or healthy snack station.
Other new offerings from Liebherr had my wheels spinning with design possibilities. The component refrigeration that can be stacked horizontally or vertically or both in a cluster, creates universal ease of use and is suitable for the unfitted kitchen furniture on legs that I have seen lately.
Modular cooking components for the cooktop create endless placement possibilities and with induction, you can actually hide the burner elements in a way that is both artful, convenient and safe as there is no hot surface where someone could get burned.
Yes, all these appliance options feel like magic to me! I encourage you to rethink your appliances as you dream up your new space with the understated kitchen of luxury through high performance!
I recently attended my first Salone Del Mobile in Milan thanks to Designhounds, Digital Community Network of Design Experts, a platform by MODENUS Media. Aside from the mind blow of Milan itself, the show was still more than I expected. Beauty, fused with innovation, whimsy, history, and technology, as well as every sort of material from fabric to glass to wood and stone and metal, both practical and just dreamy filled my eyes and the few days I had there.
As an interior design specializing in kitchen and bath, one of the things that impressed me most was the variety of unfitted furniture housing appliances and the spread of cohesive storage through out the living space displayed at the show. Poggenpohl had some interesting offerings with hidden supply, drain and exhaust in clever feet that made a seamless transition to other room solutions and open floor plan living. I like this un-encumbered look and love the use of open display space cleverly integrated into islands as well as the mix of organic materials like natural stone and wood to give warmth to modern design.
This new organic modernism incorporates streamlined technology and seamless integration in a way that simplifies living and creates a new luxury statement. The finest materials like the solid wood of Team 7, a environmentally friendly company from Austria, now offering it’s lines of fine wood and stone furniture in the US, creates a luxury feel that doesn’t need adornment to feel rich. The simple integration of lighting and convenience oozes luxury like a Tesla. Ultra high performance, simplicity, and that “feel good” environmental sensitivity are what I see as the luxury statement going forward. I am interested to see how quickly the US market will fully embrace these trends.
The simple integration of function and utilitarian comfort doesn’t mean coldness or lack of personality in the design. The use of texture and lighting play a major role in creating interest and the personalization of everything adds new and unexpected dimension to a space. The kitchen can actually become almost hidden as the full integration blends appliances and storage into the living space with innovative shapes. I am thinking of “the kitchen as hidden in plain sight”! This new integrated living style is both innovative and fun!
Richard Anuszkiewicz, a great designer and a Designhound on our excursion to Milan, designed a space so lovely that yes, the kitchen is truly an afterthought! This from KBIS 2018, bringing that “kitchen hidden in plain sight” to the US in an avant garde, “before the trend” way! The Liebherr refrigeration integrates beautifully in this modern, eclectic, artful, BEAUTIFUL space!
Now more from the Euro Cucina floor showing this integrated trend….. these from Stosa Cucine.
Please stay tuned as I have more thoughts from Eurocucina and Salone Del Mobile concerning how our appliances are starting to show the versatility to reflect our lifestyle! Yes! Appliances can be quite exciting!
I have just returned from a trip to Spain and am super excited and inspired! Invited by Tile of Spain USA to visit the Cevisama trade show and experience the culture of tile in this marvelous country, I have so much to share! Tile is in the DNA of the culture! From the architectural landmarks to the public park benches to the family run tile factories, you feel it everywhere, and it is inspiring to say the least.
First, let me thank the Tile of Spain, a part of the Spanish trade commission for their hospitality during this incredible opportunity. The trip was a design and architectural enthusiast’s dream…….. and oh! the food culture they shared with us! Some highlights included Paella cooking on an open fire, local wines, fresh produce, cheeses and breads turned into bite size tapas and a fusion meal that was foodie heaven!
The show was an eye opener. Although I have specified tile for countless jobs, I gained a valuable understanding of the quality, process and applications. Ryan Fasan, Technical Consultant for Tile of Spain USA and @tile_trends on social media, guided us though the booths pointing out various new trends and explaining manufacturing process, applications and generally good things to know.
Digital printing is revolutionizing the tile industry. The process is impressive to watch as we saw during a trip to the Rocersa Ceramica factory. The resulting patterns that truly imitate wood and natural stone, some toned in colors not found in nature but resulting in amazing design possibilities are astounding.
Digital printing opens all sorts of possibilities for creating tile murals and patterns, ranging from comic book scenes and post cards to replications of old school patterns and new geometrics. The possibilities are endless and the commitment of the tile industry to foster student design competitions is also notable. The innovative patterns inspired by textiles were inspirational. The tile is at home in any room and creates a beautiful and durable wall covering for commercial, hospitality and residential use. Here are a few of my favorites…..
Also notable are the textures that play with the light. Simple white takes on an intriguing and sophisticated look with the velvety and linen like textures. Show trends certainly included texture and a modern element in design referred to as brutalism at the show press conference. A look we call modern industrial among other names here in the states. Also notable is a new “timeless”. The tiles we need to create something that works with lifestyle and architecture will not “date” to a specific trend in time. Yes, trends are trends, but the design options these collections offer goes beyond time with a look and quality I love working with.
Another innovative use of all the new technology is the addition of formed tile steps and stunning exterior pavers. Notable when making transitions.
I hope you have enjoyed the photos and the inspiration and encourage all design enthusiasts to check out #tileofspain18 and #cevisama18 on instagram for more inspirational photos from our group.
Show pictures taken at Cevisama, tiles by Natucer, Tau, Ceracasa, Argenta, Saloni, Cevica, Rocersa, Roca, Gespania, Estidio Ceramico, Vives Ceramica, Peronda, Keraben Grupo, Equipe, Dune, Aparici, Ibero Porcelanico
Once again I say thank you Tile of Spain for this mind expanding trip and I cannot help but share a few more pics of the amazing architecture!
I recently had the pleasure of visiting with Whirlpool Corporation’s training facility in Chicago. The trip was a wonderful experience. The facility is in a remodeled historic building, and the Whirlpool facility includes an amazing rooftop lounge where we ate several of our site prepared gourmet meals. Whirlpool, for those not so familiar, is also the parent company behind KitchenAid, Amana, Maytag, Gladiator garage systems and Jenn-Air luxury appliances. Jenn-Air may be known to some for the “down-draft” kitchen ventilation system invented in the 60s but the renewed commitment by the parent corporation to luxury cooking at home has brought with it many more innovations and conveniences. The color touch-screen operated wall oven is one I find particularly noteworthy. The straightforward and simple options had me smiling at first touch! Easier than an ATM and something an older, less tech savvy guest could easily navigate without the instruction book. OK, you say, it’s easy to use but how well does it cook. The meals we sampled, all made by a talented on site staff led by Culinary Training Chef Ann Nolan, were perfection. Crusty but moist bread, flaky pastry and wonderful roasted vegetables were a few that stick in my mind.
The line has an impressive induction cooktop, several models in gas, with or without down-draft, and also a series of modules to allow a “create-your-own” that can include a 15″ chrome griddle or an induction wok module. Ventilation options include wall models, island models and of course the down-draft that made them famous! Great options for creating slow simmer soups, crepes and all sorts of culinary masterpieces. Now on to the coffee system!
DeLonghi, of Italian coffee maker fame, actually partnered with Jenn-Air to create their built in coffee system. It is simple to operate, has minimal installation requirements (110V) and makes great coffee. Well thought out, it will also give ample warning for cleaning so there are no surprise shutdowns during dinner parties. The steam oven also operates on 110V and requires no in wall plumbing. The addition of convection allows for many cooking options from reheating to original temperature and texture to steam cooking to baking. Again, easy to navigate without a PHD or instruction book. The dishwashers in the line include drying and steam features but the depth needs to be considered when doing initial planning if inset cabinetry is being used. An under counter ice maker for those looking for “clear ice”, several tall and under counter refrigeration models, including wine storage, round out the kitchen suite offering.
Notable is the “Obsidian” refrigeration that makes your ingredients look like model food for a cooking show. Fun for the home culinary enthusiast! As a designer, I look forward to the new series of column refrigeration ideal for personalization and full integration due out early next year. I encourage those of you looking for appliances for your new kitchen to experience these gourmet appliances with simplicity and a great price point at your local showroom or appliance specialty store.
Thanks so much to Ellen Cheever-Giorgi and the entire Jenn-Air team!
Over the years, I have had mixed feelings about surfaces. The look is all important but durability, longevity and performance have always been key when making selections for clients. On the emotional side, there is also environmental impact to consider. There was a time when I favored man made materials because of quarrying desecrating the planet. A few years ago I visited the quarry of Georgia Marble, operated by Polycor, and found out how wrong I really was! The process is simple and clean. There are no toxic agents and the best part was seeing new life that had come to the quarry in the form shrubbery, trees, birds and animals that were truly flourishing there. This was a truly thrilling personal discovery! The beauty and feel of natural stone cannot be imitated and the feel good quarry moment, emotional reaction I had makes it easy to specify the real deal. There are so many varieties of natural stone, each with it’s unique features that can be researched. MIA+BSI, marble-institute.com the website of the Natural Stone Institute is a great resource for stone research to find the stone that is right for your project. Choosing stone that is less porous for heavily used surfaces like kitchen and bath counters is fairly simple and there are so many to choose from. Proper maintenance is also key to keeping the surface beautiful and there are also a variety of good products on the market for that as well. Natural stone can also be integrated into home designs with wall panels, mosaic tile, flooring and furnishings. Marble cocktail tables have always been a classic favorite of mine. Organic modernism is a style I have embraced. It incorporates simple lines, metal, and the beauty of wood and stone. properly curated, it is an elevated casual look for easy living with an air of sophistication and authenticity.
Whether your look is classic timeless elegance or organic modernism, or anything in between, natural stone adds that special “je ne sais quoi”. Here are a few of my latest loves for incorporating the sophistication and durability of natural stone into home design.
I hope you are inspired to take a look at where natural stone fits into your decor!
This Sunday is the opening of ICFF in New York where my Retro collection with Baden Haus will debut. It is a collaboration of design love and incorporates years of bath design thinking to bring a beautiful, modular, really user friendly product to market.
“I wanted my creations for Baden Haus to have practicality and personality. The attention to detail gives the feeling of luxury but without the “sticker shock”.
Quality, a timeless retro vibe and affordability were our main points when brainstorming the ideas into build-able units.
The areas for make up, first aid or grooming product organization and towel and paper storage make these cabinets perfect for any bathroom!
The option for wall hanging or floor mount is also available to make the installation simple and easy whether retrofitting, remodeling or building new.
My collection is a hybrid of simple, quality, European construction and American pop culture.”
“Gotham City” pictured above, my creation with spattered mirror is my homage to “steam punk”, a kind of historical industrial look meant to work with today’s industrial designs.
“Paisley Tie”: Swanky. “One should either be a work of art or wear a work of art,” said the famously flamboyant Oscar Wilde, a lover of paisley. The history of this iconic pattern that has spanned centuries is quite colorful and I love it for its sophisticated, arty bohemianism.
“Gold Lame”: I love the glamour and fashion of “Old Hollywood”. The golden shimmering glass brings that golden age feel to the bath.
“Matte” pictured at top comes in both black and white. White: Timeless grace, simplicity and elegance. The panels have the look of wainscoting to create the mood of old world charm and tradition. Black: The drama of film noir.
I look forward to the debut over the weekend and if you are in NYC, I hope to see you at the show!
The 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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.