28 May 2009

Style List #3 - The $150 Max Home Office Edition

This posting was inspired by my desire to make my own workplace more inspiring, like the one shown on the right, which features Lancaster Hickory built-ins from Wellborn Cabinet, Inc.

Chances are, your home office is set up in a den or a spare bedroom, like mine. Maybe you use it an hour a day. Maybe, like me, you're in there for eight to 12 hours a day.

However long you spend in your home office, how do you create a space that welcomes you, motivates you and makes it easier to achieve the results you're after?

That was my primary goal. My second was to achieve this effect with no major expenditures! The black office chair, cherry desk, black metal file cabinets and computer equipment are all staying in place.

Rather than purchase a new bookcase for my growing design library, samples and bulky spec books, I painted a bookcase we already had matte black to match the file cabinets. The rest of the improvements are in d├ęcor, organizational tools and other add-ons to make the space work harder, while delighting me at every turn.

None of the items included here costs more than $150. Many are less than $100. Any one of them can give your home office a new sense of style, new technology tricks and better organization!

A great home office incorporates all five of these Style List components:

1. Brilliant Lighting
2. Smarter Storage
3. Attractive Organizers
4. Awesome Equipment
5. Comfortable Seating

You are probably not going to find a great office chair for less than $150, so I didn't include any in this posting. Check out your favorite office supply or furniture store for options available in your area and be sure to try out the one you're going to buy before taking it home! I do a ton of online shopping, but this is one category I feel should be shopped in person, especially if you'll be spending long hours in that seat.

You'll find some nifty items in all the other categories. Enjoy, and feel free to post your favorite resources, too! I'm still in acquisition mode!


Go bold with Script Desk Lamp from CB2

Get natural-effect light in RS to Go Full-Spectrum Desk Lamp
from Office Depot

Add task lighting without taking up desk space with
Kvart Wall-Clamp Spotlight from Ikea

"Green" your workspace with iBar Mini High Power LED
Metallic Black Desk Lamp from Bellacor


One of the challenges of creating a hard-working home office is finding space for all the papers, supplies and other material your tasks demand. If, like me, you've already filled an entire closet with your gear and you're still overflowing with "stuff," here are some additional options.

Add some stainless steel to your office
with CB2's Trig File

Or go coastal with a bookcase or file cabinet from
Christopher Lowell's Shore collection at Office Depot

Brighten up your workspace with
Ikea's Erik Drawer Unit on Casters

I just added this Atelier faux leather storage ottoman from Bed, Bath & Beyond to my workspace, where it will hold both stone samples and tired feet in front of my easy chair!


I'm now craving this handsome Printer/Fax Stand
from Levenger!

These Woven Wall Pockets
pack style and paperwork from Ballard Designs

Pottery Barn's Daily System components will keep you
organized every day!

Store your files, Forbes or Field & Streams in these
eye-catching Zebra-Print Tree-Free Paper Magazine Butlers
from Cost Plus World Market

Post your papers or inspirations on PB's
Modular Galvanized Metal Magnetic Tile

West Elm's Canvas File Box stores important papers in
oh-so-pretty packages


Fasteners never looked so fabulous --
Levenger's Morgan Stapler and Tape Dispenser

Charge your portables with PB's Bedford Smart Technology Recharge Station

Smart Technology Recharge Station and Whiteboard -- also from PB

Levenger's Bomber Jacket Slim Charger brings
old-world style and storage to new world electronics

Untether yourself with Microsoft 3000
Mobile Optical Mouse at Staples

Lacquer Charging Station from West Elm
powers your gear in sleek style

Enjoy the entire Style List - $150 Max Edition Series

Home Office

19 May 2009

KBIS 2009 - Style Spotlight

The 2009 Kitchen/Bath Industry Show is behind us now, and in my last two posts I focused on great new products for the kitchen and bath.

This final posting accompanies my new Style/File photo feature: KBIS 2009 - Designed to Thrill on the right column of this blog until the end of September. (Starting in October 2009, you can view it here.)

This posting's emphasis isn't on innovation or excellence. It's all about looking great!

These were my favorite style stars from this year's show. Some I'd definitely consider using in projects for my clients. In fact, I've already specified Kohler's velvety new Honed White lavs and toilet for a new client. They're shown in this photo album on the contemporary Reve series.

A few other products in the slide show are more pretty than performance-oriented. But, again, this is about the style stars, not the star performers!

A brand that I discovered at this year's show is actually 100 years old. It's Cifial, a Portuguese manufacturer of faucets and hardware. I was especially drawn to their Rough Bronze finish, (shown above right on the Brookhaven L Spout Faucet), which ages along with its homeowners, mellowing over the years to a soft, pale sheen. The Porto door hardware is also wonderfully handsome. Having a pair of these on double doors to your master suite would be like retreating into another world, not just another room in your home.

Kohler and Toto stole the show, in my opinion. They each brought beautiful new textures, colors, styles and, yes, innovation to KBIS 2009. In fact, Toto's Waza Noir Rectangular Lav had the finest finish I've ever seen or felt on a fixture. It was a soft, lustrous black with a velvet surface that can only be described as sensual. No kidding; it ought to have an NC-17 rating!

LaCava and MTI Whirlpool also brought impressive offerings to the show, and I look forward to seeing more from both brands in the future.

LaCava brings Italian style (and American woodworking skill) to the bath with its vanities and sinks. Two of them are featured in this photo feature.

MTI Whirlpool brings American ingenuity and good looks to its line. I've written before about its innovative products, including a jetted laundry tub that showed up in my last Style/File: That Sinking Feeling.

I look forward to experiencing KBIS 2010 next year in Chicago. If you need an added fix until then, HGTV will be airing its annual show broadcast Sunday night, May 24 at 8/7c.


You might also enjoy these related posts:

KBIS 2009 - Bathroom Spotlight
KBIS 2009 - Kitchen Spotlight
Style/File: That Sinking Feeling

Style/File: Counter Intelligence

12 May 2009

KBIS 2009 - Bathroom Spotlight

Every year, the National Kitchen & Bath Association hosts the Kitchen/Bath Industry Show. At this trade-only event, manufacturers show off their new wares to kitchen and bath designers, dealers, builders, architects, reporters and remodelers.

Here are my favorite KBIS products for the bath. Last week, I posted my kitchen favorites.


Kohler has introduced a new white to the market. Unlike the shiny brights we're used to, the brand's new Honed White whispers in quiet elegance. It's available in many of their contemporary bathroom sinks and toilets, and would make a perfect finish choice for a spa bath. Also notable is the brand's new Moderne Brushed Gold finish. Like honed white, the new gold finish is soft and rich, not at all like the brassy golds of past years.


A Best of KBIS product award winner, Seura’s mirrors lead a secret life. When they’re not reflecting your visage, they’re broadcasting your favorite channel. Yes, Seura makes those clever televisions-concealed-in-mirrors you may have encountered in a hotel room. Now you can have one in your home, too, with contemporary or traditional frames, or frameless, as shown.


Caesarstone is well known for high-style stone countertops. Last year, they introduced their exquisite jeweled Concetto series. This year, they’ve outdone themselves with Motivo, a delicately-embossed surface that tops cabinets or resurfaces walls and furniture. It still brings the durability and easy-maintenance of quartz, but now it looks like nothing you’ve seen before and can’t get enough of. Can’t wait to use this in a client’s home!


Normal 0 Now your master bath sinks can offer you filtered water, without the ugly filter! Rohl has introduced a line of traditional lavatory faucets with integrated filters. I'm hoping the shower faucets they're working on aren't far behind! This collection offers great taste in every respect!


Here's another innovation we didn't know we needed -- and now wonder how we did without it for so long. Robern has invented the Uplift, a medicine cabinet whose door slides upward. There's room within for a small television and all your med cab goodies. But it also leaves room for pendant lighting in front, and offers incredible capacity along with sleek style.


If it's possible to have a crush on a sink, this new Waza Noir Rectangular Lavatory by Toto is mine! I love its sculptural lines and velvet-like texture. It is so rich and smoothly-finished, it should be illegal to touch!


Toto also earned my respect with its new series of Luminist lavs. Made of a translucent resin, the Luminists work with lighting you select and install to create a color-rich environment. I can see these working in a powder room or master bath, and recommned eco-friendly LED lighting.


You may also enjoy these postings:

KBIS 2009 - Kitchen Spotlight

Style List #1 - The $150 Max Bath Edition
Smart & Stylish Storage for the Bath

04 May 2009

KBIS 2009 - Kitchen Spotlight

Every year, the National Kitchen & Bath Association hosts the Kitchen/Bath Industry Show. At this trade-only event, manufacturers show off their new wares to kitchen designers, kitchen dealers, builders, architects, reporters and remodelers.

This year, the show was smaller because of the economy, but there were still plenty of great things to see. When asked by colleagues and reporters what I thought of KBIS this year, I invariably replied, "More evolutionary than revolutionary." What I meant is that while there were few "game-changers" that brought something new to the industry, there were some very nice additions and improvements.

There were also two distinct "green" trends: One, more products touting their eco-friendly virtues. Two, more products geared toward the recession -- i.e., costing fewer greenbacks.

Here are my favorite KBIS products for the kitchen. Check back next week for a KBIS 2009 - Bath Spotlight.


Kohler has created a combination sink/accessories/serveware/storage system called Stages that puts a range of kitchen essentials in one convenient location. It looks great, works hard and could be an ideal island or in-law kitchen option.


The very clever DrawerVac, (by a company of the same name), is designed to tie into -- and expand -- a home's central vacuum system. (Think of it as a DustBuster on steroids!). The unit installs in a base cabinet just below the countertop and pulls out when needed. This makes meal clean-up quicker, easier and more convenient. And anything that makes clean-up easier gets high marks from me!


Tile and wood have long been popular kitchen flooring options, but both can be very unforgiving underfoot. This contributes to muscle aches and fatigue when spending hours prepping, serving and cleaning up. GelPro produces cushioned mats that are ideal for a more comfortable kitchen session. There are great new designer colors, patterns and sizes to go with just about any decor. Now, instead of having one small mat in front of your stove, you can have an entire work aisle - up to 12 feet! - softened by this amazing material. (If only the whole convention floor could have been covered by GelPros, my feet would have been much happier trampers!)


Bosch has made it easier for users unfamiliar with induction cooking to use this eco-friendly technology. Its AutoChef Induction Cooktop provides pre-programmed options for cooking a wide variety of foods-from pork chops to pancakes. I like induction cooking because of its inherent safety features, energy savings and easy cleanability. The Autochef makes easy learning a product feature, too, and even includes an induction compatible skillet. It's pretty darn sleek, too!


One of my biggest surprises at the show was Corian's new collection. If Corian conjures up images of tacky '80s tract home kitchens, you haven't seen its new lines! I always respected Corian for its simple virtues: (1) It's extremely easy maintenance; (2) It's warm and soft to the touch; (3) it's repairable; (4) It appears to be seamless, and (5) You can attach an integral sink. What I never liked was its attempts to imitate its richer rival, natural stone. This new collection has a beauty all its own, and deserves to be reconsidered. For another interesting Corian innovation, check out this posting, which includes its translucent Illuminations series. I spotted it last summer at the Southeast Builders' Conference.


Affluence solved one of those gunky kitchen problems we didn't know could be solved. And they won a Best of KBIS product award for it, too! You know that ring around your kitchen sink drain that catches everything that goes into the sink and is a pain to clean? Some clever designer at this Ohio manufacturer figured out a solution for the problem... A seamless sink with no drain ring at all! Smart -- and stylish, too. (Sorry, flowers not included!)


If you've always wanted an outdoor kitchen, look no further than your closest Atlantis dealer. I first spotted this line in 2007 at the International Builders' Show. It's still the best outdoor cabinetry line in the industry, in my opinion. It's also the judges' opinion: Atlantis won a silver Best of KBIS 2009 kitchen award. Not surprising, since its parent company is top-notch custom cabinet maker, CWP. This year, Atlantis showed off its new bamboo series for those seeking a contemporary, eco-friendly option. (Call me old-fashioned, but my favorite Atlantis doors are still the teak series.)

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