27 January 2009


What does the appliance scene look like for 2009? If your dishwasher dies this season, what might you be replacing it with? More important, what additions are available for improving your home... And home life!

Manufacturers here and abroad are constantly building a better 'mousetrap,' so I went to some of the most knowledgeable folks I know and asked for their appliance predictions for the year.


"Speed cooking, steam-convection, induction and premium gas wall ovens."

Barry Cohen
Senior Vice President

"More and more appliances will have access to mini computers and the internet. Another area that will emerge will be appliance intelligence. Ovens will have more sensors to know what temperature and time will be required to cook any food that is placed in it."

Ann Porter, CKD
Kitchen Studio of Naples and KitchAnn Style.com

"Induction cooking will continue to grow in popularity, as it provides fast, efficient cooking. Also, watch for more manufacturers offering microwave drawers."

Jason Horst
Business Development Manager
Famous Tate

"More and more built in – cook tops and sinks that are soldered into stainless tops or that are flush mounted to glass tops."

Amir Ilin
Kuche + Cucina and European-Kitchen-Design

Professional Series Gas Oven from Viking


"Gladiator® GarageWorks offers the only ENERGY STAR® qualified refrigerator built specifically for the garage – the Chillerator® Garage Refrigerator. While it's tempting to retire the old fridge into the garage, consumers should select a refrigerator that has been designed to withstand the extreme temperatures and humidity of the space. Depending on the age of the old refrigerator, the Chillerator® Garage Refrigerator is 30-53% more efficient."

Monica Teague
Director of Public Relations
Gladiator GarageWorks

"As food prices have increased, the importance for keeping food fresher, longer is at an all-time high. Some manufacturers are now including replaceable air filters inside their newest refrigerator models, including Electrolux and Sub-Zero. The new Sub-Zero models feature an air purification system that scrubs odors & ethylene gas from the interior, assuring that fresh fruit and vegetables stay fresh as long as possible."

Jason Horst
Business Development Manager
Famous Tate

"Several legitimate two- and three-zone cooling models [for wine captains]. Previous offerings made use of "Mother Nature"…gravity in providing multi-temp zones. Wine consumers have grown up and really want to preserve and store collectables at different temperatures with control over humidity."

Barry Cohen
Senior Vice President

19.0 Cu. Ft. Chillerator Garage Refrigerator
from Gladiator GarageWorks


"There are a couple of hot trends for '09 in regard to cleaning appliances. ASKO manufacturers the world's only fully integrated laundry. The traditional laundry room is no more. People are installing multiple sets of laundry throughout a house and they want to have the option of having each set of laundry integrated into each setting.

"In regard to dishwashers, ASKO has developed a way to provide additional capacity without increasing the actual dimensions. The new D5000 series gives you the capacity of 1.5 dishwashers – the new 4 rack, 7 basket system is unlike any other dishwasher on the market."

Brittany Musacchio

"New colors continue to be popular. Our showroom is filled with variations of greens, reds, grays and blues!" Despite the fun colors, "Everyone is looking to spend less time in the laundry room." Machines that add capacity and increase speed are leading the market. "The new Electrolux sets offer an 18 minute wash/18 minute dry cycle, allowing you to do a quick load in only 36 minutes."

Jason Horst
Business Development Manager
Famous Tate

"Cleaning products will continue to be friendly to the environment and friendly to your clothes. Water and soap use will decrease. Cleaning times will be reduced. Smart appliances will also communicate with the power grid and wait to turn on when power demand is lower."

Ann Porter, CKD
Kitchen Studio of Naples and KitchAnn Style.com

"It's a great time to buy a new appliance. Energy Star is trying to offer incentives to get people to dump old energy hogs. Manufacturers are offering rebates and promotions, as well as retailers. It's bargain hunting time and replacing old appliances will save $$ in energy. Miele has been ahead of this green curve for some time, [with] more energy/water efficient products on the way."

Lori Dolnick

Turbo speed cleaning from Electrolux in Turquoise Sky


"We're seeing a great deal of interest in specialization of the outdoor cooking experience. The outdoor chef wants to be able to rotis, smoke, sear, wok, low country boil, deep fry…not just grill. In addition, we're experiencing a trend for cooking stations dedicated to one or more of those culinary preferences. Other needs arise from these trends in ventilation, food preservation, preparation and serving zones."

Barry Cohen
Senior Vice President

"Pizza ovens will be the must-have item for outdoor kitchens. Both the brick and mortar and the free-standing electric versions will be popular. One reason for the growth in popularity is that in this slower economy, people are entertaining more at home. These ovens are great for entertaining small crowds or large parties."

Ann Porter, CKD
Kitchen Studio of Naples and KitchAnn Style.com

"The DCS outdoor-approved DishDrawer is still in the works."

Jason Horst
Business Development Manager
Famous Tate

Outdoor gourmet cooking with Alfresco

20 January 2009


Today we gained a new President of the United States, First Lady, VP and Cabinet. We also gained a new White House interior designer, Michael S. Smith.

(Photo from Dominomag.com)

"I am delighted to work with the Obamas as they bring their own energy and style to the residence at the White House," Smith is quoted on his publisher's home page. Last April, he told Domino Magazine, "The family's casual style, their interest in featuring 20th Century American artists and utilizing affordable brands and products will serve as our guiding principles as we make the residence feel like their home."

Smith may be new to Washington and the American public, but he’s no stranger to the design world. The 44-year old Californian has been named to Architectural Digest’s prestigious AD 100 list of top designers twice, and named a Designer of the Year by Elle D├ęcor. His projects have been published in those magazines and others, and in two coffee tables books by Rizzoli Publishing.

He’s got lines of fabrics, furniture, carpets, tile, bath fixtures and other products that could very well find their way into the Obama White House. He'll probably also be pulling items from some very familiar spots, too.

Click here for a Today Show video on the Obamas' decorating plans with Elle Decor editor Margaret Russell. She cites Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn, Wisteria and Anthropologie, some of my own favorite sources, as potential suppliers to the residence's rooms.

Here's a video from Domino Magazine featuring Michael Smith giving viewers a tour of his own Bel Air home. In it, he also shares his philosophies on designing that may very well carry into the White House. Here are some of my favorite Smith rooms from past projects:

I can see Sasha and Malia enjoying a bathroom like this one, with separate sinks for each girl and a large built-in to store all their goodies.

(Photo from Dominomag.com)

This bedroom looks incredibly soothing and relaxing. It could be the perfect spot for the presidential Grandmother after a day helping the girls with homework and life at the White House.

(Photo from Dominomag.com)

The slipcovers make this dining room a practical, as well as stylish, space for a family with young children.

(Photo from Dominomag.com)

What a perfect spot for enjoying a book or a game. I can definitely see the First Family relaxing in a room like this one!

(Photo from Elle Decor)

This tailored guest room would be an ideal spot to welcome Obama friends and family to the White House. It's opulent but comfortable at the same time. I'd love to check in!

(Photo from Architectural Digest)

13 January 2009


There's an excellent chance that the colors you encounter at Target, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Pier1, Anthropologie and other popular design sources have been influenced by a group you've never heard of. It's a non-profit association called the Color Marketing Group, composed of design professionals from around the world. They've been accurately predicting – some would say shaping – color trends for more than four decades. Here's their take on 2009:

Purple, Purple, Purple!

Emerging as a hot fashion color last fall, purple is not just a fad --
it's an entrenched trend. Look for a greyed-out violet that works equally well as an accent or a neutral, as well as redder, plummier purples and bluer-influenced fuchsias in a huge range of products. Purple is 2009's "must have" color.

Blue is the New Green

Various greens have symbolized "green living" over the last
few years, but in 2009 the environmental message is delivered by the color blue. There are watery blues, sky blues and a whole range of blues that now represent our commitment to living on a greener planet.

Cooled-down, Greyed-out Browns and Greys

Complex neutrals satisfy our urge
toward classic colors in an economically-challenged time. They also bridge the area between black, which seems harsh, and brown, which doesn't seem strong enough.

Yellow for Energy

The neutrals may have greyed, but look for lots of bright
vivid yellow to give us energy as we re-build the economy. It's the stand-out accent color for 2009. Bright Accents from India, China, and Turkey... The exotic has become the familiar. Oranges, turquoises and teals, reds, and yellows will abound in hues from far-away countries that now seem very near. They are the optimistic touches we crave.

White is now a Business Color

Technology has produced amazing new (and very practical)
finishes, which helps explain why white is showing up everywhere. The contrasts are all in the finishes: matte versus gloss; shine and shimmer on reflective surfaces; textured whites versus smooth -- all washable and cleanable. White also represents purity of thought, motive and result.

The Return of the "M" Word

It's mauve. Remember mauve? An old color that looks new
again, in dusty violet shades, mauve works as an accent but also serves now as a neutral, punched up by those bright Asian accents (orange, turquoise, teal, red, and yellow.)

Final Thoughts on Color Trends

Use these trend notes as potential inspiration for finding fresh new touches for your home, not as a call to action to throw out everything you already own! When you do add in elements that will be permanent -- like cabinetry, countertops or flooring, for example -- be sure to avoid the Top Three Remodeling Mistakes too many homeowners make!

Photo Notes

Listed in order of section appearance, from top to bottom:

Purple: This wall storage unit was designed using cabinetry from Italian firm, Scavolini.

Blue: These glass-front appliances by Dacor debuted at KBIS 2008, offering a fresh alternative to both the ubiquitous stainless steel and candy-bright Vikings and Bertazzonis.

Browns and Greys: These UltraCraft cabinets will work in a contemporary or traditional kitchen, and look good long after the CMG's 2009 report has faded into history.

Yellow: These sunny new tabletop accessories from Williams-Sonoma bring bright yellow into your kitchen without a major color commitment.

White: Here's a contemporary white storage system from West Elm, one of my favorite sources for classic and contemporary styles.

Mauve: Here, mauve accents turn up in the lovely new rug from Pottery Barn's 2009 collection. It's also visible in the coordinating pillows. The look is eclectic and unified, casual and classic at the same time.

06 January 2009


What does 2009 hold in store for American homeowners? What trends will we embrace? What products will we bring into our homes this year?

While I don’t have a crystal ball, I’ve been tracking my own projects and prospective clients and asking colleagues for their predictions. Here’s what I think we can look forward to in this intriguing new year…

I don’t think we’ll see the housing market rebound for a while, so most folks will be staying put. That being said, they’re going to continue being interested in improving their living spaces. Three or four years ago, that meant a lot of flash and keeping up with the Joneses. I think – no, I hope – that the consumption for its own sake trend has passed. While people still want luxurious touches and high performance appliances, they want them more for what the comforts, durability and specific features they add to their daily lives, rather than just for the brand appeal. What people are asking for now are:

Time savers – like storage organizers, low-maintenance countertops and multi-tasking appliances that add hours to one's day and simplicity to one's life will be increasingly in demand this year. Last year was tough for many Americans, and taught us what's truly important -- time spent with the people we love, giving back to the communities that nurture us and being grateful for what we have. Products that help us pull together and serve a quick neighborhood pot luck will sell faster than ones that need endless buffing.

CaesarStone quartz top in new 4330 Deep Gray... Skimpy maintenance, super style

Spaces that work for how people really live, not how a magazine says they should will influence how we remodel our homes and select or build new ones.

Kitchens will continue to be the home's gathering space, with more and more functionality, and exert even more pull over the spaces around them. Landing zones in or near the kitchen will continue to be created for cel phones, backpacks, briefcases, iPods, mail and all the other stuff we carry in and out.

Televisions will move into the kitchen more and more, as the family spends more time there and wants to keep up with the world. Televisions will also move into more master baths, as that space continues its evolution into true master retreats.

This CWP custom kitchen features space for homework and home work

Water and energy savings, and the accompanying utility bill reductions, will become factors in more and more remodeling (and building) projects. Some clients will be motivated by the financial rewards, others by the global considerations, many by both.

LED lighting will find its way into even more fixtures, from its current strengths in under-cabinet and recessed ceiling lighting, to contemporary pendants, sconces and chandeliers.

More code restrictions on water use will lead to more tankless water heater and dual flush toilet sales. Plumbing manufacturers will continue working on ways to couple the spa shower and tub experience they love marketing with the water savings our communities demand.

Dual flush toilets, like Kohler's new Persuade model, save water, without sacrificing style

Better, healthier materials, not just better-looking ones. Many clients remodeling today have already updated a bath or kitchen in the past five years and don't relish going through the process more than absolutely necessary. They plan on staying in their homes indefinitely, and are asking about products that will last a long time. Many also have health concerns about a family member with asthma or cancer, and want products in their home that won't create a hazardous indoor environment.

This contemporary Neil Kelly custom kitchen is friendly for your family's environment... And the planet's

More personalization and comfort at home will be important to more and more clients this year, as they seek to make their house a personal refuge from a harsh world. They'll build in materials and accents from travels they've enjoyed and mementos of people close to them. "Rooms to go" will give way to rooms to grow together in.

This Pottery Barn new for 2009 Marin sofa invites relaxation in five fabric grades and about 50 colors and patterns

Upgrades that allow them to age gracefully, safely and successfully in their own homes and communities.
AARP reports that 90 percent of Americans want to stay put as they age, rather than relocate to an assisted living or nursing home facility. Clients in their 40s, 50s and 60s will be looking for ways to make their existing residences work for them into their 70s, 80s and beyond.

Companies like Moen, Kohler, Kraftmaid and others with mass market appeal are planning for this demographic with more stylish and accessible-oriented products. Look for this trend to continue in 2009 and accelerate in future years as the economy rebounds.

The slide-bar shower head, grab bar and bench from a bath I redesigned for a
50-something couple will take them comfortably into their senior years

I believe that people will continue to add style, functionality and comfort to their homes in 2009, and spend some of their happiest hours there.

Happy New Year.

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