THROUGH A DESIGNER’S EYE
Welcome to the design issue of BLANCO’s Inspirations Magazine - featuring trends and inspiration for your home.
Each year, BLANCO visits design shows around the world to see what’s new and trending for our industry. We view these shows through the eyes of the design community – especially our BLANCO Design Council. They live and breathe this world – absorbing a constant stream of new products and information. And they make daily decisions that impact our living spaces and our lifestyles. We’ve dedicated this issue of Inspirations to design – through a designer’s vantage point.
BLANCO’s stylish sinks and faucets continue to receive major press exposure for their innovation and high performance. Here are a few of the recent media hits from top publications that featured BLANCO’s award-winning products.
For Residential Pros featured the BLANCO SONOMA™.
GB&D featured BLANCO ATTIKA™ in their KBIS 2014 round up.
Architect’s Newspaper highlighted the BLANCO MODEX™ sink as an advance in technology.
Kitchen & Bath Design News featured the BLANCO ATTIKA™.
Before you select a stylish granite countertop for your kitchen, you may want to visit GraniteGrannies to see their stunning array of countertop designs.
Founder, owner and lead designer Lori Hethmon shares her ideas and thoughts on the latest trends in stone and what consumers need to know before they invest in a high-end countertop.
Welcome Lori. Let’s start off with what is trending in high-end or exotic stones these days?
LH: In terms of high-end Quartzites, I think natural stone is a keeper or any Marblesque looking stone, which are typically harder than marble. Red stone colors are also starting to trend.
We haven’t seen Red in a while so it’s exciting. I am always ready for the next trend. It’s all about passion and Red is so strong and bold.
I love stone, so for me, granite has to be the showiest piece in any kitchen. Red in granite is different than paint. It’s not solid, it has variation in the pattern so you can use it everywhere. You don’t have to just make it a focal point.
What does the designer or consumer need to look for when picking granite for their kitchen?
LH: Look for something you love. It’s so simple but it sums it all up.
So often, homeowners talk themselves out of a beautiful stone because they are trying to match everything. If you love it – then it will look beautiful no matter what.
What are some difficult stones that make for great spaces?
There’s a huge variety in how stones react to the polishing process. Some are hard, some are brittle. Stone varies quite a bit. It’s the biggest thing that we help customers to understand – how we form or shape different stones. Different fabricators can do different levels of stone. Exotics are complex. The most important thing you need to consider is a fabricator that understands how the stone will be used. We always ask what the use is. We guide the customer to the right stone – for how it looks, functionality, etc.
While working with the design-minded consumer and designer, can you give some fabricator tips for adding value?
LH: We do add a lot of value – but it’s up to the fabricator how to cut the stone based on its pattern. That’s where real design work comes in. If there’s a particular swirl or veining – you want to pick what goes where to have a pleasing flow of stone. We strategically take advantage of the parts the customer loved most about the stone – placing those parts in a visible and prominent position is very important.
Also, using the same stone throughout the entire house, if laid out differently, gives it a visually appealing and effective look.
How involved are you in client decision making?
LH: We are hands-on with our clients. We talk about their home, who lives there, needs, budget, how long they will live there, etc. We just don’t put basic stones there. If you want to get off the beaten path – without spending too much – visit someone who knows a wide variety of stone. There are thousands of stones on the market. It’s incredible. Very few realize the variety available to them. We expose people to the real world of stone.
Also, customers do not realize there’s a lot more mark up on the lower end. I could make more money but I would hate my job. You may not have to spend more to get something really unique and interesting for your home.
To learn more about Granite Grannies, visit www.granitegrannies.com.
To download our free app which helps you to match countertops to sinks, click here.
BLANCO’s Director of Marketing, Tim Maicher, shares his personal views and thoughts on current trends in kitchen sinks and faucets and the impact of technology, design and style.
In your opinion, what are some of the biggest trends you are currently seeing in faucets and water accessories?
It’s about right-sizing to the space in an elegant manner. The open room concept is one of the hottest trends today and requires that all things work together to create a good flow of space within the home. A large, tall, or conventional professional-looking faucet can unintentionally disrupt or unbalance the room and / or view. Our design team has come up with faucet designs like CULINA™, CULINA™ Mini, NAPA™, and SONOMA™, that bring out the best in an open room concept by making the size, style, and function complement the space, rather than crowd it.
Based on consumer popularity, what are some of the most popular finishes and materials for faucets? And with that, what styles are the most in demand?
Stainless remains a popular and in-demand product. However, the use of color as an accent within kitchen design is growing and again ties into the trend of “the personal touch.” This can range from using color on accent tiles, cabinets and even faucets. A splash of color can totally change the room and make it unique! This is why we’ve seen growth in products like our ALTA™ Compact, which uses elegant accent colors mixed with metal to complement the kitchen design.
There are so many choices in sizes for consumers to choose from when picking their BLANCO sink. What are some of the popular sizes currently trending in the market?
Kitchen sinks appear to be getting bigger although it really is a shift from the bulky looking double bowls we grew up with to single bowl sinks. Faucets are actually going in the opposite direction. They are not getting small, they are getting right-sized so that they work within an open floor plan, yet deliver on performance, cleanability, and yes… style! Creating a true balance between open plan design and faucet design was the inspiration for our newest faucets like CULINA, CULINA Mini, NAPA, and SONOMA.
In what way would you say Universal Design impacts kitchen sink and faucet trends?
Universal Design does have an impact and will continue to do so as the boomers age. Faucets, for example, in many cases already meet the basic functional needs with easy-to-move levers, but the heart of Universal Design is really about making life easier in the kitchen. Incorporating Universal Design themes into products in an aesthetically pleasing way is growing in importance. Our designers looked at how to blend great functionality in an easy-to-care-for, and easy-to-use design that delivers great style. We reinvented the concept of a professional-looking faucet to meet this growing demand with our CULINA and new CULINA Mini, which feature an easy-to-clean coil and a magnetic spray holder.
What new technologies do you think are currently impacting faucet and water accessories trends?
The use of magnets in faucet design is making things better for the user - it’s as simple as making it easier to access and put away the hand spray. I love the idea that technology surprises and delights the user when they interact with the faucet. Looking forward, technology in all forms will continue to make faucets even simpler to enjoy.
What role does the overall design play when impacting kitchen sink and faucet trends?
For faucet design, it has everything to do with matching the trend of style. While traditional design still has a far lead in the U.S., a growing movement is to modern design, which is really another way of bringing a new sensibility to transitional forms. The trend in modern kitchen design has allowed us to open up our view of transitional styling to incorporate more organic elements of shape - like our NAPA series. We also look to softer plays on traditional design, like our SONOMA series. Another key reason for this new sensibility of transitional design is that the kitchen now extends into other living spaces – which means that the faucet has to balance with the entire space. This is a long-term trend that will continue for as long as the open space concept is popular.
Water conservation is such an important trend these days, especially in kitchen products. What role does BLANCO play in conserving water with their faucets?
It’s growing, but has not taken on full steam. The growth we have seen on the kitchen side is due to legislative actions like CALGREEN and municipalities requiring water saving kitchen faucets. We do believe, however, that we are in the early stages of water conservation and that it will rapidly increase over the next 5 years.
BLANCO debuts the stunning QUATRUS™ R15 stainless steel kitchen sink with an exclusive rounded corner concept that makes clean up a breeze. The stylish and easy to clean QUATRUS R15 reflects all things modern — designer appeal, exceptional engineering and high-end features — at a price that’s well within reach.
“With a uniquely rounded corner design, QUATRUS R15 delivers all of the beauty of a designer stainless steel sink while meeting every day kitchen needs,” states Tim Maicher, Director of Marketing for BLANCO. “It is as functional as it is fabulous. It’s seriously the best of both worlds.”
Optional accessories include stainless steel grids that protect the sink, glass cutting boards and stainless steel colanders for increased efficiency
QUATRUS R15 comes in six different styles including: bar, equal double, small single, medium single, super single and 1-3/4 bowls.
- Bowl depth ranges from 8” on bar bowl to 9” on kitchen sinks
- BLANCO’s 304 series stainless steel
- 18 gauge stainless steel
- 18/10 chrome-nickel content
- Signature Satin Polished Finish
Part of being a homeowner for an extended period of time means accepting the idiosyncrasies of one’s home. Little dings here and there can add character and show that a house is being lived in. But when do those charming little marks become areas of genuine concern? Guidance to questions like this and more can be found in “Kelly’s Kitchen Savvy”, a book written by Kelly Morrisseau, a Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer with more than 25 years of experience designing kitchens.
Every home requires maintenance, but when dealing with the kitchen the number of choices to make can be overwhelming. Kelly’s book offers insight into how to prioritize projects and avoid rushing to buy items that may not work in the long-term. Other helpful advice includes identifying improvements you can tackle in the short term while saving up for bigger projects that require more investment in terms of time and money.
Some tidbits from the book.
- Understand the chronological implications of each step in a kitchen remodel. They’ll prevent you from wasting time and money on items that will have to be torn out and redone later on because they were completed out of order.
- If there are a few items that need to be repaired or restored, always tackle the safety items first, such as loose floor tile.
- Sinks have grown in size over the last few years. When shopping for a replacement, make sure the sink cabinet is wide enough to accommodate your new sink. Measure the inside of the sink base, and read the sink specifications, which may mention the size of the cabinet required. Don’t measure the exterior width as it doesn’t account for the size of the interior framing. For example, a 36 in. wide sink base is actually 34-1/2 in. on the interior. Only a sink that is 33 in. or less would be the right fit for that cabinet.
- Stainless steel in a sink is rated according to thickness: the greater the thickness, the lower the number of the gauge or rating. Thus an 18-gauge sink offers better quality than one that’s only 20-gauge. There are also 12 – and 16-gauge sinks, but they are more commonly used in commercial applications. 18 gauge is perfectly acceptable and from a high quality manufacturer is always preferred.
If you’re considering a kitchen remodel, or just looking for a good read that might be beneficial to future updates, “Kelly’s Kitchen Savvy” is a great pick up. You can find the Kindle Edition of the book at http://www.amazon.com/Kellys-Kitchen-Savvy-Solutions-Remodels-ebook/dp/B00LGC3GM0. Also be sure to check out Morisseau’s other titles “Kelly’s Kitchen Sync” and “20 Kitchen Design Questions Answered.”
BLANCO is a 2014 International Design Excellent Awards® (IDEA) finalist for the innovative BLANCO ONE Sink Collection. The ONE Collection offers three new sinks and five innovative accessory kits that combine to form unique customized solutions for cooking, organizing and cleaning.
“We are so excited to have been recognized as a finalist for the 2014 IDEA awards,” states Tim Maicher, Director of Marketing for BLANCO. “With thousands of entries this year from around the world, we are proud of the fact that the BLANCO ONE Collection stainless steel sinks stood out for their functionality, performance and customizable features that fit so many lifestyles.”
“This year’s IDEA jury had a fairly audacious task judging more than 2,000 entries,” stated Tad Toulis 2014 IDEA Jury Chair. “As we made our way through the entries, we had to make tough choices. Be assured that each and every design submitted contributed to a vigorous and thoughtful debate. We congratulate BLANCO on their work and for making it to the final round.”
IDEA has for 35 years recognized design excellence in products, sustainability, and interaction design, packaging, strategy, research and concepts and welcomed entrees from students to worldwide companies. Winners and finalist showcase the best examples of design insight, talent, passion and design excellence.
BLANCO wins Silver at the 2014 Communicator Awards for its new ONE kitchen sink collection online video – recognizing the “big idea” and marketing concept behind the innovative series.
“As a company, BLANCO wins more than its share of product design awards, but in this case it’s not just the design of the product, but the marketing behind it that is also innovative,” states Tim Maicher, Director of Marketing for BLANCO. “The inspiration behind ONE is personalization. To match your sink to an accessory combination to make it the ‘ONE’ sink for you. To keep it simple and draw consumers and designers into the concept, we created personas for each sink and accessory kit. The marketing materials identified common lifestyles such as Foodies, Families and Metros to go with each sink and accessory kit combination. Consumers and designers both began to identify themselves with the personas. If you’re a Foodie, then this sink is the ONE for you.”
“We held events and twitter chats where designers discussed which personas they were and these were shared through social media and later a digital magazine, video and blog posts. The award winning videos for the individual personas have some of our highest retention rates on YouTube,” continues Maicher.
The Communicator Awards is the premier international awards program for acknowledging big ideas in marketing and communications. Since its inception, two decades ago, The Communicator Awards receives over 6,000 entries from companies and agencies of all sizes, making it one of the largest awards of its kind in the world. To be named a winner at this prestigious ceremony provides the company and their clients the recognition they deserve, and validation that their work is highly regarded by their peers within the industry.
BLANCO’s agency of record is Frank Advertising who has won numerous awards for its creative and strategic work on behalf of BLANCO.
BLANCO recently helped sponsor Florence Von Pelet and Sarah Miller from Modenus who joined a group of interior designers/bloggers on a mission to help shelter a family of six in Guatemala. The designers included Kelly Kole, Joann Kandrac and Pamela Copeman. The heart-felt mission was organized by Catalyst Resources International.
The house was finished in two and a half days by a group of thirteen determined women. On the night of the dedication, it poured; but, everyone was kept dry in their newly built home.
The three day goal wasn’t the only challenge faced… a couple of team members had to stuff their shirts with paper to protect themselves from barbed wire that lined a neighbor’s fence while building the back wall of the house.
At the completion of the project, the entire village gathered to see the finished home. The family received their house keys and unlocked their front door for the first time to find a dinner table and two bedrooms furnished with brand new beds, mattresses, sheets, blankets and pillows.
Thank you to our friends in the interior design community for including us in your life’s work both inside and outside the office!
* All images produced by Chasen West Photography for Kandrac & Kole
BLANCO debuts the beautiful CULINA MINI – demonstrating that all good things do come in “right-sized” packages.
Handsomely crafted and optimized for open floor plans, the CULINA MINI displays intelligent engineering with sophisticated styling. The closed coil is sleek, tangle-free and easy to clean while the magnetic spray holder allows the faucet to glide effortlessly into place.
“The new CULINA MINI offers all the function, performance and innovation of our original CULINA faucet, just in a smaller profile to give designers limitless options for open living spaces,” states Tim Maicher, Director of Marketing for BLANCO. “Consumers still want to work in a gourmet kitchen inspired by world class restaurants – but often these industrial features do not look very sophisticated in an open space. The CULINA MINI offers pro-style functionality in a package that is right-sized to integrate into a kitchen that’s part of the home and not a back-room operation.”
- Solid brass body
- Ceramic disc cartridge
- 2.2 GPM flow rate – also available in 20% CAL Green water-saving model
- Double spiral flexible pull-out spray hose
- Reach 7-7/8″; Spout Height 7″; Faucet Height 17-1/8″
- Two finishes: Polished Chrome; Satin Nickel
- Reversible mounting hardware adapts to thick or thin mounting surfaces
- Retails from $650 for Polished Chrome and $725 for Satin Nickel