Karndean Does Luxury Vinyl Flooring Right!

By Annette M. Callari, Allied ASID, Chair Holder, CMG

KarndeanHickoryPaprikaI had the privilege of touring the Karndean Design Flooring facilities in Export, Pennsylvania this week.  After this California girl got over the shock of 50 degree highs for the day (versus 101 degrees left behind in CA) I was able to appreciate the depth and scope of the luxury vinyl plank and tile products Karndean manufactures.

Designers are quickly finding out that Karndean products are highly specifiable for commercial designs.  A newly ordained commercial team across the country is dedicating a huge effort to getting the word out to the A & D community. And, if Karndean LVT serves commercial applications so well—just imagine the excellent performance it can provide in a residence!  Kids, pets, busy families can enjoy the look, texture and richness of nature’s best wood floors and natural stones, without the stress of treating their flooring with extreme care.  It can take it—no matter what a family brings on.

karndean-designflooring-art-select-lm19-gallatin_300Art Select, Michelangelo, VanGogh, DaVinci, Opus, Knight Tile, and LooseLay are the creative product ranges available to choose from.  High-resolution film of wood grains and stones are digitally reproduced onto vinyl to create an ultra- realistic aesthetic.   Register embossing adds to the visual, providing an authentic tactile (even hand-scraped on their woods) replication.  No wonder LVT is the fastest growing product segment in the flooring industry. Beauty and guaranteed performance are an irresistible combination.

Tucked away in the park-like setting of Export, PA, Karndean made the Top 10 Employers list recently generated by the state.  And they are planning a major expansion that will bring many new jobs to the area.  I like the way this company does business.  The depth of their current line along with intriguing new introductions are generating much excitement.

For residential customers, you can see the products locally by searching Karndean’s dealer network at www.Karndean.com. For architects and designers reading this article, please be alert to this design-forward LVT manufacturer and feel free to contact them through their Customer Service department for more information (888-266-4343888-266-4343).  They will send a request to your local commercial rep to contact you and provide a copy of their beautiful, hard-bound Product Selector book.  …A most impressive company—on so many levels.

Minimalist Kitchens & Baths Reign for 2014

By Annette M. Callari, ASID; CMG

Microwave-Drawers_300Over half of 2014 is behind us, and that gives us enough time to analyze the important trends in kitchen and bath designs evolving this year.  Consumers and designers are ascribing to “form follows function” in planning their new K & B interiors.  Contemporary is in, with clean lines and minimal ornamentation.  Less is more, and consumers are interested in scaled-down, simplified design that is attentive to creative storage features and functional space planning.

With a little help from my friends at the National Kitchen & Bath Association, below is a summary of the hottest K & B trends–each validated by the results of the NKBA annual survey  (which included 420 practicing design professionals).

  1. Monochromatic, neutral color schemes are the hot ticket for this year.  Bone, beige, gray and white are the winners.  I attribute that to the clean (somewhat austere) simplicity consumers are craving.  When the world seems to be spinning out of control, we react by creating safe havens in our homes.  Neutral color schemes give us the relaxing, visual relief we are craving.
  2. It’s no surprise that Universal design is an important facet in planning new kitchens and baths.  The baby boomer generation is coming to the realization that they need to plan for their “aging in place” future, and Universal design is a critical component.  No-threshold showers and easy access soaking tubs are in high demand.  Whirlpool tubs and steam showers (well-being and pain relief) are also emerging as important features.  Showers include benches or seating.
  3. Comfort heights for commodes and vanities are a priority design consideration for 2014, another consideration in Universal design.
  4. Radiant floor heating systems are much in demand and 55% of the designers surveyed saw that demand escalating throughout 2014.
  5. Non-slip flooring materials are an essential ingredient and correlate with Universal design concepts.  (examples:  unpolished natural stone, honed granite, slip-resistant LVT, mosaic-like tile with sufficient grout lines to provide slip-resistance)
  6. Kitchen sinks are favoring stainless steel, but granite composites and porcelain enamel are gaining momentum.
  7. Chrome fixtures seem to fit the contemporary direction of K & B design.  However, copper is on the horizon.  Its natural anti-bacterial properties and inviting warm tones are capturing a whole new consumer audience.
  8. For countertops, granite and quartz surfaces are practically in a tie for first place.  Minimalists will usually opt for clean, uncluttered, solid surfaces and quartz will pull ahead in that respect.
  9. Specialty features in kitchens are worth the investment.  Effective use of space is important and given that, microwave drawers are edging out warming drawers.
  10. For cabinetry in kitchens, cherry is in first place, maple was second, and alder came in third.  Designers are predicting that walnut will take its place in the top three by the end of the year.

Radiant-Floors-and-mosaic_300If you were surprised by some of these reported trends, well that is actually good.  Design is fluid and ever-changing.  Staying ahead of the design curve allows you to incorporate some of these important trends into your own home.  For 2014, streamlined, functional,   innovative, are the buzzwords (and hallmarks) for excellent kitchen and bath design.