Tag Archives: The Decor Girl

Influences of Car Design On Kitchen (& Bath) Design

A design discussion

hosted by Lisa M. Smith

Kitchen and bathroom design influences come from a myriad of places. Recognizing that kitchens and bathrooms in the simplest form are purely a collection of large planes and purposeful, durable shapes, what other daily living product shares this similarity? Automobiles. Cars have their intrinsic elements: wheels, engine, seating and controls, kitchens have theirs: cabinetry, countertops and appliances. Both have the same set of problems we as designers are tasked to solve, functionality, durability and oh yeah, its gotta have visual appeal. By looking at how automotive designers create attractive solutions. We can streamline our interior design process by building on what works.


Frameless Doors and Drawers – Frames are not exposed on a car, all doors (trunk, bonnet, fuel filler, glove box) are fairly seamless. Car design disposed of exposed hinges long ago, kitchen and bathroom cabinetry are on the same path. Exposed hinges are a dust magnet. Why create a problem for a customer when the goal is to design a solution? Consumers today have a much higher tuned design aesthetic.  They don’t want to view anything which does not add to the visual appeal.


Q1: Car doors eliminate visual hinges and frames. Do you use frame or frameless cabinets in your designs and why?

The use of stainless steel for functional items or pure visual embellishment is an important material used by car manufacturers.  It is a classic. Just like with cars, in K&B stainless steel symbolized quality and durability.  Did you know Blanco, the German manufacturer of kitchen faucets and sinks actually has an automotive connection? BLANCO is the company trusted by Porsche, Mercedes- Benz and Rolls-Royce for stainless steel work included on their automobiles.

Q2:  Stainless steel is a common element in cars and kitchens. How do you incorporate stainless steel into your designs?


Automotive manufacturers are constantly bringing new materials to consumers.  Cars used to only have big metal bumpers.  Kitchens had big cast iron sinks. Metal was once the only bumper option on a car. Today, numbers are hidden behind gorgeous skins.  In the kitchen and bath, we have a number of new material or surface products to choose from.

Q3: Innovative materials drive the car industry. What new material choices do you like to use for K&B and how?

Automobile design trends shift back and forth throughout history from boxy to curvy.

Q4: Today’s cars are sleek and curvy. How do you keep kitchen and bathrooms from feeling like a room full of boxes?


Technology is important in cars and kitchens. Consumers want connectivity, they are used to digital screens which are clear and updated. Technology changes from model year to model year in cars.  It has to. This influences buying decisions.

Q5: Cars keep adding tech. How are you incorporating latest technology into K&B and keeping your designs fresh and up to date?

Efficiency is another characteristic cars and kitchens have in common. Whether going from point A to point B or preparing a family meal people want to complete these tasks with ease. Good automobile designers put everything the driver or passengers needs within reach.


Q6: A good car is easy to use, a master of efficiency. What design elements make a kitchen efficient and easy?

A chief component of automotive interior design is comfortable seating and being ergonomically sound. Seating is supportive and adjustable. Not unlike a car where long commutes are not unusual, how much time one is seated in the kitchen is for a much longer period than many years ago.


Q7: Luxury cars have 18-way adjustable seats. How do you incorporate truly comfortable seating into the kitchen?

Luxury cars are all the rage and while every one can’t afford a $100,000 car, car companies are very adept at making moderately priced cars look and feel luxurious.

Q8: What are your tips for making a kitchen or bath luxurious without a big price tag?

Join this Twitter Chat discussion

on Wednesday, November 2

from 2 to 3pm eastern time

by adding #KBtribechat to your tweets!

Here are the stats for this KBtribechat.

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Where To Splurge!

A great kitchen or bathroom is a built on a myriad of compromises. The key is knowing where to splurge and where to save.

Where to Spurge in Kitchen and Bath

Homeowners can often throw a wrench into a great design by judging each piece through a monetary microscope rather than looking at a space as a whole. A great example of this is when shopping for tile someone might see a $100 or more price per square foot of a beautiful decorative tile or mosaic and immediately assume it is too expensive. Back up a minute, there are ways to work almost anything into an existing budget.

It is very possible what seems outrageously expensive is the one component which can be the difference between an ordinary and extraordinary room. A good designer should be skilled in what we call value engineering. Designers can work magic within a budget using the art of where to spurge and where to save.

Lisa Smith will be hosting this KBtribechat discussion.

Here are her questions:

Q1: What is the one corner one should never cut due to cost in a Kitchen or Bath?

Q2: What are your design solutions for getting the most bang for the buck?

Q3: What is worth splurging on in a kitchen?

Q4: In order to keep the spurge w/in budget, where can you save?

Q5: What is worth splurging on in a bathroom?

Q6 Where can one save $ in a bathroom?

Q7: What is a product, material, or concept worth fighting for?

Join this Twitter Chat discussion

on Wednesday, September 10th

from 2 to 3pm eastern time

by adding #KBtribechat to your tweets!

Here’s the transcript for this KBtribechat.

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Bathrooms – No Fooling With A Master of Efficiency

A Design Discussion hosted by Lisa Smith of Interior Design Factory and DecorGirl.net


Bathrooms are often the smallest rooms in the home which house a large amount of tasks.  Like a kitchen, they are a workhorse of the home.   Often they aren’t any bigger than a closet, smaller than some actually but regardless of size they facilitate a number of our daily duties.

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 10.01.11 AM

More often than not we are tasked with working within the constraints of an existing space.  Bathroom remodeling lands us in working with smaller spaces, 60 square feet or less for this do-it-all room.   How do we get more from less?

Building the luxurious dream bathroom from scratch is ideal but reality and budgets interrupt to leave us charged with remodeling existing bathrooms without lots of floorspace.   Real bathrooms for real people, where money matters which is our focus for today’s chat.


Q1: How do you maximize efficiency in a bathroom when you can’t add space?

Q2: In bathroom design where do you save and where do you splurge?

Q3: What is your preferred bathroom faucet style deck or wall mount?

Q4: Which do you use more of floating or standard cabinets?

Q5: Are clients requesting steam showers, body sprays or both?

Q6: Tile is a natural material choice, any tips for selecting or using tile?

Q7: Other than tile, what bathroom floor materials do you like?

Q8: How do you personalize a bathroom for your clients?

Q9: What is your #1 suggestion for designing a beautiful and useful bathroom?

Please join us April 2, 2014 at 2.pm. EST, 11 a.m. PST for a real discussion on arriving at solutions for an efficient bathroom for today’s modern lifestyle.

We have started a Pinterest Board for this KBtribechat.

Here is the transcript for this KBtribechat.


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A Value Discussion

Lisa Smith, the author of the popular Design Blog Decor Girl – the blog for interior design ideas and lifestyle nourishment, will be leading us in a discussion on Blogs and their Value


at the November 13, 2013 Kbtribechat.  We asked Lisa to host after reading her post Writing a Design Blog is Not Prostitution!

To be apart of this important conversation,  join us at #Kbtribechat on Twitter from 2 to 3pm on Wednesday.  See you there!

More from Lisa:

In this techno age, there is hardly anything we buy or idea we contemplate which doesn’t land us online searching for more information or pictures.  More often than not you will land on a blog.  If you click around and like what this person has to say you may read more and subscribe.  If they have an opinion on what you are looking for, your ultimate decision very likely will be swayed.  If the blog is written well you will feel comfortable reaching out in the comment section if you have further questions or would like to add to the conversation, or you just want to say thank you.  (We love comments BTW!)

Blog post life cycle-imp


Blogs are one of the neatest ways to share detailed product information or ideas or concepts which require more explanation than a one sentence blurb.  For those with a product it this is a great way to continually connect with your customers and be more than just another brand.  For those of us who are more service oriented a blog is venue to expand on ides, showcase a little of what we do with some personality attached, as well as connect with potential customers.
A blog is a condensed advertisement for you or your product, it can be one of the most valuable tools of engaging with potential customers.
Writing a blog takes a lot of work.  Each post requires research and photos.  This equates to content.  Have something valuable to say or share – or say nothing.  Post good content which provides something of value to your reader.  Even if is only your favorite recipe for fudge, write well and have great pictures.
Relationships matter


What makes social media work is being social.  Commenting opens up conversation and invites engagement.  Sharing is what gives blog content legs or reach.  Engagement is your goal.  If nobody reads it what is the point?    The more people who share it the more opportunities you get for engagement.

Sharing requires being a good social media community member = sharing more about others than yourself.
Nobody likes people who just drone on about themselves, same works for social media.  Share posts, tweets, pictures from others with your social media community.  Share, share and share more.  The more content you share from others, the more others will share your content.
A few examples of how to share:
  • Tweets
  • Blogroll
  • Facebook
  • Stumble
  • Reddit
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
All tied up in a nice bow, just like the present it is.  Sharing is what social media is all about!   The more you give the more you get.


Here is the transcript for this Kbtribechat.

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