February 21, 2019

Catch Up on Highlights of Cindy Allen’s All-Star Design Panel at KBIS 2019

Cindy Allen (at left) keynoting the All-Star Design panel at KBIS 2019, with (from left) Alison Damonte, Adam Ralston, and Laura Bohn. 

KBIS 2019 was action-packed. It was arguably one of the most highly-trafficked iterations of the design industry’s biggest kitchen and bath trade show. Among the clamor to see every booth and take in the absolute most at the three-day event, Interior Design editor in chief Cindy Allen (@thecindygram) enthralled a packed audience by presenting a panel discussion between celebrated design leaders as the KBIS 2019 keynote speaker.

Cindy led an engaging discussion of key trends in the kitchen and bath categories among Laura Bohn (@laurabohndesign) of Laura Bohn Design Associates, Adam Rolston (@theadamrolston) of INC Architecture & Design, and Alison Damonte (@alisondamonte) of Alison Damonte Design. Together, the four talked about leading trends, the importance of learning from both fresh and established talent in the industry, and the widely-celebrated projects that landed Damonte and Rolston project spotlights in the Interior Design Homes: Best of Kitchen and Bath issue.

Each trend was introduced by a project hand-picked by Cindy, straight from the pages of the Best of Kitchen & Bath issue. Cindy presented trends in her signature, engaging manner: “Let’s Get Stoned,” “Color My World,”  Au Naturel,” “Back to Black,” and “Heavy Metal.” Cindy and the designers eagerly discussed all five trends. If you couldn’t make it to the keynote panel live at KBIS, you can read the highlights discussed by Cindy, Bohn, Rolston, and Damonte, below.

With introductions established, Cindy opened with a discussion, “Let’s Get Stoned,” that is the use of natural stone to evoke glamour and refinement. Nowhere in the Best of Kitchen & Bath issue was this better illustrated than in Harry Heissmann’s stunning ‘blue mood’ bathroom for a New York City townhouse.

Water motifs abound in Harry Heissmann’s master suite for a NYC townhouse. Sink fittings by Sieger Design. Photography by Eric Laignel.

Cindy then followed with examples of this trending use of stone from Bohn and Rolston’s portfolios. She concluded the segment with a new launch that represented the strong trend toward stone seen at KBIS: the Axor MyEdition faucet series from Phoenix.

Another trend Cindy highlighted in her keynote was “Color My World,” or the vibrant use of color to enliven residential spaces, particularly in the kitchen. “The folks that do color best, mix it with white. It’s a very edited use of color,” Cindy said. Rolston agreed, adding, “Your kitchen is in your living room now, so why not make it sexy?” 

In the Best of Kitchen & Bath issue, Ghislaine Viñas best translated the sentiment shared by Cindy and Rolston in her deliberate use of colorful accents in the modern kitchen of a Hamptons summer home.

Ghislaine Viñas brings signature flair to a Hamptons summer house. Photography by Garrett Rowland.

Fittingly, Cindy treated the audience to a glimpse of how Damonte’s own calculated use of navy blue and complementary red accents in the kitchen of a La Honda mountain home achieved a sophisticated effect. “Color makes me happy,” Damonte said about her design ethos. “I tried to be a minimalist and embrace nature, and it doesn’t work for me!” 

True Residential, according to Cindy, best embodied design’s gravitation toward color at KBIS 2019 with the new addition of a vibrant emerald hue to its refrigerator customization palette. 

The next trend Cindy introduced was “Au Naturel,” or bringing the outdoors inside in keeping with biophilic design. She showed how Tsao & McKown created a tranquil master suite that blended indoor and outdoor living in the Best of Kitchen & Bath issue. 

Tsao & McKown perfects indoor-outdoor living for a New York master suite. Photography by Simon Upton.

Bohn’s portfolio then took the spotlight as Cindy shared how the established designer has worked to create tranquil spaces connected to the natural environment. One of Bohn’s projects involved creating a nature-inspired space for a client with cats. Bohn’s high-design interpretation of a space that would welcome her client’s felines involved bringing trees inside the home for the cats to climb. “You can’t get more natural than having a tree in the house,” said Cindy. Timber is a recurring material element elsewhere in Bohn’s residential project, too. “I had this idea and went to the lumberyard and got a piece of wood, envisioning it as a base, then got a salad bowl and made a sink out of it—and that is this bathroom,” explained Bohn.

Rolston, whose portfolio includes the renowned 1Hotel Brooklyn Bridge project, is also familiar with the biophilic approach. The hotel’s lobby features a living wall and expansive windows that connect the hotel’s interior with its exterior proximity to the East River. “1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge had to be expressive of the context of Brooklyn and that design culture,” he said. 

Cindy closed the trend discussion by sharing her final pick from KBIS that best embodied the trend toward au naturel: the Avalon freestanding bathtub from the NativeStone Collection

When all was said and done, Cindy closed the panel, thanking the designers for joining her in the discussion before turning to the audience with a few parting words. 

“At the end of the day this was about trends. But I know, my designers, you guys don’t follow trends, you make them. Be who you are. Fight to be original.”

Don’t miss out on KBIS 2019 coverage; check out the who’s who of KBIS Hall of Fame and get to know all of the next-gen trends you can expect to see in kitchen and bath in 2019. 

Also, watch highlights of KBIS 2019:

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