before & after: an upper east side reveal with kohler!
Published Dec 2, 2015 6:00 AM
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text by SHANI SILVER
after photos by NICK JOHNSON
before photos by MICHAEL WILTBANK
Over the summer, we introduced you to a new collaborative redesign project between interior designer Young Huh, and Kohler. This project features a family home in major need of kitchen and bath overhauls–and that’s exactly what it got. Explore the stunning reveal as we learn more about this process from Huh, and discover how an outdated, poorly functioning space received a modern, chic, smart makeover. You can also see more from this creative team, and from Kohler, on Instagram, at #KohlerIdeas.
before, guest bath
after, guest bath
HOW DID THIS PROJECT COME ABOUT?
My clients were moving into their apartment on Sutton place and we needed to transform the space into an updated family home.
DID THE FAMILY HAVE SPECIFIC GOALS IN MIND FOR THE FUNCTIONALITY OF THE SPACE?
The original home owners were a couple with no children. As such their master bathroom was very large. We needed to transform that large bath into two baths, incorporating a master and an ensuite bathroom for their daughter. Overall the apartment felt dated and not very family friendly. My job was to make sure all the finishes were durable and could withstand the wear and tear of regular family life.
“Kohler has such a wide range of products. It’s not like you have to buy a suite of products, where everything will look like it’s off the showroom floor. You’re really able to mix and match. There are so many beautiful finishes that are suitable for all sorts of design styles.”
WHAT COMPONENT OF THIS PROJECT WERE YOU MOST EXCITED TO SEE COME TO LIFE?
I was really excited to see the spaces reflect the family’s style. They are a fun, young, and stylish family. I expect the finishes to feel bright, cheerful, and sophisticated too.
WHAT WAS THE MOST UNIQUE COMPONENT OF THIS PROJECT WHEN COMPARED TO OTHER REMODELS/REDESIGNS YOU’VE DONE?
Having to turn one large bath into two, turning a home built for a couple into one for a family.
WHAT IS THE BEST REACTION YOU’VE RECEIVED TO THE NEW SPACE?
The clients and everyone who has seen the spaces have loved the green tile in the guest bath, and the black and white Moroccan mosaic in the master. The Kohler Lilies Lore sinks were were so beautiful with the Wilsonart stone we used, I think everyone was a little stunned by how luxurious and beautiful the combination was.
before, powder room
after, powder room
HOW DID YOU SELECT THE FIXTURES USED IN THE BATHROOMS? WAS THERE A SPECIFIC AESTHETIC YOU WERE GOING FOR OR DID THE PRODUCT ITSELF HELP TO BRING THE ROOM TOGETHER?
The client wanted a fresh and stylish interpretation of traditional design. So we tried to make sure there was a balance of traditional elements and modern elements. For instance, in the guest bath, we have minimalist and modern Toobi Kohler fixtures but used a classic subway and penny tile, with black and white mosaic on the floor. The Sister Parish wallpaper is a classic and definitely supports that aesthetic and is contrasted with the fresh green color of the
before, master bath
after, master bath
DID YOU USE ANYTHING IN THIS PROJECT THAT YOU’D LIKE TO IMPLEMENT IN YOUR OWN HOME?
There are so many ideas and items that I would love to use in my own home. I really love the modern sensibility of the Toobi line. The artisan sinks give vanities such a custom feeling. I’m really obsessed with the bronze sinks and bronze finishes that are new. The vibrant bronze is that finish designers are always trying to chase- what we like to call Gilver. This is that perfect balance between silver and gold and the brushed finish also makes it modern and cool. Neither too warm or too cold. I don’t know any other company other than Kohler that is producing a finish like this.
HOW DO YOU SEE THIS PROJECT HAVING AN IMPACT ON BATHROOM REDESIGNS YOU’LL BE WORKING ON MOVING FORWARD?
I didn’t know about the higher end products by Kohler. I will use them in the future. I will also highly recommend the Wilsonart quartz. I love that the client allowed me to take some risks in color and the design. And we did have some whimsy. I hope to take some more fun design risks in the future.
WHAT’S A COMMON MISTAKE PEOPLE MAKE WHEN PLANNING A BATHROOM REMODEL?
Improperly using accent tile. Sometimes people have a dream tile they want to use but use too little of it. They forget how much they need for people to be able to read or see the accent. Too little will make it get lost on a wall.
before, kid’s bath
after, kid’s bath
IF YOU COULD ONLY GIVE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE TO HOMEOWNERS PLANNING TO REDO A BATHROOM, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Make sure to plan your space very well. Plan where you want to hang your towels, store makeup, store toiletries. When you plan how you will use your space, the design and decoration will be quite evident.
In addition to complete redesigns of the bathrooms, the home’s kitchen felt outdated, and need to be transitioned into a modern, chic, functional space for a young family.
REGARDING THE KITCHEN, WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR THE SPACE? WHAT GOALS DID YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH?
The client felt the dark cherry cabinets, mirror backsplash, and dark countertops felt very dated, claustrophobic, dark, and gloomy. However, there wasn’t enough time or budget to do a full kitchen renovation. What we suggested was to keep the existing cabinetry, which was in fine condition, and install a new kitchen sink, faucet, countertops, and backsplash. By fabricating the countertops and backsplash in the same material, we made the kitchen look more streamlined, modern, and also unified the surfaces. The clean white porcelain sink combined with the Kohler Karbon faucet created a fresh, clean, contemporary feeling.
“The clients were really pleasantly surprised by what an impact painting the cabinets has had on the kitchen. We painted the existing cabinets white, we added new countertops and backsplash, a new Kohler sink, the Kohler Karbon Faucet, and its amazing how transformed the space looks.”
HAVE YOU WORKED WITH MATERIALS AND FIXTURES LIKE THESE BEFORE?
I have worked with quartz material before but I was really pleased with the Wilsonart selections, which I worked with here for the first time. It’s really beautiful and unique and adds a good deal of urban luxury to the space. The Karbon faucet is so cool and modern it really helped transform the kitchen. The articulating joints are both fun and useful. Whereas the original kitchen felt drab and dingy, the white porcelain sink makes the kitchen feel fresh and clean.
Quartz countertops by Wilsonart
WHAT COMPONENT OF THE COMPLETED KITCHEN ARE YOU MOST PLEASED WITH?
The kitchen feels bright and cheerful now. We also added charm with the accessories and styling of the new eating area. Enveloping the kitchen in new colors and finishes really transformed the space. Never underestimate the power of good color choices, materials, hardware and stylish plumbing. Plumbing and hardware are like jewelry and can make a big statement when redesigning a home.
FOR MORE INSPIRATION, VISIT IDEAS.KOHLER.COM