Smart Solutions: Designer show houses offer inspiration for all

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

 When it’s time for design inspiration, a designer show house can be a great tool. At these venues, some of the best talent and brands come together to push the envelope when transforming a space. These inspirational settings can also highlight emerging trends to try in your own home. 

Since the kitchen continues to be considered the hub of the home, it’s a great place to blend style and function.

For kitchen and bath leader Kohler Co., offering a variety of designs at different price points, their tastemakers present hot new design trends at the Kips Bay Decorator Show House in New York and the San Francisco Decorator Showcase that anyone can emulate.

These innovative ideas happen to be shown in some of the hottest spots in the home: the kitchen, bath and bar area.

The first trend that comes from Kohler is bringing the outdoors into your home, which can make a major statement in the bath with some lush greenery. For a spa-inspired feel, their experts suggest plants that are bathroom and shower-friendly, such as peace lilies, aloe and snake plants. 

A dramatic live plant wall from MagnaFlora in the Marcia Tucker Interiors Kips Bay Decorator Show House master bathroom provides a soothing backdrop for the sweeping, organic lines of the Veil Trough vessel bathroom sink and the rose gold accents from Kohler. 

Bring the outdoors inside with live plants in the bathroom.

The master bath in the San Francisco Decorator Showcase, designed by Adele LaPointe, features a touch of green by the tub – along with a mix of Kohler fixtures and faucetry, pendants and nature-inspired wall coverings – that transports the end user to the great outdoors.

Bars have become another home trend. This classic feature creates an instant focal point that keeps your guests away from the chaos of the kitchen where everyone seems to gather during a party. 

For the Kips Bay Decorator Show House, designers B.A. Torrey and Wesley Moon created distinctive destinations that encourage people to linger. Torrey’s 1970s-inspired space features bold art and deluxe materials, while Moon went for a more masculine aesthetic with deep Belgian Bluestone for the countertops and the back wall that complement the Kohler Artifacts Gentleman faucet.

To achieve a similar contrast, the experts at Kohler say you can mix refined, traditional faucets and fixtures with bold art and dark, moody surfaces.

Last but not least, there’s the kitchen where high function meets high style. For the hub of the home, designers are opting for open-space concepts with ample storage, stylish countertops, illuminating light fixtures and more.

In New York, designer Clive Christian chose the customizable Prolific stainless steel kitchen sink from Kohler for added functionality while preparing for and entertaining guests. And in San Francisco, designer Ian Stallings punctuates blue-lacquered cabinetry by the Strive kitchen sink and Purist faucet for a classic touch that enhances this hardworking environment.

Homeowners can get a similar look by selecting kitchen essentials that are as visually pleasing as they are practical.

Whether you want to refresh a kitchen, bath or bar area, let these show houses lead the way and inspire you to try a new trend in your home.

For information, go to

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at