Our Guest Blogger this month is the amazing Deborah Bibby – editor-in-chief of Real Living – one of our favourite magazines!
Last year Deborah visited the home of Kohler and has generously offered to share her Kohler experience with us. Here’s her story …
“Imagine my excitement at being invited to Kohler, Wisconsin, in October last year to meet editors from around the world, hear all the HOT trends in kitchens and bathrooms and, I suspect, be spoilt a little (shh). I couldn’t pack my bag fast enough. On the way there I took a sneaky stopover for a week in Kauai, Hawaii (first proper holiday in two years!) That was heaven but so much more to come: landing in Chicago and being chauffeured to Wisconsin I felt like a rock star arriving at the beautiful five-star, five-diamond-rated The American Club, built in 1918 and restored to its beautiful self in 1981.
There were two serious highlights for me – besides the luxurious lavender rain shower at Kohler Waters Spa, OMG! and learning how they make a bath at the foundry, who would’ve known? – was the visit to the Kohler Design Center before all the crew arrived. I had one day to myself and got completely lost in there for the entire day. It is packed with solutions for bathrooms like I’ve never seen before and, as it was the year of my renovation, I gobbled it up – a genuinely inspiring space to solve any design dilemmas.
The other highlight was listening to the trends delivered by global creative director Tristan Butterfield and director of new product development Mark Bickerstaffe. They both got me super- charged, inspired and scribbling notes like a crazy woman, no kidding!
This is what I learned:
- Don’t follow trends, understand them.
- Watch out for Jumbled Colour and Ombre Chic with high-colour saturation. Since my return I’ve come across ombre glass, ombre mirrors, ombre hair, ombre towels, linen and the list goes on…
- Playful pattern clashes will arrive and sour green is about to happen.
- De Gournay too – how right you were, Tristan, just look at Gucci’s new range: De Gournay through and through.
- Geometric tiles – yes, they are everywhere and delicious
- Figured marble – well, marble everything.
- Grey – can we get enough of it? Concrete grey, silvery grey, charcoal repeat…
- Bleached neutrals won’t go away and neither will Scandi style, especially in Australia. I think it’s the new Aussie Beach Style.
- Elevated mundane – I love that because, yes, we do need to elevate everything mundane.
- Retreat and reset in the bathroom – don’t we all. Especially now with the pace of things. Give me a book and a bath – aaaahhh!
- Metallics a beautiful mix of metallic rose gold, brass and Champagne. Rose gold is next in jewellery too – right again, Tristan.
- Smokey Iridescence – yum.
- Modularity – everything visualised in grid format like Pinterest and Instagram.
- Captured atmosphere and extreme landscapes – they’re all being translated on homewares. Look at Aussie brand Pony Rider.
- Texture that engages the fingertips – tactile, soft, gentle – stone, leather, ceramics.
- The raw, the handmade, craft. Cork, ply, birch, terracotta, cement – the perfect example and arriving in Australia, foraging restaurants Hello NOMA. And how about Ilsa Crawford’s cork range for Ikea? I wasn’t quick enough – damn! Everything “Ilsa” sold out in a flash.
Listening to Tristan and Mark was like seeing a fortune teller and then watching it all unveil as 2016 arrived. I need to speak to Tristan and Mark at least once a year – Kohler, please bring me back or bring them to us!
I cannot wrap up without a mention of the swim in the heated pool at private club Riverbend. Only one person at Kohler could persuade you to jump into a pool at midnight – the charismatic chairman and chief executive Herbert Kohler. He reminded me of Hemingway and he too could’ve made me swim at midnight in winter!”