Kitchen & Bath Design News

JUL 2014

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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24 | Kitchen & Bath Design News July 2014 Industry Profle By Kim Berndtson L ike mother, like daugh- ter. The design team of Susan and Alexandra Knight keep it in the family when it comes to designing kitchens and baths. Susan started in the industry nearly 40 years ago when she opened her interior design frm, Korts & Knight, in the San Francisco Bay area in 1975. "My background is in interior design," says Susan, noting that, over time, she transitioned into kitchens, then whole-home projects as clients began requesting design help beyond their liv- ing rooms. "Our specialties now are architecturally chal- lenging jobs, and jobs that require creativity as well as custom cabinetry and design services, such as architectur- al detailing, space planning and interior selections for complete projects where multiple rooms are involved. My background in interior design provides an under- standing about structure, color, scale and proportion… which are all critical in to- day's design world." While Alexandra grew up in the business – along- side her mother, her father, Richard, and her brother, Spencer – she vent u red outside of the family for a time, working in prestigious kitchen showrooms from California to London learn- ing the tools of the trade that are necessary for enter- ing the high-fashion world of kitchens. She rejoined the family business in 2011, open- ing an East Coast showroom, Korts & Knight, Kitchens by Alexandra Knight , in the New York Design Center in mid- town Manhattan. "Being multi-generational has been a boon to Korts & Knight continuing to thrive," says Susan. "The new wealth in our country is being made by 35-45 year olds. Luckily, our children understand this group and are in tune with all aspects of how to make this business continue to be successful." MULTIPLE INFLUENCES With showroom locations on both coasts, the design duo ofers clients a unique, coast- to-coast design perspective. "Having showrooms on each coast allows us to blend styles from two sides of the country," says Alexandra. She indicates that many of their clients either reside on both coasts or conduct business on both coasts, making show- room locations on each coast convenient for clients no matter where their life takes them. "We bring simplicity and crispness to our spaces that we see on the West Coast and infuse it with a pop of over-the-top fnishes we see on the East Coast, combin- ing the two for a perfectly designed space with exotic designs blended together in an understated way." Being deep-rooted on both coasts also exposes them to products and ideas they might not otherwise be familiar with. "I recently did a proj- ect with exotic lighting from Israel, which I was exposed to while in New York," says Susan. "There are many niche products that a city as big as New York can ofer because of the diversity of its clientele." Many of their clients have international ties as well, fur- ther exposing them to trends, products and ideas the world over. Recently, they designed a hood for a Russian oligarch in New York City that re- quired extensive creativity for a design encrusted in jewels. "The world we live in is very internationally oriented," says Susan. "These clients like to have their cultural aesthet- ics shown inside their homes, displayed in their choices of materials and colors. It's im- portant that we are sensitive to what life experiences will be represented in the hard goods that are selected to fnish the interiors." The company's willing- ness to take on very custom work, such as this hood, is one factor the duo believes makes them successful. So is their willingness to take on challenging projects. "We will do all of the rooms in the house for both cabinets and architectural details, such as wall paneling," says Susan. "And we will do the in- terior selections for complete houses, including plumb- ing, electrical layouts, hard surface material selections, paint and wall coverings. We will even provide furniture Mother-Daughter Team Designs Coast to Coast With showroom locations on the East and West coasts, this design duo ofers clients a unique, coast-to-coast design perspective fused with an international fair. ⇧ This Silicon Valley kitchen combines the husband's Idaho background, refected in the calfskin door fronts, with the wife's penchant for something lively and New York-like, with the dark Sapele wood fnish in high-gloss. Susan Knight added touches of polished nickel for sparkle and refection along with the metallic fnishes of the wine refrigerator and the glass of the wall cabinets. The stripe of the quartzite countertops pulls the eyes through the long but narrow space. The sparkle of the tall glass pantries breaks up the darkness of the wood through the middle of the kitchen. ⇩ The 2,000-square-foot New York showroom features six displays, including this working kitchen, as well as a private conference room. 'Moving to the East Coast is quite a bold move for a West Coast company,' says Susan Knight, who notes that the showroom, which opened in 2011, was fnished in just four months. KBD_24-25_IndustryProfile.indd 24 6/16/14 1:47 PM

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