Todd Hawkins, President
Jonathan Fishbeck, CEO
We’re fans of Kohler, particularly one of their products for luxury bathrooms, the Kohler DTV II. It’s a universally designed, maximum convenient, efficient digital controller/interface. The DTV II enables a spa-like shower experience yet is intuitive to use and easy to program for up to six users. So the DTV II provides a “Wow” for clients but is also energy efficient and saves on labor with a simpler install if/when you have multiple fixtures. (You don’t obviously save on a single fixture shower or tub.) But most things Kohler are top-notch and meet our standards. Our favorite products are any product that is universally designed (i.e. kid-friendly) and are not exclusively “aging-in-place” or can accommodate inability/disability, more so “ANY ability.” Bottom line, universal products, features and applications distill convenience and efficiency, so we’re interested in anything that is beneficially easier, and so too are our clients.
Teri Koss, ASID
designstudioco.com and roomrx.com
As an interior designer, my favorite product to work with is countertops. I find that a kitchen in a home can say a lot about the owner. Many of my clients work with a product known as GlassSlab from Glass Recycled. This company allows homeowners and designers to create custom countertops made with 100 percent recycled glass aggregates. From several recycled glass colors to the custom coloration in the bonding resin material, I like working with companies that offer customization key in today’s design industry. Going green is big in the home industry and in the commercial aspect as well; if all developments had a green element in them it would make a world of a difference.”
My favorite building product is paint! Color can change the whole atmosphere of the space. Benjamin Moore is my preferred paint because they have an easy-to-use color system with a wide variety of color options. Benjamin Moore’s Aura and Natura paints are two favorites because of their one-coat systems and low- to zero-VOCs.
Founder, Principal Designer
We do a lot of renovations and kitchen and bath remodels, and I would have to say my favorite building product would be Chief Architect Interiors software which allows you to ‘build’ your project from the ground up, or one floor or room at a time using a CAD-style system. The software allows the designer/builder to realize their vision in both 2-D and 3-D versions and gives the clients a far better idea of what the out-come will eventually look like. At any point during the conception, you can make changes by moving out the original window idea for another the client has seen, or in another scenario actually ‘seeing” if that fireplace they requested on the far wall is in the right position. Finally, being able to show the client the finished product with a virtual walk-through so they get a truer understanding of the build or renovation that is about to take place, and seeing the excitement grow for the project, are fantastic. The designer has now been able to show all the options the client has requested and at the final stage. You, the designer, have provided your clients with the opportunity to make better-informed decisions. What does this mean? Well, there are no surprises for the client as to the aesthetics and less headaches for the trades/builder on having to make changes. Can a reno get any better than that?
Toms River, N.J.
Google Apps for Business is my favorite product. We have our email hosted through this service. It takes the place of Microsoft Exchange by syncing email, contacts and calendars on any computer we log on with, as well as our Android phones. The Drive feature lets us access current files anywhere via the cloud, and syncs to a physical folder on our hard drives, so day-to-day use on the computer is no different than any other file on the hard drive. Also, Drive gives us the ability to create shared folders with individual clients to share pictures and files with each other. There are also a number of CRM, Finance and marketing Apps available for free or low cost. They also integrate with the core Google Apps of email, contacts and calendar. There were a few months of a learning curve, but after the occasional bump, it has helped productivity and communication greatly.