KBB - January 2015 - (Page 120)
Designer Eric Cohler shares his favorite
kitchen and bath trends and a look
inside his most rewarding projects
Eric Cohler has been called "The Mixmaster" in
the design industry because of his ability to
blend classic and contemporary design styles.
His ﬁrm - Eric Cohler Designs in New York City -
does residential work throughout the U.S., Europe
and the Caribbean, and Cohler is specialized in
design, detailing and branding. He is head of the
new Design Council for Amerock Hardware and
curated the company's AmerockNOW collection
of decorative hardware. A winner of several industry awards, Cohler is a
frequent keynote speaker on interior design, art and architecture, as well
as an adjunct professor at Hobart College in Geneva, N.Y.
K+BB caught up with Cohler recently to discuss inspiration, industry
trends and lessons he's learned throughout his career.
How did you get into the kitchen & bath design industry?
I went to Columbia for my masters in historic preservation, which gave
me the tools to analyze the substrate of what is beneath the surface. I
opened my interior design business in 1994, and my ﬁrst project was a
kitchen in the 1994 Kips Bay Decorator Show House that I completed with
Christian's, an English cabinet company.
They sought me out because they had heard I was an up-and-coming designer, and interestingly, this project positioned me as an expert on
kitchens. Originally the space was a bedroom, so I bisected the cabinets
and a breakfast space with a kitchen aisle to serve as a workstation. I also
mounted two televisions over the mantel - one for kids to watch movies
on and the other for parents to watch cooking shows.
Although I admit I don't cook, I have since designed dozens of kitchens. Through multiple interviews with clients, I have learned to decipher
what people want and need.
What do you use for inspiration in your projects?
It could be a feeling I get when I look at a painting or see a fabric
color I really like. I can be walking down the street and see the shadows
on the ground as inspiration for a shade of hardware. It comes from all
over the place, and I am constantly bombarded by it. Once I see something inspiring, I can take a photo in my head and record it.
What has been one of your most rewarding projects?
The Goodyear House was a historic property that I completely restored.
Certain people wanted to tear it down - there were even bulldozers at the
site, but a local preservationist jumped in front of it and would not let
them pass. The Estee Lauder family saved the house from the wrecking
ball and gave it to the World Monuments Fund.
The small kitchen was out of touch with the real world and had collapsed onto the ﬂoor below, the roof was caved in, and raccoons were
living in the house. I designed the kitchen based on a Fred Astaire movie
- lots of Hollywood glamour.
What are some kitchen trends you are noticing (and liking)
now that you feel will be prevalent in 2015?
The kitchen has replaced the living room in terms of a gathering spot;
the formal and informal demarcation has been lifted. People are much
more casual today, and they want their kitchens to be welcoming and
child friendly. They are also taking the wall down between the kitchen
and the dining room to make it one large space where the family can
be together and not sequestered in the house. Ovens are replacing the
ﬁreplace and hearth. I'm also seeing the use of drawers instead of shelves
because drawers are easier to use.
What about bathroom trends?
I've had many projects where I've taken off the lower doors on vanities
and added a performance fabric instead. This is because water from the
sink often drips down and destroys the cabinet surface. I am also seeing
vanities with beefy hardware, open shelves and drawers. Fireplaces are
becoming more common in bathrooms, as well as small seating areas
that can be as simple as a window seat with storage below. The seating
area is a great place to dry your hair or chat with a spouse or child, and
I slipcover the furniture in terrycloth or outdoor fabric.
What are some lessons you have learned you can share with
Edit, edit, edit, and listen intently to client's needs. In interior design the
only rule is that there are none, so think outside of the box. There are no
problems, only challenges and solutions.
To what do you attribute your success?
Integrity, creativity, a super-strong work ethic, believing in myself and, of
course, a little bit of luck. n
- By Chelsie Butler
January 2015 / www.kbbonline.com / The Ofﬁcial Sponsor of KBIS www.kbis.com
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of KBB - January 2015
Show Director’s Note
People & Places
Before and After
KBIS 2015 and Design & Construction Week
The Glamorous Life
New Lines, New Look
KBB - January 2015