29 April 2010

KBIS 2010 - kitchen pros share their product picks

Since I didn't get to attend this year's Kitchen/Bath Industry Show, I asked the pros who did to share their favorite new products with Gold Notes readers. I greatly appreciate their taking the time to let us know what they loved.

Here are some KBIS 2010 finds that I particularly enjoyed learning about from these friends and colleagues. What do you think? Please share your thoughts in our comments section below.

"The item I most wanted to throw in my bag and take home was Barbara Barry's Crystal Wall Sconces. They were just stunning. They are not really a kitchen and bath product but lighting is part of making a room look finished."

Barbara Barry's Counterpoint Crystal Sconce for Kallista

Ann Porter, CKD
Kitchen Designer and Blogger
KitchAnn Style
Kitchen Studio of Naples

"One of my favorite new products from the show was Kingston's Air Elegance Body Dryer Systems. The user has total control over the air's heat and intensity and can dry off without a towel in a minute or so."

Air Elegance Body Dryer by Kingston

Steve Kleber, Design Industry Marketer and Blogger
Marketing Home Products
Kleber & Associates

"Hard to pick one favorite. Maybe the LED backlit shelf by EFI."

Backlit shelves by EFI

Mike Springer, Kitchen Designer and Blogger
Kitchen Perspective
St. Louis Kitchen and Bath

"I can answer all of your questions with two words: Jenn-Air. I think they stole the show with their new premium products. Subzero/Wolf and Viking better move over. Highlights: intuitive double ovens (won most innovative product by KBB for 2009) and built-in refrigeration[that] can meet the demands of buyers of other premium brands, not to mention, the new duct-free downdraft cooktop."

Double Wall Ovens by Jenn-Air

Morton Block, CMKBD, IIDA, Kitchen Designer and Industry Trainer
Morton Block Associates

"Out of all the wonderful things I saw in Chicago, what stands out for me is the new PuraVida collection from Hansgrohe. It's a study in serenity and the cool white and chrome exteriors hide a wealth of innovations and efficiencies. By far, my favorite component in this collection and my hands-down favorite new [KBIS 2010] product is the hand-held shower. I'm around new kitchen and bath stuff all the time and rarely do I come down with a case of I must have this. This is one of those rare occasions."

PuraVida series by Hansgrohe

Paul Anater, Kitchen Designer and Blogger
Kitchen and Residential Design

"One find that I thought was great was a Bamboo farm sink from Lenova Sinks. It's a great look to be incorporated into a transitional or contemporary kitchen while being earth friendly."

Bamboo Farmhouse Sink from Lenova Sinks

Diane Bohstedt, Kitchen Designer and Blogger
The Kitchen and Bath Project
Cabinets at Danada

Check back next week for more KBIS coverage! And take a look at the KBIS 2010 Best of Show winner, covered on Gold Notes last week.

20 April 2010

KBIS 2010 - Best in Show

I did not make it to the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show this year. But that doesn't mean I missed it entirely. Many of my design blog colleagues did attend, and I'll share their thoughts with you in future posts as they have time to sit down and collect them.

This brief posting shares my favorite Best of KBIS product winner, as reported in Kitchen + Bath Business, one of our top trade publications.

Best of Show deservedly went to Liebherr's HWS 1800 Integrated Wine Storage Cabinet, in my opinion. Here are three views of the winner in different settings.

Two side by side units in a contemporary kitchen

White on white, you could say

The HWS 1800 works with a traditional room, too

This product embodies Sensible Style. I love that it can be installed at a comfortable height, bringing your collection closer to eye level. This means that older oenophiles like myself don't have to bend or crouch to choose the right white or dead-on red for dinner. It is also ever so sleek - a perfect pairing for an upscale kitchen, don't you think!

Liebherr is not as well known here as it is in Europe. The company was founded in 1949 in Germany. They call themselves a "worldwide leader in premium refrigeration." You could say that this award validates the claim.

Here is a link to the other winners, as covered in K+BB. The Universal Design Product was a new category for 2010. Last year, I'm proud to say, I wrote about this year's winner in that category, HealthCraft's Invisia Collection in my three-day Aging in Place coverage for KBB.

14 April 2010

MOLTEN GOLD - Drainiacs

Chances are, you never think about your shower drain until it gets clogged. It's just, well, there. Not anymore...

California Faucets has brought high style to the lowly drain, and I'm absolutely loving it! In fact, I can't wait to remodel my next bathroom so I can include one of these beauties below my feet.

The StyleDrain series offers six distinct styles, with the four newest 2010 releases shown below. They're all available in 30 popular faucet and accessory finishes, so you can make it work with the faucets you already own. Or you can select one of CF's many styles. What I like about the StyleDrain series is that you have your choice of contemporary or traditional styling, so you can make it work in any shower.

Deco Line StyleDrain

Wave StyleDrain

Mission StyleDrain

Deco Swirl StyleDrain

California Faucets

California Faucets
is best known for its designer-friendly customizable bath taps. Choose a handle from this group, a spout from that one, a finish from a long list of available options. You're basically creating your own look, so that no one else in the neighborhood will have exactly the same one. The company was founded in Huntington Beach, Ca. is 1988 and embodies California's everything goes spirit. The StyleDrain concept takes it to the next level with a whole new category of designer upgrades.

The Facts

Residential Warranty: 10 Years on Drain Throat and Rough Drain; no warranty on finish

Pricing: MSRPs start at $349, up to $460

Website: http://www.calfaucets.com/

06 April 2010

Sensible Style - Easy ways to go green in your kitchen

Earth Day is fast approaching, so Sensible Style is observing this important April 22nd date with some easy tips on making your kitchen more eco-friendly.

Dishwasher smarts

When it's time to replace your current dishwasher, look for one that's Energy Star rated, which can reduce the amount of electricity you use. Also look for a model that conserves water for additional eco power and utility savings. You can save even more water by not rinsing your dishes before you load them. Most of the newer detergents actually work better with food particles to fight. Try it - you'll be surprised!

Asko's XXL 5000 Series Dishwashers offer Energy Star and water savings with oversized capacity

Micro management

One of my go-to experts on appliances, Debbie Schaeffer, owner of Mrs. G's TV and Appliances in Lawrenceville, NJ, shares this eco-friendly tip: Use your microwave's speed cook feature instead of running your range for greater energy efficiency. Keeping your kitchen cooler in the summer and getting dinner on the table are two more benefits of speed cooking.

A microwave with speed cook, like this GE Profile Advantium, saves energy and time.

Faucet smarts

How often do you find yourself running your kitchen tap longer than you need to, just because you're across the room when the pot is filled, or you don't have a third hand to turn it off in time? Another culprit is the active child, who turns on the faucet on to wash her hands and forgets to turn it off. A faucet that turns on without a handle and turns off when you step away can be a big water saver. Being able to turn it on when your hands are full or sticky is a Sensible Style solution, too!

Brizo's Talo pours on the style and water savings

Put a cork in it

Cork is a great, green flooring option. It's a renewable resource that doesn't sacrifice trees. Some of it is also reycled. One of my favorite cork attributes is its softness underfoot. It looks like wood, but is much easier to stand on for long periods of time.

Eco-friendly cork floors can be formal, as shown in this offering from Globus Cork, or casual.

Lighten up

The recessed lights in your ceiling are probably halogen-based. These hog energy in two ways: one, they use a lot of it to light your room and two, their heat makes your air conditioner work harder in the summer. Consider replacing these outdated fixtures with low-energy LED lights. The added benefit is that you'll only have to replace them every 15 or 20 years. There are also LED-powered pendants and chandeliers you can install in place of your current light fixtures.

Tungsten pendant series by Access Lighting is LED-powered

Magnetic attraction

Ranges and cooktops aren't Energy Star-rated like other appliances, but can add a lot to your utility costs. A magnetic-powered induction cooktop, available on its own, or as the cooking surface of a freestanding or slide-in range, can cut your energy bills and speed your cooking time. I've done the side-by-side test of high BTU gas vs. induction. Induction is faster. It also won't heat up your kitchen in the summer, since only the area under your pot or pan gets hot. It's safer for families with active children or memory- and balance-challenged seniors who are less likely to get burned by grabbing it.

Kenmore Elite's new slide-in range features an induction cooktop

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