Nonetheless, there were some worthwhile products to see and share. These are some of my favorites from the show.
My dear friend, colleague and Gold Notes contributor Dean Larkin, AIA, accompanied me to the show again this year. As an LA-based architect of luxury residences and commercial projects, Dean is a great second set of eyes to have along. Some of the elements shared in this post and the trend post that went live last week were pointed out by his expert eyes.
Game changer steps outside
Finally. At last. Hurrah! Someone has produced a dishwasher for an outdoor kitchen. Dean and I have been asking for one since the 2007 International Builders Show... Gold Notes didn't even exist back then. Surprisingly, it's not one of the established U.S. appliance leaders offering this breakthrough. It's from outdoor kitchen equipment manufacturer Kalamazoo. Their sleek entry is weatherized to withstand the pressures of outdoor living, and available in stainless to coordinate with their cabinets and with other stainless equipment. It will be available this summer. About time!
Innovative Product Sales International is bringing Nie Wider Bohren, a multi-purpose German mounting system that lets you secure heavy or light objects to walls without making holes in tile or stone. No Drilling Required, as it translates, can be used in wet or dry locations, even for grab bars. Best of all, whatever you install can be removed without leaving holes or marks. Pretty nifty!
American Standard has found a new way to get your kids to take a bath! Their fun fire engine and princess shells fit over your standard tub and plumbing, while giving your young 'uns - and bath décor - a real kick. They don't call them FunBath for nothing! Their kid-friendly line also comes with a vanity incorporating a pull-out step for younger users.
Slip sliding away
As I mentioned in my trends post, sliders were quite the thing at this year's show. One of the sweetest was Salice's Bortoluzzi Sistemi. These allow cabinet doors to open across each other, rather than swinging out. They're also available with automation for a really slick effect.
Another great leap forward from the Italian hardware manufacturer are hinges that let an appliance garage door to open vertically. No slats to break or stick. No pocket doors that don't align with the standard doors above. This lets you get great, functional access to the space without compromising on style.
Light the way
Hafele's Loox LEDs makes illuminating your cabinets with energy-efficient lighting easy and affordable. Some were slim enough to mount in a frameless cabinet or under a countertop for better storage visibility. Others were still pretty slim, but battery-operated. I like the ones that illuminate a space when you open a door or drawer.
The great entertainer
Lenova showcased a very innovative modular prep Entertainer Sink that lets you store drinks, condiments, dips and other party chow. It's got a built-in drain board and cutting boards that conceal the sink when it's not in use. This ties into a European trend of hiding your sink while yielding extra counter space. I wasn't familiar with this brand before, but am glad I discovered them here, especially since they're also offering a no-drain-ring PermaClean option in their sinks now. The only other brand I'm aware of that offers that is Affluence Seamless Sinks.