26 June 2012

Dwell on Design 2012 - Recap

I just got back from Dwell on Design, the West Coast’s top design show for both consumers and industry pros, produced by the folks who bring you Dwell Magazine. Here are the best things I spotted at this annual Los Angeles-based event. 

Luxe Lav #1 

Regular Gold Notes readers know I like Brizo faucets and am part of the Blogger 19 group they put together in 2010. So if they’re at a show, you know I’ll be stopping by their booth.  Dwell didn’t disappoint! Their new Charlotte sensor lav tap is a true charmer. You’d expect style from this fashion faucet brand and the cocoa bronze cladding with metallic accents delivers that big time. But smart is sexy, too, and Charlotte’s hands-free control is super-smart (and water-saving). There are matching accessories but this faucet is the real star. 

Luxe Lav #2

I wasn’t familiar with Maestro Bath before this show and had pretty much written off vessel sinks as a bygone trend. These beauties are another story altogether. They’re elegant, upscale and sleek. I would definitely consider spec’g one of these sexy Italians for a high drama powder room. 

Bath Blast 

Axor came out with a really cool series called Bouroullec Composer that combines sinks, shower wall and tub deck components that can be configured pretty much any way you want in terms of where your faucets and controls will be placed. They’re cute but they’re also very clever. 

Techno Style 

David Van Wert introduced me to the Trufig brand in his technology guest post last year, so when I saw they were at the show, too, I had to stop by. Trufig doesn’t create technology. It camouflages it. We all love our creature comforts and the talented team at this innovative brand blends all of your tech controls and vents into the wall for a minimalist look where you want and need it. Think James Bond style for your home. 

Porcelain Princess 

A Los Angeles-based firm had my favorite new countertop material on display. This stunning porcelain slab from Italian manufacturer, Iris, has all of the beauty of the marble it honors but none of its staining or chipping shortfalls. Iris can clad your work tops or your shower walls. It can go on your floors or backsplash. It can also go into your outdoor kitchen. Iris is heat, scratch and stain resistant. 

Fab Fake 

Sonite looks like tile and grouts like it, but it’s much lighter and can wrap around curves like a sports coupe. I spotted it at a San Diego showroom a few months ago and thought it was pretty cool. So far, it’s not rated for heat so putting it behind a gas cooktop is not yet an approved use. They say they’re getting that rating soon. It’s worth considering, in my opinion.


Wood Ya #1? 

If the idea of reclaimed wood appeals to your inner green child and you’ve got a cowboy jones, too, Stikwood has an interesting material to consider. It’s called Snofence and it’s from wood that’s been weathered on the high prairies of the American West. It's designed for walls and is super-easy to apply.  Peel, stick, enjoy.  

Wood Ya #2 

Maybe you like the rustic look but don’t want to deal with cracking, splitting and all the other potential issues that come with reclaimed wood. Time Line has a creative alternative: wood that looks reclaimed but is color-treated and new.  Great concept and great looks!


Sink Winks

I really liked the new kitchen and bath sinks Jonathan Adler designed for Kohler.  They were on my must-see list at the show and they didn't disappoint.  The shapes show off the fun lines for which Adler is known and the colors are delicious!  

Photos:  I took all of the photos except the yellow bathroom sink by Jonathan Adler, which is courtesy of Kohler.

19 June 2012

Dwell on Design 2012 - Preview

I'm very excited about attending Dwell on Design again this year. I went in 2010 and saw some terrific new products and manufacturers.

Catch my talk!

I'm going this week as both a design writer and panelist. Yes, I'll be onstage at the 2012 event! If you're attending this top West Coast consumer and designer event, please stop by the Sustainability Stage on Saturday, June 23 at 11 AM for a Healthy Food talk. I was asked by Miele's public relations pros because they knew I'd lost 97 pounds and figured I know something about healthful food. I do, but my main focus on Saturday will be how you can create a kitchen that promotes healthy cooking and living.

Exhibitors worth seeing

These are the companies whose booths I will be visiting at the show this week:

Native Trails
Sub-Zero Wolf

I'll be reporting back after the show on top products and trends I spot, both from these top brands and other great finds on the show floor.

I'm particularly looking forward to seeing the new Jonathan Adler for Kohler line.  I've long been a big fan of both!  Here's a quick look at his offerings.


One of the best things about design shows is spotting new products and providers you didn't know existed before.  I expect there will be plenty of that on the show floor!

Dwell on Design 411

Location:  Los Angeles Convention Center
Dates:  June 22 to 24, 2012
Rates and Registration Link
Droid and iPhone apps available for download in Mobile section near bottom of the screen

All photos courtesy of Kohler

12 June 2012

Molten Gold - Hidden Virtues

I've got a great gig.  As a member of the Blanco Design Council, I get to see the company’s cool new gear before most other folks – even before it hits the North American market.  Crystalline was one of the babies I spotted at the IMM/Living Kitchen Show in Cologne last year. It was just officially launched here, too, and I’m looking forward to specifying it in future client kitchens – especially the compact, space-challenged variety! 

About the Concept 

European designers are very familiar with small kitchens and Blanco's Crystalline was engineered to stylishly multitask in these settings. Instead of merely treating the sink as a cleaning station, the German design team found a way to use it as extra work space by incorporating a glass counter that hides the sink when it’s not in use. Ergo, you can now hide your dirty dishes when company comes over. And space-challenged urbanites can store their pots in the oven, as they have forever, or now in the sink! 

About the Sink 

The new “vanishing sink” is perfect for islands or butlers’ pantries, as well as small kitchens. The Crystalline features 18-gauge stainless and MicroEdge technology, showcasing sleek style and easy cleanability. It’s extremely compact at 20-1/2” by 17-1/2” and 7-1/8” depth and its cover comes in either black or white to coordinate with your other kitchen finishes. The integrated opaque safety glass functions as counter space, cutting board and sink concealer. A small upper tray is perfect for storing sponges. 

One of my favorite details is the pop-up European strainer button that drains the sink without putting a hand in dishwater. (I wrote about these in my Missed in America post; I’m delighted that they’re here now, too!) 

About my Blanco Connection 

Before I segue to my standard company background section (below), I’d like to share my background on the Blanco Design Council and the potential bias it implies. Blanco makes some of my favorite sinks. I’ve been a Silgranit and Silgranit II fan for years, as the composite material makes for a superbly Sensible Style sink. My writings came to the company’s attention and I was invited onto the Blanco Design Council a few years ago. 

In this capacity, I was flown to Germany in 2011 and taken to their booth at the IMM/LivingKitchen Show, given tours of their factories, briefed their executives on trends, and was generally hosted in high style by and with the company's executives. I also designed an unpaid display for one of their catalogs and am often asked for feedback on upcoming product introductions.  So this Molten Gold entry is not something I stumbled across randomly.  

Here’s what I won’t do: Write about a product I don’t believe in for any reason; misrepresent a product, or accept compensation of any form – including hospitality – without disclosing it to you. Are we good? Feel free to comment publicly below or email me if you have any concerns whatsoever. 

About the Blanco Brand 

For three generations, Blanco has been creating luxury sinks, faucets and decorative accessories. Proud of its European heritage and award-winning German engineering, the company has been steadfastly committed to its tradition of quality, innovation, design and customer service since 1925. Today, Blanco is the only supplier in the world to produce its own sinks from start to finish in three materials: stainless, fireclay and composite. 

The Facts 

Warranty: Limited lifetime. 

Pricing: $2,495 

Website: Blancoamerica.com

Photos:  Courtesy of Blanco America

05 June 2012

Father's Day 2012 - Patio Daddy-o

So I was wondering what to write about today when I got a terrific press release with a Father’s Day theme.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

These are my Father's Day gift ideas for the outdoor enthusiast.  

For the grill master

Dad’s probably got a grill already. Consider a vent hood to make his cooking and eating experience healthier and more comfortable. (If you’ve ever been smoked out during a barbecue, you know what I’m talking about!) 

A vent hood, like this one from Zephyr, will make outdoor cooking  more comfortable

Once you’ve got that handled, add to Dad’s outdoor cooking fun this year. How about a pizza oven? Who doesn’t like pizza, right? 

A pizza oven, like this one from Kalamazoo, is a great outdoor cooking  addition

For the luxury-loving Dad

Another option is an outdoor wine captain or fridge. Don’t even think about getting an indoor model and using it outdoors. Dad will just end up with warm beer as they’re not insulated properly for outdoor use. 

Enjoy a cold one outdoors with a beverage fridge, like this premium model from  SubZero

While he’s enjoying his wine, pizza and generous kids, he can be watching his new outdoor television! Now there’s a splurge-worthy Father’s Day gift, right? 

Outdoor television from Sunbrite for the outdoor couch potato

For the low-budget comfort-loving Dad

Don’t have a few thousand to spare between you and your siblings? Pamper Pop with a deluxe hammock. This one has heat for cool nights and extending his outdoor relaxation into the fall months. 

Heated hammock heaven from Hammacher Schlemmer 

The sensational architect-turned-author Sarah Susanka has expanded her “Not So Big House” franchise with an outdoor tome, brought to you by our shared publisher, Taunton Press. This is a great read for the frugal progeny. 

Easy, affordable outdoor-inspired gift from Taunton Press

Father’s Day: Solved. You’re welcome!

PS:  This post is dedicated to the best Dad in the world -- mine -- and to my wonderful friends and family who are fathers, too!  

Bruce Trief
Father of the Year -- All of them!

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