After visiting the 2009 National Kitchen and Bath show a few months ago in Atlanta, anxious to discover any new “trends” in the industry, I was surprised to find the real trend is, well, the lack of any trends. Classic, timeless design and products, whether for a more modern aesthetic or for a traditional space is what seems to be most prevalent with manufacturers and designers alike. The continued focus on eco solutions and aging in place design were in some way a part of each companies presentation. Economic conditions and tight budgets downsized the vendor participation with some major players as noticeable no shows. Despite missing some of my favorites, it was a bit of a treat to walk the aisles with a little more elbow room and get the chance to speak to manufacturers without having to stand in line. Here are a few product highlights from the more than 500 national and international companies displaying their wares.
Going against the grain, Toto’s booth at the show was the largest ever and featured many new designs for their fixtures, tubs and toilets. The introduction of the luminist series sinks allow an epoxy resin sink to be lit from underneath. The material is more often found on airplane wings than in high end baths thus making it a durable product as well as beautiful. This gem of a night light is going home with me! The Toto High Efficiency toilet, or HET’s as they are commonly referred to, offer a 20% savings in water consumption over the 1.6 gallon varieties and 60% savings over the older 3.5 gallon models. Toto’s dual max flushing technology (two different flush options to choose from) won a top 10 award from Building Green magazine for it’s superior water efficiency and stylish design.
If you can get excited about a toilet, this one is quite impressive.
Not your momma’s medicine cabinet!
Robern’s newest techno innovation is an uplift system that gets rid of the swinging door and replaces it with a door that lifts straight up and holds in position and provides a spot for hidden outlets, television space and great interior lighting. This uplift gizmo allows for placement of sconce lighting and faucets in front or to the side of the cabinet without any interference. Let me say, it is really, really cool!
“Wood” you look at this?
Grothouse Lumber is a small family owned company that has made a big impact in the wood counter top arena. With almost 60 different species of wood available, a myriad of edge selections possible and all sorts of configurations, these wood tops are works of art. This company continually impresses me with their craftsmanship and innovation and this year was no exception. Simply put, these counter tops will be a show stopper in your home.
Bling, Bling for over your range
Elica Hood designs combine harmony and aesthetics with great function in what can be a mundane appliance, the exhaust hood. Each product in their line up is a specialty item. Hoods designed to look like chandeliers ( I would not want to clean it though) and objects d’art can be found hanging in your kitchen exhausting fumes and lighting your cook top. Elica’s “Star” hood won the popular award voted on by K/BIS attendees. Granted, you have to have the right space for this product but we can all dream can’t we?
An alternative to stainless
Dacor Appliances has always been a wonderful company and they have set the bar high with their Preference line offering six different colored glass fronts to entice you. I like the anthracite gray but they also have blue water, slate green, titanium silver, black and sterling gray. The refrigerator is what caught my eye across the show floor. The clean look of the glass front was a breath of fresh air after looking at stainless and even more stainless.
Believe it! A shower drain can be exciting design!
Here is yet another commercial application jumping over to work in the single family home. A linear shower drain from Quick Drain that can be used with any tile size and can be installed as a channel drain under the shower door or against a wall. This is a terrific product and can be very useful when designing an ADA accessible shower. It is easy to install and makes the round center drain obsolete.
Even with the scaled back nature of this year’s show and less attendees, plenty of great product information and exciting new ideas were available for those willing to forge ahead and travel down the aisles searching for the next big thing to hit the industry.