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GOLD NOTES

NUGGETS FROM THE WORLD OF RESIDENTIAL DESIGN
TOP BATH PRODUCTS FROM KBIS 2008

Every year, the leading companies in the kitchen and bath industry gather for the Kitchen/Bath Industry Show, the largest gathering of manufacturers, dealers and designers in North America. This year, the National Kitchen & Bath Association, which produces KBIS, decided to feature official bloggers to cover the show as it occurred. I was one of those bloggers. My beat was “luxury products,” and I reported the show as it happened on Glam.com.

I’m looking beyond the luxury market for my own blog to products that could benefit any of our homes. Last week, I brought you the best of KBIS kitchens. Here’s the scoop on KBIS bath products.

TOUCH-FREE FAUCETS

When I covered the International Builders Show in 2007, I spotted the same types of touch-free sensor faucets that one often uses in public restrooms showing up there for the residential market. They make great sense for home use, both from the avoidance of germ spread and for their potential water savings. They’re also great for those with arthritis, Parkinsons and other ailments that impact hand flexibility.

The problem was, the styles shown at IBS looked like they belonged in public restrooms, not in someone’s home. That deficit was clearly overcome at KBIS this year, and fashionable sensor faucets showed up in almost every plumbing booth. Shown here: Axor Starck X Electronic Faucet with Temp Control from Hansgrohe.


DUAL FLUSH TOILETS

Again, these are not new introductions this year, but very much in keeping with one of the dominant trends of KBIS 2008: environmentally-friendly products. If you’re not familiar with the dual flush concept, here’s a brief explanation: Standard flushing uses a lower water ration than our current standard, and is suitable for liquid/paper flushes. The alternate flushing mode uses a higher water allotment, comparable to our current standard, for bulk needs. Dual flush toilets may become code mandated in future years as fresh water supplies dwindle further and droughts threaten even more areas. The good news is, you don’t need to sacrifice style while saving water. More manufacturers are introducing dual flush models into their designer suites. Shown here: Kohler’s Saile Dual Flush Toilet.

NATIVE TRAILS BASINS

I love the hammered metal looks of the Native Trails product line. They evoke both contemporary and classic elegance and come in copper or silver finishes. I can definitely see myself incorporating one of their lavs in upcoming client projects. (They also make a line of tubs, bar and kitchen sinks.) Shown here: Tatra Basin in Antique Finish.

KOHLER BELAY

One of my design specialties is Aging-in-Place, which seeks to make spaces more accessible, comfortable and safer for older residents wanting to remain in their own homes. The image that comes to mind when you mention Aging-in-Place or Universal Design is a nursing home with white plastic grab bars. Not for my clients! I go more for Resort Spa than Rehab Hospital, and Kohler’s new integrated Belay grab rail system fits right into that plan. The front can be tiled to match the rest of the shower, tub or toilet area. The top edge is made to match the most popular Kohler finishes. It’s the grab bar system for clients who don’t like the look of grab bars. Shown here: Kohler 30” Belay with Brushed Silver edge.

HANSA COLOURSHOWER

If bath time in your family is a daily struggle, maybe adding some color to the experience will speed things along. The Hansa Colourshower lets your kids–or your spouse!–choose their favorite colors to shower with, as well as choose from variable pressure settings. The handheld body sprayer is super-convenient, as is the soap dispenser. You might want one of these for the kids’ bath and your own.

CAESARSTONE CONCETTO QUARTZ COUNTERTOPS

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I’m a quartz countertops enthusiast. One of my favorite versions of the product literally stopped me in my tracks at KBIS 2008. It’s a jeweled version from Caesarstone, one of the leading manufacturers of engineered stone tops and the only one I know of that offers a limited lifetime warranty on its countertop material. Called Concetto, this gorgeous stone would enhance any master bath or powder room. Best of all: while giving a high-powered impression, it’s a low-maintenance beauty. Take a look for yourself! Shown Here: Blue Agate.

BAMBOO BASINS

I love the natural beauty of bamboo, and enjoyed seeing it in lavatories at KBIS 2008, rather than in its more common flooring application. Pair it with a soapstone, concrete or honed granite countertop for a knock-out powder room! Shown here: Solid Bamboo Vessel Sink from Totally Bamboo.

GRAFF LUNA FAUCETS

Tying into KBIS 2008’s other major trend – modern style – is Graff’s Luna faucet series. I featured it in the Bathing Beauties’ Style File this summer, include it in my Amazon Gold list (so you can buy it easily for your own home!), and mention it here again. I can definitely see a Luna lav faucet in a show-stopping powder room. Can’t you?

BATHROOM BONUS!

You probably don’t think about washers and dryers when the word ‘bathroom’ is mentioned. Imagine for a moment, though, how incredibly convenient it would be to have a washer and dryer located where the pool towels pile up, or where the kids’ hamper sits, or where your own clothes hang for convenient laundry day handling. Asko‘s new washer/dryer set can be installed virtually anywhere you have a water hook-up and power, as it doesn’t need to be vented and has “shock absorbers” built in for second-floor placement. If you’re planning a bathroom remodel, you might want to consider whether a second washer/dryer in your home would save your back and legs from lugging laundry baskets around the house. Many of the new home projects I’ve been involved with in the past couple of years have second/upstairs laundry rooms. This panel-ready set allows you to have that convenience, cleverly camouflaged in your bathroom or walk-in closet. (There are some nifty add-ons — like a built-in ironing board — available, too in its HiddenHelpers line.) If you’re concerned that adding a second washer/dryer pair will hike your utility bills too high, Asko is known for its water and energy efficiency. Given that fact, and its more convenient location closer to the laundry source, you might find yourself using these more than your older set and actually lowering your costs! (Hmm, what alternate uses might that laundry room serve…)

FINAL THOUGHTS

If you’re interested in more information about any of these products not furnished here or on the company’s web sites, please let me know. I may be able to get your questions answered through my manufacturers’ contacts.
Also, if you live in the Tampa, Florida area, feel free to contact me to run some local comparison pricing for you. I do long-distance consulting on fixture planning, too, but not price comparisons out of area. Feel free to contact me at (813) 810-0467 or jamie@jgkitchens.com.

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Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS,  MCCWC

Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS, MCCWC
San Diego, CA

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