Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Standouts From the 2014 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show

Anne Higuera CGR, CAPS
Check out the latest and greatest in sinks, ovens, countertop materials and more
These were some of the offerings on view in February at the Las Vegas Convention Center, where the 2014 International Builders’ Show (IBS) and the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) were held together for the first time. This confluence of builders and design professionals attracted some 1,700 exhibitors and more than 75,000 attendees, who seemed thrilled with the array of new offerings.

As remodelers we were there to get great ideas to bring back to our clients, and to talk with manufacturers of the products we already use. After three solid days of walking, we still didn’t see it all — but here’s some of what we found interesting for kitchens in 2014.
Kohler’s enormous booth at the entrance to the KBIS hall featured dozens of products, many of them new. We really liked this contemporary take on the traditional farmhouse sink, with horizontal banding across the front. Called Whitehaven Hayridge.
A new feature that will be available with several of Kohler’s faucets, including the new hands-free Sensate faucet, is something the company calls Sweep technology. Instead of the water coming out of the faucet in a circular pattern, it comes out from opposing angles, creating a “blade” of water that sweeps away debris. The Sweep spray option will be available starting March 15, 2014.
Rohl’s Waterside Apron Front Sink has a bowed front, which provides more sink space without encroaching too much on the rest of the kitchen. It’s fireclay and handmade in England; no two are exactly alike, so make sure to have it on hand when you do your cabinet and counter templates.
The other Rohl sink that turned heads was this 16-gauge copper-infused stainless steel model. It is very solid and has a sound-deadening material applied to the outside as well. It’s a nice alternative to standard stainless steel.
Exploring Caesarstone’s booth, which was a collaborative effort with Bosch and Thermador, we found this bit of kitchen eye candy: a battered and polished steel countertop that was seamed into a sink.This was one of the most interesting uses of materials we saw in the whole show.
The Viking booth was cooking! There were so many people packed into the space, you had to muscle your way in to see the 50 new products, including a line of ovens that comes in retro colors. With minimalist details and high-tech interiors, these new ovens are on the cutting edge.
Viking’s French-Door Oven got a lot of attention for its single-hand operation. (How nice also not to have to lean over the open door to put things in!) This oven has Vari-Speed Dual Flow Convection and a host of other features, including an extremely fast preheating time, so you can get cooking faster. Not surprisingly, the French-Door Oven received the KBIS People’s Choice Award.
Dacor took oven technology a step further with its new Discovery IQ line of ovens. The double ovens run on Android technology, allowing control of the oven from the touchscreen.

Cooking a chicken? Program the oven, and it will stay on until the bird is cooked, then keep it warm. At the store buying food, and you want to warm up the oven? You can do it from the grocery aisle. This product earned Dacor a KBIS Best of Show Award.

We just wonder how many people will be playing Angry Birds while waiting for the lasagna to be done.
Dacor displayed a prototype for their new 48-inch dual-fuel range, which also has the Discovery IQ technology. It’s expected to go into production this summer.
At Liebherr, we were intrigued by some of the little things that make the products great. A new feature of this undercounter wine cooler: no handles. A light touch in the upper left corner opens it just a smidgen. If you meant to open it, go right ahead. If you didn’t, it will reclose automatically. The cooler will be available in May.

Now if Liebherr could just get it to open the bottles, too …
Liebherr also has a solution for homes not plumbed for ice makers: a refillable reservoir that funnels into the freezer and, when the ice tray is full, is a convenient source for chilled water.
Liebherr has a nice variety of diminutive wine coolers, but don’t be fooled. That unit on the upper left is actually a humidor.
Think hardware is boring? Tell that to the mobs descending on Richelieu’s booth. People were busy opening and closing every piece of cabinetry in the place to see how the specialty hardware works.

This descending shelf was of particular interest. Just pull it down to grab some dishes and push it back up into the cabinet when you’re done. No more step stools!
This may look like an ordinary cabinet drawer, but it’s controlled by a computer, so it opens and closes in concert with adjacent drawers, so there are no collisions. The device that makes it happen is called Sensotronic.
Tucked at the back of the cabinet is this extremely cool technology for a small computer that can control up to 12 drawers at a time.
An interesting trend we hadn’t seen before: laser-etched solid-surface counter materials. One of   Cambria's slabs was adorned with an elaborate design and installed vertically. Room divider? Shower wall? There are lots of opportunities for something like this.
Caesarstone covered its podium with an alligator-patterned slab. It will be interesting to see if this look becomes popular this year.
The Caesarstone booth also showed its Concetto line of materials. The line includes 15 kinds of semiprecious stones hand selected and fabricated into slabs. Many of them can be backlit to highlight the colors. Here, Concetto in Tiger Eye is installed above a stove.
This terrazzo countertop, seen at the Ultimate Kitchen exhibit at the Professional Builder’s Show Village, included something we hadn’t seen before — a slice of a bottle included in the countertop. This is simple enough to do and would be a nice touch for the top of a wet bar or in a tasting room.
Need assistance in adding the latest trends to your home?  Stop by Cabinet-S-Top's showroom located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ 330.239.3630 ~


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hate Hauling Laundry? Give Dirty Clothes the Chute

by Nicole White Quinn
Laundry is among my top five hated chores, a close second to grocery shopping. But some things make it more tolerable. Having quick and easy access to a laundry room is everyone’s dream.

Those who live in newer houses often have a washer and dryer on the second floor, close to bedrooms and baths. But if you live in an older, multilevel home, there’s a good chance your laundry room is stashed in the basement or on the ground floor. What to do? One quick and not-so-expensive fix is to install a laundry chute.
Project: Add a laundry chute.

Why: Because running up and down multiple flights of stairs may sound like a fun New Year’s resolution, but it gets tiresome after, say, load number 20.

Adding a laundry chute can be quite easy, says Seattle architect
Nils Finne, who has installed quite a few chutes in both new and existing homes. “We generally allow for a 10- by 10-inch clear vertical shaft space, and the contractor inserts a sheet-metal liner into that space,’’ says Finne.
Once that’s complete, he says, “we typically detail a cabinet door to provide access to the chute, and then at the bottom we empty the chute into a cabinet located above the laundry counter.”
Who to hire: Adding a laundry chute in an existing home is probably not a job for the novice DIYer. 
“If your chute is on the second floor, this will be trickier, because you will have to create a clear path from the laundry chute door to the exit of the chute in the basement,” Cherne says. “You will have to cut the hole for the laundry chute on the second floor, then create an opening on the first floor.”
There could also be some hidden issues inside the walls to consider. “There will probably be electrical, plumbing and other framing in the way,” Cherne says. “After the install, drywall or plaster would need to be patched and painted. This could quickly add up in price.”
Safety tip: Laundry chutes are a magnet for kids and pets (who naturally want to try the chutes themselves), so be sure to set the chute high enough so it’s out of reach. Even if little ones can’t get in, they will likely toss stuffed animals and objects down the chute, so be sure to sort that laundry!
Typical project length: Installation can take a few days or a few weeks, depending on the complexity. A custom installation like this one, which is seamlessly integrated into a wall of tiles, could add more time and cost more.
Materials: “The chute itself could be made from wood,” Cherne says. “But I prefer to specify aluminum that is used in ductwork to build a square or rectangular box. The bigger, the better. The aluminum is relatively inexpensive, easy to work with and can be found at most home improvement stores. It is also smooth, which allows the clothes to easily fall through the chute.”
General rule of thumb: Chutes typically need to dump into a container, not on top of the washer-dryer

Best time to do this project: Since getting organized is a big to-do in the new year, this is a great project to tackle in January — but it can be done at any time of year.

Cabinet-S-Top ~ 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ ~ 330.239.3630