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Faucet, Shower, and Kitchen Counter News

Faucet, Shower, and Kitchen Counter News
Discover sleek and innovative faucets.
I saw some exciting new home products at the combined Kitchen & Bath/International Home Builder Show in Las Vegas this week. Three very large exhibition halls jammed with booths and teaming with attendees vividly demonstrated an economy in recovery mode. Here's a look at new bath and kitchen products. More home products will follow in another post.

Bathroom Innovations
Most impressive to my eye is the hands-free electronic, "Helix Eco Power Faucet" from Toto (the famous maker of high-end electronic toilets with heating and washing functions) shown above. The 

sleek minimalist lavatory faucet design hides a remarkable turbine mechanism that generates electricity from the water flow -- like a miniature Hoover Dam! Toto's Eco Power faucet itself has been around for some time but now the faucet doesn't need daily use to recharge the capacitors because the voltage of the micro-sensor has been decreased from five volts to three, which requires less energy to operate. And, according to TOTO, "the new three-volt micro-sensor is positioned just under the spout's hood, increasing its infrared light pulses’ accuracy and intuitiveness." I can see this design becoming a feature in new homes as water conservation, not to mention energy conservation, becomes ever more important and urgent.

Kohler's Moxie -- the clever showerhead from 2013 that's also a music speaker so you can practice  

your karaoke moves -- has put the speaker in its much larger "Rainhead" showerhead. So now you'll really be ready (clean and well-voiced) for your close-up!

Shower pans are becoming sleeker and more modern, as evidenced by "WonderFall Trench" shower 

pans by TileRedi. They now come in a variety of styles, with hidden trough drains in different locations for a more minimalist look.

Even medicine cabinets are evolving. Robern's AiO Cabinets include integrated mirror lighting,

magnifying mirror, adjustable shelves, interior illumination, USB ports and a magnetic storage strip. 

Counter Materials for Kitchens and Elsewhere
There was a lot of buzz around counters, with various companies showing new competing marble-like patterns and colors in solid surfacing materials. Dekton, from the Spanish company Cosentino (best known for their Silestone product made of 94% quartz and now celebrating its 25th anniversary) is composed of glass, porcelain, and quartz, launched with ten colors in 2013, is now adding five colors and patterns. The most striking is Aura, a slab design with large scale symmetrical veining that mimics Calacatta marble. Unlike marble, Dekton is low maintenance (real marble stains easily). But as with real marble, Dekton Aura allows  

you to create compositions on counters, walls, or floor that have a striking "book-matching" effect, as shown here. THESIZE, another Spanish company -- this one started up in 2009 -- has also launched a

marble-like solid surfacing material. It's called Neolith and this year is expanding offerings with their own take on "Calacatta," as shown in this example, which also makes symmetrical looks possible. Thicknesses of 6 and 12 millimeters add flexibility.

Caesarstone, another major manufacturer of quartz surfaces, is adding ten new colors and patterns, 

including what they call "Calacatta Nuvo" (wow, the name Calacatta is definitely in!). So you can see that marble is back in a big way, even if it's not actually stone.

The marble theme was also much in evidence at The New American Home show house in Henderson, Nevada, a half hour drive from the Las Vegas Convention Center, which I toured (more about it in  

a later post). There, Dupont Zodiaq -- another mostly  solid surface -- here in a creamy un-veined style --  is used for the food prep island and as a complement to real marble from Walker Zanger surfacing the spacious eating island. In this photo you can see the food prep island with sink beyond the marble counter and in front of the range.

There also seemed to be new design energy in plastic laminates for counters. Formica teamed up with

prominent designer Jonathan Adler to produce nine new, boldly colored and patterned retro-modern laminate
surfaces using some of his signature oranges and blues.

Wilsonart, another well known laminate and engineered surfaces brand, debuted 27 designs in their

residential laminate collection, taking inspiration from nature and organic textiles. Their "Chalkboard" series, launched in 2013, is a more permanent laminate alternative to blackboard paint.

To see what kitchen and bath products debuted at last year's show click here.

Faucet, Shower, and Kitchen Counter News Inspiration

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