PM Managing Editor Kelly Faloon continues her live reports from the 2007 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas.
Blanco stainless-steel sinks remain a popular finish in the kitchen.
Drue Lawlor discusses universal design at the NKBA Industry Trends Marketplace.
I started the second day of K/BIS at the NKBA Industry Trends marketplace witha mini-seminar on universal design.
- Drue Lawlor talked about the many ways universal design aspects of the home, including the bath and kitchen areas, can be made accessible to those with physical, visual and/or hearing impairments without compromising on design. Items such as grab bars, which used to be very institutional-looking, now are much more aesthetically pleasing.
But universal design is not only for those with disabilities - its premise is to make the home comfortable for all people living there: children and adults,as well as baby boomers planning ahead so they can stay in their homes as they age.
Lawlor referenced a survey of older Americans and what they wanted in their bathrooms:
- higher toilets
- easily accessible shower doors
- curbless showers
- less depth for tubs
- larger showers with non-slip base
- enough counter space in bathroom
- more storage in bath
- better lighting (both natural and artificial)
Beth Boyle with Nuheat welcomed booth visitors to feel the warmth. The tile display was heated by the company’s electric radiant mats.
Vegas Heats Up
Electric radiant manufacturer Nuheat has a booth at the show. Another interesting note that I picked up from the universal design seminar: Radiantly heated floors and walls, as well as towel warmers, are being seen as a universal design product. For those people, especially the elderly, who have to wait for the water to drain from the tub before getting out (whether a conventional tub or walk-in tub), a warm floor, warm walls or a warm tub-surround can help them from becoming chilled. There is no shock to the system, too, when stepping on to a warm floor, or using a heated towel.
Gerber is starting a program this year to help celebrate its 75th anniversary. It is looking for plumbing contractors and wholesalers whose company is also celebrating 75 years in business. Gerber has some special gifts planned for these companies. Check for more info at Gerber’s Web site (www.gerberonline.com).
Top: Concept vessels made out of slate from American Standard. Middle: Decolav's Lapis vessel. Bottom: Vessels from Briggs.
- I’m seeing a lot of vessel sinks, too. American Standard is showing some concept vessels made out of slate, and they are incredibly smooth to the touch.
American Standard is also showing its Champion 4 toilet - a new model of its Champion with a redesigned flush tower. Extensive testing has been done on this model - at least a year’s worth - to ensure that this model doesn’t have the flushing problems the previous model did.
- Danze is showing some new faucets and finishes, including vessel fillers (for those vessel sinks) and deck-mounted pot fillers. While contemporary models are still popular, traditional styles seem to be just as strong.
Air baths are on the rise - Jacuzzi went from two models a few years ago to about 24 models today.
Water In The Desert
At the Jacuzzi booth, whirlpool and air baths are alive and well. The company has an ozone sanitizing system that is included as a standard on all of its therapy baths. Air baths are also becoming more popular - the company went from two models a few years ago to about 24 models today. And homeowners seem to still be asking for whirlpools or air baths in their homes; the therapy aspect alone is a big seller, especially as the population continues to get older!
Moen showcased its new commercial lines, as well as a new electronic faucet.
Moen is showing some new commercial lines, as well as a new electronic faucet. In the commercial line, the electronic faucets have been redesigned and flushometers have been added to the line.
InSinkErator was showing demos of its newest line of garbage disposers. I saw these at the show last year, but it really makes a difference when you see a demonstration of how quiet they are, as well as how much they grind up food. The company also has a new water filter that takes out lead, as well as other particulates.
The day ended with a tour of the NextGen house, with home automation system, water-conserving fixtures in the bath and kitchen, energy-saving appliances, as a really cool beverage center where you can program the favorite beverages of each person in the home.
Stay tuned for tidbits from the final day of the show...
Kelly Faloon, Managing Editor, PM