Launch Slideshow

The Coolest Products from KBIS 2009

The Coolest Products from KBIS 2009

  • Robern

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    The Uplift adds a new wrinkle to bath cabinetry. Instead of opening in the conventional way, the product has a door that opens vertically, giving home owners a seamless mirror and ample cabinet space. Uplift’s door measures up to 4 feet wide with an integrated aluminum handle and a feature that allows it to hold a partially open position. The cabinet offers up to six outlets, and optional features such as integrated interior lights and a mirror defogger. Measuring 27 inches high and 30, 36, or 48 inches wide, the cabinet is 6 inches deep. www.robern.com.

  • TOTO

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    One of the coolest products from the show, the Neorest II lavatory is made from LUMINIST, a hybrid epoxy resin that is commonly found in airplane wings. The material gives the sink the translucent qualities of glass combined with durability, heat resistance, and scratch-resistance. Embedded LED light produces a gentle illumination, while a temperature control knob on the sink adjusts the water flow from the super-slim spout. The LED light on control knob varies with water temperature: blue, light purple, dark purple, and red. www.toto.com.

  • Emtek Products

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    Now there is an easier way to know if the bathroom is occupied. The Brighthandle lever combines stainless steel with an acrylic handle that illuminates when the privacy function is engaged on the inside. Available in two lever styles and three acrylic designs, the handle uses a single AA battery that provides up to one year of bright red illumination. www.emtek.com.

  • Kirei

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    The manufacturer known for making furniture-grade millwork from sorghum straw has now turned its attention to coconut waste. Part of the Sumatra Collection, Coco tiles are made from discarded coconut shells that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill. The pieces are attached to a Forest Stewardship Council-certified plywood backer with a low-VOC adhesive. Tiles are available in a variety of styles in 12-inch-by-12-inch sheets or 48-inch-by-48-inch panels for vertical or horizontal decorative applications. www.kireiusa.com.

  • Cifial USA

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    Form meets function in the new Techno M10 wall-mounted tub filler. Ideal for smaller baths, the product features a playful joystick lever and an ingenious spout that fold away neatly and seamlessly to divert the flow of water from the tub filler to the hand shower. Techno M10 collection is currently only available in polished chrome. www.cifialusa.com.

  • Kaldewei

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    Maybe some people want a black tub. Maybe not. For those buyers that do this is a new option. The Luxxo Duo Oval freestanding tub follows the trend towards black in interior design, the company says. Measuring 75 inches long and 39 inches wide with two identical, facing backrests, the tub is made from steel enamel that helps water retain heat. www.kaldewei.com.

  • Kohler

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    The manufacturer utilized culinary expertise from its hospitality division to develop the Chef Inspired Collection of stainless steel kitchen sinks. The first product in the line, Stages, was designed around the French culinary concept of mis en place, so the sink comes standard with a variety accessories with built-in storage. It includes a utensil tray; a dual-sided flip tray for use as a cutting board and serving tray; a separate cutting tray; a wire rack to protect the sink’s basin; and ceramic bowls. An integral storage rack attaches to the underside of the sink for out-of-sight storage. The sink comes in two sizes. www.kohler.com.

  • Zuvo Water

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    Zuvo Water Purator is a new water treatment system that delivers an unlimited supply of filtered water at a flow rate of a 1/2-gallon per minute. Unlike other systems that simply offer filtration, the product features a five-step system that treats water with ozone, ultraviolet energy, carbon filtration, photo-oxidation, and dual-pass UV. The chemical-free system can be attached to a standard kitchen faucet or it may be connected in-line with plumbing under the sink. www.zuvowater.com.

  • Sun Valley Bronze

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    Known for door and cabinet hardware and accessories, the manufacturer has expanded its Bronze Tile Collection with three new designs—4-inch-by-4-inch Corduroy, 3-inch-by-6-inch Bamboo (shown), and 4-inch-by-4-inch Corrugated. The tiles are made from white bronze that has been certified by Scientific Certification Systems to contain a minimum of 95 percent pre-consumer recycled content or silicon bronze containing 90 percent pre-consumer content. www.sunvalleybronze.com.

  • HealthCraft Products

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    People eventually need grab bars in the bathroom, but the last thing they want to do is see them. Eschewing the look of traditional grab bars, the manufacturer created the Invisia Collection, a line that infuses clever design into typically unsightly safety products. This soap dish with integrated support rail, for example, has the grab bar hidden in plain sight. Able to support up to 350 pounds, the Corian soap dish is removable and easy to clean. The support rail comes in white and bright polished chrome. www.healthcraftproduct.com.

  • DuPont

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    The manufacturer’s new additions to its Corian Private Collection was inspired by picturesque clouds and sky at dusk, rolling farmland, and sandy beaches. Intended as a way to help turn kitchens and baths into places of relaxation, the eight new colors include Witch Hazel, Sandalwood, Jasmine, Saffron, and Juniper. “The result is a simple, yet refined aesthetic that offers weary homeowners the calming tonic effects of nature as a counterbalance to the constant bustle of our hectic lives,” marketing manager Maureen McGeehan says. www.countertops.dupont.com.

  • Du Verre

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    The clean lines of the Rise cabinet hardware collection scream modern design, but its sweeping curves offer a hint of the organic. Designed by Chris Smith, the pieces come in a range of sizes including 2-inch finger pulls and 17 5/8-inch extra large pulls. The die-cast hardware is made from environmentally friendly recycled aluminum and come in two finishes—matte lack and satin nickel. www.duverre.com.

  • Alsons Corp.

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    Remember when you needed two hands to switch the handshower spray option? The ActivTouch makes that a thing of the past. It features touch-activated showering technology, which means bathers may switch flow options with just their fingertips. The unit comes with three spray-selection buttons that allow bathers to select up to eight spray combinations. Additional features include an integrated “pause” button to reduce the spray to a trickle, a 5-foot extendible stainless steel hose, and anti-clog nozzles. www.alsons.com.

  • Fairmont Designs

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    The Concorde bath vanity is decidedly modern but not so much as to make traditionalists feel uncomfortable. Call it Approachable Modernism, if you will. It’s made from rich Anigre veneers with a cognac finish and features bead detailing and flared brushed nickel metal legs. The product is available in two configurations—a 36-inch-wide version with two doors and one draw and a 48-inch-wide unit with two doors and seven drawers. It’s shown here with an optional white Carrara marble top. www.fairmontdesigns.com.

  • Everpure

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    Once focusing its attention on commercial grade water filtration systems, the manufacturer is now targeting the home with the H-300, which uses a Micro-Pure filtration and precoat technology to remove a host of impurities. Water first enters a chamber of granulated carbon media, which filters out such contaminants as lead and volatile organic chemicals. It then enters into the Micro-Pure filtration media. The result is water that is free from particulate impurities as small as 0.5 microns, cloudiness, discoloration, and bad taste. www.everpure.com.

  • Ann Sacks

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    The tile purveyor has partnered with New England artist Natalie Blake to unveil the new Blake Studios collection of ceramic murals. Featuring three organic designs, Nautilus, Botanical, and Dahlia (shown), the products can be applied vertically or horizontally to create dramatic murals and backsplashes as well as other installations. Each 11-inch-by-11-inch tile in the collection is made by hand using the Italian Old World technique of sgraffito carving. No molds or dies are used and, thusly, no two tiles are alike. This level craftsmanship will cost you. How much? About $500 per square foot. It comes in 18 colors. www.annsacks.com.

  • Rheem Manufacturing Co.

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    SolPak is the company’s first all-inclusive active solar water heating system and it will dependably provide hot water in virtually every area of the country, the company says. It comes equipped with all the components needed to complete the installation including a heat exchanger tank, collector panels, a controller, multi-speed pump, thermal expansion tank, and other essential items. The active solar water heating system means that it uses a circulating pump to transfer water through the system. www.rheem.com.

Anyone who usually attends the annual Kitchen/Bath Industry Show & Conference would have noticed a marked decrease in attendees at the 2009 event in Atlanta two weeks ago.

The popular show for the kitchen and bath set proved it's not immune to the overall recession, which slashed attendance numbers at the International Builders' Show in January and is likely to do the same at most trade shows for the year.

Despite the lower numbers and the subdued atmosphere, however, manufacturers still managed to provide some wow with innovative, albeit parsimonious, new product introductions. What the products lacked in volume, they made up for in inventiveness.

Plumbing giants Kohler Co. and TOTO USA led the crowd with a number of new products sure to generate buzz in the retail and wholesale world over the next year. And Emtek Products and Rheem Manufacturing Co. proved that innovation continues even when the economy stalls.

Final attendance figures for the show are not complete, but the number is likely to be less than last year's show in Chicago and far less than the record-setting 2007 event in Las Vegas. Here is a postmortem on the coolest products you may have missed if you weren't among the thousands that made the trip to Atlanta.