Zip HydroTaps: The inside story of advanced technologies

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By Zip Industries

The HydroTap from Zip Industries is one of the most advanced drinking water appliances in the world featuring patented PowerPulse boiling, Direct DryChilling and ColdCore carbonation with MicroPurity filtration technologies to bring you the delicious taste of purity.

Tastier, Healthier: MicroPurity Filtration System

Zip MicroPurity filtration produces crystal clear, pure tasting water, free from odour and contamination. So that your water is healthier and better tasting, the filtration technology expertly removes sediment, volatile organic compounds such as lead, and parasites such as cryptosporidium and giardia greater than 0.2 microns.

Perfect Boiling Water: PowerPulse Innovation

The patented Zip PowerPulse technology efficiently heats water and maintains the set boiling water temperature by delivering a precise amount of energy to the heating element. Combined with bespoke water circulation technology, it ensures the temperature is precisely maintained. By delivering instantaneous small energy bursts efficiently, PowerPulse also saves energy.

Deliciously Chilled Water: Direct DryChilling System

Zip’s compact and high performance closed refrigeration system is the inspiration for the new Direct DryChilling innovation. A lightweight aluminum MicroChannel condenser delivers advanced heat transfer capabilities, enabling the system’s overall cooling efficiencies. Rapid chilling is achieved within the solid aluminum block and stainless steel coils of the evaporator system, ensuring perfectly chilled water.

Irresistible Sparkling Water: ColdCore Compression Technology

Quality sparkling water can only be achieved at lower temperatures. Chilled water is jetted into the centre of the solid aluminum block to produce irregular atomized particles, enabling better carbonation under pressure in the cold, turbulent environment. Zip’s bespoke ColdCore Compression technology ensures greater volumes of irresistible light sparkling water.

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10 must-have items for your next kitchen remodel done in Central Pennsylvania

Sick of cooking in an outdated kitchen?

Ready for a little spruce up? 

Take a look at some of the latest kitchen trends and must-have features that will improve the look of your Central Pennsylvania space and make it more functional, too.

Two-toned kitchen cabinets

White, cream and even grey kitchens are all the rage as people are looking to brighten up their space. But, don’t count out the two-toned trend. Choosing a darker color for your island or lower cabinets can break up an all-white kitchen and give it more style, said Lora Deller, of Red Oak Remodeling. Some people even choose a contrasting wood type as well.

This Springettsbury Township kitchen, remodeled by Red Oak Remodeling in Windsor Township, won the 2017 Peak Achievement Award for Best Kitchen from the York Builders Association in May. (Photo courtesy of John Beatty, OpenTours)

Pull-out mixer shelf

Innovative hardware has pushed kitchen design past simple doors and shelves, according to Michael Prince of Prince Kitchens in Glen Rock. It started with pull-out trays in cabinets and has led to more inventive designs, such as this mixer shelf that lifts out of a cabinet to working height. Talk about convenient! (Photo by Paul Kuehnel, York Daily Record)

Vertical pull-out storage

Traditional cabinet and pantry shelves are a thing of the past in many modern kitchens. With innovative features like this vertical pull-out storage, designed by Prince Kitchens of Glen Rock, homeowners can use up every inch of cabinet space and still easily find items they need to make the perfect meal. (Photo by Paul Kuehnel, York Daily Record)

LED-backlit kitchen sink

This color-changing glass sink will give your kitchen the extra pizzazz you’ve been looking for. The LED lights can be programmed to change automatically or set to match your favorite sports team or an upcoming holiday, according to Michael Prince, of Prince Kitchens in Glen Rock. (Photo by Paul Kuehnel, York Daily Record)

Over-the-sink cutting board

An over-the-sink cutting board like this one will make preparing dinner a little easier. It’s designed to keep food contained in the sink area for easy cleanup, and it’s great for kitchens with limited counter space. (Photo by Paul Kuehnel, York Daily Record)

Deep drawer storage

Deep drawers are becoming more and more popular for storage, but not just for bulky pots and pans. Rather than storing her dishes on hard-to-reach cabinet shelves, Kathy Strine, of Springettsbury Township, said she keeps them stacked in a deep drawer conveniently located next to the sink. (Photo by Paul Kuehnel, York Daily Record)

Built-in wine cooler

Bar refrigerators are a must-have for beer and wine lovers. They can be built into a kitchen island, like the one pictured in this Springettsbury Township home, and they often have two temperature zones so beer and wine can be kept at different temperatures. Here, wine is kept at 50 degrees and beer at 37. (Photo by Paul Kuehnel, York Daily Record)

Built-in island wine rack

Where there’s a wine cooler, there must be a wine rack. On the other side of this Springettsbury Township kitchen island is a built-in wine rack and storage space for wine glasses. Not into wine? Some homeowners put in shelving for cookbooks instead. (Photo by Paul Kuehnel, York Daily Record)

Bold lighting fixtures

Bold lighting fixtures like these on display at the International Builders’ Show in Orlando could be the statement piece your kitchen needs to bring the rooom together. “It’s kind of like eye candy – another form of decoration for your space,” said Lora Deller of Red Oak Remodeling. The industrial look is currently the most popular, she said. (Photo courtesy of Lora Deller, Red Oak Remodeling)

Farm sink

The farmhouse sink trend has been popular for several years, and according to Lora Deller of Red Oak Remodeling, it’s not going away anytime soon. People love the retro, vintage look, she said. And the deep sink makes it easier to wash large pots and pans. (Photo courtesy of Dimitri Ganas, Red Oak Remodeling)

12 tips for renovating your kitchen By Diane Cowen Published September 15, 2017

By Diane Cowen

Published September 15, 2017

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Those who hire contractors and interior designers will get their professional advice, but those on more limited budgets will make decisions on their own – some driven by wants, others driven by needs.

“Pinterest” and “Houzz” websites are full of great ideas and are great places to begin your planning. Save photos of the kitchens you love to either of these sites, and then assess the common threads. It will help you determine your style.

Decide in advance what you want your focal point to be, and stick to one, maybe two things, suggests Houston interior designer Missy Stewart. It could be great tile for the walls, a splash of color on your cabinets or island or an interesting light fixture or range hood.

Here’s a list of current trends in kitchen design, from Missy Stewart Designs:

  1. Cabinets: Nothing dates your kitchen faster than out-of-style cabinets. Modern cabinets inherently come in a sleek, flat style. If you opt for transitional or contemporary styles, look at flat-panel or Shaker-style cabinet doors.

While you can’t go wrong with white paint, you also should consider gray paint or a dark espresso stain.

  1. Counters: Our countertop vocabulary used to include laminate, marble and granite. Now, consider Quartz. It’s more durable than granite or marble, and won’t stain or nick. Big sheets of it can wrap an island and can be placed as perimeter counters, just as marble would. Look for veiny gray-white styles that mimic “Cararra” or “Calacatta” marble. You can use this same porcelain for your backsplash, in a smaller tile.
  2. Island: The island does not have to match your perimeter cabinets or counters. If you have white cabinets, a splash of color could work on the island. Right now, Stewart loves navy. Homeowners also should think about their favorite colors – and what would blend with rooms visible from the kitchen. If your budget allows, consider installing a microwave drawer or refrigerated drawer in your island.
  3. Flooring: Rule No. 1 – square is out when it comes to tile flooring, Stewart says. For a bigger kitchen, go with a 24 x 32 format. For a smaller kitchen, use plank like tile that’s 8 inches wide by 36 inches long. When you’re shopping, look for “rectified” tile – the edges are a sharp 90 degrees – which allows it to be set with a super-thin grout line. Let your installer know that you want tight, almost non-existent grout lines; most will use the wider grooves by default.
  4. Lighting: This could be one of your most important decisions. You’ll want a combination of recessed lighting and ceiling fixtures. Consider one large hanging fixture or a group of pendants for over an island – and pick something with personality.

If your kitchen is stripped to the studs, consider where you have/want electrical outlets. Think about tucking them underneath cabinets so they don’t show on the walls.

  1. Plumbing: Stewart recommends Delta’s Touch2O Technology for faucets. If your hands are full or messy, all you have to do is tap the faucet with your arm or wrist, and the water comes on. (Motion-sensor options may not work as well as you think; they’ll come on any time you’re near whether you really want the water or not.)
  2. Hardware: For cabinet knobs and pulls, satin brass is in. It looks great in a modern kitchen, especially combined with dark cabinets. Mixed metals are another option, combining gold/brass with silver/nickel.
  3. Minimalism: If your post-storm mantra is “less is more,” apply that minimalist philosophy to your kitchen. Don’t keep small appliances out on the counter; they just add to visual clutter. Another option is to use floating shelves instead of upper cabinets. It will save money and look like a contemporary update. Just don’t pile too much on them. Nice glass, pretty dishes and serving pieces should create an attractive display.
  4. Appliances: Even if you can’t afford high-end appliances such as “Gaggeneau”, “Thermador” or “Wolf”, you can take cues from all they have to offer. If you have room for a double oven, get one with an oven warmer or steam option – you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

When buying a refrigerator, get one with plenty of pull-out drawers for fresh produce. If you like to entertain, consider using some under-the-counter space for a wine/beverage refrigerator.

  1. Window treatments: Roller shades with or without valances give you privacy while allowing diffused light in. Hang the valance so that it covers the base of the roller shade, but not so low that it eats up a lot of window space. “Those arched roman valances over windows are long gone,” Stewart says of ’80s-style window treatments. “Today they’re very linear.”
  2. Kitchen tech: Create a hidden charging station in a kitchen drawer. Have the electrical wiring installed in the back of the drawer and tuck away phones and iPads while they’re charging. This will help eliminate clutter.
  3. TV: Do you really want or need a TV in your kitchen? Your kitchen is likely the heart of your home, where family and friends gather. Are they really there to watch TV?

The fall is coming

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The fall is coming and there is plenty of exciting design trends to look forward to. The local new construction market has been booming and you’ll likely have more new homes to scope out than you can handle. The landscape of home design is evolving at the moment, and our local builders are not holding back! Here are some of the latest design trends to watch out for in our area.

Contrasting Islands

Kitchens have always been the center of the home so it seemed like an appropriate place to start. When you’re touring new homes this fall, keep an eye out for contrasting islands. Mixing up cabinet colors and finishes in the kitchen creates added dimension and gives the space more balance. Most often you’ll see a kitchen full of white uppers and lowers, with a darker stained or painted center island finish.

It doesn’t stop at the cabinets either. Watch for builders to mix and match counter tops to bring more texture and interest to an already very popular communal space.

Tile, Tile, Tile

As you’re perusing through kitchens, watch for geometric tile patterns and classic colors and shapes laid in new patterns.

There’s an interesting design trend that helps create added height to the kitchen and it involves an entire wall of tile. Think of it like a painted accent wall, but covered entirely in tile. It’s a fantastic and functional way to add lots of character and style to an otherwise lackluster wall.

Unique Vanities

Watch for floating and minimalist vanities with sleek sinks and plumbing fixtures. On the other end of the spectrum, the farmhouse trend is alive and well in this area, so you may see refurbished furniture being repurposed into a bathroom vanity or storage cabinet.

Secondary Spaces

With the television on less and attention turning to mobile devices, new construction clients are focusing on creating communal spaces where socializing is easier. More design elements are being added to laundry rooms than ever before. Builders are now incorporating cubbies, open shelving, accent walls, and other creative storage solutions to laundry rooms.

Pantries are getting bigger and housing more than just a few wooden shelves. Barn doors, full countertops, and even small appliances are making their way into walk-in pantries.

Bonus rooms in general have been reserved for extravagant homes over the years, but new construction homes are catering to consumer requests and including more elaborate spaces for entertaining and communing. Common bonus room concepts you’ll find this fall are home theaters, fitness rooms, play rooms complete with bunk beds, and master suites with sitting rooms.

Smart Features

Builders are embracing smart home technology in the form of security systems, wireless thermostat controls, and everything in between.

The Nest Learning Thermostat allows homeowners to control their homes temperature from anywhere they have cell phone service. This type of technology is convenient, (and cool) no doubt, but it also saves homeowners an average of 20% on their heating and cooling bills.

The Lutron Caseta Wireless system and Google is an automated way to control the lighting in your home. You can turn lights on and off from anywhere. This system even controls your window treatments and the temperature of your home.

If home security is your focus then you may want to check out the iSmart Alarm system. It’s synced up to your wireless devices, allowing you to keep an eye on your home from anywhere. It comes with window and door sensors, motion detectors, and cameras. This system is a bit of a one-stop shop because it also lets you control lighting, smoke detectors, and your thermostat from your phone.

Quartz is the New Top Choice For Counter tops

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by Gian Luca Fiori President at Marble and Granite, Inc.

For the first time, quartz surfacing such as ColorQuartz shown in Calypso Brown, has inched ahead of granite in popularity for residential kitchen counter tops.

Once upon a time, granite was the first and last word in residential kitchen Quartzcountertops. When homeowners fantasized about their dream kitchens, there was no doubt that granite countertops would be a part of it. With their timeless elegance and excellent resale value, it’s no wonder that granite ruled. That is, until now. According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) there is a new number-one for residential kitchen countertops and that material is quartz.
Though granite is still an incredibly popular (and excellent) choice for kitchen countertops, many are starting to recognize the appeal of quartz. A manmade surface, quartz is the first surface to give granite a run for its money. Over the past five years or so, more homeowners and designers have begun to realize the benefits of quartz surfaces and there has been a steady increase in the specification of quartz in kitchen and bath projects.

Here at Marble & Granite, Inc. our preferred brand of quartz is ColorQuartz —a brand that emphasizes top quality materials and innovation.
What is it about quartz that’s so appealing? Here’s what today’s top kitchen and bath designers have to say:

Practicality
ColorQuartz, as an example, is made up of 88-percent real quartz (the hardest mineral on earth) which is obtained from company-owned quarries. The high quartz content makes the material exceptionally tough and very durable. It’s also resistant to stains and scratches. And thanks to its durability, quartz surfaces like ColorQuartz  can prove cost-effective in the long run.

Ease of Maintenance
Quartz surfaces do not require sealing, oiling or waxing. And because brands like ColorQuartz are non-porous, they’re easier to clean. Bacteria can’t get inside, so it can’t proliferate.

Versatile
ColorQuartz comes in a wide range of colors, unlike natural stone, which is limited to the natural process through which it’s formed. Because it’s available in nearly any color of the rainbow and since it can be easily fabricated into virtually any shape or size, quartz countertops can fit practically any style of décor.

ColorQuartz  in Statuario Fantastico looks like authentic marble.

Looks Like Natural Stone
Manufacturers like ColorQuartz produce quartz countertops in everything from solid colors to imitation granite and marble. In fact, some of the most beautiful ColorQuartz choices that we offer look so much like authentic marble that almost no one would suspect it isn’t the real thing. (See Statuario Fantastico above.)

Quartz surfacing will never leave you wanting for choices. And because ColorQuartz has invested in the factory space (for research, design, and production) and manpower in the form of the most experienced stonemasons, you won’t be disappointed in the ColorQuartz brand. ColorQuartz constantly examines and inspects the raw materials they use to ensure only the very best goes into each slab of quartz they manufacturer.
Would you like more information on quartz? Come in and talk with our surfacing experts at either of our two Marble & Granite, Inc. showrooms. We’ll explain how although ColorQuartz is “man-made,” it’s offers quality, variety, versatility, longevity, and style that rivals even the finest granite.

Your new kitchen…an investment for a lifetime

by Liviu G. owner of Kre-Art kitchens & bathrooms.

Designing your new kitchen will add substantial value to your home. One of the most important elements to determine when beginning your project is your budget. Communicating this to your designer allows them to quickly determine the appropriate products for your project. Cabinetry from Omega or Dynasty will fit into practically any budget. This worksheet will help you to arrive at a project estimate.

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When planning your project, keep in mind that the cost of installing a new kitchen can be recovered when the home is sold – it’s an investment in your home’s equity. After 10 years, a new car may be worth very little, but a kitchen is often worth much more than the original investment.

According to the latest studies and recommendations, the national average for a kitchen remodel was 10% of the current house value.

Example :  Current Home Value – $375,000

  1. To determine a total kitchen-remodeling budget choose a 10% percentage of your home value.
  2. 10% of house value at $37,500
  3. Breakdown of suggested remodeling investment.
  • 40%  Cabinets                             $15000
  •   9%  Counter tops                         $3375
  • 10%  Appliances                             $3750
  • 10%  Lighting/Electrical                    $3750
  •  3%  Wall Covering / Painting             $1125
  •  8%  Floor Covering                         $3000
  • 20% Labor (including plumbing)          $7500

Of course this numbers are just a suggestion of how much you are expected to spent on your renovation. The reality is it also depends on the materials, appliances, type of counters and floor. Also age of the house and taking down a wall or adding a pony panel, etc.

Today’s New Kitchens Are Inviting, Elegant, and Dark

People spend more on the kitchen than any other room in their house. Not that the kitchen is really a separate room any more, but usually an extension of the living area or family room.

It is a space that is used not only for cooking and entertaining, but also for doing homework, home office work, socializing and many other day-to-day activities. Therefore, it is an area of the home that needs to be as inviting and as functional as possible.

Since investing in a new kitchen comes at a significant cost – it is typically the most expensive area of the house – being aware of latest kitchen design trends will help you to make the right choices to ensure you achieve the best possible outcome and don’t make expensive mistakes.

Color trends

We are starting to see darker, moodier color palettes for the kitchen in dark charcoal grey to black palettes. There has been an increase in black feature kitchens, combined with black appliances, pendant lights and feature tiles or dark stone splash backs.

Alternatively, for those who aren’t fond of dark colors, shades of grey can be incorporated with concrete floors, as a feature paint color or as concrete counters. While grey is a slightly more daring departure from the previously standard white and less adventurous than black, it is a neutral color that can easily be layered with other products and styles.

Finishes

New designs are seeing a lot more layering of color and texture, with finishes that create visually interesting but practical spaces. Think geometric and three-dimensional backslash tiles, concrete or mat engineered quartz stone bench tops and dark mat cabinetry, teamed with warm metallic sinks and faucet in brass, copper, rose-gold or nickel.

These sleek finishes are balanced with natural organic looking elements such as timber cabinets or detailing, or wide timber plank flooring, or timber look tiles. Wood (real or engineered), stone, concrete and warm metal finishes feature strongly.

The glossy kitchens we have seen for several decades will be replaced with the more natural look of mat finishes, particularly for counters and joinery. The mat look is currently a very strong trend in design. It is soft to touch and less reflective and will likely be here to stay for some time, as dark colors and black lend themselves well to the use of mat finishes, since they do not show finger marking like a gloss finish.

The look of marble remains popular in the form of low-maintenance and innovative engineered stone, with many versions in both light and dark colors with varying degrees and patterns of contrast veining.

Adding metallic and timber accents is another way to create visual appeal and a valuable point of difference. Materials in these shades can be applied to cabinetry, paneling and toe kicks, as well as doors and tapware.

Popular high contrast styles combine a two-tone, monochromatic color combination of timeless black, grey or navy with white (usually in the counters), punctuated with elements of timber and/or brass for warmth. This creates a look of refinement and elegance, with an air of natural simplicity and earthy luxury.

Kitchen Cabinets

Wall cabinets in a contrasting colors or finishes to the base cabinetry are a winning combination that we will continue to see going forward.

Open shelving to display interesting objects injects personality into a kitchen and when used in a contrasting finish to the cabinetry, helps to break up the space and creates an interesting mix of finishes.

Navy cabinetry with timber and brass accents is likely to become the next top look.

Kitchen sinks and faucets

We will start to see more black and white sinks or the more luxurious option of metallic sinks. These will be combined with matching or complementary metallic taps in finishes such as matte black, brass, copper, gun metal and satin nickel.

Kitchen hardware

The most popular finishes for cabinet handles are mat black, satin nickel, pewter and antique brass. The commonality between all these finishes is that they are mat, not high gloss finishes, and so do not show finger marks like the polished chrome we have seen in the past.

The key trend to note is that the all-white kitchen is now a thing of the past, with new kitchens embracing an inviting, elegant, sophisticated and warm aesthetic to align with today’s lifestyle.

5 hot kitchen design trends

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The kitchen is the heart of the home. You want a kitchen that reflects your personal style, fits in with the rest of your decor, and feels like a welcoming space where friends and family can gather and create lasting memories.

If you are thinking about making some minor changes to update your kitchen, or perhaps a total redo, here are a few of the top kitchen design trends for 2017.

1. Black and white

One of the hottest trends in kitchen design right now is a black-and-white color palette. Gleaming black counter tops paired with traditional white cabinetry create a classic space with a modern feel. All white kitchens—from the traditional farm-house style to an elegant space with marble counter tops, remain a popular choice. Add a touch of black to your all-white space with new accessories or fixtures to refresh your kitchen and make it look on-trend.

2. Shades of gray

Want to update your kitchen cabinets without the expense of replacing them? Consider painting them a soothing shade of gray. This wonderful neutral has been a popular color for interior walls the past few years, and that trend is expanding to cabinetry. Pair cool gray cabinets with some warmer wood accents for an eye-catching look.

3. Consider your counter tops

Durable, beautiful quartz counter tops continue to be a popular choice for today’s kitchen design. Want the look of natural stone without the cost? Today’s laminate counter tops mimic the look of granite at a fraction of the cost. Unlike laminates of the past, these lookalikes features a natural looking pattern and a wide range of edge options. Wood is another counter top material that is making a comeback in 2017.

4. Not-so-basic black

Does your home have a modern vibe? Consider upping the drama of your contemporary space with sleek black kitchen cabinets. The all black kitchen is a hot trend for 2017.

5. Mix your metals and go bold

Pulls, knobs, handles and light fixtures are like jewelry for your home. There are so many interesting choices these days, you can easily spruce up your space without breaking your budget! Mixing metals is a trend right now. You don’t have to have all stainless, bronze or brass hardware. Mix it up for an eclectic look. Opt for drama when choosing light fixtures, as well. Oversized shades on basic bulbs above your bar create drama.

Whether you are looking to completely redo your kitchen or just freshen up the space, research today’s kitchen design trends to help you find a look that is perfect for you.

What’s cooking for kitchens

According to NKBA’s 2017 Kitchen & Bath Design Trends Report, here are 10 kitchen trends to watch for:

1. Clean lines, built-ins and simple door styles dominate kitchen designs. Contemporary- styled kitchens will overtake traditional to be the second most popular design after transitional. Emerging: industrial and mid century modern. Mountain modern and coastal are variations on contemporary.

2. White and gray painted cabinets dominate kitchen color schemes and show no signs of slowing down, especially gray. Blue painted and high gloss cabinets are emerging. For overall color schemes, blue as well as black are emerging.

3. Two-toned kitchens are gaining in popularity. Also mixing it up: materials and metals, across surfaces and as accents.

4. While wood cabinets dominate kitchen designs, metal – currently a small segment of the cabinet market – appears to be emerging. Metal cabinets are most frequently specified by younger and male designers.

5. Furniture-look pieces, rollouts, pullouts and under cabinet lighting (LED) are among the most popular kitchen cabinet features. Crown molding is declining. Rustic and reclaimed woods were mentioned.

6. Quartz is the most popular kitchen countertop material, and trending up. Granite, the second most popular countertop material, is trending down.

7. Induction cooktops and convection ovens are trending higher, and microwave drawers are outpacing freestanding or built-in microwaves.

8. Technology in the kitchen is increasing. About one-third of NKBA professionals included wiring and pathways for future tech integration. Also trending: internet connected appliances and docking stations.

9. Interior barn and pocket doors are trending up.

10. Accessible and/or universal design features continue to trend up for kitchens.

Baths going contemporary

Here’s what’s trending in the bath as relates to the woodworking industry:

1. Contemporary and transitional-styled bathrooms have overtaken traditional  style preferences.  Shaker style is gaining on traditional, while mid-century modern is emerging. Asian fusion is a niche design.

2. Whites, off/whites and gray are by far the most popular color schemes. Blue is emerging, with younger design professionals leaning more toward violets and purples. Stainless steel is niche and emerging.

3. Linen storage cabinets and wood vanities are the most commonly used storage solutions. Floating vanities and open shelving are popular and increasing in popularity. Toilet topper cabinets are declining in demand.

4. Ceramic tile flooring is the most popular, although high-quality vinyl appears to be an emerging trend.

5. Most homeowners prefer undermount bathroom sinks, with requests for vessel and pedestal sinks continuing to wane. Trough sinks are an emerging trend.

6. More than half of the NKBA members surveyed said they eliminated a tub or whirlpool in a bathroom remodel over the course of the past year. Yet half also specified a freestanding tub during that same period, and 60 percent expect to specify more of them in 2017.  While tub/shower surrounds are maintained and updated when they already exist in a home, they are not being added to new bathrooms or completely remodeled bathrooms.

7. White fixtures are trending up, while bone/bisque colored fixtures are trending down.  Brushed brass and gold are emerging faucet finishes; designer faucet colors, while still quite niche, are emerging.

8. The most popular amenities for the bathroom are in the arena of safety and comfort: i.e.., comfort heights, shower seats, lighting in showers and no-threshold showers. Emerging amenities are smart toilets, smart toilet seats, music in the shower, easy maintenance features, and radiant floor heating.

9. Water-saving toilets and faucets are becoming more mainstream.

10. Distributed video and audio and wiring pathways for future integration are still niche in the bathroom, but emerging as a trend.

Conducted in August 2016, the NKBA Kitchen & Bath Design Trends survey generated 562 responses that represent multiple industry segments from across North America.NKBA-Trends2017-Clean lines-Nar-Bustamante

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Trends from the “New Bathroom Idea Book”

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Smart toilets, enhanced medicine cabinets, porcelain slab walls and automation are a few of the top bath trends showcased in the “New Bathroom Idea Book.”

authors Jamie Gold NBIB_CH4_HT_Bidet-Seat_Kohler-683x1024

Click on the pictures to see gallery of new fixtures

 Books about kitchen and bath design need to be updated every few years to keep up with this fast-moving industry. Photos, trends and technology grow stale over time, even though much of their reader advice is evergreen. That’s why publishers like The Taunton Press continually come out with “new” and “all new” versions of their popular series. Among the latest is Taunton’s New Bathroom Idea Book, publishing this month.

Like the author’s previous Taunton title, New Kitchen Ideas that Work (2012), each chapter has a trends-focused section. The writer for both Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS shares her byline with this monthly Trend Spotting section. Here are some of the trends discussed in the latest volume, accompanied by related images from the book and some thoughts from other industry trend spotters.

SMARTER TOILETS

“Toilets are offering some tremendous new features that go far beyond their original purpose and capability,” the Hot Trend for the Fixtures and Faucets chapter reads. This includes self-cleaning toilets, toilets with hands-free flushing, toilets with bidet functionality and even connected toilets. What types are you manufacturing or specifying?

Anne-Marie Brunet of Ottawa, Canada likes smart toilets: “I see a continued growth for this trend as it seeps into the mainstream media and their design remains modern and fresh. It is a great option for those aging in place and does not scream ‘old.’”

Cheryl Kees Clendenon, a Pensacola, FL-based interior designer, shares, “We use integrated washlets when the client wants to spend the money.”

Las Vegas-based designer Patricia Gaylor likes American Standard’s New ActiClean toilet that is self-cleaning. It actually works and doesn’t cost a fortune, she says. “Touchless flushing from Kohler that you can buy for existing toilets and easily install yourself” is another technology she likes to offer clients. Gaylor also likes toilets with built-in nightlights.

ENHANCED MEDICINE CABINETS

“While some homeowners are forgoing medicine cabinets in favor of more integrated cabinetry, there are some enticing new offerings on the market worth considering,” notes the Hot Trends section for the Storage chapter. These include TV, Bluetooth streaming, phone chargers, organizers, magnifying mirrors and even lock boxes for prescription medicines.

Clendenon and Los Angeles-based architect Dean Larkin build medicine cabinet features into the custom cabinetry they specify, since the traditional configurations and styles don’t fit the ultra-luxury projects they design.

“My clients still request medicine cabinets, so I customize them with moldings to accent or match cabinetry. I also install plugs inside,” shares Gaylor.

Manufacturers like Duravit, Robern and Ronbow are manufacturing sleeker, higher-tech medicine cabinets than the builder basics of years past. “Consumers are looking for functional pieces to remove clutter from the bathroom, which is why we’ve included Bluetooth technology, USB ports, electrical outlets and even LED lighting into many of our medicine cabinets,” says Jason Chen, CEO of Ronbow.

Enhanced medicine cabinets are “a big thrill for my clients,” shares Jan Neiges of Highlands Ranch, CO. “When they see the outlet inside the cabinet, and mirrors inside and out – they love it. An easy sell!”

PORCELAIN SLAB WALLS

“Large, thin porcelain tile slabs and the very similar sintered compact surfaces have emerged in recent years as a stylish, low-maintenance wall covering that can handle moisture and daily use. The differences between the two are slight and relate mostly to manufacturing specifications and branding,” starts the book’s Floors, Walls, Windows and Doors chapter’s Hot Trends section.

Have you started designing with these surfaces yet? Most of them are from factories in Italy and Spain, which are not only offering sizes exceeding 5’x10′ now, but are continually improving their designs to better resemble wood or stone, and even offering book-matching. They’re an easy-care solution for higher-end clients – given the still-high price tags – but greater competition should bring down costs in the not-too-distant future.

“We love solid shower walls, but they’re expensive, so we use rectified tile when budget is an issue,” comments Clendenon.

“Yes, porcelain slabs are still a luxury item, but I’m seeing more and more every day,” notes Gaylor. “Digitally printed tiles are so realistic now, I use them continually in bathrooms. Much more sustainable [than natural stone], and very reasonable.”

“You can get the luxurious look of marble for a fraction of the price,” confirms Ceramics of Italy’s Cristina Faedi. “Our prediction is that large-scale tiles will be used to expand the apparent size of the bathroom,” she adds. This is accomplished by largely eliminating grout lines.

Brunet agrees: “Clients want the luxury look without the distraction of grout lines, and easy maintenance.”

BATH AUTOMATION & ENTERTAINMENT

“Room lighting, climate, privacy through automated window coverings and sound are getting automated for bathrooms. Many of them can be controlled from a smartphone or tablet, or from sleek wall controls. All of these sophisticated systems can meet 21st century needs while turning your bathroom into a spa-friendly environment,” reads the Hot Trends entry for the Entertainment, Electronics and Extras chapter of the New Bathroom Idea Book. Here are what some designers and manufacturers are seeing in their practices.

Brunet says, “Home automation is growing leaps and bounds here in the Northeast. We’re seeing a rise in motorized shades. Also rising in popularity and sales are automated lighting systems and audio systems.”

Clendenon’s take comes from the Gulf Coast: “We do Hunter Douglas automated shades when there is a difficult window to get to.” TVs aren’t a big item for her clientele, or for Larkin’s Southern California clients either.

“I’m installing more outlets with USB ports in all areas of the house,” shares Gaylor from Las Vegas (she also designs for out-of-town builders).

Ronbow’s Chen observes, “In most of our bath vanities, we have taken our designs a step further by integrating USB ports and electrical outlets into our vanities. We’ve also added motion controlled on/off switches to LED mirrors and built-in Bluetooth speakers.”

LAST WORDS

Not every hot trend, including the four described here or the six additional ones spotlighted in the book (available this month at Barnes & Noble, Lowe’s and Amazon), will show up with the same strength in every region or demographic. Clients hire designers to choose the ones that make the most sense for their project.

Many of the design books out today, including the New Bathroom Idea Book, are published for the large middle and mid-high “aspirational” buyer. They’re the largest audience in the publishing and manufacturing worlds. Where do they fit in your design business? ▪