The cover story of Time’s July 14 issue is a 39-page special report, “The Smarter Home.” Naturally, I had to read it.
101 Best New Products: Interior Products
Thermador Steam & Convection Oven
The Steam & Convection Oven from Thermador is the luxury-appliance industry’s first pre-programmed appliance to combine three distinct cooking options — steam, true convection and a combination of the two. It also includes 40 automatic food programs, nine advanced cooking modes and a series of advanced features that are geared toward the cooking enthusiast.
Easy Start Control
Instead of stepping inside the shower to start the steam session, users can now program their steam session to start from up to 50 feet away from the location of the steam generator. The Easy Start Control from ThermaSol works with either the Signature or Temp-Touch control. It also allows for one or two user settings. The control is available with a traditional or contemporary edge to match seamlessly with existing spa style. The Easy Start Control is available in 14 designer finishes.
The Talo faucet from Brizo contains several intuitive features, including a two-button/four-function pull-down wand. The patented wand puts spray, stream, volume control, and pause functions at the user’s fingertips, making kitchen tasks easier. Talo also features the Brizo brand’s MagneDock magnetic docking technology to securely lock the wand into the faucet spout.
Kobe Hood with Wireless Remote
The newly enhanced IN-026 Series from Kobe is a powerful yet quiet hood that offers the added convenience of wireless remote operation. This intuitive feature makes the hood easy to operate for people with limited reach or mobility. A high-performance, four-speed blower operates at up to 700 cubic feet per minute (CFM).
Taking minimal design to the next level, the FS3 proves that design should have no boundaries — or walls. The freestanding shower system from Hastings Tile & Bath mimics natural rainfall but unlike nature, the intensity and temperature of the curtains of water can be easily adjusted. The FS3 free-standing shower with handshower is available in chrome, brushed chrome, and stainless steel finishes.
CoreGuard Sink Base
The CoreGuard Sink Base from Merillat completely rethinks the construction methodology of traditional sink base cabinets by specifically addressing issues such as minor spills and plumbing leaks. With the exception of the cabinet’s face, frame, and door assembly, all the wood and wood-based materials typically used in construction have been replaced with an engineered polymer material. In addition, the floor has a slight forward tilt so minor spills or leaks migrate to the front of the cabinet, making it easier and quicker to detect problems.
Watermark Designs continues to expand its Sense27 with the addition of a hands-free proximity faucet. The proximity faucet features ultra-modern capacitive sensing capabilities, which allow for convenient hands-free control. The faucet is available in two setup options: a single-lever or a widespread with handles that feature temperature control.
Bamboo Farm Sink
Lenova’s new bamboo kitchen sink features an apron front design with a double-bowl layout. A low-rise divider accommodates larger items such as cookie sheets and big skillets with long handles. This design gives the functionality of two sinks in one. Using a 13-step process, each sink is crafted from fully matured Moso bamboo, chosen for its density, color clarity, and sustainability.
Jenn-Air Pro-Style gas and dual-fuel freestanding ranges are equipped with high-powered, precision burners and advanced 7-inch, color LCD touch screens designed to help cooks get the most out of the oven’s performance. The “touch anywhere” screen provides easy access to a host of features organized in an intuitive tab format. A Dual-Fan Multimode True Convection System uses two fans to generate even air flow throughout the oven when using any of six different convection cooking modes.
Integrated Faucet Filtration Solution
Rohl’s Integrated Faucet Filtration Solution represents a major paradigm shift in the way designers and consumers think about filtered water. This innovative solution eliminates the older filter faucet, has a clean two-hole installation, integrated side spray, and is an elegant space saver. It combines the Swiss-designed Katadyn filter coupled with Perrin & Rowe faucets.
Media Life from Wellborn Cabinet integrates live TV, personal photos, music, DVDs, podcasts, movies, home videos, family schedules, recipes, email, and web into one convenient location. Custom cabinetry houses all the technology equipment for any room of the home from the kitchen to the living room. Media Life cabinetry is also available in all of Wellborn’s door styles and finishes so that it can be seamlessly placed within the rest of your room.
Superba Series EQ Dishwasher
The KitchenAid Superba Series EQ Dishwasher has several features that set it apart. It utilizes pressure-optimizing wash arms that provide exceptional, concentrated wash performance. With sound levels as low as just 41 dBA, these models feature up to 13 unique points of sound dampening to eliminate noise from the motor and wash arms, while also blocking the path of noise through the dishwasher.
Dacor Distinctive Cooktop
The Distinctive 36-in. Gas Cooktop is designed with ergonomic angled controls for ease of use and Illumina Indicator Lights that glow in Dacor’s signature flame-blue when a burner is on. The Cooktop is equipped with five burners, including one SimmerSear burner with melting feature, which allows superior precision and control for the home chef with the option to simmer, sear, or sauté at ultra-high or ultra-low temperatures (up to 18,000 BTUs).
The Stealth System from Niagara Conservation includes the ultra-high-efficiency Stealth toilet, which is EPA Water Sense certified and the first and only toilet available with the ability to achieve a powerful, quiet flush using just 0.8 gallons of water. The three-part Stealth System also features a high-efficiency, high-power showerhead with three unique flow options and an aerator. The combination can save a homeowner up to 40,000 gallons of water per year and up to $600 off their utility and water bills.
Portfolio Strand Bamboo Floating Floor
The Portfolio Strand Bamboo Floating Floor collection from Teragren is available in 10 designer colors and a variety of textures and patterns. The wide-plank collection is created with rapidly renewable bamboo and features a patented fold-down locking system for easy installation. It also has a seven-coat aluminum oxide/polyurethane finish and qualifies for FloorScore certification.
Laticrete Floor Heat offers an exclusive self-adhesive mesh and wire backing designed for faster and easier installation. Unlike mats that require extensive stapling and are hard to install tile over, Laticrete Floor Heat allows for much easier thin-set installation, as there are no waves. The product carries a lifetime warranty.
The world’s thinnest see-through circular fireplace, Heat & Glo’s Solaris direct vent gas unit features specialized venting and a shallow depth, making it possible to install the fireplace on almost any 2x6 wall. Available in two models: the Solaris 36-ST produces a single flame that spreads across the center of the fireplace; the Solaris 36-MR is outfitted with LED lights and mirrored glass, creating the illusion of multiple flames moving into infinity.
Unlike typical accessible bathtubs, which look institutional, the Ava Bath from Aquatic features a sleek, modern design that adds a touch of class to any bathroom. The tub’s automated door lowers to open and rises to close, making entry and exit equally as simple for people who walk up or are in wheelchairs. In contrast, accessible tub doors typically swing in and out, requiring a higher level of mobility for maneuvering around both the door and tub threshold. The tub has a quick-drain feature that empties the 70-gallon unit in 30 seconds or less.
Don’t those airport infrared faucets tick you off? Delta has a solution for homeowners and institutional customers who want a hands-free faucet that actually works. The optic- and infrared-free Proximity line forms a 4-inch field around the body of the faucet to detect hands and trip the faucet on — and it works every time. The Grail faucet (shown here) uses 1.5 gallons per minute and can contribute to LEED credits on projects.
The popular ioDIGITAL line gets a style boost in roman tub applications with the 90° bath suite. The Moen faucet line features geometric, 90-degree-angled lines and a minimalist design. The new style option and bright chrome finish provides more variety to match consumer tastes and décor options.
TOTO’s high‐efficiency hand showers and showerheads, including the Nexus (pictured), improve water savings by using no more than 1.75 gpm, bettering the 2.0 gpm required for WaterSense certification. TOTO offers Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) Thermostatic Mixing Valves that feature a nickel and titanium alloy coil, which responds to temperature changes more quickly than traditional wax thermostatic mixing valves.
Traditional Water Amplifying Shower Head
The Alsons Traditional Water Amplifying Shower Head with Fluidics Technology is available at an efficient 1.5 or 2.0 gpm. Fluidics Technology features a series of chambers that control the shape, velocity, and thermal dynamics of water with no moving internal parts that wear out or need repair. Finishes include chrome, nickel, and oil-rubbed bronze.
The EcoSilent Whirlpool System from American Standard cuts noise levels by 50 percent while using 45 percent less energy than the previous generation of whirlpool systems. The EcoSilent whirlpool pump and motor have been integrated into a single unit, which all but eliminates the noise and vibration found in conventional whirlpools. All EcoSilent whirlpools feature the EverClean whirlpool circulation system, which helps whirlpools stay cleaner, longer.
iBox Universal Plus Rough-In Valve
The Hansgrohe iBox Universal Plus Rough-In Valve is engineered to provide a single rough-in solution for all shower types, replacing all 13 existing roughs for the company’s brands. The valve accommodates two mixing technologies — thermostatic and pressure balance — enabling many installation possibilities, including a single showerhead, showerhead with body sprays, and showerhead with hand shower. The unit features a noise-reducing design and comes with a flushing insert for simple pipe flushing.
Kohler has transformed showering into a four-sided experience with its Flipside showerhead. The company reconfigured the standard showerhead sprayface into a rotating disc that provides four different sprays: traditional spray with maximum water coverage; drenching spray; layered spray; and massage spray. Users simply flip the face to change the spray type.
Armstrong’s latest vinyl offering, Luxe Plank, offers the look of authentic hardwood flooring with the durability, low cost, and ease of installation with vinyl. The 48-inch-long planks feature beveled edges and ends for a natural wood look. The peel-and-stick planks attach to the planks beside them — not the floor beneath — so there is no need for complicated tools or adhesives. Luxe is suitable for high-moisture environments such as bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.