Apologies to Paul Simon, but when I looked at the long list of design ideas I compiled while at the International Builders’ Show in Orlando, I thought I’d try to mention 50 of them—a nice round num
Hale Development, Inc.
David Hale, President of Hale Development discusses what products he won't build without.
Toto Washlet Toilets
Toto was the first to reinvent the humble toilet seat with its line of high-tech personal hygiene systems, called Washlets. In the United States, Toto offers four models: the introductory Washlet C100 (shown here, former marketing name, "Chloe"); the top-of-the-line Washlet S300; and the Portable Washlet. More recently, Toto extended the line by introducing the mid-level Washlet E200. The E200 multi-task functions provide gentle, front- and back-aerated, warm-water spray, with adjustable water pressure and temperature. The unit is controlled by a battery-powered, wireless remote control keypad with a LCD read-out which can be hand-held or wall mounted.
In My Own Words
"I discovered this high-tech toilet while on a recent trip to Japan. It's the most advanced toilet in the world, offering seven different cleaning functions. It looks like a Western-style toilet at first glance, but it offers a number of features, such as a blow dryer, heated seat, heated water and cleansing mechanisms.
"Start building homes with this device, and you're sure to become the talk of the town — literally! Our local Fox News affiliate profiled one of the homes I built, and the Chloe got a big chunk of airtime.
"To date, I've used this model only in master-bath applications, but I'll gladly put it in more 'public' areas if my homeowners are comfortable with all the 'potty talk' from their guests."
The number of new homeowners requesting distributed audio systems is expected to rise 20 percent annually over the next three years. Russound's A-BUS offers builders a streamlined product to answer that need and make traditional audio distribution obsolete. Whether it's a new or existing home, the simplicity and reliability of an A-BUS multi-room audio system ensures an enjoyable, hassle-free listening experience - all at the touch of a keypad button.
Using standard CAT-5 wire, Russound's A-BUS system transmits power and stereo music to amplified keypads throughout the home. Just add speakers and the A-BUS kits deliver quality sound. A-BUS systems are easily expandable to fit any home or budget. Complete kits are available for a straightforward solution for multi-room installation.
In My Own Words
"I like to include hi-tech materials in all of my homes, and I've found this A-BUS Multi-Zone Audio Control System can't be beat when it comes to home-audio controls. The A-BUS control panel allows my homeowners to customize audio volume levels in each room of their houses. Additionally, they can change stereo audio sources from CD to tuner to satellite receiver — whatever their needs may be — all with the use of a simple remote control. You can also control the wall switch manually, but I find the remote much more efficient.
"I personally have used these switches in my own home the past four years, each time upgrading the product as the opportunity presented itself. I do a lot of entertaining, and these quality switches help me set the mood throughout the entire house."
The latest innovation from Creative Building Resources is the Hidden Passage Doorway. This concealed doorway was introduced to obscure an entrance into a room, closet or hallway, while appearing as a built-in bookcase. The pre-hung unit has concealed hinges and will fit any standard rough opening. The Hidden Doorway is offered in paint grade and most domestic and imported hardwoods. Latching options include magnetic push catches, positive slide latch and self-closing, keyed lock and electronics devices. Standard options are one fixed shelf and four adjustable shelves. The Hidden Doorway is also available as a kitchen pantry door; linen storage; curio cabinet; and as a CD/DVD Plus Organizer.
In My Own Words
"This product offers a great solution to hiding away unsightly rooms from public view or secretly concealing those rooms needing privacy. Instead of using a standard door on storage or linen closets and HVAC mechanical rooms, I've started using the Hidden Passage Doorway.
"The door easily blends in with the room's décor and appears to the unknowing eye to be a nicely trimmed-out, built-in bookcase. But with a slight press to the wall unit, the bookcase swings open to reveal the hidden closet or room on the other side.
The door is heavily weighted, and I haven't had any problem with its mechanics."
GE has expanded its Speedcook line with the introduction of the new GE Profile Advantium 120 built-in wall oven. The Advantium 120 plugs into any standard 120-volt, 15-amp outlet, providing the ultimate in design flexibility and ease-of-installation. It is designed to be installed either above a conventional single-wall oven, or a warming drawer, or by itself, offering a great built-in look in both 27-inch or 30-inch cabinet configurations.
A smooth-turn dial and touch-pad controls offer selection of 30 custom recipes and more than 175, pre-programmed, speed-cooking options. Interior halogen lights offer a clear view of the stainless steel interior, making it easy to check on cooking food without opening the oven door. A large rounded interior with 16-inch turntable offers enough room to easily fit and rotate a 9-inch × 13-inch dish.
In My Own Words
"When it comes to appliances, my preference is the Monogram collection offered by General Electric. In my opinion, the collection offers a wide range of products perfect for just about every application imaginable.
"Plus, having used GE appliances in more than 350 homes over the past eight years, I can honestly say that their customer service and warranty are tops in the field."
A traditional building material in Oriental design for centuries, bamboo is an excellent alternative to wood flooring. It is truly renewable, growing many times faster than hardwood trees and reaching maturity in only five years. Homeowners like the artistic pattern inherent in bamboo through its unique graining. Bamtex uses advanced technology to create several unique looks of bamboo planks, including vertical, horizontal, and strand styles.
In My Own Words
"I first started using this pre-finished bamboo flooring in my homes several years ago when bamboo was unknown as a flooring material to many of my hardwood subcontractors. What I like about it is the peace of mind bamboo gives me, knowing I'm using a sustainable natural resource. One of the fastest growing 'grasses' on the planet, it is the perfect sustainable resource that helps reduce the need to harvest timber from the world's shrinking forests.
"By using bamboo, I'm also giving my homeowners one of the hardest and most durable flooring surfaces available. From a design perspective, bamboo flooring presents a subtle, yet unique grain pattern. The product is easy to install and comes in pre-finished, tongue-and-groove planks"