One of the challenging aspects of being a designer is keeping up with new products, materials and services for the home. One crucial venue for checking out the latest and greatest goodies firsthand is the National Kitchen and Bath Association Conference in Las Vegas. Designer Barbara Murphy of the Neil Kelly Company was there and came away with these top five hot summer kitchen and bath ideas for 2014:
- Slab Porcelain: Just a few years ago we all thought 24”x24” porcelain tile was huge. Now, several manufacturers are creating slabs as large as five feet by nine feet! Imagine using this beautiful and resilient product in your shower: Not only can it create a classy, one-piece design, but there are no more grout lines to seal and clean! While it has some limitations for use as a countertop, the material is great for floors. Several of our regular suppliers of stone and quartz slabs and tile have added this product to their inventory. Whether they mimic natural stone or are solid colors, I’m excited to have this new “toy” to play with.
- Sculptured Tile: I’m really looking forward to incorporating this new design into showers and countertops. This innovated porcelain tile is being offered by several manufacturers in beautiful “wave” patterns and flat textures in similar colors. This is a project completed by my Neil Kelly colleague, Karen Richmond. It’s a lush wave of color.
- Hoodless Range Fans: We all know how—during a party—everyone winds up in the kitchen. And sometimes conversation and sight lines are interrupted by that big ole’ range hood. Well, the Cirrus kitchen vent is changing all that. It’s a hoodless range fan that mounts in the ceiling—providing needed kitchen ventilation without intruding into conversation space. It’s not perfect for every situation, but that’s something a certified designer can help you determine.
- Steam Cooking: “Wow.” That’s what you’ll say when you see how much flexibility a steam convection oven has to offer. This latest innovation combines steam technology and convection in one appliance! It’s a great option for cooking lots of different foods quickly and keeping everything moist and tender.
- Nightlight Toilet Seat: I also toured the Kohler factory this winter, and was intrigued by one rather unique feature in their new line of water closet lids. It’s called Nightlight, and as you can see has a night light built into the seat. I suppose this could be a solution to night time lighting that enables you to see exactly where you’re going without burning a 60-watt bulb.
Barbara Murphy, CKD, CBD, CGR, CAPS, is a designer for the Neil Kelly company.