Covering more than one million square feet of exhibit space at the cavernous Las Vegas convention center, product manufacturers of about 2,000 different brands displayed their latest and greatest housewares last month at the International Builders Show. To put the size of the expo into perspective, that’s roughly 23 acres of sinks, faucets, toilets, cabinets and items from numerous other product categories.
Should any of the thousands of appliances and dozens of other product categories capture the fancy of building remodelers, they should be available almost immediately. If builders like them, they probably will be featured in model homes this fall, if not sooner.
Meanwhile, here are some of the products that caught this reporter’s eye, broken down by rooms in your house:
Nectar of the Gods
Perlick’s new coffee dispensing kit transforms its countertop-mounted beer dispenser into a cold brew coffee station. Similarly, Plum’s new countertop appliance automatically chills wine to the desired temperature, serves it one glass at a time, and preserves the rest for up to 90 days. With a simple touch of screen, the perfect glass is served within seconds, with no waste of what you can’t finish.
Sharp’s first-ever microwave drawer will glide open with a wave of your hand near the motion sensor. It closes almost as easily with either a touch of a button or gentle nudge and remains closed when you walk by, so children and pets won’t open it accidentally. The unit has wi-fi connectivity, so it integrates with smart home features.
If you’re a fan of the farm-to-table style food that has grown in popularity, consider looking at an indoor garden. Natufia offered what it says is the world’s first fully-integrated and automated hydroponic kitchen garden. The unit optimizes all minerals, nutrients and vitamins, and since it is controlled indoors, homeowners don’t need to worry about pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. The garden offers year-round, 24/7 kitchen-to-table ingredients without the concern of weather challenges or seasons.
H2O on Tap
Instant hot, cold and sparkling water? From the same tap? All of the above, with Zip Water’s HydroTap, which is meant to be used as a second faucet. Still, there’s no bulky reserve tank, just one line for filtered boiling, chilled or sparkling water. It also offers greater filtration than the standard refrigerator water line.
Everything else in the house, it seems, is smart these days, so why not the toilet? The BioBidet features dual flush technology that senses user activity and responds accordingly to preserve water. Also, remote controlled spray settings and air dryer save on toilet paper. The lid opens and closes automatically, the bowl is self-cleaning and there’s a sensor–activated light. What more could you ask for from your loo?
New Way to Shower
The Thermostatic Shower System from Lenova allows users to fine-tune their preferences, including maintaining water temperature to within a single degree. The interactive control panel delivers the same volume of water, even when using the shower head and body sprayers simultaneously. Choose from preset sprays or mix and match shower heads, body jets, and tub spouts for a customized look and feel.
California Faucets introduced a series of large format, solid brass showerheads offering a wider-than-standard spray. The different ceiling-mounted showerheads– arched, convex and ultra-thin– come in 28 finishes to offer a more sumptuous waterfall-like bathing experience.
Trex, the outdoor decking company, is now offering outdoor cabinetry. Made of stainless steel – we are talking outside, after all – its new line comes in nine door styles and 14 color and wood-grained finishes to complement any backyard or patio kitchen.
A Different Look
Nakamoto Forestry, one of Japan’s largest lumber mills, displayed several varieties of siding, including charred and brushed wood. Made from sugi trees, the siding adheres to the Japanese tradition of yakisugi, or “shou-sugi-ban” in the west. The company utilizes a heat-treatment process refined over several decades, and hand-grades each plank of wood at least nine times before shipment.
A Little Bonus
Finally, here’s an extra item for good measure: This one made the late night TV circuit, but it’s still worth a mention.
Charmin’s GoLab prototype represents the toilet paper maker’s three-part vision for a better bathroom experience. One is RollBot, which delivers a roll when you there’s none left. Another is VIPee, which will bring a porta-potty to your couch while you’re watching TV. The third is SmellSense, which tells you when it’s safe to go into the bathroom after someone else uses it. While there is no release date, or confirmation these products will be released to consumers, it’s an interesting take on upgrading the bathroom experience.