Some 1,500 building product manufacturers displayed more than one million square feet of sinks, stoves, faucets, tubs and cabinets at the International Builders Show in February in Las Vegas. It was the largest exposition of building products fielded by the National Association of Home Builders in a decade, attended by more than 67,000 hammer-and-saw men and allied industry professionals.
Here, culled from the football fields of displays and exhibits, are some of the items that caught the eye of this reporter. Should some catch on with builders, they could be available in new homes this spring or fall. Of course, current homeowners don’t have to wait. If they want to do some remodeling, many of the latest and greatest are available right now. And for those designing a custom home, definitely keep these products in mind as you pick appliances and fun extras.
Without further ado, the latest and greatest home products:
By Any Measure: American Standard Beale MeasureFill
Throw away your measuring cups. American Standard has a new faucet with a side-mounted dial that delivers precise measures of water, from half-a-cup to five. You can operate the Beale MeasureFill kitchen faucet with a touch of your hand or wrist if your hands are full or dirty. Available in a stainless steel or polished chrome finish.
Sink or Swim: Fotile Sink Dishwasher
Fotile, perhaps the largest appliance maker you’ve never heard of – it is a Chinese manufacturer with 15,000 employees – is now offering an in-sink dishwasher, one that uses just 1.6 gallons of water. Perhaps more interesting is its new intelligent, self-adjusting range hood that monitors your kitchen’s air quality and, upon detecting harmful substances such as airborne grease, ventilates and cleans the air. The hood adjusts its height based on the amount of airborne grease and cooking smoke, so nothing escapes into the air.
Steel Interior: Liebherr Monolith Refrigerator
German appliance maker Liebherr has a new refrigerator with a stainless steel interior, not plastic, that the company says is easier to clean, germ resistant and longer lasting. It’s 18-, 24-, 30- and 36-inch models also come with side lighting that can be adjusted according to personal preference. Options include a night-dimmer and softer lighting when the doors are open. The virtually soundless machine forces water vapor into crisper compartments to help re-hydrate vegetables.
Drenching Shower: Hansgrohe PowderRain Shower Head
When showering, most of the water should fall on your body, not everywhere else. German bathroom fixture maker Hansgrohe’s new PowderRain technology allows micro-fine droplets to fall on your head. The innovation is in every single nozzle in the showerhead, each of which is precisely arranged to delivery a voluminous, drenching spray, all while still operating at a reduced flow rate. The thousands of tiny droplets “cocoon” the body, the manufacturer says.
Old Time FavoriteL Nostalgic Warehouse Knobs, Pulls, and Handles
They’re back. Those glass-like doorknobs you might recall from your grandparents’ house are new again. Nostalgic Warehouse’s round, clear crystal knobs magnify the facets beneath, bringing a sparkle to what are otherwise simply pieces of metal. The company says it uses only the finest lead-free crystal that has remarkable clarity. These are offered with a variety of backplates and finishes to create any number of looks.
One of a Kind: Native Trails Avalon 62-inch Freestanding Bathtub
Native Trails, an artisan-crafted kitchen and bathroom brand, uses a sustainable blend of natural jute fiber and cement to showcase the organic beauty and luxurious silky smooth texture of its eco-friendly concrete products. They are lighter weight with one-of-a-kind coloration and, the company says, features extraordinary stain, scratch and crack resistance. It’s new Avalon freestanding bathtub has thick walls to provide enough insulation for a long, hot, relaxing soak. It’s curved, extra-deep design makes for outstanding comfort.
Off the Wall: Mitsubishi Electric Wall-Mounted HVAC
Mitsubishi Electric’s sleek wall-mounted HVAC units not only provide cooling and heating to your room, but they also monitor room conditions and adjust their fan speed to fine-tune your comfort. Advanced filtration features deodorize and purify the air in your home, contributing to better health. The system can be monitored and adjusted by remote control, too. Return air sensors monitor room conditions and automatically adjust based on human heat signatures to maintain the temperature you choose.
Less Water: Niagara Conservation Nano Dual Flush Toilet
Niagara Conservation has what it says is “the most water-efficient toilets” on the market. The Flower Mound, Tex.-based outfit’s new Nano model uses only 0.6 gallons per flush. That’s 77 percent less than competing units. The secret: Vacuum assist technology makes for a high-powered, low-maintenance, no-waste toilet.
Better Taste: Voltea DiEntry Water Softening System
Speaking of water, DiEntry from Voltea offers a water-softening system that gives owners total control over the quality and taste of their H2O while using and wasting less, thereby reducing the environmental impact. It provides on-demand purified water from every faucet in the house with no salt or other chemicals.
Blending In: Aria Vent Sleek Duct Solutions
Floor and wall air vents stick out like a sore thumb, but by integrating the vents into a home’s interior design, Canada’s Aria Vent has found a better way. Now, form takes over from function instead of the other way around as the vents blend almost seamlessly into the room. Better yet, the vents are child and pet friendly. The little ones can’t toss items into the duct systems and animals can’t catch paws or I.D. tags into the grilles.
The ‘New’ Black: True Residential Emerald Refrigerator
Green is the new black. Emerald, that is. True Residential highlighted the rich verdant hue in its new refrigerator line with the promise that it promotes well-being, balance and harmony. Emerald expands the maker’s colorful custom finishes, which also includes Cobalt, Matte White, Gold and Pewter. Does anyone remember the 1950s?
Leak Detectives: Uponor Phyn Plus Water Assistant + Shutoff
Water damage from faulty plumbing costs an average of $8,861 per incident. The Phyn Plus Water Assistant + Shutoff from Uponor can detect a leak and close off the main water supply to keep damage to a minimum. The system recognizes leaks and plumbing issues using a combination of high-def pressure sensing and machine learning. In cold weather climes, the system also can discern if a pipe if frozen. Another plumbing maker, Reliance Worldwide, introduced StreamLabs, a WiFi-enabled water monitor that provides 24-hour leak detection and emergency shut-off to stop leaks automatically. And Moen has teamed with Flo to expand distribution of the latter’s leak detection system, which attaches to the main water supply and monitors for leaks and shuts off the flow if one is discovered.
Lew Sichelman is a nationally syndicated housing and real estate columnist. He has covered the real estate beat for more than 50 years.