The kitchen is the hub of every home. That’s why owners are keen to renovate the space on a regular basis. Here are some hot items your clients are going to want for their next upgrade.
Refrigerators with built-in water dispensers and ice makers are handy, but they take up a lot of valuable space inside the unit. For this reason, many appliance manufacturers are dispensing with them to give their customers more room inside. The alternative is a countertop ice maker, such as the Opal from GE. Just keep in mind that most standalone ice makers are a foot or more deep and almost as wide so your design will have to include a space to house it.
Kitchen floors see it all: High traffic, regular spills, temperature swings and the odd impact from a dropped dish or pan. This is why you’ll want a durable, waterproof and stain-resistant option for the kitchen. Mohawk Flooring’s SolidTech Plus vinyl system includes all that, plus an antimicrobial finish. There’s even a lifetime pet-proof warranty on their finish if it was Fido that made the mess in the kitchen.
As much as we’d like to put it fully behind us, we’re not entirely free of COVID-19’s grip. Which is why many homeowners are still focused on creating a germ-free environment in their kitchen. American Standard’s hands-free Avery kitchen faucet is a good tool to help them achieve that goal. It operates manually or with the wave of a dirty hand. The scratch- and corrosion-resistant finish is available in stainless steel or polished chrome.
Wasting food is bad for your wallet and bad for the planet. Technology can help. Turkish manufacturer Beko claims their refrigerators with the EverFresh+ system of humidity and temperature controlled crisper drawers, which use proprietary Active Fresh Blue Light technology to “simulate natural light conditions to extend the photosynthesis process,” can keep produce fresh for up to 30 days.
Fun, eco-friendly fact: Using a dishwasher actually uses less water than washing the same amount of dishes by hand. With the LG Studio smart dishwasher, the dishes aren’t just cleaned, they’re sterilized.
High-pressure sprayer arms shoot out air-infused “microbubbles” that help lift off baked on food. For extreme cleaning, the unit’s steam function is certified by the U.S. National Sanitization Foundation to kill 99.999 per cent of bacteria. It also features an industry leading one-hour wash/dry cycle. All added up, the manufacturer claims that dishes will be 38 per cent cleaner with 60 per cent less water spots, all done faster than the competition.
For the coffee lover for whom money is no object, consider a built-in espresso machine with plumbed water line. With the Miele CVA 7845, you can brew two freshly brewed cups at a time, choosing from three different bean drawers.
Lighten the load
When moving those heavy appliances in place, you don’t want to wreck your new floors – or your back. An air lifter, such as Crain’s new model 280, makes it possible for one person to move objects up to 800 lbs. with ease. Designed for moving over hardwood or tile, the machine also comes with pads to travel across carpet.
Bathroom, washroom, restroom, WC… whatever you call it, today’s homeowners expect a level of elegance in the room where they take care of private business. Here are some tools and fixtures to help you create next-level lavatories.
Multi-angle measuring ruler
Imagine how easy life would be if tiling only ever required cutting straight lines. Alas, there are always bulkheads, bump outs and fixtures that need to be worked around. Figuring out the angles to cut can lead to some complicated mental gymnastics. Lighten your mental load by adding a multi-angle measuring ruler to your tool kit.
Fight the freeze
No one likes the shock of stepping on an icy tile floor when getting up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Prevent freezing feet with an in-floor heating system. If the home has a hot water boiler, you can use Pex piping to tie into that. If not, go electric with a mat system such as those made by WarmUp. The StickyMat system has an adhesive backing for easy installation while the company’s Foil Heater is designed to go under floating engineered or laminate flooring.
Stay in your lane
In efforts to help alleviate the housing shortage, municipalities including Vancouver and Toronto are easing up restrictions on constructing laneway houses. It’s quickly becoming a growing niche market. They’re typically less than 1,000 sq. ft. spread out over a one-and-a-half storey footprint – half of the ground level is usually reserved for a parking spot. As a result, careful space planning is essential, particularly for the kitchen and bath. Think condo-sized appliances, wall-mounted toilets and space-saving heat pumps for heating and cooling.
The royal treatment
Most toilets are fairly utilitarian. But Kohler is trying to help them live up to the title of thrones. Witness the Numi 2.0. It comes with all the standard features you’d expect from a modern toilet, such as a dual-flush system and a quiet close lid. After that, everything is next level, from the heated seat and motion-activated lid to LED lighting, warm-air dryer and ability to connect to the Kohler app and Amazon’s Alexa. The stylish design also features “comfort height” seating, perfect for older users.
Most bathroom renovators will be familiar with Schluter’s range of waterproofing systems for tubs and showers, stylish drains and floor heating systems. But the company also makes some finishing products. One of its latest is the improved Jolly 90-degree pieces for corners and edges that eliminate mitre cuts and sharp edges. They come with colour-matching corners caps.
Smart mirror, mirror on the wall
If your client can’t afford a Numi toilet but still wants a high-tech bathroom, consider a smart mirror from Montreal-based Hilo. With built-in LED lighting and motion sensors, the touch screen activated system allows users to stream music while they’re in the shower and check their calendar and email or just weather and traffic updates while they brush their teeth.