Kernel-caressing microwaves, awesome lighting tricks, paper houses, and other product news from around the web this week.
• Office workers rejoice! A new microwave from Whirlpool has sound sensors that will adjust popcorn-cooking time for optimal results.
• When a simple sconce or spotlight just won’t do, try one of these 18 cool lighting tricks.
• 4 steps to squeak-free floors.*
• Top 10 truck trends for 2014.
• From spiral stairs to fiberglass doors to insulating housewrap, here’s a look at 38 more products from the Builders’ Show.
• 7 tools made right here in the U.S. of A.
• Walk-in closets and low-E windows—expected. Laminate countertops? Not so much. See “what’s most likely to show up in single-family homes in 2014,” according to an NAHB survey.
• We’re feeling a distinct urge to doodle. Check out these 10 houses made with paper.
• Have a gorgeous project featuring Marvin Windows? The manufacturer has opened its sixth annual Architects Challenge design contest.
*Disclosure: The author of this article is a client of this blog’s parent company.
5 new products that crossed our desks this week, including a retro wine panel, a curvaceous kitchen faucet, and high-R-value insulation.
Elmira Stove Works is expanding its line of retro appliances with the Model 1946 Wine Cellar Panel, allowing homeowners to optimally maintain their wine collection while adding vintage style to the kitchen. The panel is designed to fit the Jenn-Air Model JUX24FRACX wine cellar, which offers a 46-bottle capacity on six pull-out racks, LED lighting, dual-temperature zones, and a UV-resistant thermal glass door. The panel comes in nine standard “by-gone-era” colors, including mint green, flamingo pink, and buttercup yellow, or in custom colors.
The contemporary-style Antioch pull-out kitchen faucet from Danze features a 7-inch-high spout with a 9 ¾-inch spout length. For easier handling, the spout offers an ergonomic, organically curved design and conveniently placed, two-function spray/stream trigger. The faucet includes a ceramic disc valve, operates at 2.2 gpm, and comes in chrome, stainless steel, or tumbled bronze.
New from Ronbow, the Jenna vanity features a modern design, with clean lines and open shelving, along with a hidden, soft-close drawer for additional storage. The vanity boasts dovetail construction and comes with a ceramic, glass, TechStone, or Wideappeal top. Blush taupe, slate gray, and glossy white finishes are available.
CertainTeed has added an R-20 insulation to its Sustainable Insulation line. The batts will allow contractors to meet 2012 IECC requirements, in which wood-frame walls in climate zones 3 through 6 must have at least an R-20 thermal performance, without needing to add exterior insulated foam sheathing. The Greenguard-certified insulation is made from recycled and renewable content, including a plant-based binder, and contains no formaldehydes, dyes, or acrylics.
Weather Shield’s new line of steel and fiberglass entry doors offer a range of options to appeal to virtually any taste and budget. The high-definition fiberglass panels offer the look of wood without the maintenance, and they absorb sound and insulate six times better than most wood doors, the company says. The three new fiberglass styles comprise the Deluxe, which features a deep woodgrain in oak, fir, cherry, and mahogany; Textured, which offers a distinctive, rich grain in oak, rustic, and Craftsman; and Smooth, for an upscale, painted look. The 22-gauge steel collection comes in a Stainable Steel style with a deep grain embossment for the look of wood or Smooth Steel with a steel-wrapped edge for a superior security rating.
Retro-style appliances can provide a unique pop of color and flair to an otherwise simple decor or add the perfect touch to a vintage-leaning kitchen. But a nostalgic design doesn’t mean old-world performance. Here are six fun and funky options that skimp on neither looks nor features.
The Bungalow vent hood coordinates with Big Chill’s retro-style stove. The 30-inch stainless steel hoods feature welded seamless corners, stainless steel baffle filters, dimmable halogen lights, and variable blower control. In addition, the hoods offer the largest filtered capture in the industry, the company says.
Smeg’s 50s Retro Style refrigerator offers 9.22 cubic feet of capacity and includes three adjustable glass shelves and one fixed glass shelf, a bottle storage shelf, a fruit/vegetable container, and a dairy box; the freezer compartment includes an ice cube tray. The line comes in a range of retro colors, including red, orange, lime green, pink, cream, and silver.
Part of La Cornue’s line of artisanal French ranges, the 1908 range features a natural convection vaulted gas oven, which creates natural convection to cook without drying food, unlike fan-driven convection ovens. The unit’s five high-performance gas burners includes a 17,500-BTU central burner. The range comes in gloss black, matte black, stainless, Provence blue, dark navy blue, ivory white, and pure white, with three trim options.
Northstar offers the 1957 dishwasher panel to convert an integrated-panel dishwasher into a vintage look. The panels, which coordinate with Northstar’s retro-style ranges and refrigerators, work with 24-inch-wide dishwashers that accept panels approximately 30 5/16 inches by 23 inches.
GE’s Artistry Series includes a 20.3-cubic-foot bottom freezer refrigerator with high-gloss doors and bold stainless steel handles. The Energy Star-rated refrigerator includes upfront temperature controls for the fresh food and freezer sections, two adjustable and two fixed shelves, and four drawers. It is available in black or white.
Viking offers its ranges in a variety of colors reminiscent of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, including cinnamon, shown here. This 27-inch electric oven includes TruConvec convection cooking with a convection element in the rear and fan-forced air instead of direct heat on the top and bottom. Other features include full extension racks, an infrared broiler, and concealed bake element.
Colors of the year, toxic-material buzzwords, top green products, and more product news from around the industry this week.
• We’ve entered that fun time when paint manufacturers begin releasing next year’s signature colors—those hues that reflect our current culture, state of mind, and style choices. Sherwin Williams’ pick for its color of the year is “Exclusive Plum,” described as a dusky, silky violet.
• Also releasing its color report is Pittsburgh Paints, whose “Book of Now” compilation of 2014 color forecast stories highlights keywords such as “versatile,” “optimistic,” “dynamic,” and “elegant.”
• This is also the time of year when magazines compile their favorite finds. One of the most respected is BuildingGreen’s Top 10 Green Products, which this year includes CLT and mineral wool.
• Broadening the scope, here are This Old House’s Top 100 favorite new-home products from the year.
• If your pickup’s past its prime, here’s a look at three truck models rolling off the lines in 2014.
• Our reclaimed-material-loving hearts are pounding over these bike chain chandeliers.
• Trying to keep toxic materials out of your projects? Memorize these 4 red-flag product descriptors.
• If there’s no room in the bathroom but plenty of room in the budget, try a wall-hung toilet on for size.
• 6 fun-and-functional products from the Remodeling Show.
• USGBC and UL are teaming up to increase building material transparency.
Whimsical pendants, modern bath furniture, and three other products that caught our attention this week.
Amid a sea of tile and stone kitchen walls, design and architecture studio Incorporated took a different approach for a client’s remodeled Manhattan kitchen: combining glass and fabric for a unique and low-maintenance backsplash.
Manufacturer Bendheim created the backsplash by laminating the translucent fabric—a cherished piece of the homeowner’s that was designed by renowned architect Josef Frank—between ultra-clear, low-iron glass. Though seemingly straightforward, the manufacturer had to perfect the interlayer binding the fabric to the glass and work closely with Incorporated to ensure the desired pattern and look.
The effect is a unique, bright pop in the otherwise understated white kitchen, providing a bit of delicate whimsy in what is normally is busy, grease-spattered environment. Continuous and non-porous, the float-glass surface is low-maintenance and easier to clean than tile, says Bendheim, shows less dirt than stainless steel, and will stand up to kitchen rigors over time better than stone.
Along with fabric, Bendheim also can create glass pieces using rice paper and other decorative elements.
Photo by Annie Schlechter, courtesy of Incorporated
Product news from the past week, including stylish shower benches, finds from the Remodeling Show, smokin’ chimney caps, skyrocketing solar, and more.
5 new products, including contemporary interior doors, gel knee pads, and innovative surfacing.
5 new products, including eye-catching copper shower pans, an ultra-modern cube-like fireplace, and handy in-wall USB chargers.
The shower takes on a whole new look and feel with these copper and stainless steel pans Read the rest of this entry »
Two years ago, Nest Labs wowed the building industry with its “learning thermostat,” an iPod-inspired device that drastically simplified energy efficiency in the home–and looked pretty snazzy doing it (read our coverage here). So it’s no wonder we’re pretty stoked about the company’s latest introduction: a new spin on the smoke/carbon monoxide detector. Read the rest of this entry »
Blocks that self assemble, bathtubs made from wood and stone, the push for transparency, Remodeling Show preview, and other product news from the past week.
• We can envision a world in which robots construct our buildings—but what about a world in which the robots are the building? Read the rest of this entry »
For many of us, the term “wallpaper” conjures images of dated, repetitive patterns, garish borders, and hours upon hours of sticky, steamy removal. In fact, it seems that “get rid of the wallpaper” is one of the few things all homeowners agree on when it comes to remodeling.
But over the past few years, wallpaper has been shedding its dirty-word status thanks to significant upgrades in styles and applications. Read the rest of this entry »