Posted in Bath tubs, Bathroom Faucets, Bathrooms, Faucets, Luxury Baths, Plumbing, Shower Heads

What she said…

I just read a post from the great Saxon Henry about her experience visiting American Standard. So eloquent and witty, she said exactly what I felt and thought about our recent tour of American Standard’s Design Center, but the difference is she has the writers knack and I do not. I will sum it up ever so clumsy by nodding my head and agreeing, “Yup, what she said.”

So without further ado, let me  point you to Saxon Henry’s post.
http://roamingbydesign.com/shower-power

Enjoy!

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Posted in Accessable Design, Bath tubs, Bathroom Faucets, Luxury Baths, Vanities

Field Trip to American Standard

 Last week, I was pleased to be one of six invited guests of American Standard for a tour of the American Standard Design Center in Piscataway, New Jersey.

American Standard seated shower makes bathing accessable

The design and marketing team at American Standard Brands provided a great presentation highlighting the current trends in designer faucets, fixtures, furniture, sinks & tubs. As a designer, I look forward to attending factory tours because you get to see firsthand the level of detail, craftsmanship and service that goes into your decorative fixtures.  Gray Uhl, Director of Design at American Standards, stated it most eloquently, “When you don’t think about my product, we’ve done a good job.” Maybe more important than style, durability and reliability is what you first come to expect from your fixtures.

So the question on everyone’s mind lately is what does the consumer expect from their decorative plumbing fixtures?  Are we looking at the end of excess or is luxury back? The answer may be a little of both. The American consumer is very savvy and the demand for quality products is a very important factor in deciding which brand to buy.

High style meets functional innovation in the Berwick Collection

Trending now:

  • Contemporary styles are still on the rise. You have to wonder how many ways can a faucet be redesigned? You would be surprised! The design department is always trying out new shapes and ideas, (and I will have to tell you about the 3-D copier in a minute), but some of the most popular shapes that get a thumbs up with test groups are contemporary or transitional styles with more sculptural shapes.
  • Bathing is sinking and showers dominate. Say it isn’t so! But yes, as building styles adapt to a smaller footprint, so it goes with a shift in reducing the size of tubs to accommodate a walk in shower or showers with zero thresholds.
  • You won’t see tubs disappear entirely; instead tubs are being designed smarter. Watch for modular combinations in whirlpool tubs and eco silent tubs. A quiet whirlpool tub? Yes, it is possible!
  • Watch for an increase in freestanding tubs as well.
  • Bathroom collections will continue to have a furniture quality. Toilets have the look of furniture with higher seats, consciously mimicking furniture.
  • Re-purposing design details from the 1920’s with modern performance and ergonomics is a classic that will continue to be popular.

Techie highlights:

If you are a computer nerd like me, you will enjoy hearing about the 3-D copiers. The engineers can draw the shape of a faucet in CAD and send it to the 3-D copier to produce a prototype made out of ABS plastic. I was surprised to see fishing wire is utilized in these high priced copiers. Yes, fishing wire! Of course there is a lot of other high priced gadgetry involved in a 3-D copier. If you were looking to pick one up, be prepared to shell out over $40,000 for one of these machines.

3D copier for faucet prototype development

Mad scientist skills and sworn to secrecy policy:

Part of the fun of touring manufacturing facilities is that you get to see what they are working on that might be top secret. Since I have been sworn to secrecy there are some things I cannot tell you about. Let me just say, these engineers and designers really have a cool gig and toilet humor aside, they really flush out all the details to ensure your bathroom toilets, faucets and fixtures provide durable and lasting performance. You have no idea the level of detail and technological advancement that goes into design and product development and as Gray Uhl said, “When you don’t think about my product, we’ve done a good job.”

ABOUT AMERICAN STANDARD BRANDS

Re-purposing 1920's designs with modern functionality and performance

 American Standard Brands is a leading North American manufacturer of a wide range of high-quality building products, including faucets, fixtures, furniture, vitreous china fixtures, cast iron sinks, whirlpool tubs and other wellness products for the bath and kitchen as well as decorative panels. The company currently offers total project solutions for residential and commercial customers; employs more than 5,000 people in the United States, Canada and Mexico; and markets products under well-known and respected brands, such as American Standard®, Jado®, Porcher®, Safety Tubs®, Crane®, Eljer®, Fiat® and Decorative Panels International®. American Standard Brands is an affiliated portfolio company of Sun Capital Partners. For more information, visit www.americanstandard.com

Posted in Bathroom Organization, Faucets, Kitchen Automation, New Products

10 ‘gee-whiz’ products that will rocket your kitchen into the future

Wondering what’s the buzz on new kitchen technology? Check out this great little article on MSN, “10 ‘gee-whiz’ products that will rocket your kitchen into the future”, by Christopher Sololmon, to see what’s the latest in forward thinking technology for the kitchen. When I was contacted by Chris Solomon in January, I was happy to contribute my opinion on the Anvil Motion for the article and pleased to see another item that has been on my radar for the last year was also included in the article. I talked about Anvil Motion back here and Delta Touch 20 technology here, herehere, and here.  Happy to be your bird-dog on hot new items. Enjoy the article.

Neat ideas! 

Also, pleased to see another nifty new item, Drawer Vac, made the list too. When you see the article link at MSN, you will see it’s useful application for kitchen clean up, but I have another useful idea for vacuums. How about bathroom clean up? I can tell you that some of my most creative inspirations come from the most mundane tasks, one of them happens to be blow drying my very thick hair. I have a lot of hair and lose lots of it every time I brush. I hate seeing hair on the floor and hate even more the time it takes to sweep up. I am also a neat freak, so I needed a way to make bathroom clean up easier in the morning. Here is my own neat idea for keeping the bathroom tidy in the morning. Install a roll out tray inside a vanity cabinet and install a portable hose vacuum. Power up, grab the hose and floor clean up is a snap! It’s a quick fix to a messy situation in the bathroom, it’s even more convenient if you can have an outlet installed inside the cabinet. If you can’t afford to install an automated toekick vac, this would be the ideal solution. So far, I am happy with my low tech vacuum fix. Hair and dust bunnies be gone! Clean up made simple. Your family will thank you for making clean up easier.    

Posted in Faucets

Friday Faucets: Hey, my faucet is named as a finalist!

Delta Pilar

Delta’s Pilar, (my) pull-down kitchen faucet with Touch2O technology was named a finalist in the Industrial Design category of the 2010 Edison Best New Product Awards on Feb.11, the 163rd birthday of inventor Thomas Alva Edison. The Pilar uses capacitance technology (touch anywhere) to allow users to start and stop the flow of water with a simple touch or tap anywhere on the spout or handle.

I first wrote about the Delta Pilar in May, ’09 and again in November 09, and then again in December ’09. I am excited to know “my faucet” has been nominated. So how’s it going so far you ask? Great! The touch mechanism is a dream for me. I admit, it took a few days to get used to, similar to learning how to drive a stick shift, I had a few herky-jerky days trying to get used to it. But the first time I had “chicken hands” it was smooth tapping all the way. Here is my routine: When I begin to prepare a meal, I turn the handle to the “on” position and touch it anywhere to turn it off. When I am ready to rinse, all I need to do is touch the faucet anywhere with a slight tap to turn the water on and off just as quickly. The other benefit is the water temperature remains constant where I last positioned the handle.  After experimenting tapping on and off with different body parts, back of hand, pinky finger, wrist, forearm, I found that I prefer tapping with my knuckle. Sensor technology, I can really get used to this! The other happy note on this is my soap dispenser. (If you are a client of mine, you know that I never liked soap dispensers because they are usually junk and the first thing to break in a kitchen.) The Pilar Soap Dispenser has changed my view of soap dispensers. It is as sturdy as it looks. It passed the pump test, no sticking and remains free flowing. 


Congratulations to the engineers and product designers at Delta on your 2010 Edison Best New Product Awards nomination for the Pilar Touch2O . The other nominees in this category are SOLE POWER ROOF TILE, from SRS Energy & MOTOROLA APX™ 7000 FIRST RESPONDER RADIO, from Motorola

The 2010 Edison Awards Ceremony and New Product Showcase will be held at the Capitale in New York City on April 29, 2010.

Posted in Bathroom Faucets, Brizo, Faucets, Glamour, Kitchen Faucets

Faucets following Fashion

2010 has started out on a positive note. Finger to the wind, I detected business was steadily increasing as I already had more appointments booked in January than I did in the last quarter of ’09. So, I was a little worried that taking time off of work and accepting an invitation from Brizo*, the luxe faucet line from Delta, to attend the 2010 Jason Wu Fall Collection at Fashion Week in New York City was an extravagance I don’t have time for when business is picking up. I slept on it. The next morning I said to myself, “What, are you crazy? Work will be there when you come back as I stared at a hand written note from a colleague I have kept on my bulletin board for years. It reads: 

Dare to challenge yourself, dare to reinvent yourself, and celebrate success.” 

It’s during these times, when life is stressful, a plateful of commitments and obligations that you must seize opportunities as they arise. Was it worth it? Oh yes! What I am about to tell you is a little surreal on several accounts. Some of it is top secret for now. 

Who is Brizo?
The Brizo line was launched in April 2004, a fashion forward line manufactured by Delta. Having sold plumbing fixtures in the past for a retail showroom, I can tell you first hand that it’s bath fixtures were an instant hit with the retail public, especially female consumers. I made a mental note of that years back wondering why women stood in front of the Brizo displays longer than then the men; never dreaming that one day I would get an opportunity to meet the talented designers at Brizo. Hearing Judd Lord, Brizo’s Director of Industrial Design,  speak about his travels around the world, seeking out new inspriation for the Brizo line, I understood these are creative people who are intent that their product designs will not be the same as everyone else. The message is clear: this is a fashion forward faucet line that understands that people buy products for the home as an outgrowth of their personality. The design nuances of the Brizo line is now evident to me. It’s also why I noticed why more women lingered over a striking Brizo faucet on display in a retail plumbing showroom. They are envisioning using the fixture in their own home. Brizo’s emotional intent for the consumer is to take us to another dream state…that of envisioning a new kitchen or bath room.
 
This Oscar worthy faucet has Hollywood Glamour written all over it.
shown above: RSVP Collection.   
Photo Credit: Designer ANITA GALATTE & WENDY ILLIAN, KINSLEY DESIGN GROUP

The name Brizo is inspired by Greek mythology. Brizo (Greek: Βριζώ; derived from ancient Greek word βρίζω meaning “to slumber”) is an ancient Greek goddess who was known as the protector of mariners, sailors, and fishermen. She was worshipped primarily by the women of Delos, who set out food offerings in small boats. Brizo was also known as a prophet specializing in the interpretation of dreams. Source: Wikipedia. 

New York City: Meeting the Designers in Fashion Mecca: New York City. Somebody pinch me!    
I was thrilled to meet up with other kitchen and bath designers across the country, who’s blogs I have been following regularly for the past few years. Here is the list courtesy of Paul Anater’s site, Kitchen and Residential Design







Blogging has become a new phenomena for designers, a platform to share information with clients and readers as well as sound off about what we see, want and need in our design world. Or simply to share random thoughts and rants alike. It’s because of our blogging that we were tapped to come meet the designers at Brizo and give our feedback on the new products in development. While I can’t tell you what is coming, [shh, top secret], you will just have to watch for updates in Spring, I can tell you that getting to meet with Brizo’s Product Development team, Brian Nobbe, Judd Lord, Seth Fritz and all the fine people from Brizo and MS & L was a surreal experience. Suffice it to say, the Brizo design team knows how to make designers perk up and engineers cry. There I sat in a product preview think tank, elbow to elbow with some rock star Kitchen and Bath designers in their own right, and I just had to stop and think “Am I dreaming?” Brizo wants to know what I think of their new products. (In my head, I was thinking…”You’ve come a long way, baby”), from my past experience spec’ing out the product with customers in my showroom to being flown to New York for a Product Training Session with fellow Kitchen and Bath Designers that I admire was nothing short of surreal.  

Where Faucets meet Fashion. Meeting Jason Wu. 
The highlight of the trip was getting to attend a New York Fashion Show. Just as Brizo is a fresh new face on the luxe faucet scene, up and coming Fashion Designer, Jason Wu, made a splash on the fashion front as First Lady Michelle Obama’s inaugural gown designer. Known for his ethereal-like ball gowns, it was logical for Brizo to sponsor Jason Wu during Fashion Week. Brizo and Jason Wu are two brands with a similar design aesthetic. What we see on the runway first filters down to home interiors in color, pattern & style lines. 

On being inspirational. 
Imagine for a moment that you are a product designer for Brizo. The challenge is coming up with new and inspiring designs for consumers that are functional, built with cutting edge technology, and different looking than anything else on the market. Not to mention convincing the engineering department that the new concepts are relevant and not gimmicks. Having won the prestigious Adex Award for four collections, The Red Dot Award, The Graphis Award, House Beautiful KBIS Award, Brizo has consistently proven they are a formidable force on the luxury faucet market.

As Judd Lord said in our Product Training Session, “At Brizo, “We are aiming to create a statement just like the fashion industry would do and that means seeking out every nuance we can find, which almost never includes anything to do with plumbing fixtures!”


Design Inspiration is all around us. The design team at Brizo has the good fortune of being able to travel the world and translate their design ideas into faucets that you would want to have in your kitchen and bath. 


Here is a small sampling of where Brizo designers find their inspiration.  

From by-gone eras, (shh-top secret)  to lighthouses, 


Baliza effortlessly combines the timeless and the modern. Wrapped around its classical form is cutting-edge innovation, including a four-function pull-out wand that attaches with new MagneDock® Technology. Baliza is the first pull-out or pull-down kitchen faucet to allow water volume to be controlled from the wand.


from Blue Bell flowers…


Inspired by the bluebell flower’s distinctive silhouette, Talo is Brizo’s first traditional pull-down faucet. This unique form is married to a wealth of advanced features, including a 2-Button, 4-Function spray wand, 
MagneDock Technology®, and Brizo’s exclusive SmartTouch Technology®, which allows water activation with just a light touch.

Jason Wu Fall 2010 runway 

…and from ideas inspired by colors and shapes found in fashion. Ideas can start from a quick jot of an idea on the back of a cocktail napkin, as is the case of the Venuto Collection (shown below) which was inspired by hair pins worn by Japanese woman. Read the story told by Judd Lord at Kitchen and Residential Design.


The trip was a dream, Brizo style! I came, I was inspired, and grateful for the experience to bring back and share my experience with you.  Look for new product releases from Brizo in spring. 


The ethereal dream like photography images from Brizo’s ad campaigns are the work of  photographer Howard Schatz. It was interesting to know these images were created underwater. How perfect is that? Check out this video below to see how they did it. 


*Brizo compensated me for travel and accommodations. 


Posted in Faucets

Faucet Friday Follow Up

It’s been a week since we installed the new Delta Pilar Touch 20 faucet and so far so good. But, as with any remodeling effort, the domino effect ensued. The new faucet required new angle stops. Then suddenly our garbage disposal decided it had enough and quit without notice. The nerve! We replaced it mid week. The consensus in our household: we all love this new faucet. 

Comments from the Peanut Gallery: Here is what we think of a few parts and what would make it better: The button cap that covers the set screw on the back of the faucet is not flexible and wont stay in. We tried to get it to fit over the screw but it popped out. It broke. We then tried the chrome one, (two came in the package depending if you ordered chrome or stainless), but that one popped out too. It’s a real hassle. Since we don’t see this little button cap part because it’s on the back side of the faucet, we are not going to sweat over it.

The plastic battery pack (4 C size batteries) came with stick-em tape to attach to the inside of the cabinet. Well, the batteries are heavy and over time that stick-em tape will not hold the battery pack in place. We think screws to attach the battery pack to the inside of the cabinet would be more helpful.

A design feature we noticed could be problematic for the elderly, forgetful or for kids…the faucet rotates all the way back. Right away we worried Mom would swing it out of her way and forget to swing it back, turning the water on and flooding the counter top behind sink. We have forewarned her not to swing it that far back. 

Oh, also the video has an older model, some of the parts were different than we saw in our faucet box, we were worried we were missing parts.

On the box, it does not mention new 3/8 angle stops are required. That would have been helpful to have printed on the outside of the box to remind us, (eh-hem) plumbing novices, while we are still at the big box store, to be forewarned to get new angle stops before we (I mean they) leave.

The hose is not as long as I thought it would be. I need another foot to be really practical and reach the plants behind the sink or to fill a heavy stock pot on the counter. My mom has arthritis and lifting a heavy pot up and out of the sink is a problem. But the braided hose is very durable. The retraction for the Magnatite spray head is really good. A simple push and it finds it’s home snugly.  

If you are not a plumber and installing a new faucet, be sure to read ALL THE INSTRUCTIONS to the letter. For example, the instructions warned not to over tighten. Tighter is not better. We g-e-n-t-l-y tightened and of course we wound up with a gentle leak the next day. So we gently tightened again. No leaks so far. All is good.  Also, plumbers tape is not necessary on the threads. Learning curve aside, we are happy we have our new Delta Faucet.

Pilar Touch-Activated Single Handle Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet with ToucH2O® including Soap Dispenser