A Slice of the 2018 Kitchen and Bath Show


With each new year comes new industry trade shows featuring the best products, trends, and technologies in the industry. The KBIS, Kitchen & Bath Show, took place last week in Orlando, alongside the IBS, International Building Show. KBIS certainly is one of the largest trade shows in the country hosting 600+ leading brands, as well as, 100 new companies with pristine products for the interior design industry. The exhibits mimic whole houses, each packed with fully built kitchen and baths that allow you to easily experience the full impact of new innovations, design, and technology on display at the show. 

Kitchen and baths are two of the most important rooms in the home. They are the rooms people often remodel, requiring the largest investment, which in general, provides the largest return on investment related to the value of any home. Homeowners often decide to update kitchens and baths when moving into a new home, looking to update their space as part of a larger remodeling project, or when deciding to age in place. These rooms now require modifications to better support a changing lifestyle, and along with it, mobility, accessibility, and safety issues.  

The products and exhibits highlighted the ever evolving design trends, colors, and styles. Whether the style is modern or classic, cabinetry is not only functional but evolving into beautiful home furnishing pieces. Appliances, however, are showing up in vibrant colors and in a variety of styles including historic, retro, and vintage, combined with cutting edge technology. We were in attendance at the show not only to preview some of the latest kitchen and bath trends and products, but also look for those products or manufacturers that specifically addressed the needs of our aging population or anyone with accessibility issues. Here’s just a slice of the show pie, so we hope it gets you hungry for more: 

The Intelligent Toilet

Every toilet manufacturer was highlighting these personal hygiene or bidet-toilets and making the statement: “once you have one, you will never go back.” Often highlighted as an “Aging in Place” toilet, as it promotes bathroom independence, it is now being promoted as “hands-free,” so you can toilet and text while remaining germ free. These toilets sense when you are entering the room, they have heated seats, provide a nightlight, wash and dry you in multiple locations, and offer other anti-bacterial and sterilization features. You can either purchase the toilet or just buy the toilet seat, just make sure you have an electric outlet nearby.  Here’s a link to the new top of the line Toto: https://www.totousa.com/neorest-750h-dual-flush-toilet-10-and-08-gpf-with-actilight

A Shower Experience

“It's not a shower. It's an experience.” Kohler’s DTV+ touchscreen interface technology allows you to create a multi-sensory spa experience at home by infusing the shower with water, sound, scented steam, and light. You can select from a variety of mood setting experiences including Relaxation, Well-Being, and Energy. The touch screen interface eliminates multiple knobs and levers, allowing you to pre-program your experiences, become more present in the moment, while increasing overall accessibility.  https://www.us.kohler.com/us/DTV+-Digital-Showering-Experience/content/dtvplus.htm.

Designer Shower Doors

Have you always thought that shower doors are considered to be more function over style? Well think again, as these shower doors are the new bathroom centerpiece. Coastal Showers has collaborated with designers including Bobby Berk and Vanessa Deleon to create an inspiring series of doors, panels, and room dividers. https://www.coastalshowerdoors.com/

Smart Appliances:

One of our favorite exhibits included the Samsung 4 Door Flex Family Hub refrigerator (pictured above). You can shop for food, organize family schedules, listen to music, share calendars, photos, notes, and more between your refrigerator and your family’s smartphones. Create shopping lists, look inside your refrigerator from anywhere and set expiration notifications to keep all your food fresh. In addition to the technology, the 4 Door Flex allows you to easily interchange compartments from refrigerator to freezer, making it incredibly accessible. https://www.samsung.com/us/explore/family-hub-refrigerator/connected-hub/ 

The Kitchen Workstation:

Sounds like an office environment, but the kitchen workstation offers a large counter space that incorporates a variety of functions and culinary tools, to help prep, cook, serve, entertain, and clean up, all in one convenient place. Marketed to be the new all-in-one “cooking triangle,” it may include a double faucet, an extra wide sink, different tiers of sliding boards including cutting boards, grates, drying racks, as well as, an upper deck to create additional work surfaces. Offered by many manufacturers, the one that really caught our attention was The Galley Dresser. http://thegalley.com/galley-dresser/

Steam Ovens:

Steam ovens offer tremendous cooking flexibility and nutritional benefits. These ovens easily cook many different types of foods including vegetables, fish, bread, custards, and so much more. When reheating foods, the steam re-hydrates foods, and as a result, offers superior warming to leftovers over microwaves. The steaming process also allows the food to retain all the vitamins and minerals with using less fats and oils, and is preferred over boiling as the food retains its color, texture, and flavor, as well as, reducing the possibility of burns from boiling water. https://www.mieleusa.com/domestic/steam-ovens-1461.htm

Automated Storage:

Regardless of your range of motion or accessibility issues, the automated pantry, wardrobe, and shoe systems (offered by Storage Motion) will improve your overall storage. It will allow you to access items regardless of storage height, through its automated rolling shelves and wardrobe lifts. The shoe system, called ShoeSelect, maximizes shoe storage by rotating the shoes on a vertical carousel, and can be operated by a wireless remote or wall switch. Any person with a large shoe collection should not be without this luxury! http://storagemotion.com/

All in all, KBIS was a big success for discovering new and improved products not only for our clients but also for our own homes. It certainly left us hungry for more, so we hope this post did the same for you! 

New Year, New Master Bathroom


With a fresh 2018 calendar hanging on your wall and all of its empty boxes yet to be filled with to-dos, the start of a new year is naturally an optimistic time. Resolutions can come in all forms: eat healthier, become more patient, establish an exercise routine, get more sleep, or make changes around your home. For our client, the new year means a new, safe, aging in place home. 

You’ve followed us so far on our journey to making an 82 year olds life at home easier. We’ve shared our remodeling plans and heartwarming personal stories, but this week is going to be more technical. We are going to discuss planning for safety in the bathroom, and how these tips can improve independence and reduce the risk of falls in the bathroom. 

 Most people want to stay in their homes as long as possible. The trouble is, their homes may not be aging as well as they are. So, take your bathroom for example. Due to its hard and slippery surfaces, thousands of people visit the emergency room each year with injuries suffered while bathing, showering, or using the facilities. Despite that, many homeowners resist even small changes that would make the room safer because they fear their beautiful bathroom will end up looking institutional. However, the time has come for that fear to no longer exist. The very things that make your bathroom safer and easier to navigate— walk-in showers; higher toilets; grab bars— are also some of the latest design trends for any home! 

Bathroom modifications to safely age-in-place can be seamlessly integrated into any design plans, and can be tailored to meet the specific needs of an individual, while following general guidelines offered by ADA standards. Here are some practical yet aesthetically pleasing ways we will be transforming her master bathroom into a safe place to keep her independent and loving her new room:

Barrier Free Shower

A curb-less shower provides an accessible approach for anyone, with no tripping hazards. A pitched floor with a linear drain allows the water to drain toward the back of the shower and looks great.  Additional shower safety items include a handheld shower (the hose should be at least 6 feet long), and a seat (whether it’s a built-in, fold up or the most flexible: free standing). Make sure you have good light in the shower, and hang a shelf or install a cubby that keeps toiletries within easy reach.

Double Duty Grab Bars

Properly installed grab bars provide the assistance needed to navigate through the bathroom, to pull yourself up, and to maintain balance. In case you slip, you should place these at the entrance and inside the shower or tub and around the toilet at a comfortable height. Bars are typically hung horizontally, but hanging them vertically or on a diagonal is easier to reach if you’re on the floor after a fall. Grab bars are now showing up undetectable in bathrooms, camouflaged as part of many common bathroom fixtures such as toilet paper holders, towel bars, soap dishes, and as shelves. All of these are available in a variety of styles and finishes to match any decor and color scheme.

Tile Style

Tile shape, color, and size add to the design and personal style of any bathroom. For floor tiles, be sure to check that the coefficient of friction for wetness exceeds .60 as a general indicator of slip safety, and also select a tile rich in texture. Shower floors also benefit from smaller scale tile as increased grout surface will provide more grip. It’s also helpful to include an “orienting” border of tile in the shower so that it’s easy to understand where you are in the space (instances where there is vision or other cognitive impairment). 

Keep It Handy

Open shelves can be attractive if they’re tidy. Putting glass-front doors on your cabinets lets you see what’s inside without opening them. Look for cabinets with easy-close doors, interior pull out drawers, and all drawers using D-shaped pulls instead of knobs.

Re-Think The Sink

Sinks can be wall-mounted, pedestal, or open with a space underneath the cabinet.  Many cabinetry lines now offer standard accessible options to compliment your style, so ask while you are planning your bathroom.  Automatic faucets or ones with lever handles are best for ease of operation.

Toilet Envy

Personal hygiene toilets are all the rage, offering a modern all-in-one toilet/bidet option. These toilet seats go up and down as you approach, are heated, include multi area wash and dry functionality, and even offer a night light. If you are remodeling make sure you have your electrician provide an outlet near the toilet so you can upgrade from your basic toilet at any time. They are offered in a variety of styles and colors, and you can purchase the complete toilet or just the toilet seat, which provides the same functionality at a much lower cost. All toilets should be “comfort” height or 18” height for ease of use.

We are excited to incorporate many of these features in our client’s new first floor Master Bathroom, which will allow her to continue living independently and remain at home.  There’s nothing more rewarding then knowing you’re making a New Years resolution a reality while creating a safe, comfortable, and beautiful environment!