June 29, 2012

More Outlet Fun

In a world where everything and everybody needs to be plugged in, welcome U-Socket, "the outlet of the future".  This thing was a hit at KBIS.

It installs like a standard outlet, but includes USB outlets for charging the multiple devices we all depend (too much) on.

The best part:  The built-in smart sensor can detect required wattage and only outputs the power when it's needed.  If your phone isn't plugged in to the cable, or if it's fully charged, no energy will be wasted.  

Available in standard or decor style.  Colors include white, almond, ivory and wood (I imagine this could be painted or stained?).  It's a great solution for home offices, kitchen command centers, and bedrooms charging stations.

And for those who are REALLY connected, they even have a 12-in-1 cable, which sorta makes me chuckle about how ridiculous we are with all our devices.

June 20, 2012

Another Fantastic Find at NeoCon

It's the little things in life....  Of all the beautiful products and materials at NeoCon, I think I got the most giddy when I came across these beautiful outlet and switch devices and cover plates.

Square openings, creative designs for the rocker switches, and electronic touch switches too.  The devices themselves are super cool.  As a bonus you get an seemingly endless supply of cover plates to choose from.  From glass to metal to wood to stone to high-gloss acrylic... even plates covered in Swarovski crystals!  

In kitchen and bath design, outlets and switches can often ruin a tile backsplash if not done correctly.  While sometimes I can convince a client to use plugmold strips recessed underneath the cabinet to hide the outlets (as we did in this kitchen), that's not always the case.  And though I love all the great colors that Lutron has, it's nice to know there are even more designer options out there.  With these sexy styles, it's almost tempting to make the outlets a focal point in the backsplash (which I've never said before)!

I have to confess, I found these at the end of the day.  Exhausted by this point, I only stopped for a minute, drooled a little bit, took a couple photos, and swiped my id badge so I'd get more information later.  Then we continued on in search of cocktails (because this is NeoCon and that's what you do).

I couldn't find everything shown here online, but I did stumble upon this great pdf that shows all the great ways you can use home automation switches (and remotes and smart phones) to control lighting and window treatments in your home.  It gives examples of how it would make your life easier throughout the day, and also on a room-by-room basis.

I can't wait to get more information about these products, and will share it with all of you when I do.

June 13, 2012

Materials Pavilion at NeoCon

After a weekend of ASID leadership training, I had the chance to attend NeoCon for a day.  What a incredible and crazy day of sensory (and people) overload!  

Of all the beautiful showrooms and furniture and fabric, one thing that really caught my attention (must be because of the cabinet geek in me), was the Interiors & Sources Materials Pavilion.

Per the NeoCon website:
The materials you choose for furniture and interiors can make or break a project. Durability, sustainability, economy, availability and, of course, design and form compatibility are all factors, but gathering and making sense of the all the information you need is often a daunting task.In the Interiors & Sources Materials Pavilion you’ll find hundreds of material samples displayed side-by-side, with details on their origin, makeup and recommended applications. This experiential, educational exhibit is curated by design historian and materials specialist Grace Jeffers, and populated with the help of Material Intelligence (www.materialintelligence.com.), an information resource on surfacing solutions for designers and fabricators.
 Some of my favorite materials from the exhibit:

Textured Thermofused Melamine panels, from Stevens Melamine

Unfortunately I don't have the source for this material, but this is an example of the great textures and patterns that can be produced with 3-dimensional laminate technologies.

Moz Architectural Metals, hand-etched patterns and brilliant colors on solid-core metals.  Beautiful sheen and intense colors... seen also on the column display below:

PYRLOLAVE Glazed Volvic Lava Stone - this product is a great alternative for countertops.  While expensive, it holds up better than anything else I know of... heat resistant, stain resistant, bleach and acid-resistant... you can pretty much do anything on this surface.  Plus, it's beautiful and artistic and can look good in any setting.

Perennial Wood:  Real wood tweaked so that it behaves like composite decking material yet doesn't look like plastic.

Roseburg Duramine Decorative Melamines - more textured wood-grains (Can you tell this is a big trend?)

Alkemi, an acrylic recycled-content product using aluminum scraps

Alusion architectural foam, from aluminum (looks like it's made from tin foil)

Ambro - exotic wood panels with strips of opaque material that would look incredible with some back-lighting!

TorZo is a sustainable surface material manufactured from agricultural byproducts and recycled wood. 

More TorZo.  Check out their website, as these photos don't do it justice.

Olon panels, called 3-d laminate

Lucem light-transmitting concrete.  Yes, this is a light-transmitting stone with optical fibers inside... see the sparkle on the bottom?  So many possibilities for a material like this!

Advanced Technology features MirrorFlex decorative thermoplastic panels, FusionTech products, and NuMetal high pressure laminates.  A lot of possiblities with these materials for wall coverings, backsplashes, and even just as artwork.  The wood grain geometric pattern on the bottom is amazing in person.

More wood-grain melamines (I didn't catch the brand on this one, but I love the 2 on the bottom right.)

(SSI) Surface Source International had several great 3-dimensional laminate products, though I was especially drawn to these Zenolite high-gloss acrylic panels, which come in great colors and have the appearance of a back-painted glass.

Just a small taste of all the materials out there - isn't fun to let your mind wander with all the possibilities?

6/22/12 UPDATE:  Here is a link to all the materials showcased at the Materials Pavilion.

June 1, 2012

Bathroom Remodeling Seminar

A while ago I teamed up with Cora Stjernholm of elume distinctive lighting and  Drew Paulos and Michael Elliot of ReVive Remodeling to produce a free seminar series we called "Coffee Talk".  Our goal was to educate homeowners about the remodeling process in an informal no-pressure setting.  We did one seminar on kitchen remodeling, and another on bathroom remodeling.  The good news and the bad news is that the series has been put on hold because we've all gotten too busy and just couldn't put the necessary time and effort into doing it right.  

Putting these seminars together was a lot of work, but a lot of fun.  While we're all dreaming of picking it back up again, it's just going to have to wait until we have more time.  In the meantime, I just stumbled on this video by Mike Debernardo,  from our 2nd seminar, and I realized I never posted it here.