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We were excited to be in Seattle recently for the 18th annual Decorative Plumbing & Hardware Association (DPHA) conference. Not only is the event a lot of fun, but we also were able to see first-hand an impressive array of innovative products for the kitchen and bath, as well as network with the industry’s leading showrooms, manufacturers and sales professionals.
The conference set the stage for an unveiling of the newest product introductions with a first peek at designs and trends just launched from the most progressive companies in our industry. More than 60 brands introduced new products, and we’re pleased to share a few that particularly caught our attention — ones that, in our opinion, are noteworthy and will surely go on for future kitchen and bath inspiration.
The show was a wonderful opportunity to connect, educate and elevate. Even the weather did not disappoint, allowing us to spend a beautiful fall day sightseeing on Lake Huron to see the famous houseboat featured in the classic movie “Sleepless in Seattle.”
One true stand-out at the show was BainUltra’s singular Back to Wall 5828 tub. This tub was chosen among hundreds of entries for the DPHA 2019 Product of the Year Award in the plumbing fixture category. The ingenious design of the tub allows it to be installed flush against the wall, achieving the look of a freestanding tub without sacrificing floor space.
Measuring 58 inches by 28 inches by 21 inches, this beautiful tub has clean lines and gently sloped sides for an exceptional soaking experience. The Back to Wall tub is part of BainUltra’s contemporary VIBE collection of therapeutic tubs designed for urban millennials who prioritize wellness even in space-challenged living spaces.
Icera was another company that stood out in the awards category, winning the coveted Customer Service Department of the Year award. Its booth caused a stir with its new Muse iWash integrated bidet toilet, an ingenious feat of engineering with a smart two-in-one-design. The iWash system combines exceptional flushing and cleaning power along with a host of thoughtful features such as an automatic pre-mist and flush, built-in deodorizer and an LED nightlight, along with an optional heated seat, warm air dryer and oscillating sprayers.
It can be programmed with two user settings and even includes a remote control with a magnetic wall mount. The Muse iWash is eco-friendly with a high-efficiency process requiring only 1.28 gallons/flush. A skirted trapway and contemporary silhouette make the toilet a sophisticated addition to any luxury-minded bathroom.
We loved visiting with Mr. Steam, for both the coolest DPHA booth attire and the practical use of technology that the manufacturer incorporated into its display. Its home shower systems now work with Amazon Alexa when SteamLinx is installed. Users can prepare a relaxing steam shower by merely saying, “Alexa, ask Mr. Steam to start the steam bath.” Users also can ask questions and set basic functions such as temperature and duration.
Mr. Steam shower systems are a luxurious way to bring the benefits of steam in daily living. The company offers a variety of steam therapy products that can be customized to fit specific spaces and individual needs. Options include a full range of bells and whistles such as music therapy, chromatherapy and aromatherapy, as well as wall-mounted seats and towel warmers.
Black is an enduring design trend — always in fashion — and Lenova has brought its classic elegance to the kitchen with a new matte black finish available on two new faucets. This is not the glossy black popular several decades ago but a modern iteration that is cool and refined. Amazingly durable and easy to maintain, the flat finish is an excellent alternative to metallic tones and is an eye-catching complement to both traditional white and colorful modern kitchens.
The matte black finish is offered on the SKI222 and the K410 faucets. The contemporary designs include dramatic arched profiles, a pull-down faucet and a 360-degree swivel spout. They are crafted from premium 304 stainless steel with zero lead content and top-quality ceramic cartridges for long-lasting performance.
Nostalgic Warehouse used this event to unveil its first collection of lever door handles. Crafted from solid forged brass, this trio of levers is designed to look and feel similar to authentic period pieces with the modern standards of durability and performance. The collection includes the elegant Manor lever with gentle contours and notches, the botanical-inspired Fleur and the gracefully spiraling Swan.
All three are available in seven finishes and come in a variety of configurations with pre-mounted installation. The levers can be paired with any of the company’s rosettes, short plates and long plates for nearly endless options to suit any décor.
We particularly admired the beautiful fireclay sinks at the HamatUSA booth. Each is a work of art combining modern and time-honored methods. The all-natural sinks are made in an Israeli factory using a proprietary blend of fireclay and cutting-edge injection molding methods. Raw sinks are hand-brushed and sponged before being fired for more than 20 hours at 2,200 F in a fusion process resulting in their signature glossy surface. The finished product is incredibly strong and will last a lifetime without chips, cracks or scratches.
The Chelsea Collection was on display at the show and caused a stir with its on-trend modern farmhouse aesthetic. Chelsea sinks have a larger than average basin with a 20-inch front-to-back dimension and a depth of 9 1/4 inches. Available in classic white, matte black, matte grey and biscuit, these sinks are backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
International innovation was on full display at the QTOO booth at the conference. The Danish company uses marine-grade stainless steel to create its two-way thermostat valves, which include head shower and baton hand sprayer. The overall look is sleek and polished, but the engineering is all about safety and convenience. QTOO makes it easy to adjust water temperature and includes an anti-scald function, which is especially beneficial for families with young children.
The performance on this valve is impressive with dual functionality on the volume control diverter. As with all QTOO products, the thermostat valves are made to the highest standards of excellence with an emphasis on sustainability and environmental responsibility.
Keuco brings traditional medicine cabinets to a new level with its Royal Modular 2.0 collection of mirrored cabinets. With 12 different widths, two heights and two depths to choose from, along with surface or recessed versions, Keuco offers unlimited flexibility in design, functionality and installation. The cabinets include horizontal LED lights at the top and bottom for strategic lighting and glare-free illumination. The lights can even be adjusted in brightness and color to suit individual preferences.
The clever interiors of the cabinets are an organizer’s dream with plenty of shelving for bathroom essentials and useful options such as USB chargers, magnetic strips and a removable cosmetic mirror. The Royal Modular is thoughtfully designed with adjustable soft-close hinges and pivoting double-sided mirror doors for a generous all-around view.
The Waterstone display was especially eye-catching at the conference, thanks to its amazing Wheel pull-down faucet. With a cool industrial vibe, the Wheel faucet makes a dramatic design statement and is a stand-out piece in any kitchen. Spring technology gives the sprayer an easy, smooth pull, and a pulley braking system prevents the handle from snapping back when released.
The Wheel has a 9 1/8-inch reach and can swivel 360 degrees, while the spray head can pull out 20 inches from the spout. The faucet is made from solid brass and comes in an impressive variety of 32 finishes, including various tones of bronze, copper, pewter, brass, nickel, graphite, gold and stainless steel. The Wheel faucet is made in the United States and comes with a lifetime functional warranty.
The Barber Wilsons/Sterlingham booth dazzled with bold metallic finishes and lavish details! A myriad of new products were unveiled — a new Brigade faucet, sink stand, mirror, heated robe hook holder and towel warmer. They included two beautiful finishes: antique nickel and a glam brushed brass.
The Sterlingham Co. is a proud manufacturer of high-quality brass bathroom accessories, towel warmers and washstands. Its sister company, Barber Wilsons & Co., has more than 100 years of experience in the manufacturing of water fittings. The plumbing manufacturer has received the ultimate accolade for excellence, quality and reliability and was granted a Royal Warrant of Appointment by Her Majesty the Queen as manufacturers of kitchen and bathroom taps and mixers.
The DPHA show is an excellent source of inspiration. We saw many new trends that are sure to find their way into the residential market and showrooms across the country. DPHA is a convention not to be missed and we look forward to next year when the show will be in the beautiful city of New Orleans.