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The Decorative Plumbing & Hardware Association (DPHA) recently celebrated 20 years of annual conferences with an in-person and virtual trade show in Austin, Texas, that allowed attendees to participate in whatever way they felt most comfortable. There were networking opportunities galore and, as always, the venue provided a unique platform to see and experience emerging trends in product design.
I’m delighted to share some of the newer product launches that caught our attention, as well as a few that won accolades as products of the year. This year’s show was full of surprises! From bold, iconic shower fillers to solid wood composite sinks, the theme of this year’s show was dramatic designs.
With the idea that every object in your home should have a story and reflect your individual style, these new products offer an opportunity to make daring statements in the kitchen and bath while remaining classic for years of enjoyment.
Luxury Details Take Top DPHA Honors
Admiring the Product of the Year winners is always a highlight of the conference. Entries are nominated by their peers and judged by an independent panel to ensure the program recognizes the best of the best. Two winners stood out amongst the others — MTI Baths and The Sterlingham Co.
MTI took the top award in the plumbing furniture category for its extraordinary Bowie freestanding tub with a detailed “pleated” exterior. Developed in collaboration with Atlanta-based design firm Source, the Bowie is a sculptural masterpiece offered as part of MTI’s Boutique Collection. It is available as a soaker or air bath with eight exterior color options and is crafted from the brand’s signature SculptureStone material.
Top honors in the accessory category went to The Sterlingham Co. for its Marble Rails heated towel warmer. These brilliant rails radiate heat to gently warm towels, a most luxurious and appreciated detail for the bath. The marble accents are beautifully patterned and look equally at home in traditional and contemporary decors.
Made and sourced in England of premium quality brass, Marble Rails feature a space-saving design and may be hung alone or stacked with hidden wall mounts for a seamless look. The rails are offered with five different marble patterns, 16 modern finishes and bespoke sizing.
What’s Old is New
The pop of blue on the Nantucket Sinks was an imaginative take on a classic style. The acclaimed sink manufacturer offers a fresh spin on a vintage-inspired look with its Victorian Collection of bathroom basins. Plucked from the past and reimagined for modern times, these beautiful sinks are handmade in Italy from durable fireclay and finished with a porcelain enamel glaze.
Offered as a wall-mounted design or with a black metal stand, the Victorian sinks feature an elegant backsplash and softly curved silhouette. They are finished in a glossy white or a fun two-tone option that pairs white tops with blue, black or grey bottoms. The blue and white combination is a great way to add unexpected color to the bathroom!
The LIPS bath filler by Nickles is perfect for fans of iconic pop culture who like to go big with their design options. The bright red lips are instantly recognizable as a style phenomenon of the ’90s; now, they have been repurposed as a bold and colorful design element for the tub. The LIPS filler features a cascade spray with intelligent water distribution and a flow limit of 4 gallons per minute.
As a global manufacturer of shower equipment, Nickles is known for its design innovation. Its LIPS filler is a whimsical choice for contemporary baths that makes a most memorable style statement.
Some of the most surprising new products at the show were the gorgeous Woodio sinks. Made from real wood chips, the sinks are crafted from the world’s first 100 percent waterproof, solid wood composite. The finished look is beautifully organic and definitely unique.
Woodio sinks are recyclable and have a minimal carbon footprint, making them a smart and sustainable option for bathroom design. The sinks are lightweight and incredibly durable with elevated impact resistance, which makes them virtually unbreakable. Woodio is a modern-day Finnish brand that incorporates the best of Nordic design traditions and the latest biomaterial innovation. The firm recently launched in North America with products available exclusively through VELLA.
Lenova leads the way in eco-friendly design with its new Classic vanity, made in part from sustainable hardwoods. Its timeless style is achieved through an arched curve to its sides and elegantly tapered legs. Lenova vanities are made in America using time-honored techniques and skilled craftsmanship. The finished products are exceptionally durable and able to withstand moisture-rich bathroom environments without warping or splitting.
The Classic vanity was thoughtfully designed with dovetailed drawers, Blum hinges and soft-close doors, as well as ample storage spaces to meet the practical needs of daily living.
Trend: Shopping Solutions
Amerock had its new Allison by Amerock program on display at the show with an impressive range of styles to choose from. Developed as a design solution to simplify shopping for hardware, Allison by Amerock features 20 collections with on-trend styles ranging from rustic to modern-day casual. All are offered with mix-and-match options for a more streamlined buying experience for consumers, designers and builders.
Allison hardware is value-priced and includes the most requested sizes and finishes. Five core finishes coordinate with today’s top plumbing brands and cabinet colors, and available sizes include knobs, cups, pulls and even extended length pulls. Amerock is an award-winning designer and manufacturer of quality hardware with a legacy that spans more than 90 years.
Workstation sinks are the hot thing in kitchen design, and the Chelsea workstation sink by HamatUSA is a great example. The Chelsea sink starts out with an uncommon advantage — it’s handmade of a proprietary blend of natural fireclay, which is carefully kiln-fired and glazed for an incredibly durable finish. Its farmhouse apron-front design is in big demand, too.
However, it’s the unique drop-ledge design that truly elevates the Chelsea workstation. Accessories pass easily between upper and lower levels as needed, including a colander, rubberwood cutting board and multipurpose roll-up mat. Measuring 33 inches x 20 inches, the Chelsea features a deep single basin and is offered in classic colors such as white, matte black, matte grey and biscuit.
The annual trade show is a great time to introduce new DPHA members, such as Hardware Renaissance, an American company with a global footprint offering a curated line of hand-forged iron and modern bronze hardware. The firm is known for its distinctive inlays and hand-applied patinas; shown here is the beautiful brushed bronze finish, which has the appearance of fine champagne.
The knobs and pulls are sandcast in silicon bronze, then polished, detailed and waxed by hand. The finished effect truly displays the beauty of this copper-rich alloy with a living finish that ages without tarnish.
The DPHA annual trade show is definitely a hotbed of trends. As much as I love discovering up-and-coming trends, I value the annual conference for something else even more — the opportunity to connect with dealers, manufacturers and others in the industry. Connectivity is a cornerstone of DPHA as it fosters a culture of professional development and successful collaborations.
There’s something about establishing new connections that brings exciting energy, not only to the event itself but also to its members. I like to think that part of this energy is what inspires new product ideas and innovations. Here’s to a successful 20th annual conference in Austin; be sure to mark your calendars for next year’s big event in New Orleans!
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