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Product Watch: Bath and Kitchen

Check out these trends that buyers are calling for in their kitchen and baths.

March 31, 2001
Faucet Trends:

With a variety of designs, shapes, sizes and features available, selecting a faucet can be a daunting challenge for a remodeling consumer. Carol Houlik, American Standard team leader of marketing for worldwide fittings, offers six tips for choosing a faucet that remodelers can share clients:

Size. Avoid a tiny faucet on a big, bold sink and vice versa. Besides looking awkward, an ill-fitting faucet won’t function properly. Look for a faucet that directs water into the center of the bowl. Consider a tall gooseneck design or a faucet with a pull-out spray for large kitchen sinks.

Handles. The choice of a one- or two-handled faucet is purely personal. One handle faucets offer convenient, single-handed control of water temperature and volume. Two handled faucets offer a wider variety of styles and spout designs.

Finish. Look for a long-lasting, low-maintenance finish that complements your bathroom. Popular choices include polished chrome, polished brass, satin and black nickel.

Performance. Faucets should offer long-term performance and be drip-free for life. Ceramic disc valving offers maintenance-free operation, unaffected by temperature extremes or hard water.

Anti-scald. Make sure you select a faucet that offers protection from scalding hot water. Some faucets offer children safety stops that restrict how far the handle can be pushed toward hot. Others include pressure-balancing valves that protect users from drastic temperature changes or thermostatic values that automatically maintain the user’s favorite temperature.

Filters. If pure, filtered drinking water is important, consider installing a filtering faucet.


Fixture Trends:

In the bathroom, consumer demand for home spas, whirlpools and soaking tubs continues unabated, according to Mary Reid, vice president of industrial design for the Kohler Kitchen & Bath Group. Aging baby boomers are feeling the stress, says Reid. They need a calm place within their homes where they can rejuvenate.

But there’s a major difference in how people want to use their bathroom on weekdays versus the weekend - particularly with two-income families. When getting ready for work, men and women want their own personal spaces with the amenities they need. These may be on separate sides of the room. "Women," says Reid, "prefer a quiet, tranquil experience. Men prefer the invigoration side."

Traditional fixture designs still represent a huge fixture market. Homeowners, says Reid, like the comfort and perception of quality associated with things made a long time ago. On the other hand, there is a more current, urban thrust to designs that are more minimal and clean.

As for color trends, nature-inspired tones are surfacing. "Color is there," Reid says, "but it’s not a forceful presence. It’s more fitting in with the environment - the greens and blue grays associated with natural materials to give a warmer, calmer, relaxing environment."

The exception is the powder room, where homeowners seek to showcase their personality with high-style, decorative lavatories.

In the kitchen, there is a growing trend toward larger kitchen sinks, according to John Scott, vice president of Swanstone. "Drop-in sinks in solid white continue to be the most popular items we sell," says Scott, "but undermounts are growing in popularity in the higher end of the market. Undermount styles in stainless steel and cast iron are also popular."

Earth-tone colors and granites in white and other light tones are increasing in demand, Scott adds. White granite is a very popular color right now.



American Standard: Old World charm is brought to life with the Blacksmith faucet finish. Ideal for restorations, the finish features an antique wrought-iron appearance and offers a soft, matte texture that is smooth to the touch. Finish is available on the Iris and Jasmine collections. Blacksmith is made with durable Physical Vapor Deposition technology, a manufacturing technique that creates long-lasting faucet finishes. Warranty: Lifetime leak-free. Supply: Distributors and retail. Contact: (800) 524-9797 Ext. 199,

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Moen: Redesigned Traditional kitchen faucet provides a classic silhouette, featuring a high-arc, curved spout with exceptional height and reach essential for filling large pots and vases - a feature often requested by remodeling customers. The standard aerator includes a Neoperl insert in a sleek aerator shell for a fuller flow. An optional swivel-spray aerator makes cleaning all corners of the kitchen sink easy. Faucet is designed to match the traditional bar faucet and is available in either chrome or LifeShine titanium-strengthened, polished-brass finish with a lever-handle design or a chrome cross-handle design. Warranty: Lifetime limited. Supply: Distributors. Contact: (800) 289-6636,

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Whirlpool: Cielo baths is a full line of jetted baths designed for the way consumers live in the modern home. Baths combine features for safety (taper-resistant intake cover, tested at less than 2 lb. of force); durability (Lucite acrylic shell); and low maintenance (removable jets for easy cleaning), together with a design that satisfies aesthetic appeal and ergonomic comfort. Warranty: One year on parts and labor; five years limited on parts. Supply: Distributors and retail. Contact: (877) 44CIELO

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Barclay Products: The Andros Vessel - shown here with the Temple faucet from the "franz viegener" collection - flows upward and out. The ultra modern style of the faucet balances the elegant basin, making a powerful design statement for a remodeled powder room. The line is available in a large range of products, including a widespread lavatory faucet, tub and shower sets, and matching accessories. Finishes include chrome, pewter, brushed chrome and satin chrome. Warranty: On material and workmanship. Supply: Distributors. Contact: (800) 446-9700.

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Lasco Bathware: The new Luxury Whirlpool collection features whirlpools with more jets, additional massage jets, a larger motor and five new models. Most models feature six to eight high-flow jets that circulate up to 17 gal. per minute at low pressure to create a hydro-therapeutic massage. Baths also feature two additional, interchangeable, pulsating massage jets; a 1.25-hp. motor; and a new, decorative "rope" jet-face design. The Lucite cast acrylic contains Microban Antimicrobial Product Protection. Warranty: 15 year limited. Supply: Distributors. Contact: (800) 877-2005,

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JADO: Modern sculpture is the best way to describe New Haven, a fully integrated bathroom fixture design system. The system is offered with a single-lever lavatory set, single-hold lavatory set and a widespread-lavatory set along with the choice of cross-handle or lever-handle design and polished chrome, brushed nickel or polished chrome/velour finish. Completing the coordinated design system are 27 matching pieces for tub, shower, bidet and accessories. Warranty: Lifetime. Supply: Retail.

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St. Thomas Creations: Enhanced height water closet, the Bostonian, features a bowl height of 171/2 in., in compliance with the American Disabilities Act Guideline and ANSI A117.1 requirements for the physically challenged. Perfect for aging homeowners desiring to retrofit their homes for changing life stages, the water closet is one of six ergonomically friendly styles available for residential use. Models require 12-in. rough opening; feature a large capacity, 2-in. trap; and come with a choice of polished brass or chrome tank lever. Warranty: One year. Supply: Distributors.

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Price Pfister: Building on the popularity of the stainless-steel look in kitchen design, the Savannah line of sinks has been expanded to include a satin stainless finish. The collection, consisting of a high-arc kitchen and bar faucet, is complemented by a complete line of Matchmakers kitchen accessories in stainless finish. All Savannah faucets feature ceramic-disc valve technology with the Pforever Seal, which guarantees against leaks and drips for life. Warranty: Lifetime limited. Supply: Distributors and retail. Contact: (800) FAUCET,

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Swan: A mini-size sink - suitable for a variety of applications in family and recreation rooms, bars, vacation homes, butler’s pantries, office kitchens, nurseries and secondary living quarters - is now available in Swanstone reinforced solid surface. The 15X25X6-in. drop-in bar sink features a molded drain board with an optional teakwood grooved-edge cutting board. The drain board bar is equipped with an easy- mounting bracket assembly and easy- knock-out fixture holes. Swanstone is manufactured in 30 solid and aggregate colors. Warranty: Lifetime limited. Supply: Distributors.

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Delta: Revolutionary pull-out spray wand on the Waterfall and Signature kitchen faucets add both ergonomic design and style to the kitchen. Wand features a form-fitting shape that fits snugly in the hand. The diverter buttons are located on either side of the wand - aligned where the thumb and ring finger naturally fall - enabling the user to easily switch from stream to spray modes. A 60-in. hose makes an easy job of filling pitchers and rinsing the sink. Warranty: Lifetime limited. Supply: Distributors and retail. Contact: (800) 345-DELTA,

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Grohe: The Sentosa line of two-handle faucets reflects a distinctive, European sense of style and design with its ergonomic body shape and unique handle contours. Faucet includes the new Carbodur cartridge designed for a lifetime of heavy use with minimal wear. Faucet is offered in a centerset lavatory with arched spout; a swivel spout lavatory centerset featuring a 43/4-in. reach; and matching towel bar, towel rings, robe hook and paper holder bath accessories. Finishes include polished chrome, chromes with 23-karat gold accents, white, and white with 23-karat gold accents. Warranty: Lifetime limited. Supply: Distributors.

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HotSpring: Designed for residential use, the new Solana spa is a portable, full-size spa in a compact design that can be easily installed in any new or existing home. The two-person spa features a pearlescent shell; clean, contemporary lines and sweeping curves; and features a variety of custom jets and contoured seats. The spa fits through any standard doorway. It measures 672 67229 in. and holds up to 130 gal. of water; features a durable Endurol exterior; and comes with 10 exclusive jets and a No-Fault heater. Warranty: Three year structural; One year surface, components, heater and exterior siding. Supply: Distributors. Contact: (800) 999-4688

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Kohler: New sôk overflowing bath offers the ultimate deep bath soaking experience. Bathers float in a cocoon of chin-high, warm water as special air jets generate tiny effervescent bubbles. Submerged to the shoulders, the bather is at eye level with a sleek plane of water that drops off the rim’s edge. Water continuously spills over the tub’s rim into a water channel and is re-circulated back into the tub. The 75-in. long tub has a 24.5-in. deep basin. A 1.5-kw heater heats the water and a 1/3 hp, 230-v pump sends the water through 11 special air jets to create tiny bubbles. Warranty: One year limited. Supply: Distributors. Contact: (800) 4-KOHLER,

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