In January of this year, I was privileged to be one of six American bloggers brought by Blanco to attend the LivingKitchen trade show in Cologne, Germany. It was my first European industry event, and it was a revelation.
There were so many terrific products and trends that I would love to share with my American-based clients. These are a few of the Sensible Style items I saw there that I hope will be brought here in the not-too-distant future! A few, as noted below, are slowly starting to make their way across the pond.
Porcelain countertops offer the same durability and ease of maintenance as quartz, but with a different look. I would not only specify these for my clients, I would use them in my own home. So far I've only seen porcelain tops in the United States with Italian Modulnova kitchens, custom-fitted for their cabinets and shipped from Europe.
Top Porzelanik Barcelona would be ideal for North American kitchens, too.
It would be great to hide the kitchen faucet in a situation when you don't want to see it, especially on an island in a contemporary kitchen. A faucet that drops down to the countertop level can achieve that for you, but I haven't found one here yet.
The Blancoeloscope-F from Blanco is perfect for the "un-kitchen" look.
Turn-lock kitchen sink drains
We have this style of drain on tubs and bathroom sinks in the United States, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a turn-lock drain on an American sink. They were widely shown at the German show. (By the way, turn-lock is my own descriptive name for them. Europeans call them cable-driven waste systems.) Considering how practical they are, it doesn't make sense to me that they're not widely available here. (One German manufacturer told me that they haven't been widely embraced by the plumbing community.)
Other kitchen drains don't hold water compared to the turn-lock style, shown here on the Duravit Cassia sink.
Not having to store a drain insert in your sink cabinet would be a nice little benefit! Right now, Duravit USA has this technology on their attractive Cassia sink. More manufacturers should follow.
Gaggenau showed off some fabulous new induction technology that I hope crosses the ocean very soon! Anywhere you put your pot or pan on the cooktop heated up, not just a few specific burner areas. There were other bells and whistles, too, like a setting memory, but the whole surface approach to cooking was what really won me over. Hopefully, this will be available in the United States by the time I'm ready to replace my dated gas cooktop.
Gaggenau takes induction cooking to a whole new level.
For more European Sensible Style innovations, read the entire post on Gold Notes.
(c) 2011, Jamie Goldberg, AKBD, CAPS. Excerpted from Gold Notes: Nuggets from the World of Residential Design. Jamie is an NKBA-certified designer of kitchens and baths in San Diego, CA, and offers Sensible Style for Home Seller consultations around the country. She can be reached at (619) 796-2217 or firstname.lastname@example.org