Think Unique

by [email protected]

KBDN readers often look to the product sections of each issue to learn about the latest and greatest innovations kitchen and bath manufacturers have to offer. In 2013, the magazine introduced kitchen and bath designers and dealers to nearly 1,200 such products, in categories ranging from cooking appliances and bath sinks, to hardware and accessories, to cabinets, toilets, universal design products and much more.

At the end of each year, KBDN provides a review of the most-asked-about products, as selected by tallying reader requests throughout the year. This year, readers made more than 14,500 requests for more information about those diverse products.

Leading the way, were products that focused on giving designers the ability to create distinctive spaces with unique, one-of-a-kind and customizable products. In fact, six of the top 10 products fit that description… ranging from unique lighting options, to one-of-a-kind countertops to custom sink liners and power strips. Even the family pet is included with custom pet food drawers.

Other top requests were for more information about recycled countertops, including glass and solid surfaces. In fact, countertops in general garnered a great deal of interest, accounting for the top three products, and grabbing an additional five slots in our top 20.

Additional top categories include decorative hardware, shower drains and kitchen and bath accessories.

On this and the following pages, KBDN looks at products that have captured the greatest interest of kitchen and bath professionals in 2013. For additional information about these and other products, visit


Illuminated Glass Countertops

ThinkGlass creates durable glass countertops in nearly any shape, hue or texture requested, according to the company. Now the company can also illuminate its designs – from within – through the use of LED lighting.

“Glass is becoming very popular for the pure clean aspect of this unique luminescent materiel,” says Karl Desjardins, communication director/consultant. “The transparency of glass countertops illuminated by LED lights literally lights up any kitchen with sophisticated style.

With a variety of LED color options including true white and cold white, as well as the possibility of hundreds of different colors, the kitchen is changing, he continues. “Designers can now have the possibility of using ambient light synchronized or matching the countertop color,” he says. “Pushing it further, the kitchen can now become a trendy area to hang out, since LED lights can have special effects, like flashing or fading lights.

“The end result is a smooth, glossy finish that is as strong and durable as any natural stone or manmade countertop material,” he adds, “but with a spectacular twist that can stay hidden or go all out with a strobe effect.” 


Faux Marble Metallic Countertops

Studio G3 Glass’ Faux Marble Metallic Colors include a smooth texture and a multi-tone of metallic colors that are back painted onto the glass, according to Hannah Niki, project manager. “It looks like layers,” she says, “and it’s vibrant. It really stands out.”

Because each piece is hand done, no two pieces will be exactly the same. “I think that’s what people love these days… something that is unique and one of a kind. It’s practical, yet can be a piece of art. It adds a ‘wow’ factor to any application. We see that a lot of people are doing countertops and islands, or a backsplash or feature wall.”

For countertops, the 19mm-thick glass top accentuates the fire-polished edges. A range of colors is available.


Recycled Glass Surfaces

GleenGlass 100% glass recycled surfaces are formed from post-industrial recycled glass. “Recycled products, green products, as a category are definitely in growth mode,” says John Sauer, owner/president.

The glass surfaces offer the strength of natural stone, and are nonporous and LEED compliant, he notes. “The Gleen pattern also represents a look that is difficult to come by,” Sauer continues. “In the manufacturing process we take sheets of recycled glass and fuse them together. It’s difficult to find the material to make larger fused pieces of glass, but it affords a pattern and a quality that is very unique and very desirable.”

GleenGlass countertops also have a pattern that is reminiscent of flowing water, something which people are always entranced by, he indicates.

GleenGlass products are handmade in the U.S. “We’re one of the very U.S.-based companies worldwide that is making 100% recycled glass,” Sauer says, noting that they are also U.S. sourced. “We focus on the handmade arts and quality of our products.”


Custom-fit Undersink Liners

Undersink liners from Doug Mockett & Co. help prevent spills from cleaning solutions, soaps and other solvents from ruining cabinetry.

“Our liners are popular because they are an easy fix that not only look nice, but serve a highly functional purpose as well,” says Billy Peele, customer service. “Each liner is custom made to fit a homeowner’s particular cabinetry. They look great, are easy to clean and protect the wood from seepage, which can cause a lot of damage to cabinetry.”

The liners, which are made of polished aluminum sheet with rubber trim, protect against deterioration of the wood from harmful liquids and provide a clean, finished look.


Stained Glass Knobs

Prairie Style Stained Glass cabinet hardware from Glace Yar stained Glass Design features an Arts and Crafts style of stained glass in a cabinet knob. Each knob is hand cut and set, creating an individual piece of stained glass art.

“When visiting an older home in the area I noticed the stained glass windows going up a staircase and thought, all this time that I've been making stained glass knobs, I never thought of making a knob that represents what stained glass was mainly used for… windows!” says Debbie Plunkett, owner/designer.   

“The look of my Prairie Style Knobs reminds one of the Craftsman style era,” she continues. “The look was, and still is, very popular and I wanted to keep that form of stained glass workmanship alive for today's decor. You may not be able to have a Frank Lloyd Wright stained glass window in your home, but you can have a smaller interpretation of that same pictoral art in a stained glass cabinet knob using the same hand-cut, stained glass technique.”


Customizable Power Strip

The newest addition to Task Lighting’s Angle Power Strip product line features tamper-resistant receptacles in a slim 1-1/2”x1-9/16” profile, hiding inside the face frame of cabinetry or under the lip of a countertop. The new TR Series strip also meets 2008 NEC code.

“Our angle power strip moves all receptacle switches from the backsplash area,” explains Stephanie Straatmann, lighting specialist. “If you have an intricate tile pattern, beautiful glass backsplash or granite countertop, you don’t have to cut into them to accommodate receptacles or switches. They can all be mounted underneath the cabinet.

“The TR Series housing is also highly customizable and is large enough to accommodate many custom options, including a USB and drivers for LED lighting. Since it’s available in four different finishes, designers can blend also it into the backsplash and countertop.”


Recycled Solid Surface

Meganite has established 18 popular colors to be incorporated into its National 70, a group of colors that will be carried by all of the company’s distributors. The colors are part of the Recycled Series, certified by SCE Global Services to contain a minimum of 6% recycled content.

Recycling, reducing and reusing are all becoming important in both commercial and residential markets, says Bill Harris, national sales manager, who also notes that a lot of people view recycled products in a positive light with an interest in helping the environment.

“It’s also important to consider that solid surface isn’t just used on kitchen countertops and vanities,” he notes. “It can also be used on walls, and as shower surrounds and pans. You can also texture it to gain a coefficient that meets the ADA requirement for shower pans.”

Meganite solid surface can also be manufactured in sheets up to 60” wide, making it a great option for islands, he notes. “You don’t have to worry about a seam,” he says. “That can be especially useful for stone-type looks.”

It is also available in a variety of thicknesses, including 1/4” thicknesses for shower surrounds and ¾” thicknesses for custom furniture, he notes.


Pet Feeding Drawer

The Fitted Pet Feeding Drawer insert from Bradco Stainless Products Co. is designed for use in a lower cabinet drawer, which can be tucked away when meal time is over.

“Pets have always been a major part of many families, but there has definitely been a shift in the social acceptance of them living alongside their owners,” says Cody Bradbury, president. “Now it is just as important that they have their own dedicated space in today’s modern home. By offering a sanitary and personalized way to approach mealtime, we feel we have addressed the concerns and issues most designers face when it comes to the live-in pet.

 “Customized storage solutions have become an integral part of the design process,” he continues. “Giving designers the flexibility to address the topic of organization at any point during the project is beneficial to the designer, as well as the indecisive homeowner.”

All components are built to fit any drawer, are 100% stainless steel, removable and easy to clean. An optional rear storage compartment can store treats and accessories. The lid can be personalized with the name of the pet.


Lava Stone Countertops

Pyrolave countertops can withstand high temperatures, acids and corrosive products, according to the company. Because of the nature of lava stone, it can be sculpted into extra-long lengths without any seams.

“Designers like Pyrolave because we can supply large pieces in beautiful colors that are easy to maintain,” says Jean Pauwels, owner, adding that no sealants are needed.

The countertops are available in a rainbow of standard colors. Custom colors can also be created. “We have a standard set of colors that are available in matte and glossy finishes, but about 35% of the North American market is custom colors,” he continues. We have high-end clients who want their own colors, and we have the knowledge and ability to match paint, fabric, tile, etc.”


Movable Puck Lights

The Movable LED Wafer Puck Track Lighting System from Outwater Plastics Industries accommodates varying lighting requirements by giving users the ability to slide the system’s puck lights into any position along its low-profile track.

“Designers like this track lighting system because it is a user friendly, low voltage lighting system specifically designed to adapt to constantly changing lighting requirements by enabling anyone to quickly and easily move or add puck lights as desired without having to hire an electrician or run new wiring,” says Joey Shimm, director of marketing.

Comprised of the company’s integrated ‘Led Diamond Light Technology,’ the lighting system’s small 2-1/8” diameter, ¼”-thick puck light is available in Cool White and Warm White. The adhesive-backed track is offered in 3’, 4’, 6’ and 12’ lengths.


Hidden Storage Solution

With Nexus21’s kitchen lift capacity of up to 250 pounds, kitchen designers are now able to fully utilize the lost storage space at the back of cabinets, in dead corners and in kitchen islands. With the push of a button, that space can be raised to counter level for easy access. The cabinetry disappears, leaving a completely unobstructed countertop on which to work. The once dead space in the back of cabinets can now be used to store heavy appliances and bulky kitchen items.

“Our hidden storage solutions are hugely popular with designers because their customers are looking to optimize space and maximize accessibility,” says Tim Dobson, vice president, specialty markets. “They now have a solution that can be customized to the individual storage requirements of each homeowner, while maximizing the accessibility of hard-to-reach spaces.

“Each kitchen is unique, but all of the best ones have something in common… they are designed to maximize space while maintaining a clean look,” he continues. “Our hidden storage lifts give designers the ability to access space that was previously unusable, while allowing for total customization.”


New Quartz Colors

Vicostone Quartz Surfaces adds new designs and colors to its collection of materials. Among the new products are Calacatta (shown), Botticino Classic, Empire, Alaska White and Carrara.


Standard and Custom Drains

Quick Drain USA adds two products to its collection of bath solutions. Two more sizes of standardized drain lengths have been added to the company’s line, with 12 different sizes now available. The new drains are available in lengths of 27.5” and 63”. Custom sizes can still be ordered in sizes ranging from 10” to 100”.


Glass Decorative Hardware

Sietto has introduced two new lines of glass decorative hardware – Skinny Glacier and Reflective. The Skinny Glaciers are similar to the company’s Glacier line, only narrower and sleeker. The Reflective line includes different colors of glass that reflect in the clear glass that surrounds them.


Decorative Shower Drain

StyleDrain Tile from California Faucets is a decorative shower drain that allows for the inlay of any tile or stone to match the surrounding flooring. The all-brass tile frame is available in multiple decorator finishes. It drains up to to 10 gpm.


Natural Quartz Countertop

The Torquay countertop from Cambria is from the Waterstone Collection of quartz surfaces. The natural quartz countertop is nonporous and stain resistant, with its nonabsorbent nature protecting against stains and germs, according to the firm.


Rail System

The Franke Rail System from Franke Kitchen Systems Luxury Products Group is a rail system that includes over a dozen available components – from mixing bowls and dry racks to graters and a salad spinner. The stainless steel system can withstand up to 33 lbs.


Undercabinet LED Lights

The Environmental Lights Modular Premium LED undercabinet lighting line features three interchangeable lighting options – Ultra Thin LED light bars, Angled LED light bars and Surface-Mount LED puck lights. The plug-and-play system includes built-in diffusers to evenly distribute the light and eliminate hotspots. The Ultra Thin and Angled light bars have built-in switches and come in three lengths: 12”, 20” and 40”.


Spice-inspired Solid Surface

Among the colors DuPont has added to its Corian Collection of solid surfaces is Basil, which features waves of nutmeg and green fennel peppered with gold metallic flecks. Basil – along with Hickory Smoke, Clove, Allspice, Cilantro, Arrowroot, Blue Spice and Hazelnut – were all inspired by the varied hues and textures of spices.


Fold-away Seat

HealthCraft Products has introduced its Serena Seas as part of its Invisia Collection. The product, which as a 450-lb. capacity, features a brushed-aluminum frame and Brazilian walnut panels. In the fold-away position, the seat has a 3” profile.

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