By Katy Tomasulo. Editor's Note: SBR, Inc., the parent company of Metallon, Inc., stopped taking orders for Metallon-finished products as of September 6, 2002.
The International Builders' Show in February was full of new innovations, flashy products, and hot, eye-catching designs. Even so, many of the trends and products on display turned out to be more evolutionary than revolutionary. Many of the trends we're seeing this year are ones you've heard before, from homeowners' ongoing love of metal to bigger bathtubs to the continuing explosion of cordless tools. But even if familiar, many of the new products on display were packed with looks and features that give remodelers plenty of great ideas to pass along to clients.
Everywhere on the show floor, metal looks in a range of finishes made a showing across several product categories, from Weather-Shield's copper clad window to Delta's Venetian bronze faucet finish. And as mass-market appliances continue to sport much-loved stainless steel, higher-end manufacturers Wolf and Viking are staying ahead of the pack with eye-catching variations of the finish that distinguish them without straying too far from the look.
Like last year, technology put in a strong showing inside the "Tech Expo," where whole-house automation and structured wiring makers boasted easier installation, lower prices, and consumer-friendly features. Absent from the Expo this year, however, were many dot-coms. Throughout the rest of the exhibit, manufacturers sported high-tech innovations in unlikely places, including Internet-enabled refrigerators from Whirlpool and LG Chem and a voice-recording refrigerator from Amana. Whirlpool's booth also showcased an in-wall dry-cleaning cabinet and an innovative range that doubles as a temporary refrigerator.
As in years past, an array of composite decking products were on display from small and large companies. This year, manufacturers have expanded their lines to include a rainbow of new hues, including redwoods, cedars, and browns.
Whirlpool. The Personal Valet clothes care appliance smoothes away wrinkles and cleans odors out of clothes in about 30 minutes. The cabinet, which requires no plumbing or special wiring, measures 3 feet wide by 6 feet tall. It's 1 foot deep and is installed 14 inches off the ground. White, biscuit, cherry, and maple fronts are available. (800) 253-1301.
Amana. The Messenger refrigerator features a built-in voice memo function that allows homeowners to record voice messages with the touch of a button. The unit also will alert users to a range of refrigerator issues, including when it's time to change the water filter and the length of a power outage. Also included are SideGlide shelves, an up-front water dispenser, and a temperature-controlled beverage chiller. (800) 843-0304.
Delta. The company has expanded its Victorian faucet line into kitchen models. Available in single-handle and two-handle units, the faucets feature a high-rise swivel spout and an optional matching sprayer. A coordinating bar/prep model also is available. In addition to Venetian bronze, shown here, the faucets come in chrome, chrome and polished brass, and stainless steel. (800) 345-3358.
Moen. The company has expanded its Asceri faucet collection to include a range of unique trim accents, including Map, Hawaii, and Watercolor. The faucets use M-Pact, a common valve system that allows trims to be changed without changing the faucet plumbing. The Safari design is shown here. (800) 289-6636.
Courtesy White River Hardwoods
White River Hardwoods. The company's hardwood trims and moldings are now available with Metallon metal finishes. The finish, which is made of more than 95 percent metal, is cold-spray applied and hand finished. A range of metals and finishes are available. (800) 558-0119.
Broan-NuTone. Offering HEPA filtration in an affordable and compact size, the GuardianPlus whole-house air system weighs only 35 pounds and can be installed in less than three hours into small furnace rooms. The unit's HEPA filtration captures 99.97% of all particles down to 0.3 microns, while the fresh air ventilation maintains a flow of fresh air throughout the home. The unit will condition homes up to 2,500 square feet. (800) 637-1453.