BLANCO’s Director of Marketing, Tim Maicher, certainly has a keen eye for what is up and coming in the kitchen design world. Check out our interview with Tim to learn more about the new and exciting design trends and technology that are becoming increasingly popular.
Q: What are the biggest trends you are seeing in kitchen sinks, faucets and water accessories?
A: The biggest trends are personalization and livable design. Everyone wants something unique for his or her kitchen… to make their own design statement. Personalization in the sink and faucet category has created a strong demand for integrated accessories such as cutting boards, workstations, caddies and grids. Grids are used for protection, but also are decorative and functional for drying and baking outside the sink. Workstations and caddies hold knives, utensils and cleaning tools inside the sink to save counter-space and provide greater convenience. Consumers and designers can personalize the sink area to match their needs for space, functionality and ergonomics.
BLANCO defines livable design as transitional in feel – but with organic lines that are naturally inspired and offer durability and easy-to-clean performance. It’s not enough to walk the line between traditional and modern… today’s styles must also be performance driven – they need to save water, last longer, be easy-to-use and easy-to-clean. They also need to offer organic lines – gently sloping and easy to match with today’s surfaces, cabinetry and flooring. Even modern cabinetry is reliant on nature’s palettes and textures so the fixtures must match.
Q: What are the most popular finishes and materials for sinks/faucets? What styles are most in demand?
A: Granite sinks are on trend as they fit the model of livable design as its organic, durable, functional and contemporary. BLANCO is the leader in this category both in terms of innovation and in patents. BLANCO’s SILGRANIT® sinks come in 8 colors that match well with today’s surfaces. In fact we offer an App in iTunes or GooglePlay that helps designers to match sinks and counter surfaces. Our top selling colors are brown, grey/black and beige. Our fastest growing colors include a warm grey, grey/black and metallic grey. Grey is one of the fastest growing neutrals in both warm and cool tones.
For faucets, polished chrome and stainless or satin nickel are still the biggest sellers as they are both contemporary and durable. These finishes go with most appliances and other fixtures in the kitchen and are easy to maintain.
Q: What are the size trends in the sink and faucet market?
A: Super Singles and undermount sinks are still trending upwards in popularity. Big sinks do not always need to be deep. About 9-9.5” are desirable and keep sink usable for aging in place. Low divide sinks cleverly offer separation – but room for large pots and pans. These help with ergonomics and are a growing category for BLANCO.
Q: Are there any must have water accessories? Are there any new accessories that are on the rise?
A: Integrated cutting boards are continuing to expand in popularity. These, and other integrated features like colanders help you prep inside the sink to save space on the countertop.
Q: Are there new technologies impacting the faucet and water accessories trends, and if so how?
A: There are no real “new” technologies in play. Most are existing technologies that are being expanded and refined for home use such as “instant” hot and touchless features. Real technological breakthroughs include simple solutions such as the CULINA™ magnetic hook up or improved pump actions on soap dispensers that are the small details that make a huge difference long term.
Q: How does the overall design style of the kitchen impact sink and faucet trends?
A: Open kitchen designs have called for chef-inspired faucet designs that are lower in height and more transitional in design. Our new CULINA MINI faucet fits this new category of downsized pro-style faucets that are also more streamlined and less industrial in appearance.
More matching faucet fixtures – such as matching bar faucets and accessories are also in demand. Many kitchens are featuring multiple stations or prep areas and sinks. A two-sink kitchen may have a prep faucet and a super single. Both require matching fixtures and accessories.
Q: Are there other factors, such as the need for universal design or water conservation concerns, that impact trends?
A: We are continually reaching new water saving levels – now with the launch of 1.5 GPM faucets this year. Regulations in states such as California drive the need for more water saving faucet availability even though the kitchen faucet does not contribute greatly to overall water use in the home. It’s only a small percent of total use. Universal design has driven the need for easy to use and maintain faucets ongoing. BLANCO faucets have always innovated in this area with single lever faucets and our CULINA faucet with magnetic hook up.
BLANCO introduces a line of custom accessories created especially for their QUATRUS kitchen sink collection. The new QUATRUS sink accessories offer clean lines with hardworking details for the consumer that both loves to cook and appreciates fine design.
- Dishwasher safe (top rack only) Workstation that holds sharp knives and utensils safely and conveniently with removable pieces for drainage and cleaning
- Ultra durable Ash Compound Cutting Board that fits to the sink to save space, uses real wood, is food safe, lightweight and offers rubber feet for non slip counter-top use
- Magnetic Sink Caddy holds and organizes cleaning tools inside the sink
- Customized Stainless Steel Grids fit each size bowl for protection
- Exclusively for the Super Single Bowl is the Multi-Level Stainless Steel Grid that serves as an additional rack above the base grid and is designed for additional use on the counter top as a trivet for pots and pans.
The #DIFFA1.2 fundraiser was held at the De Gustibus Cooking School located in Macy’s Herald Square. Products from BLANCO, LAUFEN and Poggenpohl are featured in the recently renovated cooking school, which just celebrated its 35th anniversary in March. #DIFFA1.2 was a commemoration of the 1.2 million birthdays that will be celebrated this year by people living with HIV/AIDS thanks to the efforts of DIFFA, the Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS.
The event was attended by many people in the design community including bloggers and interior designers who were in town for ICFF. The event featured music, dancing, wine and delicious appetizers prepared by a professional Chef. DIFFA makes grants to organizations providing education and treatment for those living with HIV/AIDS, ensuring they have many more birthdays to come. We are proud to support their work!
To learn more about the #DIFFA1.2 event and for event photos visit:
To view video from the event visit BLANCO’s YouTube Channel.
BLANCO introduces the BLANCO PRECIS Medium Single with Drainer featuring an integral drainboard for drying dishes or food prep. The new BLANCO PRECIS offers a crisp angular design, durable SILGRANIT II surface and a unique wave-shaped integrated stainless grid that effectively doubles the drying area when the grid sits on the sink’s functional ledge.
The BLANCO PRECIS is available in eight SILGRANIT II colors including the popular Metallic Grey, which is perfectly crafted to complement the styles of today’s modern kitchens. Custom-designed accessories including stainless steel mesh colander and drainer grid are included with PRECIS. The optional Beechwood cutting board fits on top of the sink, to slice, dice and wipe food scraps right into the bowl.
- Undermount fits 36″ cabinet
- Drop-in fits 27″ cabinet
- Dimensions: 30-3/4″ x 19-3/4″ x 7-1/2″
- Available in White, Biscuit, Biscotti, Café Brown, Truffle, Metallic Grey, Cinder and Anthracite
- 80% solid granite
- Heat resistant up to 536º F
- Unsurpassed cleanability backed by industry leading 7 patents
- Resistant to scratches, stains including all household acids and alkali solutions
Jaden Hair, professional recipe developer, television chef and author of the blog Steamy Kitchen recently decided it was time for a kitchen makeover for her Florida home. She enlisted the help of designer and BLANCO Design Council member, Susan Serra to help her create the perfect kitchen that’s fit for a hard working chef as well as a busy family of four. Jaden only had two requests, a wide open space that would accommodate both family activities and still maintain a large enough area for prepping and cooking, her second request – no laminate!
Q: What’s the recipe to working with a designer to bring your vision to life?
Jaden: I’m such a DIY gal, that I briefly considered designing this kitchen on my own. But within an hour of doing research and sketching out a design on paper, I realized that we’d be putting ourselves at risk if we didn’t hire a professional designer.
Susan flew to our home in Florida from NYC and flew home the same day. We spent about 3 hours measuring, re-measuring the kitchen and discussing ideas.
She knew the right questions to ask, many of them were “lifestyle” questions that I would have never thought would be so important to kitchen design!
For example, we talked about our love for gardening (which led to the Blanco compost feature), where the kids do their homework (which led to the large center island) and the serene mood we wanted to evoke in the space (which led to the Top Knobs Chareau collection).
I think the most important part is to trust the professional designer’s process. Just like in cooking, there is a method, a step by step that helps you get to the perfect end result. Because I trusted in Susan’s process, we were able to create a design that beautifully, seamlessly fit in our lifestyle.
Q: We saw your one requirement was “no laminate!” Did you face any other design challenges during the remodel?
Jaden: We wanted a kitchen design that was timeless: modern but not trendy. This kitchen should fit our tastes and lifestyle – but also future homeowners as well. My specialty is Asian cooking, but we didn’t want the kitchen design to be too Asian inspired. We ended up adding the Asian touches with a Happy Buddha statue carved from a piece of bamboo that my parents hand-carried from China (sits on top of the cabinet) and a Chinese hand-painted silk piece that we framed and hung on the wall. The rest of the kitchen is clean, simple, yet elegant and refined.
Q: As a chef, I’m sure you have specific needs to create the perfect kitchen environment. How did BLANCO help create that?
Jaden: BLANCO’s compost bin has changed our lives! No more ugly, smelly compost buckets! We compost nearly every single vegetable scrap and eggshell. The BLANCO compost bin is hidden, sturdy and eliminates all odors. We add to it several times a day but only empty it once a week. My garden is very happy.
We also really love the BLANCO faucet’s flexible hose. It’s given us so much “flexibility” when it comes to wrangling big pots, washing produce and even just cleaning out the sink. I love that it keeps the faucet attached with a magnet. Our old faucet had a retractable hose that would never stay put!
One of the best design principles that Susan created was that the kitchen should look like part of our living space. That’s why we chose the BLANCO sink design. It’s simple lines and rich color blends beautifully with the countertop. The raised area for draining produce gives us the perfect amount of space for vegetable prep.
Q: What is your favorite part of your new kitchen?
Jaden: That’s such a hard question! The gardener in me says, “the compost!” but the girly girl in me says, “the kitchen jewelry!”
Designer and BLANCO Design Council member, Susan Serra recently teamed up with television chef, cookbook author, and author of the blog Steamy Kitchen, Jaden Hair to renovate and design Jaden’s new and improved kitchen space in her Florida home. The goal for this design was to provide Jaden and her family with a wide open area for family activities while still maintaining enough space for prepping and cooking. With the help of a BLANCO PRECIS™ Cascade sink, BLANCOCULINA™ faucet, the BLANCO SOLON™ Compost System and an eye-catching wall mural, Susan was able to design a kitchen suitable for both a hard-working chef and a busy family of four.
BLANCO interviewed Susan to learn exactly how she was able to put together such a multifunctional kitchen design.
Q: What was your biggest design challenge during this remodel?
Susan: The challenge for every kitchen is to find the perfect balance between function and aesthetics. My philosophy is that aesthetics and function should be equal partners starting out in the design process. Sometimes one or the other will emerge as the leader, sometimes not. In this case, due to a large walk-in pantry outside of the kitchen, storage was not the critical functional element to lead the design as it often does in most American kitchens. We found the sweet spot! As a result, the hard surfaces (cabinetry) are not visually overwhelming in the space, especially as it is an open plan concept, open to a dining space and family room.
Q: How did BLANCO help you to create the perfect kitchen environment for someone who is a mom, wife, and chef?
Susan: The first thing that comes to my mind as I answer this question is STYLE. After all, it’s usually the first thing one notices when experiencing a kitchen. The BLANCO kitchen faucet sends another message that this is a chef’s kitchen (which it is!) The style is contemporary yet soft. The Top Knobs hardware was chosen for its visually soft properties. I love the selection of extra long pulls paired with knobs. Although good looking in their own right, the long pulls make access to cabinetry quick and easy. They also add a more horizontal perspective to the cabinetry which I like.
Q: What was your inspiration for the stunning wall mural?
Susan: The mural was a joint effort. I suggested a mural to feature this single wall and Jaden chose a motif that she feels very connected to – the bamboo forest, a homage to her heritage. I do love the effect in the room!
BLANCO’s wood cutting boards make the perfect accessory for prepping for a Cinco de Mayo party. Wood cutting boards are beautiful and convenient but must be cleaned and maintained correctly to ensure that they last.
Here are a few great tips for cleaning your wood cutting boards:
- Keep your cutting board clean by washing it with dish soap and water directly after each use (Note: NEVER put wood cutting boards in the dishwasher or submerge fully in water, this will cause the wood to absorb the water and split or crack).
- Be sure to dry the cutting board thoroughly after rinsing.
- Avoid prepping any kind of raw meat on a wood cutting board.
- Remove stains by sprinkling coarse salt or baking soda on the cutting board and scrubbing out the stain with a sponge dipped in hot water.
- Deodorize with white vinegar. Keep a spray bottle filled with white vinegar and use it to regularly spray down a cutting board. The vinegar will neutralize odors while working as an all-natural disinfectant.
- To preserve the life of your wood cutting board, wipe it down with mineral oil, sunflower oil once per month to keep the wood conditioned and avoid drying out and splitting.
BLANCO has new cause for celebration: the company recently produced its 50-millionth sink. The 50-millionth sink model, BLANCO Metra XL 6 S, is crafted of SILGRANIT® II, one of the company’s most innovative materials. Unbeatably easy-to-clean, durable and stain-resistant, SILGRANIT II comes in a range of colors and styles.
Achim Schreiber, Chairman of the Executive Board/CEO, explains how BLANCO’s high quality and attention to detail keeps them on top in the industry, “We focus consistently on the sink center with the sink, faucet and waste system. And our aim is to offer the highest quality, best service and professional design in every segment. The impressive figure of 50 million sinks confirms that our strategy is the correct one, and at the same time spurs us on to even greater success.”
The success story actually began back in the 1950s, when BLANCO was one of the first companies to recognize the benefits and opportunities of stainless steel, and started to make sinks out of this timeless, elegant material. Modern hob/sink unit combinations followed, and set the first standards in making kitchen tasks more user-friendly. Over the following decades, BLANCO’s innovative concepts and new materials transformed the standard kitchen sink into a multifunctional, ergonomic workplace. The aesthetic appeal also became more important – with resounding success.
In the mid-80s, BLANCO started another new trend with colored sinks in a composite material. And although stainless steel is still the most widely-used material today, BLANCO has for years been the world’s leading manufacturer of granite sinks. The company also produces its sinks in all three of its market-defining materials, stainless steel, SILGRANIT II and fireclay.
As a company that focuses on the future, BLANCO stands by its responsibility to the ecological and to the social environment based on sustainable economic development. BLANCO commissioned the first CHP heating plant at its Sulzfeld production site in the last business year. Thanks to its highly efficient cogeneration, this environmentally friendly energy supply saves about 370,000 kg of CO2 a year.
Last year, the SILGRANIT sink works in Sinsheim became the first site to be certified to energy management standard DIN EN ISO 50001. The heating systems there are currently being completely redesigned and converted to the latest environmentally-friendly energy and heat production.
BLANCO expanded their DIAMOND SILGRANIT II series to include a new Super Single TRUE Undermount. Available in eight universally appealing colors, the collection now includes 12 style options.
The DIAMOND Super Single TRUE UNDERMOUNT is designed to make installation simple and easy for the professional installer and fabricator. It features an ultra large capacity bowl with high performance design details such as soft drain grooves that provide both function and a stunning professional look.
“This product was developed at the request of customers and fabricators who typically specify a true undermount and love our DIAMOND series,” states Tim Maicher, Director of Marketing for BLANCO. “While there is flexibility in our dual mount version, a true undermount makes it easier for fabricators to install the sink without complication.”
BLANCO’s DIAMOND Super Single TRUE UNDERMOUNT features the SILGRANIT II patented formula that will never fade, resists scratches, heat, food acids, impact and more. Its impermeable Hygienic+Plus surface is proven to act as a shield to dirt and bacteria, making it safe for food prep.
With this new addition there are now 12 DIAMOND SILGRANIT II sink options including 1-3/4 Bowl with Low Divide; 1-3/4 Bowl with Reverse Low Divide; Equal Double Bowl (Dual Mount and Undermount); Bar Sink; Single Bowl (Dual Mount and Undermount) Super Single Bowl (Dual Mount and Undermount); 1-1/2 Bowl; 1-3/4 Bowl (Dual Mount and Undermount).
BLANCO DIAMOND Super Single Undermount
- Dimensions: 33-1/2″ x 18-1/2″ x 9-1/2″
- Available in all eight SILGRANIT II colors
- Accessories: Current Grid #221010
- List Price: $625
Here are some great #SaveWaterTips to celebrate Earth Day. Join the conversation and tweet, instagram or facebook your tips to help raise money for Water for People and for a chance to win a water-saving faucet. Use the hashtag #SaveWaterTips to enter. Contest ends Midnight tonight.
In honor of Earth Day, BLANCO is running a social media contest to help promote the importance of water-conservation efforts.
The #SaveWaterTips social media contest will start on April 15th leading up to Earth Day on April 22nd. To enter, participants are asked to comment or tweet their best water-saving tip using the hashtag #SaveWaterTips.
One person will be selected by random drawing to win a BLANCO Water-Saving Faucet on Earth Day. For every comment and hashtag, BLANCO will donate $1 up to $500 to Water for People, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing clean water for families all over the world.
Enter the #SaveWaterTips contest on BLANCO’s Facebook page. Contest only applicable in the U.S.