BLANCO NAPA in Stainless Steel

The fluid design of the BLANCO NAPA in Stainless Steel is a great example of livable style.

BLANCO’s Director of Marketing, Tim Maicher, shares his personal views and thoughts on current trends in kitchen sinks and faucets and the impact of technology, design and style.

In your opinion, what are some of the biggest trends you are currently seeing in faucets and water accessories? 

It’s about right-sizing to the space in an elegant manner. The open room concept is one of the hottest trends today and requires that all things work together to create a good flow of space within the home. A large, tall, or conventional professional-looking faucet can unintentionally disrupt or unbalance the room and / or view.  Our design team has come up with faucet designs like CULINA™, CULINA™ Mini, NAPA™, and SONOMA™, that bring out the best in an open room concept by making the size, style, and function complement the space, rather than crowd it.

Based on consumer popularity, what are some of the most popular finishes and materials for faucets? And with that, what styles are the most in demand? 

Stainless remains a popular and in-demand product. However, the use of color as an accent within kitchen design is growing and again ties into the trend of “the personal touch.”  This can range from using color on accent tiles, cabinets and even faucets. A splash of color can totally change the room and make it unique! This is why we’ve seen growth in products like our ALTA™ Compact, which uses elegant accent colors mixed with metal to complement the kitchen design.

There are so many choices in sizes for consumers to choose from when picking their BLANCO sink. What are some of the popular sizes currently trending in the market?

Kitchen sinks appear to be getting bigger although it really is a shift from the bulky looking double bowls we grew up with to single bowl sinks. Faucets are actually going in the opposite direction. They are not getting small, they are getting right-sized so that they work within an open floor plan, yet deliver on performance, cleanability, and yes… style! Creating a true balance between open plan design and faucet design was the inspiration for our newest faucets like CULINA, CULINA Mini, NAPA, and SONOMA.

In what way would you say Universal Design impacts kitchen sink and faucet trends?

BLANCO CULINA mini

BLANCO CULINA MINI is right-sized and works great in open floor plans, or as a second faucet.

Universal Design does have an impact and will continue to do so as the boomers age. Faucets, for example, in many cases already meet the basic functional needs with easy-to-move levers, but the heart of Universal Design is really about making life easier in the kitchen.  Incorporating Universal Design themes into products in an aesthetically pleasing way is growing in importance. Our designers looked at how to blend great functionality in an easy-to-care-for, and easy-to-use design that delivers great style. We reinvented the concept of  a professional-looking faucet to meet this growing demand with our CULINA and new CULINA Mini, which feature an easy-to-clean coil and a magnetic spray holder.

What new technologies do you think are currently impacting faucet and water accessories trends? 

The use of magnets in faucet design is making things better for the user  - it’s as simple as making it easier to access and put away the hand spray. I love the idea that technology surprises and delights the user when they interact with the faucet. Looking forward, technology in all forms will continue to make faucets even simpler to enjoy.

What role does the overall design play when impacting kitchen sink and faucet trends? 

BLANCO SONOMA

BLANCO SONOMA features clean lines and enduring style.

For faucet design,  it has everything to do with matching the trend of style. While traditional design still has a far lead in the U.S., a growing movement is to modern design, which is really another way of bringing a new sensibility to transitional forms. The trend in modern kitchen design has allowed us to open up our view of transitional styling to incorporate more organic elements of shape - like our NAPA series. We also look to softer plays on traditional design, like our SONOMA series. Another key reason for this new sensibility of transitional design is that the kitchen now extends into other living spaces – which means that the faucet has to balance with the entire space. This is a long-term trend that will continue  for as long as the open space concept is popular.

Water conservation is such an important trend these days, especially in kitchen products. What role does BLANCO play in conserving water with their faucets?

It’s growing, but has not taken on full steam. The growth we have seen on the kitchen side is due to legislative actions like CALGREEN and municipalities requiring water saving kitchen faucets. We do believe, however, that we are in the early stages of water conservation and that it will rapidly increase over the next 5 years.

BLANCO debuts the stunning QUATRUS™ R15 stainless steel kitchen sink with an exclusive rounded corner concept that makes clean up a breeze. The stylish and easy to clean QUATRUS R15 reflects all things modern — designer appeal, exceptional engineering and high-end features — at a price that’s well within reach.

“With a uniquely rounded corner design, QUATRUS R15 delivers all of the beauty of a designer stainless steel sink while meeting every day kitchen needs,” states Tim Maicher, Director of Marketing for BLANCO. “It is as functional as it is fabulous. It’s seriously the best of both worlds.”519548_QUAT-R15_S-SING_GRID_GL(1)

Optional accessories include stainless steel grids that protect the sink, glass cutting boards and stainless steel colanders for increased efficiency

Details

QUATRUS R15 comes in six different styles including: bar, equal double, small single, medium single, super single and 1-3/4 bowls.

  • Bowl depth ranges from 8” on bar bowl to 9” on kitchen sinks
  • BLANCO’s 304 series stainless steel
  • 18 gauge stainless steel
  • 18/10 chrome-nickel content
  • Signature Satin Polished Finish

Kelly Morisseau: Author, Writer, Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer

Kelly Morisseau: Author, Writer, Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer

Part of being a homeowner for an extended period of time means accepting the idiosyncrasies of one’s home.  Little dings here and there can add character and show that a house is being lived in. But when do those charming little marks become areas of genuine concern? Guidance to questions like this and more can be found in “Kelly’s Kitchen Savvy”, a book written by Kelly Morrisseau, a Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer with more than 25 years of experience designing kitchens.

Every home requires maintenance, but when dealing with the kitchen the number of choices to make can be overwhelming. Kelly’s book offers insight into how to prioritize projects and avoid rushing to buy items that may not work in the long-term. Other helpful advice includes identifying improvements you can tackle in the short term while saving up for bigger projects that require more investment in terms of time and money.

Kelly's Kitchen Savvy

Some tidbits from the book.

  1. Understand the chronological implications of each step in a kitchen remodel. They’ll prevent you from wasting time and money on items that will have to be torn out and redone later on because they were completed out of order.
  2. If there are a few items that need to be repaired or restored, always tackle the safety items first, such as loose floor tile.  
  3. Sinks have grown in size over the last few years. When shopping for a replacement, make sure the sink cabinet is wide enough to accommodate your new sink. Measure the inside of the sink base, and read the sink specifications, which may mention the size of the cabinet required. Don’t measure the exterior width as it doesn’t account for the size of the interior framing. For example, a 36 in. wide sink base is actually 34-1/2 in. on the interior. Only a sink that is 33 in. or less would be the right fit for that cabinet.
  4. Stainless steel in a sink is rated according to thickness: the greater the thickness, the lower the number of the gauge or rating. Thus an 18-gauge sink offers better quality than one that’s only 20-gauge. There are also 12 – and 16-gauge sinks, but they are more commonly used in commercial applications. 18 gauge is perfectly acceptable and from a high quality manufacturer is always preferred.

If you’re considering a kitchen remodel, or just looking for a good read that might be beneficial to future updates, “Kelly’s Kitchen Savvy” is a great pick up. You can find the Kindle Edition of the book at http://www.amazon.com/Kellys-Kitchen-Savvy-Solutions-Remodels-ebook/dp/B00LGC3GM0. Also be sure to check out Morisseau’s other titles “Kelly’s Kitchen Sync” and “20 Kitchen Design Questions Answered.”

 

BLANCO is a 2014 International Design Excellent Awards® (IDEA) finalist for the innovative BLANCO ONE Sink Collection. The ONE Collection offers three new sinks and five innovative accessory kits that combine to form unique customized solutions for cooking, organizing and cleaning.

ONESINK

“We are so excited to have been recognized as a finalist for the 2014 IDEA awards,” states Tim Maicher, Director of Marketing for BLANCO. “With thousands of entries this year from around the world, we are proud of the fact that the BLANCO ONE Collection stainless steel sinks stood out for their functionality, performance and customizable features that fit so many lifestyles.”

“This year’s IDEA jury had a fairly audacious task judging more than 2,000 entries,” stated Tad Toulis 2014 IDEA Jury Chair. “As we made our way through the entries, we had to make tough choices. Be assured that each and every design submitted contributed to a vigorous and thoughtful debate. We congratulate BLANCO on their work and for making it to the final round.”

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IDEA has for 35 years recognized design excellence in products, sustainability, and interaction design, packaging, strategy, research and concepts and welcomed entrees from students to worldwide companies. Winners and finalist showcase the best examples of design insight, talent, passion and design excellence.

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BLANCO wins Silver at the 2014 Communicator Awards for its new ONE kitchen sink collection online video – recognizing the “big idea” and marketing concept behind the innovative series.

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“As a company, BLANCO wins more than its share of product design awards, but in this case it’s not just the design of the product, but the marketing behind it that is also innovative,” states Tim Maicher, Director of Marketing for BLANCO. “The inspiration behind ONE is personalization. To match your sink to an accessory combination to make it the ‘ONE’ sink for you. To keep it simple and draw consumers and designers into the concept, we created personas for each sink and accessory kit. The marketing materials identified common lifestyles such as Foodies, Families and Metros to go with each sink and accessory kit combination. Consumers and designers both began to identify themselves with the personas. If you’re a Foodie, then this sink is the ONE for you.”

trophy_silver“We held events and twitter chats where designers discussed which personas they were and these were shared through social media and later a digital magazine, video and blog posts. The award winning videos for the individual personas have some of our highest retention rates on YouTube,” continues Maicher.

The Communicator Awards is the premier international awards program for acknowledging big ideas in marketing and communications. Since its inception, two decades ago, The Communicator Awards receives over 6,000 entries from companies and agencies of all sizes, making it one of the largest awards of its kind in the world. To be named a winner at this prestigious ceremony provides the company and their clients the recognition they deserve, and validation that their work is highly regarded by their peers within the industry.

BLANCO’s agency of record is Frank Advertising who has won numerous awards for its creative and strategic work on behalf of BLANCO.

Interior Designers on a mission to shelter a family in Guatemala

Interior Designers on a mission to shelter a family in Guatemala

BLANCO recently helped sponsor Florence Von Pelet and Sarah Miller from Modenus who joined a group of interior designers/bloggers on a mission to help shelter a family of six in Guatemala. The designers included Kelly Kole, Joann Kandrac and Pamela Copeman.  The heart-felt mission was organized by Catalyst Resources International.

The house was finished in two and a half days by a group of thirteen determined women. On the night of the dedication, it poured; but, everyone was kept dry in their newly built home.

The three day goal wasn’t the only challenge faced… a couple of team members had to stuff their shirts with paper to protect themselves from barbed wire that lined a neighbor’s fence while building the back wall of the house.

At the completion of the project, the entire village gathered to see the finished home. The family received their house keys and unlocked their front door for the first time to find a dinner table and two bedrooms furnished with brand new beds, mattresses, sheets, blankets and pillows.

Thank you to our friends in the interior design community for including us in your life’s work both inside and outside the office!

* All images produced by Chasen West Photography for Kandrac & Kole

 

 

After only the first day, the house was coming together.

After only the first day, the house was coming together.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dedication time!

Dedication time!

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BLANCO debuts the beautiful CULINA MINI – demonstrating that all good things do come in “right-sized” packages.

Handsomely crafted and optimized for open floor plans, the CULINA MINI displays intelligent engineering with sophisticated styling. The closed coil is sleek, tangle-free and easy to clean while the magnetic spray holder allows the faucet to glide effortlessly into place.

“The new CULINA MINI offers all the function, performance and innovation of our original CULINA faucet, just in a smaller profile to give designers limitless options for open living spaces,” states Tim Maicher, Director of Marketing for BLANCO. “Consumers still want to work in a gourmet kitchen inspired by world class restaurants – but often these industrial features do not look very sophisticated in an open space. The CULINA MINI offers pro-style functionality in a package that is right-sized to integrate into a kitchen that’s part of the home and not a back-room operation.”

Details

  • Solid brass body
  • Ceramic disc cartridge
  • 2.2 GPM flow rate – also available in 20% CAL Green water-saving model
  • Double spiral flexible pull-out spray hose
  • Reach 7-7/8″; Spout Height 7″; Faucet Height 17-1/8″
  • Two finishes: Polished Chrome; Satin Nickel
  • Reversible mounting hardware adapts to thick or thin mounting surfaces
  • Retails from $650 for Polished Chrome and $725 for Satin Nickel

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Andie Day, Founder Shift Legacy

BLANCO Design Council member and interior designer Andie Day  recently completed her first high-end renovation project through her newly formed company Shift Legacy.

The company co-founded with her daughter Melissa Cummings, is a luxury concierge service that caters to professional men in need of special personal services including interior design, image consulting, personal assistant recruiting, event planning and much more.

According to Day, her long association with BLANCO was a motivating factor in staring her  new company.

“In many ways, participating on BLANCO’s Design Council has also been a contributing factor in the start up,” stated Day. “Traveling to international design fair shows in Germany with BLANCO have greatly influenced my desire to enter this niche market which I have become an expert in.”BLANCOPrecisSilgraniteCafeBrown

For her first renovation project under her new company, Day  and her team designed the interiors of a luxurious condominium featuring high-end appliances and kitchen products including including BLANCO’s PRECIS™ SILGRANIT® Single Bowl sink in cafe brown which went nicely in the luxurious and stylish high tech kitchen.

Day compares the new condo project to that of an “fast paced Hollywood action film” featuring trademark dashing men, adrenaline rush excitement and rugged adventures that make for a box office hit.

BeforeAfter1

With the entry wall cut back, anyone entering the condo has a clear view of the cityscape. The modification lends to a greater visual footprint and with it the kitchen feels much more spacious and enjoyable to work in. The sink was moved to the peninsula to allow greater functionality and views of city. (Before image on right and After is on left)

The complete condo renovation from top to bottom came from Day’s inspirational designs set to suit the owner’s taste.

“We met with our new client briefly before he left the U.S. for an extended trip. He had purchased the apartment fully furnished and was ready to make serious changes to address his frequent entertaining and to update the dated furnishings/finishes. We altered the kitchen footprint by expanding the opening to the living areas and cutting back the entry wall. Finishes and furnishings, including decorative lighting and subtle textures, set the stage for entertaining a large crowd or special dinner for two,” states Day.

The designer  says that BLANCO has been her go-to kitchen sink and faucet manufacturers for years because of BLANCO’s quality and service which offers peace of mind for both her firm and clients. ”BLANCO is committed to research and development and delivers products that are on trend and in many cases becomes the trend,” states Day.

BeforeAfter02

The renovated space melds the allure of an urban palette with a lounge‐like vibe designed for entertaining. (After is on left. Before is on right)

In this before and after room which is the main entertainment area, the renovated space melds the allure of the urban palette with a lounge-like vibe designed for entertaining family and friends.

Before the renovation (left),  Day and her team modified a shared wall at living room/kitchen to include new peninsula with generous seating for three, a hip mini bar and loads of build-in media equipment storage.

Even though the renovation project at times posed logistical challenges, including fast track requirements, relocation of six plumbing fixtures with apartments above and below, limited service elevator access and demolition removal, Day managed  to make amazing transformations to comply with the client’s frequent entertaining lifestyle using modern furnishings and finishes.

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Urban palette of grays, oxblood; navy and dark wood grains give the space a hip, edgy. vibe that the client was looking for.

Today’s natural and engineered surfaces offer literally hundreds of design colors and styles. Designers and fabricators often ask how we innovate colors for our durable SILGRANIT® II kitchen sinks. Do you need hundreds of sink hues to match with all of these options? The answer has taken BLANCO’s design team years of color research and technology to perfect, resulting in eight intelligent colors that effortlessly and seamlessly integrate with nearly every new or existing counter surface in the marketplace.

How we match colors to sinks… Start with neutrals or earth tones

“When we visit fabricators or showrooms, we break our eight sink colors into two groups, neutrals and earth tones,” states Tim Maicher, director of marketing for BLANCO. “Then we place stone or quartz products in the center to match to our color families and you can see just how easy it is to find the right color – to match the right counter. In fact, in the example below – the stone product at the bottom center is meant to go with our Earth Tones – but it also blends nicely with our neutral sinks as well. When you have intelligent colors, you don’t need hundreds to make the right match.”

Slide2

Yes, there’s an app for that.
BLANCO has a newly updated Mobile Color App that lets you mix and match countertops with BLANCO sinks. You can even customize the countertop choices in the App by uploading any countertop material, using your mobile camera!  To learn more or download this free App, click here.

When is it time for a new color?
“We are also asked if we will come out with any new colors,” states Maicher. “BLANCO is always monitoring the trends and playing with color formulas, so yes, we’ll continue to innovate as new colors are needed. Cinder was our latest color and is a structured mix of black, brown and grey. As grey is the predominant color for kitchens today, we wanted a warmer, sophisticated grey that would grow with the category. And as colors shift, so will BLANCO’s intelligent color selection.”

What is SILGRANIT II?
Featuring an ultra-durable and cleanable surface made of 80% rock-hard granite, BLANCO SILGRANIT
® sinks resist scratches, stains and heat and holds 7 patents for its advanced technology.  And with 23 shapes to choose from, the SILGRANIT® sinks collection fits more than just your style, it fits the way you live.

Granite and quartz or solid surface materials dominate the countertop scene for kitchens, but a recent NKBA study indicates that granite may be peaking in popularity. If you are specifying or fabricating countertops for kitchens, it’s a great idea to invest time to learn more about innovative new options that are available in the market. It’s always important to stay on top of new developments and to be ready to implement them as they grow in popularity.

Advances in thin tile countertops

According to Neolith, slim tile is an exceptional counter surface material, it has near-zero porosity, making the product hygienic, stain resistant, easy-to-clean and impervious to chemicals. The product is also wear, scratch, heat resistant and its all-natural colors do not vary when exposed to UV rays. Additionally, the thin product is lightweight and easy to install, making it suitable for virtually every indoor and outdoor home surface. Neolith also launched a 3200x1500mm (10.5’x4.9’) slab with a 12 mm (1/2”) thickness. The new size allows for better utilization of the surface, as well as reduced waste. For instance, one large slab can be utilized for two full countertops.

In 2012, Inalco (a Tile of Spain manufacturer) was the first company in the world to bring textures and relief patterns to its large-format slimline Slimmker tiles. These slim tiles allowed greater flexibility for walls, backsplashes and countertops in porcelain. Recently, Inalco launched a 12mm (1/2”) thick ceramic slab measuring 1500x3000mm (4.9’x9.8’). Available in 10 colors with a natural or bush-hammered finish, it’s a step forward for thin tile countertop ceramic surfaces.

Inalco launches new 12mm thin porcelain countertop in @ 5’x10’ format with natural or bush-hammered finish.

Inalco launches new 12mm thin porcelain countertop in @ 5’x10’ format with natural or bush-hammered finish.

Neolith Iron 2

Neolith Iron Copper offers an oxidized industrial look that is trending and is available in 3mm, 5mm or 12mm thicknesses. The thinner tiles can be used over an existing surface.

What’s next in solid surfacing?

dekton4

Dekton by Cosentino

Dekton by Cosentino is an innovative ultra-compact surface capable of seamless use both indoors and outdoors. By utilizing Particle Sintering Technology, a proprietary technique that mimics the metamorphic change that rocks and stone undergo in nature when subjected to heat and pressure over thousands of years, Dekton has unique technical properties, including UV and thermal shock resistance, superior strength, high resistance to impact, scratches and abrasion, and low water absorption. Produced in large format slabs, measuring approximately 126 inches x 56 inches, Dekton allows for large-scale interior and exterior applications.  Dekton is available in 12 white, grey, black, and natural stone hues and in three polished, matte, and slate finishes.

“It is vital that the tile installer secures specific tile and installation material manufacturers product and installation recommendations, and takes the necessary time to invest in the proper tools and equipment for installing these innovative products,” states Bart Bettiga, executive director of the National Tile Contractors Association and publisher for TileLetter Magazine. “Several of the manufacturers of these products produce detailed installation guides and product recommendations, and the NTCA recommends careful study of these before beginning the installation.”

BLANCO has a newly updated Mobile Color App that lets you mix and match countertops with BLANCO sinks. You can even customize the countertop choices in the App by uploading any countertop material, using your mobile camera!  To learn more or download this free App, click here.

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