Enter the #BLANCOsmile contest for a chance to win an iPad Mini 

Our contest is entering week #2 and over 60 people entered week one! The winner of each week will be awarded 1 of 7 iPad Minis and the people’s favorite caption across all 7 weeks will win the 8th iPad Mini.

Write a caption for this week’s image, below, for a chance to win.

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The winner of our contest for week #1 was Erin Thomas with the caption:

“It’s worth traveling to the ends of the earth to find a little beauty.”

Congratulations! You have won an iPad Mini.

Winning Caption: It's worth traveling to the ends of the earth to find a little beauty.

Winning Caption: It’s worth traveling to the ends of the earth to find a little beauty.

And remember to vote for your favorite captions! We’ll announce the winner of the popular voting on 10/23/14.

Modenus will be helping to judge the winning captions weekly (www.modenus.com).

Also don’t hesitate to head on over to http://www.spielkkind.de/ and instagram.com/spielkkind to check out more of Kerstin Hiestermann’s artwork.

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Click here to enter.

BLANCO employees and sales representatives are not eligible to participate.

Whoever said childlike whimsy had to stop when you become an adult? Well apparently Kerstin Hiestermann never got the memo. The German Instagram artist has risen to prominence in the photo sharing community for her art pieces that display everyday items in collaboration with her own minimalist drawings. These two components combine to create something that can only be described as magical. Hiestermann discusses her introduction to Instagram, her creative process, and more when we interviewed her recently.

wasserhahn gWhat first inspired you to do iPhone art and then to share it on Instagram?

I learned about Instagram from some friends. They used the app and invited me to join. I was excited by the opportunity to be able to post and share my pictures so quickly and easily. I was also fascinated by the pictures of other users from other countries, cultures and ways of life.

How did you get started with your art concept?

The idea of combining a concrete object and my own free hand drawing came to me rather randomly. Around Christmas time I was baking biscuits and cookies with my youngest son and the idea popped in my head of a little man running from the biscuit. So I put the biscuit on a white paper, lined with simple lines to a landscape and took this picture with my iPhone. So gradually I added more and more of these images in my Instagram gallery until I eventually wrote in the caption of one of my photos: “I cannot stop with this”, because at that point I had an endless stream of ideas flowing out of me.

u-boot gWhat came first – your art or Instagram?

Instagram. I do not know if I would have ever created my art without Instagram.

Have you always been an artist?

No, not at all. I am a teacher as was my mother. There is a very large, childlike part of me, I have reserved unto myself. But now, I can express that through my pictures.

Tell us about your teaching. What makes you smile? What your goals are for your artwork, Instagram.

Children, with their unique view of the world, make me laugh. I love my work with the children and at the same time I myself have a head full of fun and funny ideas. I think that’s a good combination to have. Its good to laugh over and over again and see the world with a smile and a wink.

What is your creative process? How did you come up with the concepts for BLANCO?

In my paintings I always work with individual objects that speak to me and fascinate me with their shape or appearance. I like my work to be very minimalist. The particular style of Blanco was perfect for my work. The elegant stainless steel surfaces and the design of the accessories such as a faucet, a cutting board or a drain cover have a very high visual appeal for me.

Where do you find your real life props to go with your drawings?

The are no limits, I find my items anywhere in my environment. In my garden, in the house, in the kitchen, at work, at school. My eyes are always open and looking for a beautiful new object, an idea or an association.

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Which is your favorite BLANCO piece?

Definitely the CapFlow Stainless Steel Drain Cover.  I love the brushed stainless steel, the simple design and the engraved Blanco logo. Thus, it is also the image that is created with this object (the globe) that is one of my favorite pictures.

What other comments would you want to share?

I never thought or knew I had so much creativity in me, but I always had the courage to try things. Instagram gave me a wonderful opportunity to come in contact with people all over the world. The imagery is so universal that it does not matter who you are or where you come from, you can always find someone who understands.

In honor of Kerstin Hiestermann and her whimsical approach to using objects and illustration created in her own kitchen, BLANCO has decided to team up with the German Instagram artist in creating a photo caption contest.

Enter the #BLANCOsmile contest to win an iPad Mini.

There will be 7 images and 8 chances to win over a 7-week period. The winner of each week will be awarded 1 of 7 iPad Minis and the people’s favorite caption across all 7 weeks will win the 8th iPad Mini. Modenus will join us to help spread the word and to help judge the winning captions weekly (www.modenus.com). Also don’t hesitate to head on over to http://www.spielkkind.de/ and instagram.com/spielkkind to check out more of Kerstin Hiestermann’s artwork.

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Click here to enter.

BLANCO employees and sales representatives are not eligible to participate.

Here’s the latest buzz about the beautiful BLANCO sinks that are featured in leading home design magazines. BLANCO was part of some artistic and vintage makeovers.

Atlanta Homes Magazine featured BLANCO

Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles Magazine featured the BLANCO CULINA™ faucet as part of an art collector’s dream makeover.

Better Homes & Gardens Kitchen & Bath Makeovers included a BLANCO sink in the makeover of home design blogger, Rhoda Vickers.

Home and Architectural Trends Magazine made BLANCO part of

Home and Architectural Trends Magazine featured a BLANCO sink in an Amish style house.

The stunning BLANCO Precision Stainless Steel sink was part of a New York "Kitchen of The Month" in House Beautiful Magazine

BLANCO’s stunning Precision Stainless Steel sink was part of the “Kitchen of The Month” in House Beautiful Magazine.

Cover

THROUGH A DESIGNER’S EYE

Welcome to the design issue of BLANCO’s Inspirations Magazine - featuring trends and inspiration for your home.

Each year, BLANCO visits design shows around the world to see what’s new and trending for our industry. We view these shows through the eyes of the design community – especially our BLANCO Design Council. They live and breathe this world – absorbing a constant stream of new products and information. And they make daily decisions that impact our living spaces and our lifestyles. We’ve dedicated this issue of Inspirations to design – through a designer’s vantage point.

BLANCO’s stylish sinks and faucets continue to receive major press exposure for their innovation and high performance. Here are a few of the recent media hits from top publications that featured BLANCO’s award-winning products.

1forresidential

For Residential Pros featured the BLANCO SONOMA™.

gb&D

GB&D featured BLANCO ATTIKA™ in their KBIS 2014 round up.

architectsnewspaper

Architect’s Newspaper highlighted the BLANCO MODEX™ sink as an advance in technology.

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Kitchen & Bath Design News featured the BLANCO ATTIKA™.

Before you select a stylish granite countertop for your kitchen, you may want to visit GraniteGrannies to see their stunning array of countertop designs.

Founder, owner and lead designer Lori Hethmon shares her ideas and thoughts on the latest trends in stone and what consumers need to know before they invest in a high-end countertop.

loriHethmon

Founder and owner of Granite Grannies, Lori Hethmon

Welcome Lori. Let’s start off with what is trending in high-end or exotic stones these days? 

LH: In terms of high-end Quartzites, I think natural stone is a keeper or any Marblesque looking stone, which are typically harder than marble. Red stone colors are also starting to trend.

We haven’t seen Red in a while so it’s exciting. I am always ready for the next trend. It’s all about passion and Red is so strong and bold.

I love stone, so for me, granite has to be the showiest piece in any kitchen. Red in granite is different than paint. It’s not solid, it has variation in the pattern so you can use it everywhere. You don’t have to just make it a focal point.

What does the designer or consumer need to look for when picking granite for their kitchen?

LH: Look for something you love. It’s so simple but it sums it all up.

So often, homeowners talk themselves out of a beautiful stone because they are trying to match everything. If you love it – then it will look beautiful no matter what.

What are some  difficult stones that make for great spaces?

There’s a huge variety in how stones react to the polishing process. Some are hard, some are brittle. Stone varies quite a bit. It’s the biggest thing that we help customers to understand – how we form or shape different stones. Different fabricators can do different levels of stone. Exotics are complex. The most important thing you need to consider is a fabricator that understands how the stone will be used. We always ask what the use is. We guide the customer to the right stone –  for how it looks, functionality, etc.

While working with the design-minded consumer and designer, can you give some fabricator tips for adding value?

LH: We do add a lot of value – but it’s up to the fabricator how to cut the stone based on its pattern. That’s where real design work comes in. If there’s a particular swirl or veining – you want to pick what goes where to have a pleasing flow of stone. We strategically take advantage of the parts the customer loved most about the stone – placing those parts in a visible and prominent position is very important.

Also, using the same stone throughout the entire house, if laid out differently, gives it a visually appealing and effective look.

How involved are you in client decision making? 

Antique White granite countertop brings gives the kitchen a luxury look and feel (photo: courtesy www.granitegrannies.com)

Antique White granite countertop brings gives the kitchen a luxury look and feel (photo: courtesy of Granite Grannies)

LH: We are hands-on with our clients. We talk about their home, who lives there, needs, budget, how long they will live there, etc.  We just don’t put basic stones there. If you want to get off the beaten path – without spending too much – visit someone who knows a wide variety of stone. There are thousands of stones on the market. It’s incredible. Very few realize the variety available to them. We expose people to the real world of stone. 

Also, customers do not realize there’s a lot more mark up on the lower end. I could make more money but I would hate my job. You may not have to spend more to get something really unique and interesting for your home.

To learn more about Granite Grannies, visit www.granitegrannies.com.

To download our free app which helps you to match countertops to sinks, click here.

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.”

Finalist14_black

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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