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The convention floor buzzed with excitement last month as the National Kitchen and Bath Show got under way. Designers and builders viewed the hundreds of manufacturer booths that lined the floor looking for the latest and greatest finds for homeowners. The crowd was dense, and spirits were high in light of the booming US economy.

I used to come to this show every year. But, after a while it seemed I knew the products and was just going to view the newest colors or styles; information you could easily get from a good magazine. What is very obvious to me after attending this year is that innovation is king, and changes are happening very quickly requiring more frequent visits.

This year Jennifer and I tagged teamed the event and found appliances that have reached way outside the box with innovative drawer style refrigerators, more effective dishwashing, induction stove tops and smart features. In cabinetry, creative features abound, like drop down shelves and new styles of corner units. There are more smart appliances like hands free toilets and faucets than you can count. With over 600 exhibitors covering over 1.5 million square feet we easily walked 6 miles a day.

Here are a few of our top picks from the KBIS show:

Rosie’s Picks

Outdoor Living: 

I loved the pool furniture made for inside the pool! Ledge Lounger furniture, manufactured in the USA, includes recliners, sofas, ottomans, tables – even a ping pong table all made from high density polyethylene and able to stand up to the water and sun. Seeing this product will force me to change the design of my next swimming pool. I thought I would never have another swimming pool after my kids moved out, but pools with large underwater ledge areas are made with family entertainment in mind. The ledge lounger furniture is made to sit in the water allowing swimmers to stay cool, wet and relaxed. Add an umbrella (they make those too!) and this is the ticket to summer barbecues and hanging out in the pool. Check them out at

Plumbing Fixtures: 

Delta Faucets and Kohler products have always been my favorites. This year Delta presented the Delta’s Voice IQ Technology faucet that fills your glass by voice command.

Note: It is easy to get pulled in by some of the beautiful fixtures presented and there is no limit on what you can spend on fixtures that make a highly unique bathroom environment. But, for my money I’m more convinced than ever that fixtures made by long standing manufacturers are the best value. They have an established reputation and distribution channel of parts for future repair. I have experienced the pain in the neck that comes with the difficulty in servicing one of a kind fixtures and appliances. Shop major manufacturers as they provide styles to fit most decorative schemes and it will eliminate grief in the future.

Smart Technology:

Pantry and Refrigerator Cameras. With an app on your phone you can check out what is in your pantry from the store. This Smart Technology makes shopping easy!

Note: Most Smart Technology isn’t smart enough for me yet, and if it depends on Wi-Fi, I’m additionally skeptical. Smart technology is often touted as an easy and inexpensive way to provide home security. Do you want to trust your home to the reliability of your internet provider? Verifying doors are locked and monitoring your front porch remotely are useful. Telling your kitchen sink to deliver one cup of cold water is useful. But it seems to me that Smart Technology innovators stretch the bounds of practical and useful with many of their apps.

Jennifer’s Picks

Grand Canyon Gas Logs:

These life-like logs start by collecting specimens from the floor of Arizona forest, then they are individually cast and hand painted! The logs come in 7 varieties, including my favorite Arizona Juniper. Their durable steel burners combined with these ceramic logs provide a hot and realistic fire. For ambiance check out their fire glass and fire beads for outdoor applications. This award-winning company, right here in Phoenix, is in the right place as our number of burn days continue to diminish with the growing population. Check them out at

Unique Appliances:

Unique Appliances made in Canada provide a great option for remote locations like cabins and living off the grid. Unique has been in business for 65 years and it is distributed around the country. Available in beautiful retro colors, they now have a second line that is slimmer and smaller for the Tiny House crowd. You supply the power (gas, propane or solar) and they provide the appliance. Check them out at

Clever storage:

That wasted space in that back breaking space called the corner unit has finally met its match. The LeMans corner unit by Kessebohmer is named after the LeMans racetrack. The easily installed unit snakes its way out of the cabinet offering its contents without one contortionist move. Check out their website, for more unique storage ideas


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