The latest and greatest in modern housewares

By Lew Sichelman

The range of new and modern housewares and appliances is staggering. Gone are the days when appliances did merely one thing; now we’re talking about online gadgets, new materials and new functionality.

Thousands of sinks, faucets, cabinets, toilets and numerous other product categories are all vying for space within your new home.

If they catch on with builders, they could be available in new homes this fall. Of course, current home owners don’t have to wait. If they want to do some remodeling, many of the latest and greatest are available right now.

“No Wiggle” Cabinet Pullout

Selected by This Old House magazine as one of the top new kitchen products, the “No-Wiggle” pull-out base cabinet from Hardware Resources keeps heavy loads of canned goods, jarred food and kitchen utensils, among other things, readily accessible.

A heavy duty top-mounting bracket and slides all but eliminate side-to-side movement and sag, while concealed undermount slides make for silent and smooth operation. Since it was introduced, it has already become the company’s biggest seller.

“Vent” if you like

New vent hood technology from Italian company Elica, a global leader in the sector, uses wireless sensors to constantly monitor cooking vapors and temperatures, and automatically adjusts to maintain optimal operation. The systems detects the temperature of the air and its moisture content, then adjusts the blower speed to achieve the best air quality. Available in 36 and 42-inch widths, the design fits just about any kitchen aesthetic.

With funding from Uncle Sam, Newport Partners and Broan-Nutone are in the development stage of a smart range hood that senses pollutants and automatically removes same. Most hoods on the market today are ineffective at their capture, and too noisy, the companies maintain. Their proposed unit will not only be quiet, it will be five-times more efficient than today’s Energy Star units and capture nearly 100 percent of the bad stuff. Target completion date in the fall of 2019. But it could be sooner.

Electric fireplaces

No propane or natural gas required. The new Touchstone Sideline Electric Fireplaces fit in any room as a simple in-wall insert. They are vent and maintenance free and cool-to-the touch, so they are child and pet-friendly. The flame colour, intensity and heat can by adjusted by remote control.

Another maker, Napoleon, displayed a linear, see-thru electric fireplace that can heat two rooms at different rates. Units heat up to 800 square feet, and have up to a 49-inch viewing area.

Soak it in

The Nebia Spa Shower envelops you in warm steam and spray. With 10 precision-tuned nozzles that atomize water, Nebia delivers millions of microdrops to hydrate your skin far better than ordinary showers. Crafted from anodized, rust-proof aluminum, the complete spa shower includes 25-inch adjustable height showerhead, magnetic hand wand, full self-installation kit and cleaning caps for easy maintenance. The shower will save you thousands of gallons of water a year, the company maintains.

Heads up

American Standard featured a seven-inch shower head that allow bathers to change the spray patterns with a control panel on the fixture’s outside ring. It also has a remote that can be mounted on any shower wall, especially helpful for people with height or mobility restrictions. Spray patterns include drench, jet, message and gentle, and it comes in both standard and low-flow models.

Intelligent Water

More than a trillion gallons of clean water is wasted annually because of leaks. But the Phyn Plus smart water monitoring system protects against leak damage with accuracy and reliability. Partners Phyn and Belkin have invested more than a decade of R&D in the product to monitor and measure tiny fluctuations in water pressure to detect and alert homeowners the moment a leak is identified, saving folks an average of $17,250 per loss per incident. Available for purchase starting late spring for $850 exclusively through the Uponor Pro Squad, a nationwide network of trained plumbers and water specialists.

Clean Water

No more need for bottled water. The Bluewater SuperOsmosis water purification system turns tap water into pure, clean, healthier H2O, 24 hours a day, as and when needed. It uses minimal energy and reduces the waste often associated with traditional reverse osmosis systems. Delivering up to 900 gallons daily, the compact unit is direct flow, and removes practically all known waterborne contaminants, including chemical substances, toxic metals and bacteria. Use for drinking, cooking and washing. Also can be connected to refrigerator ice makers and dishwashers for clean ice cubes and sparkling dishes and glassware.

Mirror, mirror …

Hafele’s new multi-dimensional bathroom mirror features integrated touch-keys that allow the mirror to switch from warm to cool lighting or aesthetically pleasing backlighting. Buttons also activate anti-fogging function to block condensation, and it has an integrated Bluetooth-enabled sound system. Said to be easy to install, the unit comes in three sizes.