Faucets and fixtures facilitate flexibility, individuality
For homeowners, customization is key. In the residential space, individual flare takes precedence over the latest trends. Whether it’s for the kitchen or the bathroom, brands are increasingly offering products that allow the end-user to create a tailored space.
“Combining high-end specification with beautiful aesthetics in fixtures and bath furniture also allow the consumer and designer more options to create a bath space that is unique to the user,” David Hance, founder of Crosswater London, said.
The trends and technologies that guide faucets and fixtures offer homeowners a place to start–though the latest product designs and innovations focus on flexibility.
Unsurprisingly, black and gold finishes continue to dominate in the residential sector–offering a welcome change of pace, according to Elle H-Millard, industry relations manager at the National Kitchen and Bath Association. H-Millard is a Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD) and Certified Living in Place Professional (CLIPP).
“The matte black is showing up in black and white bathrooms and kitchens, a striking new color scheme that is turning the white/natural kitchens and baths upside down,” H-Millard said. “The natural gold–or raw gold–is quite popular now, too, as this metal will naturally age over time and patina, revealing green, blue and copper hues.”
Now, manufacturers are now taking these two staple finishes even further.
“We’re seeing this trend extend its variations–including black stainless and matte black faucets,” Brad Campeau, business development manager of Masco Canada’s showroom, said. “Mixed finishes in both kitchen and bathrooms are also becoming more prominent–it naturally elevates textures and adds elements of creativity throughout the home.”
The reason for the colour’s increased popularity is that it allows for its design flexibility, according to David Emmons, marketing director for Brasstech, Inc., parent company of Newport Brass and Ginger.
“Matte black has grown exceedingly popular as a finish in the bath and it’s still going strong in 2019,” Emmons said. “More than a trend, this finish has the essence of an instant classic. It has staying power due to its design flexibility–a matte black faucet is equally at home accenting a white or neutral bath as it is subtly receding into a dark and sultry bath. And it can work on both traditional and contemporary styles.”
In 2019, H-Millard said the industry should expect to see more matte black, matte metals and natural, raw gold finishes in fixtures and faucets. Finishes aside, Emmons adds that open-concept baths are also gaining popularity.
“At Newport Brass we are seeing a growth in demand for freestanding tub fillers versus wall-mounted versions,” he said. “They allow for greater design flexibility–an ability to float a tub in the room, as opposed to having to dock it at the wall. And to add to that, freestanding tub fillers can lend a sculptural, architectural element to the space.”
EMBRACING NEW TECHNOLOGY
Flexible design in residential faucets and fixtures is supported by new technologies, such as 3D printing, touchless faucets and showers, and “smart homes”
According to H-Millard, 3D printing technology allows for “true customization” in faucets and fixtures. She added that this trend is particularly evident in the kitchen.
“Consumers want to stand out and the 3D printing technology today allows for a range of personal expression in the most occupied room in the house–the kitchen,” she said.
For Emmons, the kitchen demands ease of use. At Newport Brass, pull-down kitchen faucets include a magnetic docking system that secures the pull-out spray head to the spout when not in use. A two-function toggle control spray engine with a pivot ball fitting enhances directional control within the sink.
“These engineered details are subtle, but it’s what you don’t see that allows for such a highly functional design–and ultimately, that’s across any style or finish you’re personally drawn to,” he said.
At Masco, Campeau said the company’s H2Okinetic and Touch2O technologies answer a call for convenience and environmentally friendly alternatives in the residential sector.
“Touch2O technology allows users to touch anywhere on the spout or faucet handle to start and stop water flow,” he said. “H2Okinetic technology controls the speed, movement and droplet size of the water creating the feeling of more water without using more water.”
For mechanical contractors, the new technologies quickly arriving on the scene offer new opportunities on the job.
“It is imperative to understand and embrace the emerging ‘intelligently built kitchens and baths.’ This is an area of the industry that is growing in leaps and bounds,” H-Millard said.
“Consumers are being bombarded with offerings of smart appliances, voice-activated showerheads and faucets, and such, but they are not aware of how all of these bells and whistles come together. The professional plumber will do very well to understand, and embrace, this emerging smart kitchen and bath movement, and to stay ahead of the consumer requests to learn more about this technology space. Specializing in this area, and working with technology integrators when remodelling/redesigning kitchens and bath, will become a differentiator in a plumber’s business.” <>
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May 11, 2022