Houses 2014: Fixtures and Materials
The best products for the best projects
Whether you’re tackling a small remodel or designing a whole new house, the products, materials, and finishes you choose to complete the project are among the most difficult and important decisions to be made. We understand how daunting the process can be. So with the same discerning eye we use to review the country’s best houses, we showcase here the top products on the market right now to help you make your house the home you’ve always wanted.
Save space with style
Barn-style doors are nothing new, but they are fast becoming popular alternatives to the simple pocket door. Now found in any number of styles, such as this copper-finished Hammered Arrow example from Rustica Hardware, rolling door hardware is no longer reserved for timber frame homes and loft apartments.
• Available in five textures and 14 finishes
• Lengths available from 4 ft. to 48 ft.
• Starting at $289 at rusticahardware.com
Industrial with a twist
Troy Lighting’s Conduit series takes the popular industrial style of light fixtures to an exciting new level. The starburst of caged bulbs in this model creates a balanced, substantial presence without feeling heavy.
• Hand-finished iron pipe and fittings
• Pairs well with Edison-style bulbs
• $1590 at troy-lighting.com
Second life for retired car seats
Given the firm feel of EcoDomo’s selection of recycled-leather products, not to mention their wide variety of colors and textures, you might not guess that the raw materials come from the interiors of fine automobiles. Choosing recycled leather over wood for its aesthetic uniqueness doesn’t mean a compromise in durability; these tiles and sheets match the toughness of their hardwood-flooring or veneer-panel counterparts.
• Available as tiles, sheets, and laminated panels, in standard and custom sizes
• Can custom-match most conventional leather finishes
• Tiles, $12 to $18 per sq. ft; sheets, $9 to $12 per sq. ft. at ecodomo.com
Reviving a 400-year-old classic
Inspired by a style of Dutch pottery that was wildly popular in the early 1600s, Tilevera’s 17th Century tile collection is an elegant way to add a splash of color to any room. Common in colonial-era hearth surrounds, this style of tile would be equally at home in a contemporary kitchen or bathroom.
• 12-in.-sq. tiles available in six patterns and eight colors
• Suitable for walls, floors, and some wet locations
• Hand-painted limestone tile, $120 each; lithographed tile, $75 each; unpainted limestone field tile, $17 each at cletile.com
Rock, paper, scissors
Sawn and hand-split from offcuts of paper-composite countertops, Slate-ish tiles are perfect for backsplashes, fireplace surrounds, or anywhere you want a rich, textured finish. The tiles were invented during a search for sustainable materials for a house project in Lincoln, Neb. Construction adhesive, epoxy, and 3M VHB tape are a few of the many approved installation methods.
• Made from reclaimed, recycled, and FSC-certified materials
• Less than 1 lb. per sq. ft.
• $20 to $25 per sq. ft. at slate-ish.com
Fiery focal point
The first Modfire outdoor fireplace was born out of frustration, inspiration, and a taste for toasted marshmallows. Designer Brandon Williams turned a personal backyard project into a full line of sculptural, handcrafted pieces that warm spaces big and small.
• Various sizes available in the original conical shape, plus two new, open-top variants
• Wood, propane, and natural-gas models available from $1250 to $3880 at modfire.com
Hard lines, soft to the touch
Knoll’s new Midtown Collection has the perfect mix of warm, muted, and vibrant colors, with textures and patterns well suited to bold but clean designs. These fabrics are meant for more than just furniture; cover a wall or a whole room, and create a quiet, comfortable retreat from your daily grind.
• Most patterns contain at least 50% recycled fibers
• $20 to $99 per yd. at knoll.com
Easy on the eyes
A soft fabric shade complements the angular base of Marset’s Cala line of elegant standing lamps. The slender frame is eye-catching, but its lightness gently anchors the warm cylinder of light to your favorite evening resting place.
• Base available in painted iron or iroko wood
• Durable Textilene-covered polyethylene shade
• $1000 to $1800 at marset.com
One of a kind for the masses
Furniture maker Greta deParry, an artist with a home-building upbringing, is now making her signature Coleman stools available to a broader audience. Branded with a family name, these bent-steel and concrete stools align with Greta’s belief that history, playfulness, and sturdiness are some of the essential qualities that draw people to handmade objects.
• Suitable for indoor or outdoor use
• Available in custom colors and heights
• $389 to $449 each at gretadeparry.com
Comfort from coast to coast
Equally at home on an Eichler patio in Southern California or on an antique covered porch in New England, Dedon’s Rayn seating collection is the epitome of Philippe Starck’s calling to design for the benefit of many. Starck and Dedon have carefully paired timeless details and materials that bridge multiple styles and periods in architectural history to make Rayn an easy choice for just about any person’s home.
• Powder-coated aluminum frame with woven-fiber panels
• Four fabric choices in dozens of colors
• Prices upon request at dedon.de
A smartphone can orchestrate an entire house full of electronic devices, many of which could only be controlled manually a year or two ago. A plethora of new devices put customized settings for lighting, heating, and whole-house management systems at your fingertips—even when you’re away from home. Here are some of the latest standouts.
Complete remote control
You will be hard-pressed to find a device in your home that Insteon doesn’t make controls for. Their remote switches, plugs, and sensors can monitor and operate lights, HVAC systems, garage doors, and even irrigation controls.
• Dual-band (wired and wireless) redundancy offers unmatched reliability
• Highly scalable components can control hundreds of devices in one building
• Individual components range from $5 to over $200 at insteon.com
Civilized fire safety
The Nest Connect smoke-and-carbon-monoxide alarm’s deceivingly simple appearance belies an impressive list of features that will help you and your family to feel more secure. Wirelessly pair multiple Nest Connect alarms to create a web of devices that alerts you to impending threats while constantly monitoring itself for issues such as low batteries or sensor malfunctions.
• Green, yellow, and red lights work together with spoken messages to tell you exactly what is—or isn’t—happening in your home
• Nest Connect can tell your Nest Thermostat to shut down a gas furnace when it detects dangerous levels of CO
• Control features and receive notifications through the Nest iOS or Android apps
• $129 at nest.com
More than just a light switch
Remote control is only one of the perks of the new Hue LED bulbs from Philips. The Hue app can gradually ramp up the bulbs’ brightness for a virtual sunrise, turn lights on and off when you’re not home, and even match the color of the light to that of a photo you take with your phone’s camera.
• Join up to 50 bulbs
• 600 lumens per bulb
• $200 for a starter pack with three bulbs at meethue.com
High-tech keyless entry
Remote-control locksets have been around for years, but Kwikset’s new Kevo line gives homeowners more options and peace of mind than ever before. As long as you have your smartphone or key fob in your pocket, all it takes to open a door is a simple touch.
• Use the iPhone app, key fobs, or virtual eKeys to unlock doors
• View activity history and send eKeys through the iPhone app
• Also works with traditional keys
• $219 at kwikset.com
Singular smart-home solution
All of the new home-automation systems are great, but with every smart light switch, thermostat, and homeaudio component you purchase, that’s one more smartphone app or web interface you need to set up and manage. That’s until you buy the new Revolv Hub. This wireless base station and its companion app connect to dozens of popular devices for an integrated-automation experience. The company plans to eventually link to 95% of all app-controlled devices.
• Currently connects to systems from Insteon, Leviton, Philips, Belkin, Sonos, and more
• Actions can be controlled manually or programmed by location, time, or motion sensors
• $299 at revolv.com
Hide your HVAC in plain sight
If you’re hesitant to install a new energy-efficient minisplit HVAC system because of the less-thanbeautiful indoor wall units, LG has the perfect solution for you. LG’s new Art Cool line wraps the high-tech heating and airconditioning components inside a sleek artwork frame that will impress the most discriminating design aficionados.
• Quiet 26 db. indoor units
• Easier and more affordable to install than conventional ducted HVAC
• $1290 to $3200 at lg-dfs.com
Is stainless on its way out?
Several manufacturers have launched sleek alternatives to stainless steel, which has had a seemingly unending reign as the pinnacle of appliance finishes. Though their color palettes may seem familiar at first glance, Whirlpool’s White Ice collection and GE’s Slate line of appliances have crisp textures and sharp, modern details that will make them an elegant addition to any contemporary kitchen.
See geappliances.com and whirlpool.com
Photos: courtesy of the manufacturers, except where noted