More Fixtures & Materials
Three new and noteworthy products for kitchen and bath
Fish ‘n Flush
AquaOne Technologies Inc.
It’s a little-known fact that goldfish, as a species, are worrywarts. They fret about death — more particularly, about their funerals, mainly because none of their family or friends can attend. There’s a certain indignity to being dumped unceremoniously in a shallow backyard grave, soon to become a raccoon or (lazy) cat snack, while every other fish is back in the tank. Worse yet is to be flushed down the toilet: A few quick, dizzying swirls, and then after that unmistakable sucking noise, you’re gone.
A new commode called the Fish ‘n Flush is cause for much celebration among goldfish and humans alike. Surrounding and separate from the toilet’s tank is a U-shaped, full-featured aquarium that even includes an LED light. It’s a novel idea and a great way to dress up what is typically just a big hunk of white porcelain. Kids love it (don’t tap on the tank, Junior), and so do the fish. Now, when Great Aunt Goldie goes belly up in the tank (she lived a happy life and was such a great teacher), she will be at peace, knowing that her watery funeral can be viewed by the rest of the school.
— Jefferson Kolle
Stylish stone-vessel sinks
Stone Basins, Terra Acqua, www.terracqua.net, Cost: $700-$1600
Stone basins may have been used since ancient times, but in today’s bathrooms, they’re stylish updates. Handcrafted in materials that range from softer honey or green onyx to more durable crema-marfil marble or black-pearl granite, Terra Acqua Montecito Stone basins aren’t meant for high-traffic sink areas and aren’t suitable for use by children, but they do make great accents to a master-bedroom or guest suite.
Although the softer onyx sinks can be chipped if they aren’t treated as luxuriously as they look, the rest of the sinks wear well with normal use. The natural stone can handle most bathroom products — toothpaste or hair dye, for example — but the manufacturer suggests cleaning the basin after use with a stone cleaner. Also, try not to leave abrasive or acidic products in the sink for an extended period of time. Treating the basin yearly with a granite or stone sealer is the best way to keep it intact.
The smaller vessels weigh around 38 lb. and start at 14 in. dia.; the larger granite vessels can weigh as much as 50 lb. with a diameter of up to 30 in. Installation requires a regular vessel drain and no special grouting, but silicone is recommended to seal the area where the sink meets the vanity or countertop, to ensure that moisture doesn’t get underneath.
— Ashley Pedersen
Cool kitchen lighting
Aeon Pro and ProHB, Cyberlux, www.cyberlux.com
Cost of 22-in. nickel-finish light: $320 for the high brilliance (ProHB) version; $284 for the standard (Pro) version
When you’re mincing garlic, it’s nice to have a clear view of your fingertips and the knife. To ensure the cutting board is well lit, who better to turn to than the folks who create night-vision equipment for U.S. soldiers and border-patrol agents? Not constrained by stealth requirements in their line of kitchen products, Cyberlux engineers have developed three nifty models of LED undercabinet lights with some really cool features.
First, they generate no heat. Leave them on for several days, and they’re still the same temperature as when you first flipped the switch. Plus, there are no bulbs to change. Cyberlux guarantees the Aeon ProHB for 10 years, although company engineers claim that it will last much longer than that. (The slightly less-bright Aeon Pro is guaranteed for 15 years.) They are also incredibly bright while using only a trickle of electricity. Each 30-LED cluster requires only 3 watts of power; the 16-in. fixture pictured here uses 6 watts.
The undercabinet lights are available in five lengths (8 in., 16 in., 22 in., 32 in., 40 in.) and come with either a wall-plug transformer or a hard-wired transformer. Rather than a dimmer, they rely on a three-way switch to step the light output between accent, medium, and task lighting.
I was really impressed with the amount of light at the task-light setting. The hinged mounting brackets (standard on the ProHB version) allowed me to adjust the angle and wash the entire countertop in light. At only 2 in. wide and 3/4 in. thick, the fixtures stay out of sight.
You can choose between warm, sunny 3000K light or brilliant white 5000K light. The warm light (3000K) reminds me of the quality of light on a sunny spring day, while the bluish tinge of the pure white light (5000K) is similar to a brilliant snow-reflected light.
I found the cost of the ProHB a little off-putting, especially compared to xenon alternatives that sell at about one-quarter of the price. But if you have a computer or TV on the counter, the LED lights don’t produce any electromagnetic or radio frequency interference. The Aeon Pro gives off only slightly less light than the ProHB (380 lux compared to 560 lux) and is a touch more reasonably priced, if you’re like me and finances are a concern. Cyerblux also makes very thin, very bright, custom-length LED rope lighting. It’s available in 3-ft. increments, up to 300-ft. lengths, at $30 per foot.
— Sean Groom
Jefferson Kolle is Fine Homebuilding ‘s new-products editor. Ashley Pedersen is an editorial intern. Sean Groom is a former editor at Fine Homebuilding. Photos, except where noted: Courtesy of the manufacturer