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Emerging Trends for 2017

Emerging Trends for 2017

Emerging Trends for 2017

In this month's HPP Blog, Mark Smith gives a rundown of the latest trends expected to impact on the kitchen and bedroom industry in 2017.

Texture:

2016 saw the market really focus on texture in a big way, and texture became as much a consideration as décor colours and styles.

The market for textured board, doors and worktops grew at a faster rate than anyone could have predicted, with designers, installers and consumers all seeing it as a must-have item for new kitchen and bedroom designs.

This rise in demand has brought about some exciting additional innovations to the marketplace, which will inevitably take the industry forward in this area throughout 2017.

We've seen the recent introduction of metallised melamine faced boards that use copper, stainless steel and other metallic surfaces that not only look and feel great, but don't dull blades when being cut. This means some outstanding interior design pieces can be created that are actually practical for the end installer to work with, and great for the consumer to enjoy each and every day.

This is a serious step forward for the industry and one that looks set to bring about some exciting finishes this year.

Lighting:

Lighting is also a huge part of any kitchen or bedroom design these days, and thanks to some pretty impressive developments in LED technology, the choices in 2017 are vast.

We now see everything from LED task lighting, right through to colour-changing mood lighting becoming not only a key part of design but more economical to purchase thanks to improved manufacturing volumes and processes. 2017 will also see the introduction of LED lights that allow the consumer to select from either warm or cool lighting from just the one bulb, rather than having to choose from one bulb type only.

Lighting is so critical in setting the right look, feel and tone of each design, that installers and designers alike are now using this to great effect, and we're pleased to see some latest COB (Chip On Board) lighting technology becoming more common place in the market. This reduces the need for separate transformers / drivers thanks to the chip being part of the fitting. This then allows for a more flexible installation approach, and means retro fitting certain items with the more efficient LED products is a much easier, quicker and more cost effective process.

Automation:

Still linked with lighting, but working on a wider scale too, home automation is becoming a much more important element for designers and installers to carefully consider and read up on during 2017.

The market is seeing an influx of new home automation products such as automated lighting, smart heating that reacts when you're near to your home, wireless AV systems and smart appliances too.

Whilst this is still a relatively new and slightly more expensive area of the KBB market, consumers seem to be warming to the benefits of this area. Therefore, it's important for tradesmen to be aware of clever products such as the SensioSound all-in-one light and Bluetooth speaker, which allows users to play music from their under-cabinet lighting, something we feel works really well in a modern kitchen environment.

Style & Design:

The emerging styles and trends for this coming year seem to be twofold at present, very similar to 2016.

One area of the market is very much all about rustic, tactile and more natural finishes, which is why painted surfaces and heavily textured boards and doors are high on the agenda for most designers; but we're still seeing strong demand for popular slab-fronted doors, albeit with some subtle changes to this contemporary style in the form of matt finishes, ultra high gloss and mirror gloss.

Whatever trends take the lead this year, it's certainly looking set to be an exciting one with some real innovations in production techniques that are giving designers and installers much more scope to create something more bespoke and totally unique.

If you need any advice or inspiration on latest trends and products to help with your next installation, why not pop into our Trade Counter and let our team show you what we've got to offer?

A look at the innovative new Blum LEGRABOX

Blum LEGRABOX M-Height Drawer with Ambia-Line organisation

We're excited about the fact that we now stock the new Blum LEGRABOX intelligent drawer system. It features the latest runner system technology that gives a really smooth, effortless and quality feel. They can be used in almost any setting, including kitchens, bedrooms, home offices, bathrooms and even dining areas, and its multipurpose function and stylish look means that installers and designers can see its obvious attraction.

How it works

LEGRABOX uses new runner system technology with cogs instead of ball bearings. The new motion technology is integrated into the roller carriage, which means that the opening and closing action is smooth and robust. A feature of LEGRABOX that we really like is the very clever BLUMOTION soft close that adapts to different weights and closing forces to give a close that is consistently silent.

Specification & benefits

One of the many other benefits of LEGRABOX is its ability to withstand heavy loads with an impressive carrying capacity of 40kg and 70kg. Even with this higher than average carrying capacity, increased stability along the length of the runner and a new front-fixing bracket guarantees a seamless running action.

LEGRABOX comes in five drawer heights - N - 66.5mm, M - 90.5 mm, K - 128.5mm, C - 177 mm and F - 241 mm. The five drawer heights mean they can be easily integrated into kitchens, bedrooms, home offices, bathrooms and dining areas, making it a really versatile product for your customers.

The LEGRABOX has very slim 12.7mm drawer sides on the inside and outside which means your customers can have the maximum amount of drawer space. That's really handy when you're working on projects where space is limited.

It's available in two colours - Orion gray and brushed stainless steel, contemporary shades that blend well with a diverse range of product styles and colours. The design has certainly not been compromised by the advanced technology and brilliant functionality of this product.

Organised, sleek and tidy drawers can be easily achieved using the AMBIA-LINE inner dividing system. AMBIA-LINE fits perfectly with LEGRABOX to give you smart and stylish storage and organisation solutions where contents are always easy to find.

The system can also be upgraded with the popular 'touch opening' feature and with its matching organisation options it can be implemented in more than one area of the home - ensuring the same style flows throughout the home space.

Installation & adjustment

Because LEGRABOX has fewer parts, it's surprisingly easy to order and assemble. The three-dimensional adjustment mechanism is fully integrated and modifications to the height, side and tilt can be made with one tool, a T20 TORX driver.

The entire LEGRABOX range is available on the HPP website, and selected items are on display in our trade counters. You can also see the range in action by watching the official Blum video here:

Take a look - you won't be disappointed!

Home office in the bedroom - making it work well!

Mirror Gloss Slate Grey with Pencil Line Light

Creating a home office within a bedroom space takes quite a lot of planning and consideration to get things absolutely right.

The first thing to consider is that the customer who's asking to have their home office situated within their bedroom space needs the room to act in a number of ways, not only as a functional home office, but most importantly, as a relaxing bedroom space to unwind and chill out in without the thought of work, bills or general office related stress.

For this reason, it's important to try to make a bedroom home office as hidden as possible, allowing your customer to hide away work and enjoy the space as a home environment too.

This often entails hiding the office environment behind a set of wardrobe doors, whether that's through sliding, glass, wooden or acrylic wardrobe doors, you get the idea; it's best to tuck them away, giving your customers the separation they need from work and home.

The other thing to consider is that whilst the office is tucked away in a relatively small and somewhat cramped space, it still needs to work really well as a home office. This is where the selection of certain products, their placement and installation is key.

The first place to start is organisation. Without the proper shelving, desk area, keyboard and mouse platform, drawer, wirework and general storage for your computer tower, laptop and even printer, the home office won't work well.

Once the above storage issues are addressed, it's then a good idea to consider lighting as one of the next key issues to be tackled, as these types of home office often have areas where shadows are cast or dark spots unavoidable (or so people think!).

By fitting some bright and energy efficient LED self adhesive strip lights within the space, it will make the environment comfortable and also safe for continued use by your customer, without running costs going through the ceiling.

This LED lighting can provide task lighting within the main desk area of the space whilst also creating pleasant backlighting that helps to mimic the effect of having a window without any obstructions right in front of you.

Once all the above is addressed and completed, it's paramount to make sure you're using the right doors and door components.

Hinges that provide maximum accessibility are absolutely key, so it's a great idea to spec the best hinges for the job right at the beginning, and consider adding a few extra hinge holes to your door spec to ensure it's robust and capable of taking a lot of use on a daily basis.

By following the main steps above, you can be fairly confident your next bedroom home office customer will be more than satisfied with the outcome of the project. To find out more about suitable HPP products for this type of project, please check out our doors, wirework, lighting and accessories sections of our website.

Getting a handle of the situation

Handle Board Collection One

It's quite often those little finishing touches to a kitchen that move it from being good to great, and kitchen door handles are no exception when it comes to finishing touches.

Whilst many consumers often leave choosing their handles to much later down the line, the truth is that the early, and correct selection of handles is paramount to the style your customer is wanting to achieve, and should be considered at length before making any final decisions.

There are many handles on the market, some that are better suited to certain styles and decors.

The use of long, wide bar and rod handles are a popular choice for modern kitchen designs and contemporary finishes, whereas more traditional kitchen designs may look to use a traditional door knob or something with a hammered finish to give it an aged, rustic appearance.

Bar and rod designs are perfectly suited to the ultra chic modern designs we see on the market today, and also offer a practical benefit too. Their design helps to spread the load of the door and make opening and closing much easier when compared to opening with a smaller door knob, this helps with the modern designs which we are now seeing using wider doors and drawers to what had traditionally been carried out.

If you're aiming to produce a traditional design however, you won't need to forsake practicality for aesthetics as there are many bar style handles available in superb hammered and weathered finishes that not only give a rustic and traditional feel, but the functionality that consumers now expect from a newly installed kitchen.

And what if you can't find a handle design to suit? There is another option that consumers are opting for more and more - no handles at all!

There is a variety of handle-less doors on the market at present that offer concealed handles known as 'J Pull', which integrate a recess into the board of the door which then acts as a concealed handle. For those wanting an even more minimalist look, there is also door hardware that allows kitchen doors to open simply by pressing the face of the door, which then automatically opens the door for you - no handles required.

If you're struggling for ideas to suit your next kitchen projects handle requirements, why not visit our handles range online.

Neat And Tidy Just Got Simpler!

Orga-Line for Antaro

It's the age-old question we all long to find the perfect answer for - how do we make the space work harder for our customers.

Well thankfully, our friends at Blum have come up with a superb solution to this question that not only works great, but also functions beautifully whilst looking luxurious and feels of a very high quality.

The new Antaro range of drawer runners provide a more compact design, meaning that up to 50% more space is available within the drawer unit than a typical 'standard issue' drawer unit.

The new space saving solution means that not only can more items be stored safely and neatly out of sight, but it also allows for a unique hidden drawer system by Blum, allowing you to visually have fewer drawers on the outside, but once opened, additional units are accessible, holding smaller items in a well structured and orderly fashion.

Whilst there's lots of emphasis placed on the look of the products (they do look fantastic), the functionality hasn't been ignored either. The units open and close smoothly thanks to the Blum BLUMOTION technology, allowing drawers to close silently even when excessive force is used.

Different combinations and formations are available too, meaning that the drawer unit can work anywhere in the home, and offer solutions to tricky areas such as under kitchen and bathroom sink areas.

The system is compatible with the ORGA-LINE range of Blum products too, meaning that organising and compartmentalising parts of your home storage is easy to achieve.

The products were easy to assemble and enjoyable to use, and are great value for money considering the engineering and quality of craftsmanship involved. To see them in action, why not visit one of our trade counters or view the video online.

Festive Looks for Christmas

Whilst it might not be an everyday part of a kitchen designer or installers job, we thought it was time to take a look at Christmas, and how our kitchen designs could influence this much loved time of year in a way that gives consumers a much more pleasurable festive experience within their kitchen space.

Most people love Christmas; it's a great time of year for family, socialising and just being together, and as such, it's likely that the kitchen will see the most use of any given time in the year, so why not design it to make sure that time is as special as possible.

The way to make this happen is by planning ahead - try to understand how your customer wants to use the kitchen over the festive period, whether that's for family gatherings, cooking, or just general entertaining within the household.

With this plan in mind, you can then understand how they want to use the space, from where they might want to place Christmas trees, decorations and lights, and how your design can either facilitate, or hinder this desire for a perfect festive look.

Once you've got this spec in mind, ensuring elements such as adequate electrical points are in place is key for Christmas lights and decorations, whilst also making sure that there is still adequate space to entertain and cook without interference from Christmas accessories and decorations.

Lighting plays a key part in that warm Christmas feel too, so make sure to select kitchen lighting solutions that can be changed for the time of year, such as colour changing LED lighting, or low voltage dimmable lighting that can help create a certain mood and atmosphere that better reflects Christmas and all its wonder.

Ask your customer a few questions too, making sure you've covered all the bases. Here are a few suggestions that might just help out.

Christmas Tree - Whilst most people expect to see the Christmas Tree in a living room, we are seeing more consumers place them in their kitchen dining spaces as the room often gets much more use in modern day living. Understanding where this needs to go, and what colour schemes might best compliment the kitchen design helps the consumer to have a happier, more hassle free Christmas, as well as a stunning centre piece to the room.

Decorations - Whether it's planning on where to place a wreath, garland or Christmas ornaments, it's good to think well ahead with how these might interact with the kitchen layout. Ensuring there are discreet but useful tie down points for garlands and Christmas lights means your customer will not only have a fantastic Christmas experience, but they'll also adore the kitchen you've designed and installed, wowing friends and family who hopefully in turn will commission you to do the same for them!

Accessories - Christmas accessories are often seen littered around the house, whether that's ornaments, decorations or just a few advent calendars, but consider this in your design too. The use of open shelving lends itself perfectly to accessories, and allows for the kitchen to be given that festive look with next to no additional effort from your customer.

Technology in the Kitchen - A look at home automation

Wireless Device Intercommunication

We all wonder what the future might hold, and one area that certainly looks set to be exciting in the future is kitchen automation and home automation as a whole.

With advancements in technology moving faster than ever, and a new wave of innovative products being released each year, it looks like automation in the kitchen is set to increase and expand significantly for our customers.

But what might the future hold? We decided to take a look and see what predictions we could anticipate.

The first, and most likely automation to take place on a wider scale not only in the kitchen but also within the whole house is the remote (most probably via smart phone or computer) operation and control of your home's lighting and electrical system. By having full control of this, it will allow consumers to activate lighting, the kettle, and even pre-heat the oven whilst on your way back home to ensure everything is ready for when you arrive. This functionality is already available from some leading technology companies, and is becoming more commonplace with newer high-end home renovations and kitchen refurbishments.

If you're not keen on ripping your entire house apart to allow for the modern comforts this brings, there are alternatives, such as smart light bulbs and sockets, which simply utilise your existing wiring, and use wifi to control them from your phone or computer. There are limits to what this can do, but the benefits are still impressive and very useful when you're tight on time.

Thanks to these new advancements, it means that in the very near future you will be able to control almost any device or appliance within your home, whether that be a microwave, toaster or the much needed coffee machine on dark and cold winter mornings!

There's even talk in the industry about smart cookers, which work on the principle that they will monitor the cooking of the food you're wanting to eat, and adjust temperatures and cooking times according to a number of factors it will take into account during the cooking process, pretty much removing the need to watch or change any settings on your oven - now that's my sort of cooking!

Automation will also help people in a much more functional way too. We're already starting to see products released which automate the opening and closing of doors, but this will continue to develop to help people with disabilities too, helping to lift heavier items into a cupboard for them, and also lifting items from lower cupboards up to save the need for bending down.

Technology in the Kitchen - A look at home automationFig 1. Concept - A tablet device used in home automation

With breakfast bars and centre islands being a key entertaining area, we're also seeing some indications that these will become multi-use spaces, with automation helping to lift or lower them at the click of a button, turning it from a social bar to a more formal, civilised dining area, making the space more flexible, something that is key in city centre buildings where space to expand is limited.

Then we come on to gadgets! There'll be plenty of those too. Integrated televisions, hidden sound systems, and mood changing LED lighting will all have a part to play in setting an ambience within the kitchen whilst entertaining guests or relaxing.

There are a mind boggling range of possibilities when it comes to home automation and we're sure this is an area we'll see develop much quicker over the coming years. The likelihood is that consumers will take up the more standard conveniences in the first instance, such as smart bulbs and sockets, removing the need for a total re-wire, but in the long term, it's looking more and more likely that each home will have a central computer controlling much of the day-to-day tasks, such as monitoring rooms temperatures, turning on the kettle, selecting your favourite music tracks, controlling your room lighting, your cooker, microwave, and even locking and unlocking doors remotely.

The future looks exciting for home automation, and it presents a fantastic opportunity to kitchen distributors and installers to offer consumers a truly unique and innovative kitchen design that not only looks amazing, but makes everyday life much easier and more pleasurable. We're keen to see new products released on the market, so watch this space to hear about them as they become available!

Has integrated become integral to kitchen design?

Sensiopod from Sensio

With consumer tastes leaning towards modern, contemporary, and minimal kitchen design, it goes without saying that integrated appliances have become a must have item when planning a new kitchen.

One of the main reasons for this shift in consumer tastes seems to be down to the boom in open plan living. With consumers opening their living rooms and dining rooms up into their kitchens, a cleaner and more appealing look is required, and one that is more conjunctive to entertaining guests.

There are also benefits when cleaning and maintaining the kitchen. Integrated appliances remove the awkward gaps that often appear between cupboards and appliances, a perfect spot for dust and debris to build up, making it hard to keep clean. Integrated appliances remove this problem, and eliminate those awkward and hard to reach parts of the kitchen.

Appliances are often cleverly tucked away in a centre island behind a high quality made kitchen door to ensure the look of the kitchen in streamlined and seamless, whilst still providing all the access needed to ensure the kitchen is functional and usable.

Integrated appliances were once seen more commonly in luxury kitchens than that in the wider market, but as popularity has increased, the price of such items has decreased, making it more accessible to the wider market.

Typical appliances such as washing machines, ovens, tumble dryers and dish washers are all easily integrated, but recent innovations in design have also seen items such as plug sockets, phone chargers and extractor fans being integrated into the worktops and cabinets, giving an even cleaner, more streamlined look than ever before.

One of the key considerations for your next kitchen project if integrated appliances are on the project spec sheet is to source the right door, hinges and fittings to ensure everything works seamlessly together.

We believe integrated appliances are now an integral part of kitchen design for most consumers, designers and installers, and a trend which is set to stay strong and develop even further for many years to come.

Wasting Away – We take a look at waste bin solutions

Integrated Bin Solutions

Everyone wants to play their part in helping the environment by recycling more, but with bins for plastics, cardboard, food and general rubbish becoming the norm, most kitchens are starting to be overrun with empty cartons, cans and bottles, just waiting to be taken outside ready for collection.

Whilst it’s no great difficulty in leaving a few tins on the side for recycling, most consumers don’t want the look of their newly designed and professionally fitted kitchen to be ruined by unsightly cans and cardboard, especially if they’re planning on entertaining guests, so we thought we’d give you a run down on a few handy waste bin solutions that might just keep that kitchen looking as great in use as it did when it was first completed.

If you’ve got a bit of spare drawer space in your kitchen, there are bin combinations available that simply sit within a deep drawer unit, which has separate bins for bottles and cans, cardboard, and food waste. To help keep things clean and tidy, the units come with handy removable trays which can store cleaning cloths and detergents to help keep things smelling clean and fresh.

There are also door units available that come on a wirework platform. These offer the same benefit as the drawer units, but often provide a little more room for storing recycling, cutting down on the number of trips to the main bins outside.

Whichever solution you choose, you’re bound to find your worktops look less cluttered and cleaner than if you didn’t have them. To see a full range of bins for recycling in your kitchen, click here.

Creating a Smart Kitchen

There are plenty of definitions in the KBB market for the term ‘Smart kitchen’, and with the evolution of Smart phones and other ‘smart’ devices, the boundaries seem to have become somewhat blurred.

A SMART kitchen as we know it is a kitchen that has been well designed to suit the specific needs of the end user. This involves understanding the client brief in detail, and visualising how the kitchen will be used on a day-to-day basis. This then allows zone planning, and the careful placement of appliances and work areas.

It encompasses how the kitchen will be used by the entire household, whether it’s a family home or a retired couple, a Smart kitchen is something that facilitates the needs of each individual in some way to ensure it is a pleasant environment for them to occupy

The classic triangle that we often see is the starting point for a Smart kitchen. This principle has been used for many years, and is still a well-trusted method for its efficient design. Many good kitchen designers will also incorporate lighting design, and storage design to name but a few, whilst also ensuring the kitchen area flows in a fluid manner into the rest of the home, ensuring a cohesive design is achieved.

But you have to question how long it will be until a Smart kitchen has to go that one step further and start to integrate some of the smart devices that consumers now use on a daily basis. For example, kitchens can now be controlled remotely in a bigger way than ever before. Smart technology is being released that allows kettles, cookers and lighting to be turned on and off using a smart phone, even sound systems and televisions can be set, programmed and controlled through these devices, so it goes without saying that Smart kitchens will be getting a lot smarter in the not so distant future.

Whilst there are limited products on the market at this moment in time, we don’t think the day this innovation becomes commonplace will be too far away, and we’re excited to see what changes this creates. One thing for sure is that Smart phones are here to say, and as long as they continue to help make consumers lives easier and more enjoyable, they’ll start to play a bigger part in all aspects of the home.

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