KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-newssince 2002
27th January 2012


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Please note that you are viewing an archived issue of The KBzine.

International News

Glimmers of hope for remodelling in the US in 2012

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After a slow start, home improvement spending is expected to trend up later this year, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) released this week by the Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. If this momentum continues to build during the second half of the year, remodelling activity is on course to end 2012 on a positive note.

Furniture retail quality group publishes Flammability Best Practice Guide

The Furniture Industry Research Association has announced the publication of a new best practice guide for flammability testing of upholstery on behalf of the Furniture Retail Quality Group, the technical committee representing all major UK furniture retailers.

Gender differences using technology highlighted by survey

Men are baffled by washing machines while women can't get their heads around smart phone, research revealed this month.

Designer predicts bathroom trends for 2012

As 2012 fast approaches, Ideal Standard International designer Robin Levien gives his bathroom predictions for next year:

Vintage 2012

We are living through uncertain times once again and this creates insecurity. This insecurity translates into nostalgia for a supposedly better time. This time is usually the 'vintage era' of the mid-20th century and will impact the bathroom through optimistic splashes of colour or fabrics and even bold geometric patterns to brighten up bathrooms.

Is this Britain's oldest working fridge?

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Made in England around the time of WWII, this remarkable fridge, owned by Jim Williamson of Hope Valley, Derbyshire, has been in constant use keeping food fresh ever since.

Welcome to the

The Government is committed to reducing the UK's carbon footprint dramatically over the coming years and one of the biggest challenges it faces is dealing with our ageing housing stock. Figures show that 70% of the country's existing residential property will still be inhabited in 2050 and that 91% of all UK homes would benefit substantially from improvements in energy efficiency. The country's least efficient properties were predominantly constructed prior to 1920 and these currently make up 15% of UK homes but actually account for 23% of total notional C02 emissions.

Delegates at yesterday's Retrofit 2012 conference, heard that while solutions to finance (through the Government's imminent Green Deal) and technology (though a plethora of innovations to make households more energy-efficient) are emerging, policymakers have yet to engage with the third key element in the retrofit challenge - human behaviour!

Apparently innovations can actually work against energy and cost-reduction objectives... Research presented at the conference showed how residents in energy-efficient houses were more likely to take resource-inefficient baths rather than showers, in the belief that anything they did would be energy efficient because of the type of house they inhabited!

There's still a lot to be accomplished then in terms of education, despite the technology being readily available...

And my goodness is it available!

My inbox has been swamped in recent weeks with details and images of the most energy-efficient, gorgeous items, all destined for launch at KBB Birmingham from March 4th -7th.

I hadn't planned to begin KBZine's rolling show preview for a few weeks but the conference programme has been finalised and such is the calibre of what is being showcased, that I couldn't hold off any longer and just had to share them. The first few - and the conference programme - are featured below.

If you're exhibiting at the Show and want to share your innovations with our readers, please send me your news without delay!



Jan Hobbs


This Week's News

Ultima Furniture Systems takes over Matchmaker Kitchens

Longstanding cabinet manufacturer Ultima Furniture Systems has today announced that it is taking over the Matchmaker Kitchen brand.

Retrofit 2012 conference finds that policymakers have yet to engage with human behaviour

The University of Salford Retrofit 2012 conference concluded yesterday with a detailed focus on the challenges of the large-scale behaviour change needed in the UK if the Government is to achieve its carbon reduction targets.

Belling announces centenary plans for 2012

belling.jpgPopular cooking appliance brand Belling, has announced a 12 month programme of activity to take place throughout 2012 to celebrate its centenary year.

Symphony 'Inspire' kitchen product supplier for TV advertising

* Symphony-New-York-White-Set.jpgFitted furniture manufacturer, Symphony, has opened up the doors of its new state-of-the-art marketing suite for kitchen product supplier OXO to film a national TV advert.

When the American based company needed an inspirational kitchen space to shoot its new TV advertising campaign, Symphony's 20,000 sq ft purpose-built facility, known as 'Inspire by Symphony', proved the perfect backdrop.

Insinkerator UK tops leaderboard!

InSinkErator UK - a business unit of the world's largest manufacturer and inventor of food waste disposers - has been awarded the '2011 Emerson business leader award for outstanding performance in 2010/11'.

The award comes after the UK business unit not only outperformed many other Emerson European companies but also the wider market in general, with significant sales increases of 50% over the last two years.

Anna Ryder Richardson and Gerd Bulthaup to speak at kbb Birmingham

* anna-ryder-richardson.jpgThe seminar programme for kbb Birmingham 2012 has been announced and it promises to equip visitors with the inspiration and knowledge for the year ahead, discussing the key issues facing the sector.

Showerwall unveils major design update to its waterproof wallpanels

* Cappuccino-Marble-Gloss_Showerwall_range.jpgKBB Birmingham 2012: Stand B80, Hall 20

The Showerwall brand of waterproof wallpanelling is being relaunched with a major design update to its winning product offer. Partnering the with Essentials Bathroom range, the 90sqm stand will be resplendent with stylish ideas for bathroom retailers.

There are nine new colours, boosting the range's design palette to 33 laminates overall. The new colours respond to the ongoing popularity with consumers for natural materials in stone, marble and metallics which balance up-to-the-minute styling with commercial versatility.

Mereway and EQ Software launches Trend Interiors into Virtual Reality

* Trend-Interiors-Homepage.jpgKBB Birmingham 2012: Stand K92

A new concept from Mereway Kitchens, developed with EQ Software, that will enable independent retail partners to go 'head-to-head' with the likes of B&Q and Howdens, is to be unveiled at kbb Birmingham.

Ellis Furniture creates wow factor with the Cube with chrome bracket

Ellis-Furniture-Cube-Ikon-Gloss-Black.jpgStriking, cutting edge design in the form of Cube, is the latest addition to the modular bathroom furniture range from Ellis Furniture. Cube oozes style and precision, creating a powerful focal point in the bathroom.

The Cube range features a broad, 600mm single drawer unit, and a very cleverly designed chrome bracket, which can be configured in a variety of ways to maximise the space available.

Shaws of Darwen launches new tap range: 'Shaws by Perrin & Rowe'

* Shaws-Hambleton.jpgShaws of Darwen, the renowned producer of luxury fireclay kitchen sinks since 1897, has formed a mutual partnership with English tap manufacturer, Perrin & Rowe, to produce what is heralded as the world's best, exclusive brassware range, handcrafted in England.

Products from both companies are sold side by side and more often than not, installed together in luxury hotels, resorts, spas and private homes all over the world. It was a natural step for Perrin & Rowe to produce an exclusive range of Shaws branded taps and in return for Shaws to develop an exclusive range of 'Perrin & Rowe by Shaws' fireclay kitchen sinks.

KMT becomes exclusive distributor for Lakes Bathrooms

Shower enclosure specialist, Lakes Bathrooms, has announced the appointment of KMT Wholesale as the exclusive distributor for its products in Eire. KMT now stocks a complete range of Lakes Bathrooms' showers, including the new Coastline Collection, launched earlier this year.

Vado donates money to WaterAid

* WaterAid.jpgTop brassware manufacturer Vado has donated £1000 to WaterAid. The charity aims to transform lives by improving access to safe drinking water in some of the world's poorest communities. For the last few years, like many other companies, Vado has decided against sending Christmas cards to customers, staff and suppliers and instead donated the equivalent cost of the cards and postage to worthwhile causes.

WaterAid was the chosen charity this year due to the obvious connection with water. Jim Williams, Vado's Managing Director, continues: "Vado is delighted to support WaterAid and its efforts to provide access to safe drinking water in 27 different countries across Africa, Asia, the Pacific region and Central America".

FIRA and The Furniture Ombudsman visited by the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers

* FIRA_Worshipful-Company.jpgEarly this year, The Furniture Industry Research Association and The Furniture Ombudsman were visited by Hugh Garforth-Bles and Charles Kerrigan, Master and Clerk of the Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers.

The visitors met with FIRA Chief Operating Officer and WCFM Liveryman Jonny Westbrooke, as well as Kevin Grix, Head of The Furniture Ombudsman and WCFM Freeman.

KBSA welcomes two new Board members

David-Dalglish_142.jpgThe Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association has just announced the appointment of two new Board members - a great start to 2012!

Graham Ball, chief executive officer of the KBSA, says: "This is a voluntary position that helps shape the direction and the future of the KBSA, so we're delighted to find two such excellent people to fill the roles."

The KBzine Archive Search

We keep an extensive archive of news stories and product information that have featured in past issues of The KBzine. If you would like to run a search of the The KBzine web site using the search tool below please just go ahead by entering in the name of the person, product or company or any other key words that you are looking for.

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How to contact us at The KBzine:
Jan Hobbs
Publishing Editor
Tel: +44 (0)1372 811 307 
Mobile: 07980 288 373

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John Austen
Publishing Director
Tel: +44 (0)1580 755 863
Mobile: 07766 707 888
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Recent News

New project will give boost to manufacturing

A new Foresight project investigating the future of manufacturing out to 2050 was launched this week by Business Secretary Vince Cable.

Soapbox: The demand is there but the will to invest is not

Steve Macdonald, marketing director of Hoover Candy, shares his views on the pent-up consumer. He argues that the will and need for consumers to invest in new kitchens is there but unless the industry can make it comfortable to pay for their investment, they will remain 'pent -up'.

Mayor unveils strategy to deliver thousands of new homes and jobs for London

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There was great news for the KBB industry this week, when the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, unveiled ambitious plans to deliver 55,000 new affordable homes by 2015 with the potential to create over 100,000 jobs over the next four years.


Amica launches brand new built-in catalogue

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Amica has launched a shiny new catalogue, which showcases its revitalised line-up of built-in ovens, hobs, hoods, microwaves, dishwashers and refrigeration appliances for the UK and Ireland in 2012.

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