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KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-newssince 2002
12th February 2016


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

International News

Speedy Easi-Plan installation cuts costs

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Helping to achieve cost savings and creating a stylish, trouble-free bathroom, the Easi-Plan range of concealed sanitaryware installation frames from Abacus Manufacturing Group significantly speeds up the fitting of WCs, basins and bidets.

White is now the toast of the kitchen!

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White is the new black for kitchen worktops, according to home makeover specialist Granite Transformations, having reviewed its sales figures for 2015.

Indesit says its new MyTime dishwasher boasts fastest eco cycle on the market

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Indesit's new DFG 26B1UK MyTime freestanding dishwasher's eco cycle is 25% quicker than previous models, saving up to 52 minutes, and is said by the manufacturer to be the fastest on the market.

Harvey Maria shows how to use 2016's colour trends

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For 2016, Pantone has introduced two new shades as its colours of the year - 'Serenity' and 'Rose Quartz'.

Pantone believe that "Serenity is weightless and airy, like the expanse of the blue sky above us, bringing feelings of respite and relaxation even in turbulent times."

New adapter for waste disposal units from Rangemaster Sinks

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Rangemaster has launched a new waste disposal adapter for its growing range of sinks with square wastes. The new offering allows any of the company's high quality waste disposal units to be fitted to the entire range of sinks, whereas it was only previously possible on models with circular versions.

An industrial revolution in the bathroom...

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Inspired by industrial luxe trends, Frontline Bathrooms has launched two new freestanding statement baths as part of its 2016 aquabathe collection.

The new season's arrivals are the epitome of luxury and create an instant focal point for the bathroom.

Haier enters into global strategic partnership agreement with General Electric

Haier Group and General Electric have announced a Memorandum of Understanding to cooperate globally and jointly pursue growth projects in focus areas where both companies can increase business competitiveness such as industrial Internet, healthcare and advanced manufacturing. This strategic cooperation framework agreement brings together two highly complementary world-class enterprises and establishes a model for cross-border investment and cooperation between China, the US and other regions.

Peka extends appeal of Fluid II corner system

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The popular Fluid II corner system from Peka is now also available in anthracite to complement the new Blum Legrabox drawer system.

Available exclusively in the UK from LDL, the Fluid II solution for corner spaces utilises Peka's clever swivelling carousel system to ensure perfectly balanced movement. What's more, the improved profile of the shelves enables the system to function fully even when the opening angle of the unit front is restricted to 85%.

Classy curves from new Citronella

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Moods' new Citronella bathroom suite blends minimalist lines with sumptuous curves and is the latest suite to join PJH's Bathrooms to Love Collection.

Welcome to the


Last week it was the exploding fridge freezer and this week it’s the tumble dryer fire…

First came the news that on Sunday, a Birmingham woman died, in a fire believed to have been sparked by a tumble dryer. The appliance has been taken away for testing.

This comes in the wake of another fire – this time in Essex – which is believed to have been caused by a tumble dryer, as when the householder entered the kitchen to investigate a burning smell, she saw flames coming from the appliance.

The latest figures available, reveal that fire services were called to 926 tumble dryer fires between 2011 and 2013. Last year, research by Which? showed that tumble dryers were the second biggest cause of house fires, accounting for 12% (behind washing machines, at 14%).

Owners of machines deemed to be at risk of catching fire, have been told to ensure that any lint is removed from the trap after each use, and to keep the vent and any other opening clear while ensuring that the vent pipe is free from kinks and not crushed They have also been  told to use only the vent pipes recommended for tumble dryers, to only vent the warm air to the outside of a building and not to put materials into a drier if they have been used to soak up flammable liquids – all sound advice and perhaps not something of which most members of the general public will necessarily be aware… I’m on my first ever washer/dryer but rarely use the dryer as it ‘takes the stuffing’ out of our things. I wouldn’t have known about fluff, so would suggest that a warning sticker be placed on the front of new machines for people like me to see.

Meanwhile, owners of machines that have been identified as being potentially dangerous, have been asked to make contact with the manufacturers to organise repairs, modifications or replacements.

However good the customer service might be though, one only needs to read through the online forums to realise the impact these issues are having on the brand and the appliance industry in general. So many are warning: “Don’t buy such-and-such a brand!” while others are threatening to return to the old-fashioned practice of using a washing line on a dry day and radiators when it’s raining.

As I said last week, how do we get back from that?



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Jan Hobbs



This Week's News

UK market for bathroom installation frames & systems sees 7% growth

* AMA-frames-report.jpgAMA Research has just published it's latest report on the UK market from bathroom installation frames and systems, which is experiencing sustained growth. The report's author says there has been a growing demand for bathroom installation frames since they were first introduced over a decade ago and that in 2015, the installation frames and systems market increased by around 7% by value, compared to 2014, having seen a notable increase since 2013.

It is generally now considered that in order to ensure a secure fixing, wall- hung sanitaryware should be supported by an installation frame.

Grohe's new SmartControl takes modern shower control to the next level

* Grohe_CLOSE-UP.jpgGrohe tells us it is delighted to present a brand new, unique Grohe Rainshower system featuring innovative SmartControl push button technology: said to be the first of its kind on the market to offer on-off and volume control at the push of a button. Simply select and start the spray pattern by pushing a button on the sleek, wall-mounted control. Turning the button allows the user to then choose the strength and volume of the water flow - putting a perfect shower experience for all the family at your fingertips.

Grohe SmartControl takes the idea of comfortable showering to a new level. The newly designed push button integrates both the ON-OFF function and the water volume control. To start the shower, simply push the button with the symbol for the head shower spray pattern or the hand spray

Leisure Sinks adds Aquaflow 35 to mixer tap portfolio

* Leisure-Aquaflow-35-tap.jpgLeisure Sinks has added the lightweight yet highly functional Aquaflow 35 (TAF35CM/) to its range of WRAS approved taps. Boasting a polished chrome finish, the competitively priced single lever tap is perfect for both the domestic and contract markets.

Designed for single tap-hole sinks, the new Aquaflow 35 allows for hot and cold water to be mixed - as well as turned on and off - in one simple action. Compared to similar kitchen mixer taps, this new model is considerably smaller, without impacting on functionality or durability.

3-year scholarship on offer as The Kitchen Industry Trust launches at KBB Birmingham

* Kitchen-Trust.jpgAs part of The Kitchen Education Trust's (TKET) first ever presence at KBB Birmingham, the newly formed Trust is to offer a three-year scholarship to one lucky potential student to attend the Foundation Degree in Kitchen Design at Buckinghamshire New University, starting in September 2016.

The scholarship provides three years' worth of tuition, which equates to £15,300 at the current rate and has been made available through generous backing by leading industry supporters, including Blanco, Blum UK, BSH, Egger, Hettich UK, Miele and Roundhouse.

IDS and Kronoswiss to host One World launch event at Saint-Gobain Innovation Centre

* KronoSwiss.jpgSet to inspire architects and designers, Kronoswiss and exclusive UK distributor IDS are launching One World - a diverse, international collection of furniture boards full of vibrant colours and textures - with a special event at the Saint-Gobain Innovation Centre, 95 Great Portland Street on Monday 14th March 2016.

Visitors from the architect and design community are welcome to join the event anytime between 12:00 and 19.30. There will be decors on display in retail, changing room and student accommodation settings to show the flexibility of the collection, while large mood boards will showcase some of the most popular decors.

Devonstone's feature floor range extended due to demand from retailers

* BCT-Devonstone.jpgBritish Ceramic Tile has added a black colourway to its commercially successful Devonstone collection. The range, which has been a hit with retailers and consumers alike since its initial launch, epitomises one of this year's hottest trends - patterned flooring.

Responding to retailer demand and strong sales of the Devonstone range, British Ceramic Tile has launched the new black colourway to strengthen the current offering of grey and brown. The eye-catching tile features a uniform pattern, making it easy to install in the home for one continuous, stunning look.

AEG enters water softener market in the UK... creating a new market opportunity for kitchen retailers

* AEG-INSTALLED.jpgPremium appliance brand AEG has entered the UK water softener market, with a range of products to be sold exclusively through kitchen retailers.

Giving retailers the opportunity to capture the sale of these high-end products during the initial kitchen design phase, the AEG launch enables kitchen showrooms to generate additional margin and offer customers a comprehensive solution to protect their home and appliances from the damaging effects of lime scale.

Reed Harris treats guests to a night on the tiles to celebrate Chelsea showroom launch

* Reed-Harris.jpgBritish tile specialist Reed Harris has celebrated the opening of its stunning new showroom in Chelsea with a VIP party, which saw retail customers, architects, interior designers, suppliers, the press and bloggers turn out in force to enjoy a night on the tiles.

As well as receiving personal tours of the new showroom, which displays a beautiful selection of tiles, wallpaper and paint across two floors, guests enjoyed an evening of canapes, prosecco and cocktail-making with a professional mixologist, and the chance to enter a competition to win a memorable gin tour for two.

Dream Doors targeting kitchen industry as it launches major new recruitment drive

* Dream-Doors_MAIN-PIC.jpgDream Doors, the UK's largest kitchen makeover franchise, has launched a major new recruitment drive targeting those already working in the kitchen industry, as it looks to meet ambitious 2016 expansion plans. The company has traditionally recruited its franchisees from a variety of different backgrounds, but as it is targeting 80 showrooms by the end of the year, has chosen to focus on recruiting those with existing kitchen skills and expertise.

"We want to hear from people running their own independent kitchen business, or those working for someone else but feeling they could do things better if they were in charge," says Bill Owen, director of franchising, Dream Doors.

Lakes Bathrooms launches pivot door with integrated in-line panel

* Lakes-Screenshot.jpgLakes Bathrooms has added a pivot door with integrated in-line panel to its Classic Collection. This semi-frameless design offers a seamless finish for a wider enclosure, by dispensing with the profile between the door and the adjacent in-line panel. Available in three sizes, it offers more choice for larger alcove spaces and can be teamed with a low profile tray for a clean, minimalist look.

Until now, the company's pivot doors have been extended with a separate in-line panel pack. This panel comes framed by anodised aluminium, which sits alongside the door profile and creates a significant feature. By contrast, the new door and panel combination does away with the visual interruption of additional framing, making for a cleaner and simpler appearance.

Search begins for Screwfix's Trade Apprentice 2016

* Screwfix-apprentice.jpgScrewfix is launching this year's competition to find and reward the best trade apprentice in the UK. Brilliant budding builders and the next generation of electricians, plumbers and fitters can all enter for the chance to win a trade business pack worth £10,000 containing everything they need to set up on their own.

If you, or someone in your organisation, has passed a course with excellent results, already offered great customer service when out and about or worked on an unusual job, you should consider taking part in the competition. If you're a retailer employing your own fitters, just imagine the boost having the winning apprentice on your payroll will bring to your business!

Fresh new look for PWS' 1909 website

* 1909-on-ipad.jpgPWS has launched a new website for its 1909 kitchen collection, following the launch of the brand's contemporary in-frame slab range. In keeping with the fresh modern feel of the new door design, the website has a simple and clean layout that's both easy on the eye and easy to navigate.

The 1909 site is designed to make the research - and purchasing, of a new kitchen as inspiring and stress-free as possible. With improved showcasing of the 1909 designs, the site includes interactive long-page content, featuring videos for each door style as well as a new 32-colour configurator.

Mixed material bathrooms, available from The Bathroom Shop

* Dansani-Curvo.jpg2016 is already seeing a new wave of intelligent materials being used across bathroom interiors, challenging our senses and bringing new innovation, in terms of material and design. Specialist retailer of quality bath and shower solutions, The Bathroom Shop, depicts one of the hottest trends for 2016 - mixed materials - with its inspired collection of tactile bathroom furniture by Dansani.

Curvo, a contemporary handleless bathroom furniture collection, guarantees to bring a new level of sophisticated tone and texture to the bathroom, showcasing exactly how an opaque colour palette, such as Graphite Grey, can be elevated through a simple change to its surface texture, just like rubber...

Ideal Standard appoints new UK sales director

* Steve-Breen.jpgIdeal Standard has appointed Steve Breen as UK sales director. Steve joins from Electrolux, where he served as head of Kitchen Retail & Contracts. He worked across the kitchen retail and house-builder channels - with a high profile client portfolio, including Travis Perkins, Magnet and Homebase, as well as independent kitchen studios and all major house builders.

In his new role, Steve will be responsible for the overall UK sales performance and activities, overseeing the development and delivery of a fully integrated category, channel and customer sales strategy.

Introducing multifunctional living from Schmidt - the flexible way to cook, dine, relax and work

* schmidt.jpgWhatever size and shape the kitchen shell may be, whether it's in a compact city apartment, open-plan loft or spacious five-bed home, making the most of every inch of space is key to a clean, clutter-free look.

For everyday use - appliances, sink, tap, worksurface and that all-important storage, Schmidt has the ultimate solution to today's modern, multipurpose interiors - the Work 'N Hide kitchen, which can be completely concealed behind doors that fold away between the furniture when it's time to prepare a meal.

Methven reinforces national accounts team with three key appointments

* Methven-new-staff.jpgFollowing the opening of its new UK Head Office and showroom in late 2015, Methven has strengthened the national account team and made the key appointments to further reinforce its support for customers across the UK.

MX Group saddened by Bob Johnson's passing

* MX_Bob.jpgShower product manufacturer Marleton Cross, which trades out of Tewkesbury as the MX Group, is mourning the loss of its ex-sales director Bob Johnson who died peacefully recently. Bob, from Hereford, was well known in the industry and extremely well thought of. He only retired two years ago from the company.

F & P Wholesale names Alzheimer's Society as its 2016 charity

* jed-kenrick.jpgF & P Wholesale, Primaflow & Connections have announced that they will be supporting the Alzheimer's Society as their chosen charity partner for 2016 and 2017.

The charity, which offers welcome support and advice for those caring for someone living with dementia, as well as much needed research into treatments, prevention and a cure for the illness, was voted for wholeheartedly by employees who will now get to work on a wide range of fund-raising activities.

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





John Austen
Publishing Director
Email:[email protected]
Tel: +44 (0)1580 755 863
Mobile: 07766 707 888
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BAL expands specification support team with two appointments

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Building Adhesives Ltd (BAL), which manufactures full tiling solutions including adhesives, grouts and ancillary products, has hired two new specification managers as part of its drive to expand its specification support team.

Blanco develops sales team in preparation for an exciting 2016

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Blanco UK has heralded the launch of a new chapter with a new look sales organisation designed to maintain and optimise the company's success under new managing director, Simon Hart.

Abacus Manufacturing Group helps raise money for Saint Michael's Hospice

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Abacus Manufacturing Group, the bathroom products manufacturer and specialist distributor, will be supporting Saint Michael's Hospice in Harrogate with two skydives during 2016.

Garry Smith appointed as Hoover product manager

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Hoover has added to its freestanding division, with the appointment of Garry Smith as laundry product manager. Having spent his 27 year career working as a buyer at a leading retail partner, Garry joins Hoover to assist with the company's ambitious growth plans.

Utopia appoints marketing director to strengthen brand position

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Utopia Furniture Group has appointed Beth Boulton as marketing director to strengthen its brand position in the increasingly competitive bathroom market.

Wilsonart appoints new national accounts manager for distribution

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American owned Wilsonart, one of the UK's largest producers of worktops, has appointed a highly experienced national accounts manager to develop the company's sales strategy within the distribution channel, from its head office in County Durham.


Sing to the sound of SysRock for a chance to win £5,000 of Festool Tools!

Festool is giving customers the chance to win £5,000 of Festool tools... This fun competition is to celebrate the launch of the new SysRock BR10 Site Radio by asking tradespeople to submit a video of them singing along to one of the SysRock songs, as chosen by tradespeople at the end of last year.


Hafele launches new kitchen accessories directory

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Hafele UK has launched a new Kitchen Accessories directory, which showcases the latest innovations in kitchen storage, stylish waste management and ventilation, boasts over 1000 kitchen fixtures and fittings - providing everything trade professionals and kitchen studios need to make high-end kitchen designs, including flexible systems for accessible kitchens.

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