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KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-newssince 2002
19th February 2016


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

International News

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

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Grohe 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.

Leisure Sinks adds Aquaflow 35 to mixer tap portfolio

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Leisure 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.

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

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British 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

Premium 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.

Lakes Bathrooms launches pivot door with integrated in-line panel

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Lakes 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.

Mixed material bathrooms, available from The Bathroom Shop

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2016 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.

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

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Whatever 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.

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.

Welcome to the


This leader has nothing to do with the last two, in which I commented on the problems caused by appliances that are giving up the ghost in the most spectacular way, by exploding or catching fire…A newly published report claims that the lifetime of electrical appliances is shortening and the writers are calling for a minimum period of service life, greater transparency in terms of life-expectancy and ease of repair.

The report, by the Oeko-Institut e.V. and Bonn University commissioned by the German Environment Agency (UBA), says:

“Many appliances have much too short a life-span. This is ecologically unacceptable. It is time to think about minimum requirements of product lifetime and quality. Many appliances are replaced despite being in good working order.”

The report finds that technological innovations and the desire for a new device are often the reason for early replacement. For three-quarters of those surveyed, the desire for a better device is pivotal. The proportion of large household appliances which were replaced within five years due to a defect increased from 3.5% to 8.3% between 2004 and 2013. A consumer survey conducted for the study revealed that about one third of those polled are not satisfied with the service life of their appliances.

“Short-lived products place a far greater burden on our environment than appliances with a longer service life,” notes the report. “Take washing machines: the energy demand and global warming potential during a lifetime of five years is about 40% higher compared to a washing machine with a lifetime of 20 years. These figures already take potential improvement of energy efficiency into account.”

The study could not find evidence of planned shortening of product lifetime (obsolescence) on the manufacturers’ part, but found that lack of transparency is a problem for consumers, who cannot tell by looking at a product how long it was designed to last. Price is not a reliable indicator either. The writers call for a labelling system which expresses the typical life expectancy of an appliance in hours of use.

“As concerns serviceability, appliances must be readily repaired which thereby lengthens their lifetime,” it argues. “This means, among others, easy-repair design and the availability of spare parts – also to non-proprietary shops and merchants.”

This report makes good sense, but if its suggestions are implemented, where does it leave an industry that thrives on sales?



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Jan Hobbs



This Week's News

SHD acquires majority stake in ArtiCAD

* Stefan-Hahne_SHD.jpgAs of 11th February 2016, SHD AG acquired the majority of the shares in British software specialist, ArtiCAD Holdings. The company founder, Richard Turner and director of corporate sales, Daniel Allerton, will remain as shareholders and will be responsible for the further development and sales strategy for ArtiCAD's software solutions.

ArtiCAD was founded in 1992 and specialises in the development and marketing of design software and custom technologies for the kitchen, bedroom & bathroom industry. Today, it is one of the leading players in the international market for visual planning software and its flagship products, ArtiCAD-Pro and BathCAD, are used by more than 7500 designers in the UK market alone, with a rapidly expanding number of users in North America, South Africa, Australia,

Masterclass takes up position at KBB Birmingham 2016

* Luna-Black.jpgRenowned UK manufacturer Masterclass Kitchens will be heading to the NEC next month, as it showcases its very latest ranges and engages with existing and potential customers at this year's KBB Birmingham.

Masterclass will use the show as a launch-pad for a number of new collections, with visitors to Stand K133 being among the first to see what the manufacturer has in store for retailers stocking the brand in 2016.

Fast track planning urgently needed, says FMB

* Brian-Berry.jpgGovernment proposals to offer a fast track planning process for house building are needed urgently, according to the Federation of Master Builders .

"It's very welcome news that the Government has listened to the concerns of industry over the sclerotic planning system," says Brian Berry, chief executive of the FMB. "Across the country, SME house builders continue to be frustrated by a painfully slow planning process that is holding back the delivery of new homes.

Proud of its progressive design and product quality: Abode to showcase 2016 range of taps

* Abode-Atlas-Pro-monobloc.jpgIn the 14 years since Abode made its first entry into the UK market, it has become renowned for its progressive design styles at all budget levels. The company's focus on innovative kitchen sinks and taps has been recognised many times - with a cabinet full of industry awards which reflects Abode's ethos towards investment in design and product quality.

Kitchen taps have changed dramatically over the past few years and there is now an even wider range from which to choose. At this year's KBB, (Stand I91) Abode is launching 22 new styles of taps which - if previous collections are anything to go by - are going to be very well received.

KBBG members to enjoy an exclusive consultancy offer

* Richard-Hibbert.jpgThe Kitchen Bathroom Buying Group is dedicated to supporting independent kitchen specialists in the UK; members can benefit from an exclusive business consultancy opportunity to work with one of the UK's leading independent kitchen and bathroom retailers, with a support package, only available to KBBG members.

Richard Hibbert, (pictured) managing director and owner of KSL, an award-winning family business which opened its first kitchen showroom in 1989, is offering a consultancy service to KBBG members, providing advice on areas such as: new business start-up; product selection; showroom presentation and layout, and how to take kitchen, bedroom and bathroom design to a higher level.

Steel windows add style to south London home

* SWA-interior.jpgCreating a striking aesthetic, steel windows were chosen by a homeowner in South London to form the rear 'walls' of both a new basement area and ground floor extension during the year-long renovation of their 1900 house in Fulham. The windows were supplied and installed by Steel Window Association member, Steel Window Service and Supplies.

The semi-detached, brick-built house was purchased some eight years ago and, as the homeowner's three children grew up, more space was needed to accommodate the family. A basement was dug under the house and a conservatory was demolished to make way for a rear extension. In previous properties, the couple had bi-fold doors but, having never been totally satisfied with the design, they knew that for this project steel windows would provide the look they wa

Bathroom & Kitchen Business Conference 2016: new venue, important theme

* BMA-hotel.jpgThis year, the Bathroom & Kitchen Business Conference moves to its new venue, the Belfry Hotel and Resort, Sutton Coldfield, which recently underwent a huge £30 million refurbishment and is set to provide the ideal location for this year's 'Towards the Circular Economy'-themed conference and fringe activities.

The hotel is easily accessible by both private and public transport and large enough to accommodate the delegates and activities arranged by the conference organisers, the multi award winning Bathroom Manufacturers Association.

Karonia at KBB 2016: New Look Mistral worktops

* Karonia-Open-plan-kitchen.jpg"Mistral was launched at KBB 2010 when we presented the industry with our different approach and, thanks to the many, many designers, installers and retailers who have dared to imagine what Mistral can achieve, we have grown to be a market-leading worktop brand," says the manufacturer. "In honour of this, Mistral has a new look as we seek to build on this success and continue the evolution of the brand by improving our offering to customers."

The first step of the new look Mistral branding will be a new consumer brochure to be launched at KBB 2016 (stand M100). The brochure will be an introduction to the limitless creative potential of Mistral, with ideas and inspiration on how consumers can create their ideal kitchens.

Product design scholarship launched by Plumbworld

* plumbworld-design-scholarship.jpgPlumbworld has launched the Plumbworld Design Scholarship 2017, a product design scholarship open to undergraduate first year, second year and third year product design, industrial design and 3D design students.

This is the first year the scholarship will launch, but if successful Plumbworld hope to repeat the scholarship annually. This year, the selected candidate will have their designs entered into an online poll and will be awarded £5,000 towards their university tuition and the chance for their product to be manufactured and sold on the Plumbworld website.

AMDEA signs up to Government product safety proposals

* Douglas-Herbison.jpgAMDEA, the Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Appliances, has welcomed the announcement 'Government committed to Product Safety', published yesterday in response to the report prepared by Lynn Faulds Wood which was commissioned by the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS).

AMDEA is pledging what it says is the domestic appliance industry's staunchest support of the Government's proposals for a Product Safety Steering Group and online 'centre of excellence'.

Twyford works with homeless charity, CRASH, to support projects in the North East

* Twyford-Quinta.jpgTwyford has donated products from its Quinta and T4 ranges to two projects in the North East that provide accommodation for vulnerable homeless people, through the charity CRASH.

CRASH is a practical charity addressing the issues of homelessness by harnessing the skills, products and goodwill of the construction and property industry. Every year, the charity uses this support to help a large number of homelessness charities throughout the UK to refurbish and develop their buildings.

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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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Ideal Standard appoints new UK sales director

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Ideal 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.

Methven reinforces national accounts team with three key appointments

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Following 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.

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.


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

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Dream 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.

Fresh new look for PWS' 1909 website

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PWS 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.

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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