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KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-newssince 2002
16th May 2019


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

International News

Saniflo launches Kinedo Kinespace shower enclosures

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The new Kinedo Kinepsace range of elegant and discrete shower cubicles from Saniflo UK is designed to make fitting shower enclosures swift and easy, while delivering a high-quality product with a 10-year warranty.

Shine bright with gold mosaics

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From Byzantine icons to mystical Buddhist temples, gold mosaics have been chosen for designs over centuries as gold is an incredibly strong, precious metal that is immune to oxidation and so provides both strength and long lasting beauty.

Traditional with a modern twist; Blanco's Faron sink

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Ever the pioneer for sink design, Blanco has created the Faron XL 6 S; a large sink with a Silgranit PuraDur finish which is perfect for bringing a modern country house style into the kitchen.

New cool compact wine storage from Danby

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Retailers looking for products to capitalise on the promise of a long hot Summer can now offer the new Danby 16 bottle wine cooler.

Striking concrete-style worktops from Königstone

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Industrial style finishes, such as concrete, remain popular at kitchen design shows and, with Königstone's new Concrete Collection of worktops, homeowners can easily bring this current trend into their homes.

Wall-hung WCs made easy with striking glass casing Vitrus from VitrA

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VitrA has pioneered easy, fuss free installation for wall hung sanitaryware with its extensive range of in wall frames and has now taken another step forward with the introduction of Vitrus, an elegant glass casing-control panel combination that means wall-hung, or back to wall WCs can be retro fitted and new installations can be made without the need for a false wall.

Orsoni from Trend for beautiful mosaic surfaces

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As one of the world's leading producers of coloured glass mosaic, Venetian enamel, gold leaf tesserae and engineered stone surfaces, Trend Group works with today's most celebrated designers, architects and artists.

Award-winning artist Dror designs masterpiece tap for Franke

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Inspired by the ever-shifting lines of flowing water, Franke's new Maris Free tap created by award-winning contemporary artist Dror Benshetrit, is designed with sculptural characteristics featuring a tactile, twisted-effect neck and spout in distinctive Matt Black or SilkSteel PVD.

Bora Pure: Design on a whole new level, scaled down to the bare essentials

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With the tried-and-tested quality features of Bora products and already the winner of the German Design Council's Iconic Award 2019, Bora Pure presents itself as a compact system and an entry point into the world of Bora.

Welcome to the


I'm sure I'm not the only one who's been thinking more and more often over recent years that our successive governments have been working against us - and even logic itself - in many of the decisions being made. Some beggar belief to the extent that I wonder whether the decisions are designed to maximise damage and stress. Indeed, more than once I've questioned exactly where the decision-makers are keeping their brains!

HMRC's proposals to fundamentally change the way VAT reductions are applied to household renewable technologies is a case in point. Currently, the 5% reduced rate applies to installations of solar and combined installations of solar and storage, but if implemented, the complicated new proposals will lead to the cost of an installation being charged at 20% VAT if the cost of materials exceeds 60% of the total cost of the installation. Those amongst us who've had a new kitchen or bathroom fitted, will know that unless we're able to afford the very best products and equipment, installation itself is easily the most expensive part...

Currently, most solar-only schemes comfortably fall below the 60% threshold. However, the most cost-effective collective purchase schemes (as well as more premium schemes such as those combined with more complex 'smart' technologies) are at risk. There's also a significant risk to installations altogether as the material costs will likely often breach the 60% threshold.

I applaud associations representing the smart power industry, who've penned a joint letter to Government, calling for the proposals to be scrapped or for the threshold for material costs to be raised to 85%.

I've always believed that our Governments should be doing all they can to encourage us to become as energy-efficient as possible, and that any refurbishment which improves energy efficiency should not only enjoy a reduced rate of VAT but should actually be VAT exempt. Like those petitioning Government, I feel that these HMRC proposals are particularly perverse when the Government has declared a climate emergency and is backing a smart energy system, which would see homes with storage helping to support the grid.

Whether you believe in man-made climate change or not, the way we're living isn't sustainable and people want to take action. Don't you agree that Government should be tearing down any barriers to climate support, rather than putting more up? Where are the ministers hiding their brains, I wonder...


Jan Hobbs



This Week's News

ArtiCAD to sponsor Bathroom & Kitchen Conference

* Theresa-Turner_ArtiCAD.jpgKitchen, bathroom and bedroom design software specialist ArtiCAD, is to sponsor the 2019 Bathroom & Kitchen Business Conference, set to take place on 7tgh and 8th October at the Carden Park Resort, Chester.

As a premier sponsor, ArtiCAD will have the opportunity to exhibit its design, pricing and management software portfolio, together with online planning and styling tools, and the company's recently launched ArtiVR. Delegates will have the opportunity to experience how the products can help them sell more easily and quickly, as well as discussing their own particular requirements with a team from ArtiCAD.

"Use UK training providers or risk losing them", warns FIESTA chairman

* Use-UK-training-providers.jpg"Companies in industry must use UK training providers or risk losing them." That was the warning Gary Baker, Furniture & Interiors Education, Skills & Training Alliance (FIESTA) chairman, issued to delegates at the Closing the Gap conference last month.

The event, which took place at Furniture Makers' Hall, London, was organised to inform companies of the looming employment crisis the furniture and interiors industry faces if the emerging skills gap isn't addressed.

Transform bathroom designs with new panelling from Abacus - a clever alternative to tiling

* Transform-Abacus.jpgAbacus Bathrooms has launched a new interior decorative wall and ceiling panelling system. The transformative M1 Series is a portfolio of fantastic panelling solutions to answer today's demand for design-led, innovative bathrooms and kitchens.

Launched as the perfect alternative to tiles, the inspirational home-improvement range is equally at ease in both modern and classic schemes and offers the retailer and designer the edge in a competitive world.

Nick Wigston, senior inventory coordinator at Häfele UK responds to last week's leader on lone worker safety...

* Nick-Wigston.jpgHi Jan,

Good article, how about a lone worker app? A lone worker enters the address they are attending, a start and end time, and has a button to press every hour to show they are alive (working). If the button is not pressed, the address could be sent to a contact to do something.

I am sure there is a bright young thing out there who could create this.

Franke sinks and tap chosen by couple on new TV show, 'Your Home Made Perfect'

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Two single bowl Sirius SID 110-50 Tectonite sinks in carbon black and a complementary black Neptune swivel tap were selected by Bedfordshire couple Suzanne and Danny for their pared back, plywood kitchen after two architects presented competing interior design options in the show.

New Origin brassware and accessories come in copper, matt black, brushed nickel and chrome

* Origin-Plural-basin.jpgVitrA, one of Europe's leading bathroom companies, has expanded both its Designer Collection and the recently launched Signature Collection with a new range of brassware and accessories, available to retailers from the end of June.

Subtle elegant design is the key theme of the outstanding new Origin brassware and accessories range from VitrA. Origin presents retailers, designers and consumers with a complete and versatile collection that is the perfect partner for contemporary sanitaryware.

Leekes become latest high-profile retailer to join BiKBBI and Roman becomes sponsor

* Leekes.jpgThe British Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installation has confirmed that the leading independent home department store Leekes Group has become its latest Retail Installation Standards Partner today. The Institute has also confirmed that Roman is to become a sponsor.

In a move that will see BiKBBI support Leekes as it works to meet its installation compliance requirement, Institute CEO Damian Walters commented on the announcement as being "significant". Leekes, with a rich history spanning over 120 years, operates from four showrooms: Cross Hands, Llantrisant, Bilston and Melksham - each with over 30 kitchen displays from suppliers including Omega, Symphony, Rotpunkt and designer Laura Ashley.

Crosswater introduces Svelte grey ash veneer & mirror collection

* Crosswater-Svelte.jpgCrosswater has extended its increasingly popular Svelte collection with a beautiful new Grey Ash Veneer furniture finish and an elegant illuminated mirror collection.

Ideal for the design conscious, the Svelte collection focuses on the key principles of practicality, simplicity and beauty to create stunning furniture for the bathroom. Specially manufactured using the highest quality materials, the collection is presented across four distinct sizes and finishes to suit all bathroom schemes.

Keller's elegant Elba: warm wood with a sturdy industrial touch

* Keller-Elba.jpgKeller's Washed Oak Elba model is perfect for kitchens large or small. The rustic timber effect melamine-fronted cabinetry provides symmetrical patterns which can be combined with all sorts of worktops and appliances.

Whether it's a large open plan kitchen where units have been used to create an island, or a narrow kitchen where homeowners have opted for the galley-style design, they can add stylish components such as copper light fittings or an integrated extractor hood (as pictured).

Kitchens International launches commercial interiors division

* Kitchens-International.jpgWith the growing demand for cool commercial interiors, Kitchens International has created a new stand-alone division - KI Interiors.

As the trend for stunning interiors in restaurants, hotels, interior shops and dining facilities grows, there is a gap in the market in Scotland for specialist designers for this sector. Helen Taylor, one of KI's top designers, has been appointed to head up KI's new commercial interior division. With over 20 years' experience in the retail and contract interior design market, Helen is now focused on using her skills across a wide range of commercial projects.

LDL takes next steps in environmental campaign

* LDL-CanO-recyclable-cans.jpgLDL is consolidating its drive to reduce the company's environmental impact with the introduction of recyclable drink cans and a new cycle shelter.

The move follows the recent announcement of LDL's zero-plastic packaging pledge by 2020 and the phasing in of eco-friendly recycled cardboard. According to managing director Simon Ogden, it's all about continually making little steps to pave the way for big change.

Hotpoint launches laundry cashback and free gift promotion

* Hotpoint-ActiveCare-promo.jpgHotpoint is aiming to encourage consumers to wash their clothes at a lower temperature with the company's innovative ActiveCare technology. Hotpoint ActiveCare washing machines can remove more than 100 stains, including coffee and ketchup, at just 20˚C.

Until 30th June 2019, consumers can enjoy the benefits of effective stain removal at a low temperature with the added bonus of £50 cashback when they purchase a selected Hotpoint washing machine. What's more, as a further incentive to choose Hotpoint's ActiveCare range, consumers can also receive a limited edition teddy bear with their purchase.

Blanco supports Kilimanjaro climb

* BLANCO-Kilimanjaro.jpgJoe Lyons, Director of Lyons NI, a Northern Ireland-based kitchen component distributor, braved altitude and rigorous terrain when he climbed the world's highest freestanding mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, in aid of the Irish Rugby Football Union Charitable Trust.

Blanco UK's sponsorship of the trek helped raise funds to support seriously injured rugby players in their everyday lives.

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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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Recent News

Designing outside the triangle

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Mark Elmore, general manager, design, at Fisher & Paykel, shares his views on design in the kitchen. Mark has been designing kitchen appliances for decades. He is particularly interested in the physical and architectural changes that have occurred, and in the sociological and psychological ways in which kitchens have changed over the years.

BMA supports Water Saving Week with two consumer videos

The Bathroom Manufacturers Association is supporting Water Saving Week (29th April - 3rd May) by promoting two new videos, designed to help consumers think about how they use water and look for products with the Unified Water Label (UWL).

People ask friends, family, or Twitter for water saving advice, rather than their plumber

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Only 6% of Brits ask their plumber for water saving advice, with people more likely to ask friends and family (18%) or social media channels (13%) - with the majority (40%) seeking advice from their water company.

Grohe's XXL Truck Tour returns to the UK for its third year

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The Grohe XXL Truck Tour, a vast mobile showroom that has welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors all over the globe, is returning to the UK for the third time with a jam-packed schedule that looks set to be its most successful yet.

Exciting plans in store for Moores and Roux Kitchens

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Moores and Michel Roux Jr. have announced big plans for the Roux Kitchen collection which include wider distribution to premium housebuilders and selected kitchen retailers, new colours in the collection and R&D into how it can further meet consumer needs.

KBSA 'Staying Ahead' conference is open for bookings

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 The 2019 Kitchen Bathroom Bedroom Specialists Association Conference, AGM and Awards Dinner is open for bookings and members are being encouraged to book early to secure a place.

Treasury claws back £300m+ from apprenticeship training at expense of small employers

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ast week it was announced that the Treasury took back over £300m of funds allocated to apprenticeships despite small employers being turned away. With 90% of employers in the furniture and interiors sector being non-levy payers, this means that excellent and often specialist training providers of essential skills are having their funding allocations cut to the extent that they can do little more for SME's than complete existing apprentices on their programmes.

Two new iF Design Awards for Unidrain Reframe Collection

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Unidrain tells us it is delighted with its two new iF Design Awards; for products from its Reframe Collection of bathroom accessories; the corner shelf and the toilet brush.

Union joins Crosswater's portfolio

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Crosswater's Union collection from has been engineered to provide unparalleled functionality and designed to make a statement. Presenting Italian artisan brassware craft at its finest, each piece is cast, precision machined, polished and perfected to offer an elevated bathing experience.

Smallbone and Mark Wilkinson make three milestone career awards

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Smallbone and Mark Wilkinson presented milestone career awards to three craftsmen that have together notched up 90 years' service at the Devizes workshop. Andrew Potter and Kevin Paget celebrated 25 years and Steve Webb was recognised for 40 years' service.


Gary Nolan is promoted to regional sales manager, Blanco UK

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Blanco UK has promoted Gary Nolan from sales executive to regional sales manager.

Gary has worked for Blanco for seven years. His new role means he is responsible for developing effective sales strategies and focusing on customer satisfaction within the Kent and Essex areas.

New operations manager appointed for Kitchens International

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Scottish kitchen designer and retailer Kitchens International, has recently appointed a new operations manager. Francis Waite, in this new role, is responsible for overall warehouse management, vehicle fleet, tools and consumables, management checks and reports, CPD and training.


'Free Trade' with Euro Brochure by Vogue (UK)

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Vogue (UK) has launched Prelude by Vogue (UK) - a brochure aimed at those who live outside the UK.

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