By Lauren Beale Los Angeles Times
In the market for a hot-water-dispensing refrigerator? That was just one of the innovative and unusual products on display this month at the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas.
The annual event, put on by the National Association of Home Builders, serves as a massive showcase for new ideas and technology for the home.
Here’s a roundup of some that are vying for “how did we ever live without it” distinction:
Hot and cold: In one of the notable kitchen offerings, General Electric Co. brings hot water to the refrigerator door. The new line of Cafe French-door models can heat 10 ounces in less than two minutes. Those hoping to save steps to the microwave, though, will have to wait until the doors debut in May.
Shower power: For a high-tech twist on singing in the shower, Kohler Co.’s Moxie shower head and wireless speaker system plays up to seven hours and has a wireless range of 32 feet. Magnets secure the speaker to the shower head, making it easy to pop out when it’s time to recharge the lithium ion battery.
Kohler color: Retro sinks’ colors got a redo from Kohler. No more avocado or harvest yellow; the new hues, developed by designer Jonathan Adler, include Annapolis Navy, Piccadilly Yellow, Greenwich Green and Palermo Blue.
Skylight’s the limit: A skylight that opens using solar power and closes automatically if it senses rain seems like a bright idea. The no-leak, solar-powered Fresh Air skylight by Velux is eligible for a 30 percent federal tax credit.
Lights fantastic: Ever wished for a little more light on the subject? Undercabinet task lighting can be moved around with Halo’s track system and magnetic LED pucks from Cooper Lighting.
Tread traction: Glass stairs took another step toward practicality with the recent addition of decorative treads by Innovative Building Products. The treads, called ceramic frits, add traction.
Store more: Responding to consumer demand for better-organized homes and storage, ClosetMaid moved out of the bedroom closet. On display were systems for specialized craft rooms, the laundry room and the garage.
Get out: Building pest control into the walls of new homes is an interesting idea. Taexx’s Tubes in the Wall built-in pest control system includes scheduled service that can take place while the homeowner is away. This may not have been the sexiest display on the showroom floor, but it did feature a man dressed up as a giant pest.