Cori Halpern

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Design that brings your personal style to life.

Category Archives: Innovation

La Cornue black & gold range at KBIS2016

The most spectacular black and gold range from LaCornue, as seen at KBIS2016 on Modenus BlogTour.

In all honesty, I had not really ever given kitchen appliances much thought. I mean, I knew a little about certain brands, and I certainly knew how much I disliked my own dishwasher, and how seldom I used my microwave. I knew which appliances “looked” nice, but I really had no “education” when it came to kitchen appliances – and I certainly had no emotional attachment to anything in particular.

Then came the Modenus BlogTour and my trip to KBIS2016 in Las Vegas. What a game changer!! A total and COMPLETE eye-opener! All of a sudden, I was literally drooling over ranges like this stunner from LaCornue (the Giselle Bundchen of ranges) and trying to figure out if I actually had one, could I bring myself to cook on it…?

The best thing about BlogTour was how much I was able to learn.  I witnessed such incredible innovation and technology in products that we all use everyday, and that can make our lives so much easier. Amazing developments in cooking technology from Thermador, like their patented “Star” burners, their revolutionary steam oven, and the space-saving microwave drawer.

Thermador patented Star Burner

Thermador’s patented Star Burner has over 50% more surface area for faster cooking time. Photo: Thermador

What I also loved about the Thermador gas cooktops, was the “ExtraLow” Simmer setting. Brilliant! This is a setting on the gas cooktop that can be set even lower than the traditional “low” setting on most burners, allowing for perfect cooking of delicate sauces, melted cheeses, or even for sweet treats and sugar syrups.

Even after KBIS2016 was over, I decided to continue my research on appliances.  I had a number of kitchen projects in the works, and I wanted to be educated so that I could help advise and guide my clients in to making the best decisions for their kitchen renovations.

With the help of my dear BlogTour friend, Sarah Walker, we hosted a Lunch & Learn at Luxe Appliance Studio in Toronto for a fabulous group of our designer friends. Luxe is the home of Thermador, Bosch and Gaggeneau brands, and is a beautiful cooking studio, where a chef will demonstrate the various appliances and technologies while cooking a wonderful meal for you and your guests.

Cori Halpern & Sarah Walker at Luxe Appliance Studio

Sarah Walker and I making the perfect chicken to cook in a Thermador Steam & Convection Oven. Photo: Luxe Appliance Studio

We had such a blast! So much fun cooking with friends, and the very talented Chef Marco – who put up with us!

We had a wonderful afternoon, and were able to be hands-on with many of the appliances including the sleek and modern Bosch glass-fronted refrigerators (amazing!!) and the mind-blowing Bosch dishwashers.

The signature Bosch dishwasher comes in a variety of finishes, and can also be panel-ready to match your kitchen cabinetry. It is virtually silent, has flexible and adjustable dish and cutlery racks, and NO BOTTOM HEAT ELEMENT!! I love that! That means that plastic will not melt when you put it on the bottom. Also, it has a small removable filter, so that the food gunk does not get continuously swished around in the dishwasher – you simply remove and empty it after the cycle is done.

Bosch dishwasher

Gorgeous Bosch dishwasher. Sleek design with controls at the top and flexible racking system. Photo: Bosch

Never in my life did I think I would get so excited about dishwashers and refrigerators! I love to cook, but up until now I thought more about my appliance just “doing the job” and didn’t realize how our kitchen appliances can do so much more than that for us.

By using fully integrated and panel-fronted refrigerators, we not only can save space in our kitchens, but they blend in seamlessly, making our space feel luxurious, more custom, and (especially in smaller kitchens) much larger. New appliance technologies allows us to now fully customize a kitchen, not just try to fit and arrange appliances that are too large/too small into the space. Thermador does this beautifully with their many custom range options and their Freedom Refrigeration Collection.

 

MicroDrawer Microwave

How brilliant is this MicroDrawer microwave from Thermador?? Perfect space-saver! Photo: Thermador

Obsessed with this microwave drawer! This would be perfect in a kitchen (meaning my kitchen) where I only use my microwave for reheating my tea that I am constantly forgetting about….It is the only drawer that can be installed perfectly flush in any standard depth cabinetry, and is actually surprisingly large at 1.2 cubic foot capacity.

 

Perlick 18"deep Signature Series Sottile Beverage Center

This is the perfect small space beverage centre at only 18″ deep! From Perlick, the Signature Series Sottile bar fridge. Photo: Perlick

This bar fridge is going to be perfect for the small butler’s pantry in our new Benvenuto Condo Project! Everything one could want in a small beverage centre, and brilliant when you do not have the standard 24″ counter depth that most bar fridges require. My clients will be thrilled with this option!

 

I have also been to a seminar at the GE Monogram Design Centre in Toronto, where we were treated to the launch of a new freestanding GE French-door refrigerator in a stunning matte slate grey finish. Also introduced was a new top-loading washing machine with a very retro vibe. One of the trends that GE is focusing on is “Intuitive Technology” where everything in the home will be connected via the internet, and will be able to communicate with one another through voice activation or on your smartphone or tablet. Fascinating!

GE Appliances Monogram Design Centre, Toronto

The GE Appliance Monogram Design Centre in Toronto. A fully working kitchen showcasing their high-end product.

 

I think at this point, I could write a book on my new love affair with kitchen appliances….and I have not even started on the laundry room! I encourage everyone to find out about the newest innovations in appliance technology.  There are truly some fabulous products in the marketplace that can make our lives more efficient, give us better cooking performance, more space in the kitchen, and save us time, energy and effort. The only downside, is now I need to toss ALL of my own appliances and go shopping….The things we do for love!

 

 

Duane St. Hotel NYC, Aire Ancient Baths

“There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.”- Sylvia Plath

I totally agree with this – especially after a rough day, or if I am feeling a bit under the weather….and I am not alone in this thought.  In fact, people have believed in the healing powers of a hot bath, or a steam, for thousands of years. Throughout different cultures, different countries, different civilizations, there is a shared common thread – the need for restoration and rejuvenation. We can actually see many different examples of ancient steam baths and spas throughout Europe, Scandinavia, Asia, and the Middle East.

Ancient Roman baths - Pompeii

I loved visiting this ancient Roman bathhouse in Pompeii. These thermal baths were built in the 1st Century.

 

Blue Lagoon geothermal spa, Iceland

Blue Lagoon geothermal spa is one of the most visited attractions in Iceland. People travel there to bathe in the healing waters.

 

Asian hot springs

Natural geothermal hot springs are a popular Asian favourite for locals and tourists alike.

While we cannot all jet-set off to an exotic location for a spa treatment, we can actually have all of the benefits and luxury in our own homes. Yes – it is completely possible to feel like you are at the spa – EVERYDAY! And, with the added convenience of being in your own home….fabulous.

I’m just back from a fantastic adventure at KBIS2016 in Las Vegas for the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show. What an incredible experience, and a huge Thank You to Modenus for this wonderful opportunity. One of the products I was most eager to see was Mr. Steam – a complete residential, in-home spa experience. I was familiar with the Mr. Steam brand, but was very eager to hear more about the product and find out about the “Steam Experience”, and the benefits associated with steam bathing.

Ancient civilizations knew it, and now we can actually have the technology to put a personal steam bath or shower into our homes. Steam Therapy can literally help with dozens of health and wellness issues from relieving stress, to increasing blood circulation, improving breathing and respiratory health, promoting healthier skin, removing toxins from the body, and (my favourite) encouraging relaxation. Steam Therapy really is a natural and organic solution for much of what ails many of us.

Steam shower - Mr. Steam

The magic of steam can happen right in your home! A steam generator, the size of a briefcase, heats the water.

This is now totally on my Bucket List of “must haves” both for my clients and for ME! I would also LOVE the added feature of Aromatherapy, where pure essential oils are used to stimulate, relax, and invigorate the senses. Mr. Steam has developed an AromaSteam system for automatic dispensing of these fragrances within the steam shower itself. Wouldn’t you just love to have a hot eucalyptus steam shower when you had a cold?? Or a lavender steam when you have had a stressful day? Yes, please!!

 

Sahra Spa & Hammam at Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas

Sahra Spa & Hammam Steam at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, Las Vegas. Photo: Pulp Designs

Thank you so much to Martha (our Mrs. Steam!) and Mr. Steam for such a beautiful experience at the Sahra Spa & Hammam. That steam therapy was truly extraordinary, and the laughs and conversation that evening were unforgettable. And it goes without saying that I LOVED sharing this fun, bonding moment with my BlogTourKBIS design sisters!! XO

And as I look outside my window, on this cold and snowy day in Toronto, all I can think of is how blissful a hot steam shower would feel right about now….

 

Opening photo: Aire Ancient Baths at the Duane St. Hotel, NYC

Wilsonart black and white Solicor specialty laminate

Wilsonart® SOLICOR™ is a specialty laminate created with a solid color core – eliminating the troublesome “brown line” of traditional laminates. Photo: Wilsonart

I am still so full of inspiration from my recent trip to Las Vegas for KBIS2016, the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, as a part of the Modenus BlogTourKBIS. An incredible experience and a Designer’s paradise in terms of creative inspiration, innovation, and invention! So many new products, new suppliers, and new ideas for me to explore and discover.

Something that was also a wonderful surprise was just how many venerable and trusted brands were also represented at KBIS2016. Fabulous products by design darlings Karastan, Wilsonart, and Wood-Mode Fine Cabinetry were on display, and ALL had completely reinvented existing ideas and were showcasing some of our new designer favourites. It’s not often that you can get me all excited about flooring, or laminate, or even cabinetry – but I was blown away by what I saw, and super impressed by the creativity and ingenuity of these brands!

Wilsonart-28 copper shelving/Tori Aston & Modenus

Beautiful Wilsonart Quartz Collection – perfect for countertops! Photo: Tori Aston Photography & Modenus

Wilsonart-27 copper shelving close-up/Tori Aston & Modenus

Perfect copper metallic done in laminate! Amazing.  Photo: Tori Aston Photography & Modenus

Wilsonart is one of those long-trusted and favourite brands that every Designer has used.  Founded in 1956 in Temple, Texas, by the end of the 1970’s Wilsonart Laminate had become one of North America’s leading brands of decorative laminates. It was fabulous to see how creative and innovative this brand has been in actively developing new and exciting products that are not only practical, but gorgeous as well. I am totally in love with the Decorative Metals Collection, which are actually pure metal surfaces with a sturdy laminate backing. These copper shelves are truly stunning. Also, they have done a fabulous job developing their Wilsonart Quartz Collection, as shown in the top photo, an engineered stone that is perfect for countertops.

As much as I LOVE the way that Wilsonart has showcased the metallics (love the bronze, the copper, and the gorgeous pewter!!), I do have a soft spot for the new Retro Collection….

Wilsonart Retro Boomerang Collection

The new Retro Renovation Collection featuring the classic boomerang design was introduced at KBIS2016. Photo: Wilsonart

Wilsonart introduced seven new classic retro colours in this boomerang motif, designed to emphasize the small-scale, tone-on-tone, abstract pattern in popular colours from the 1940’s, 1950’s, and 1960’s. My favourites are the pink (First Lady Pink) made popular by Mamie Eisenhower in the 1950’s, and the green (Delightful Jade), inspired by vintage jadeite milk glass – which I collect and adore!

 

Another long-time favourite for me is Karastan.  A trusted and beloved brand, a designer staple for sure. Karastan was founded in 1928, and their innovation made the production of stylish, high-quality carpets affordable to the consumer. It was actually American retail icon, Marshall Field, who pioneered the technology that could make elegant, machine-made carpets and rugs, that became known as the Karastan brand. Fascinating!!

So how would Karastan impress me at KBIS2016? I was excited to find out…

Karastan at KBIS wool wall to wall carpet

Beautiful wool carpet in stunning patterns and elegant colours. I LOVE the Scottish Highlands & Southwick Gardens Collections.

Karastan Scottish Highlands image

Wool is beautifully soft to the touch, and I love the subtle hint of tartan in the Scottish Highlands Collection. Photo: Karastan

This collection is made out of 100% New Zealand wool, which is not only soft and comfortable, but also durable and easy to maintain. People get nervous when you say “wool”, but honestly I love the natural beauty of it. It is super easy to care for, wears like iron, and cleans up like a dream, AND it’s perfect for our Canadian climate. With as many as 8 elegant colour ways, and Karastan‘s “A Cut Above” Program,  I could very easily also use the Southwick Gardens or the Scottish Highland Collections as bound area carpets – they are that lovely! Great colours, patterns and textures. Love, love, love! Thank you, Karastan. Yes, very impressed indeed.

 

Now you may think that when it comes to cabinetry, you have seen it all.  Well, then you have not seen the glorious finishes from Wood-Mode Fine Cabinetry. So creative, so innovative, and such a great use of mixed media and materials! Like I said, it takes a lot to impress us Designers, and believe me, Wood-Mode Fine Cabinetry did!

Yardley CloseUp Wood-Mode photo

“Yardley” Style recessed inset doors with mirrored stainless steel drawerheads. Photo courtesy of Wood-Mode Fine Cabinetry.

Gorgeous and unique finishes and combinations of finishes is what Wood-Mode was expertly showcasing at KBIS2016. This stunning breakfront is made of rift-cut white oak and then sandblasted for a more “weathered aesthetic”. Add in the stainless steel inset drawers, and it is the perfect blend of traditional meets industrial. The finished exterior done in Matte Shale with Graphite glaze also makes this subtle grey-washed finish perfectly on-trend.

Westchester Detail Wood-Mode pic

Close-up of Wood-Mode’s “Westchester” Style vanity. Beautiful design in the stepped mullion detailing. Photo: Wood-Mode Fine Cabinetry

I love all of the little brilliant extra touches in this vanity. The classic Bright White opaque finish, the antique mirror inserts in the door front, and the graceful arcs of the stepped mullions and crown moulding. Classic and elegant, the antique mirror adds that extra bit of sparkle and glamour.

I think my favourite from Wood-Mode had to be the “Brookhaven” freestanding island done in a spectacular Agate Blue Opaque finish.

Agate Blue Opaque finish Wood-Mode island

This colour is completely swoon-worthy! Insanely in love with this sophisticated, soft, blue-grey finish.

I made a bee-line for this showstopper as soon as I saw it at the Wood-Mode display at KBIS2016. Immediately and totally in love with this subtle colour! This “Brookhaven” freestanding island, with the “Tribeca” recessed inset door, has the spectacular Agate Blue Opaque finish.  A lovely, watery, blue-grey colour. A perfect solution for those not sure if they want bold colour in their cabinetry, and also works beautifully in combination with classic white as a subtle accent piece. Beautiful face-framing and base detailing, makes this an exquisite and elegant piece of cabinetry.

 

These beloved brands all brought their “A-Game” to KBIS2016 with innovative, creative, and compelling new products and ideas. I’m so happy when a reliable, quality brand can keep surprising me with fresh and exciting designs.  So a very big THANK YOU to Wilsonart, Karastan and Wood-Mode Fine Cabinetry.  Thank you not only for continuing to be trusted and reputable, but also for your inspiration, imagination and ingenuity.

Responsive Home Proofs-40

Contemporary Transitional Responsive Home designed by Bobby Berk.  Photo courtesy of Pardee Homes.

As a Designer, it’s my job to be concerned about the aesthetics of a space. But that is not the whole story. Because when good Design meets cutting edge Innovation, the results are not only exciting, they are transformative.

Fortunately for me, I have seen some incredible state-of-the-art technology on my recent trip with Modenus, to KBIS2016 in Las Vegas with BlogTourKBIS. What an opportunity! Truly fantastic to be able to see what is on trend for 2016 in terms of technology and innovation for the kitchen, the bathroom, and the entire home.  Total game changers!!

Before the KBIS2016 show began, we were treated to a tour of three different specialty builder show homes. The first two were the Responsive Homes built by Pardee Homes, and designed by the very talented Bobby Berk.

Contemporary Farmhouse Responsive Home Outdoor patio at the “Contemporary Farmhouse” Responsive Home.  Photo courtesy of Pardee Homes.

 

Contemporary Farmhouse Responsive Home kitchen

The Kitchen, Great Room and Dining Room all have access to outdoor living space. Photo: Pardee Homes

These two incredible show homes were specifically built and marketed for the Millennials now entering the housing market. These Responsive Homes are focusing on great design, high-tech amenities, multiple connections to the outdoors, outdoor living spaces and nearly net-zero solar power. The floor plans are unique and customizable, and the spaces can adapt as the homeowner’s living needs change.

Contemporary Transitional Responsive Home kitchen

Fabulous kitchen in the “Contemporary Transitional” Responsive Home. Photo courtesy of Pardee Homes.

Located in the Inspirada Community in Henderson, Nevada (just outside of Las Vegas), both Responsive Homes are incredibly innovative and are equipped with electronic controls for temperature, lighting and home automation. The homeowners can easily manage the home’s energy use and comfort from anywhere via tablet or device.

 

The next spectacular show home we were privileged to be invited to, was The New American Home, built by NAHB (National Association of Home Builders), Designed by Element Design Build. This home was built to showcase and demonstrate the most innovative concepts, materials, designs, construction techniques, green building standards, and energy efficiency, with the goal that these ideas can be used and incorporated into any home, and that they are equally as important as the aesthetics of the space.  It is the official showcase house of the annual International Builders’ Show.

Butlers pantry at New American Home

Stunning and modern, this Butler’s Pantry features appliances by Thermador. Photo: New American Home

New American Home NAHB bedroom

One of two Master Suites in the New American Home. Each comes equipped with a full coffee & breakfast bar. I would seriously never leave my bedroom….

The New American Home is also showcasing their innovative design and technology by utilizing energy efficient appliances, low VOC paints and adhesives, chemical-free wood cabinetry, a whole-home automation system, lighting control systems, dual flush toilets, low-flow shower heads & faucets, native & drought tolerant plants, and a weather-sensitive irrigation system. Amazing!!

 

All of the appliances in the New American Home kitchen and Butler’s Pantry were supplied by Thermador, an iconic American appliance brand, showcasing the wide array of innovative cooking, cooling and cleaning appliances and how they can be personalized and customized to each home owner’s style of entertaining.

Thermador – I think it’s more like Therm-ADORE!! I was so impressed by this brand’s level of creativity and innovation!  I have never been more excited by a dishwasher in my entire life! I so love how Thermador has been able to completely and fully integrate all of their appliances, so that they appear SEAMLESS in the kitchen area.  No tell-tale framing around the refrigerators or dishwasher!

Thermador blue light dishwasher

I mean, how sexy is this dishwasher with that blue light?? Perfectly integrated Thermador Sapphire Dishwasher.

The Sapphire Dishwasher also has a flexible third rack and storage options, as well as a unique 20-minute cycle. This dishwasher can be also be fully customized to reflect whatever design aesthetic I am looking for, with innovations to enhance the experience of entertaining, ideal for clients that love to host friends and family.

 

Thermador kitchen

I love how the refrigerator and freezer are completely concealed! Photo courtesy of Thermador.

 

MicroDrawer Microwave

A brilliant way to save space with the built-in MicroDrawer Microwave. Photo courtesy of Thermador. 

Thermador (seriously Therm-ADORE!) is celebrating its 100th birthday, and this year is launching some truly groundbreaking appliances. Thermador has provided a number of unique ways to not only save space, but to also provide personalized, high-performance, luxury, and innovative products for my clients.  From the 60″ Pro Grand Range Collection, to the Frameless Freedom 36″ Induction Cooktop, and the Masterpiece Series Steam and Convection Oven and Warming Drawer, as well as the Wine Reserve Refrigerator, and Under Counter Refrigeration, the entertaining possibilities are endless!!

 

 

TOTO Neorest bathroom suite

Beautiful TOTO bathroom suite showcasing the NEOREST Collection. Photo courtesy of TOTO.

You may think that there is not a whole lot to get excited about when it comes to toilets….but you would be wrong.  Here comes the “potty talk”!! Seriously, I have never wanted to learn so much, or been so impressed with toilets as I am with the TOTO Neorest 750H toilet.  Literally, an “intelligent” toilet!! Winner of the iF International Award for Design Excellence, this toilet has IT ALL.  Intuitive sensor operation with automatic open/close AND automatic flush, integrated personal cleansing system, warm air dryer, heated seat, in-bowl catalytic deodorizer, as well as energy and water-saving features.  It also has what has to be the coolest toilet innovation that I have ever seen – the Actilight Cleansing Technology. Not only is the bowl of the toilet coated in titanium dioxide (making it nearly impossible for anything to stick to the bowl’s surface), but there is also an integrated UV light in the seat lid that is activated when the lid is closed, creating a “photocatalysis” and thus breaking down and virtually eliminating all organic substances that could be in the bowl!! WOW! This results in a toilet that remains incredibly clean and fresh for MONTHS at a time.  NO TOILET SCRUBBING, people!! Can you imagine??

Neorest 750H TOTO toilet

Close-up of the NEOREST 750H toilet by TOTO. Planet-friendly innovation with a 1-gallon “Tornado” dual flush system. Photo courtesy of TOTO.

I mean, who wouldn’t love a toilet that has its own remote control?? Truly the Bentley of all toilets…TOTO has created the NEOREST Collection as an example of TOTO‘s Total Design. The perfect blending of ultra high-efficiency, ergonomic and inclusive design features, and an elegant sculptural form with clean, simple lines.

Distinctive luxury, indeed.

 

I don’t know about you, but my mind was blown by these ingeniously designed and brilliantly engineered products and spaces. Every one of them impeccably showcased innovation, design, luxury, stellar performance, and superior attention to detail.

It’s so exciting!! Truly groundbreaking. How fabulous to be a Designer and have so many possibilities that we can now use to make our lives, and the lives of others, more intuitive, more comfortable, and more integrated. How wonderful that this new and revolutionary technology can also be design-forward, luxurious, distinctive and also good for the planet. Brilliant!

Design + Innovation = Magic