LAS VEGAS -- Countertops that charge smartphones, lighted toilet seats and beverage chillers that can be illuminated with favorite school or team colors were among some of the new and possibly useful things under the Las Vegas sun this week at the combined International Builders and Kitchen & Bath Industry shows.
Drawing high interest from conventioneers were Corian surfaces with embedded wireless power mats. Just plunk an iPhone on the counter and it starts charging. DuPont and the Power Matters Alliance also see these counters working in public spaces such as coffee shops. Look for the technology to be available to consumers later this year. The pricing is not yet set.
Night-light toilet seats from Kohler offer a subdued blue light as an option to switching on bright overheads. Designed with a seven-hour timer, the two-part light can cycle on only when needed at night. A guiding light (yes, they call it that) is in the seat hinge, and a task light is visible when the bowl lid is lifted. The list price is $75.
Wine cabinets and under-counter refrigerators using more than a dozen colors of LED lighting were unveiled by True Professional Series. Cobalt blue, lavender, ice and emerald green are among the choices. But would-be buyers will have to wait until fall before the fridges are available to consumers.
A one-piece continuous slide closet system that transforms wire shelves to clothes-hanging space was a new offerings from ClosetMaid that drew industry recognition. The TotalSlide Pro can be cut to fit space up to 12 feet long. That's a long uninterrupted slide. But the product is available to consumers only through a builder.
Free-standing tub fillers that look more sculptural than faucet-like go hand-in-hand with the stand-alone tub trend in master bathrooms. Among makers is Indianapolis-based Brizo, which showed a line in chrome, nickel, bronze and black finishes.
While making its radiant floors thinner and hotter, Warmup has added a thermostat to help buyers use the floors more effectively as a heat source. The slim wall displays come in a variety of colors to fit in with room decor.
Concrete sinks, made from fiber and cement and then sealed, took center stage at the Native Trails booth. The sinks, which start at $435, weigh 40% less than standard concrete and have that industrial/loft vibe popular in hip urban neighborhoods.
The subdued palette includes ash, pearl and slate tones. An alternative to the double-sink, double-vanity trend in master bathrooms is a single trough sink with two drains and two faucets -- essentially a double sink. The 4-foot-long sink is priced at $1,685.
Waterfall faucets to go with glass vessel sinks made a colorful display at the Toledo, Ohio-based Mr Direct Sinks and Faucets exhibit. The faucets range in price from $78 to $98, and the vessel sinks, in a variety of styles and patterns, cost $79.
An unusual sink for entertaining was made by Elkay. The metal sink is elongated and irregularly shaped. Imagine filling it with ice and canned beverages for a party.
Glass cabinet knobs by Sietto, as well as other manufacturers, were among accent items to add a pop of color to cabinets, vanities and furniture. Shades include glacier aqua, which was a popular accent color on the show floor this year.
Perhaps the aqua is in response to this year's hot color ... which some designers and conference presenters say is gray.
[For the Record, 2:34 p.m. PST Feb. 7: An earlier version of this post said True Professional Series wine cabinets and under-counter refrigerators offer more than two dozen colors of LED lighting. It's actually more than one dozen colors -- 14 in all.]