Summer is quickly fading. School has started for my grandchildren and it made me think about those essays I was always forced to write at the beginning of each year. So, this blog post will be about just one of the things I did this summer.
In early July I was invited to visit the headquarters of Delta/Brizo in Indianapolis in order to better educate me on their products. Many companies reach out to designers this way, finding us through local suppliers. It helps them to spread word about their newest products and innovations into the hands of those who will use them.
I have been on a few trips like this in the past, but I must say, this was incredibly well organized. From the very beginning, they contacted us not only through email, but by having their travel agent call and confirm all our arrangements. As Delta was flying us out with Delta Airlines (heh!), they made sure that we could have access to the miles if we had an account with the airline. We were picked up in a limousine, sparkling water made available to us, and then dropped off at our hotel with time to unpack and refresh ourselves before being picked up again for lunch.
Classes started immediately after lunch and were tailored to designers from California specifically. Because of our harsh water restrictions, companies like Delta often have special designs and products specifically for our market. And they have quite a few interesting ideas they outlined for us to show our clients, everything from new ways of increasing shower pressure to faucets that give you all of the elegance and interest you could want without wasting water. But more about that later.
The first thing they did was to give us an overview of Delta’s brand. Naturally they have different manufacturing lines for different prices: big box stores carry the entry level options, then smaller stores with meat-and-potatoes line. Brizo is another part of their company and creates their most exclusive collections with the highest brand performance.
Next, we went over the new options available in each line. Delta has quite a few brilliant innovations that will be put into production quite soon. They also have a new black stainless finish coming out at end of the year. A lot of appliances are using this trend and one of my own projects will be using that specific finish, so you will be able to see it in use by next spring. Brizo, on the other hand, is launching 5 new finishes in September including polished nickel, luxe gold, matte black and combos of luxe gold and matte black.
According to their research, color and design options have become more important to consumers. Many people have moved away from dramatic or fancy cabinets and are shifting to simpler cabinetry while spending more money on their plumbing. They want cabinets that are easy to clean and will last 25-30 years but more stylish faucets that they can replace easily every 5-10 years to keep up with the style trends. Where kitchen hoods were extravagant, they are becoming less important and the attention is being shared with the sink area.
Also, there are now different areas influencing design changes. It isn’t just kitchens Delta designs for but also wet bars, spas, quick shower areas by home gyms, and outdoor kitchens. The design trends have shifted from functional to a personal thoughtfulness. Modern and industrial styles are still here, but they are often softened. People desire things to be simple, but more beautiful and livable. As a result, the company has been focusing on the artisan side. That individuality is more easily seen in the Brizo line specifically. Over the years, Brizo has gone from 5 different styles to 21 and Delta has gone from 15 and are closer to 35. There are a lot of different styles and a lot of different configurations within those styles making it easier to find something for each design need.
Now onto the more technical side of things, starting with the little issue of water pressure earlier that I mentioned earlier. California laws now limit showers to 1.75 gallons/minute, which is the lowest in the nation. Well, Delta has devised a new plumbing design that increases pressure without increasing the amount of water used. Most manufacturers add air to the water to make it feel wetter. Delta is coming at the problem from another direction. Instead of pushing more air into water for showerheads, they are using special zigzag patterns to increase the water pressure. It ends up like a roller coaster going over the biggest hill and uses less water for the same feeling of pressure. By breaking the water in a zigzag pattern it is creating the pressure buildup with less water. This also stops mineral buildup and corrosion and doesn’t allow for freezing.
They also wanted to change their internal cartridges so there would be no point of wear. They have switched to diamond seal technology, which prevents any type of rubbing, reduces mineral buildup, and eliminates wear on the seals. This new cartridge also seems to create an environment that is leak free and less of a hassle. Basically, they took something that was good and made it better. (If you are interested in any of this, please let me know. We were given samples of the new seals so we can show our clients just how well they work.)
Finally, as the most exciting part for the builders, we can now put in universal rough-in valves. (That is what you put the pretty parts on your shower.) Usually the rough-ins have to match exactly to the pretty trim. Now they are completely universal. The same rough-in will work with any Delta or Brizo trim kit. SO, if 5 years from now someone wants to change the look of the bathroom by updating the plumbing fixtures, they can just buy something new from Detla/Brizo and put it on without the need to take the shower apart and then have to redo the whole thing. You can change the finish without having to change the rough-in valve. You can even take it from Delta to Brizo. Also, if you are near the end of a project and need to use a less expensive product, you can still change it when you have the money later on.
Now, there are other new products they discussed with us, like thermostatic dual function control in showers, volume on one handle and temp on the other with preset, but it would take far too long to go through all of that with you. Sufficed to say, if there is something new available that I think fits what you might want, I will bring it up to show you.
Oh, and did I mention that after all this, Delta also took us to see Cheryl Crow in concert? There is a picture in the slide show at the top of the page.
So there you have it! That’s one of the things I did over summer! Now tell me about yours! Did you go visit family? Take a road trip with the kids? Have a spa day? Or are you putting those off til later? Let me know and I will be sure to tell you about any other trips I may have in the works!
Thanks for reading!