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Monday, February 15, 2016

Feel like a President on your Throne

The Ultimate TOTO Throne
image credit: Tori Aston


A highlight of the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) was spending time with TOTO USA.  As a sponsor, TOTO made us feel special. They truly wanted to connect with us designers at the show and at at our dinner together at the Wynn SW Steakhouse, Las Vegas. Courtney Novogratz was even a guest showing her new home castle renovation with TOTO products. It was awesome to hear the process and design decisions she has made with her husband Robert. See some images below from our wonderful dinner:

Courtney Novogratz 
image credits: Tori Aston

I was very impressed by all that TOTO exhibited including their eye catching booth design showcasing the power of the Tornado flush. See below. TOTO is all abut innovation and bettering our world with advanced technologies that conserves water. 

image credit:Tori Aston

image credit:Tori Aston

I loved learning about TOTO's cutting edge washlet and Neorest 550H toilet. Four amazing toilet features includes: self cleaning ultra light technology; the bowl is coated with a nano coating so bacteria doesn't stick; self lowering seat technology and the throne is heated!

TOTO Team and Courtney Novogratz
image credit: Tori Aston

Bill Strang, TOTO's President of Operations for the USA
image credit: Tori Aston

A special treat was also meeting Bill Strang, TOTO's President of Operations for the USA. I connected with him after KBIS and am thrilled to share his insights on this honorable 'President's' day:

Can you take us behind the scenes of TOTO’s process as it relates to market research and trends and how it affects your fixture designs today?

At TOTO, to help inform our business planning, we study the mega trends such as urbanization, sustainability, health & wellness.

Urbanization, for example, has informed our product development recently. Studies reveal that 1.3 million people move to cities every week. It’s estimated that by 2030 70% of the world’s population will be urban dwellers.

As consumers downsize and move to cities they often become inhabitants of multi-story high-rise buildings in which the bathrooms are significantly smaller than those in their former suburban residences.

MH Wall Hung Toilet

One solution to preserve room space in a smaller bathroom is a wall-hung toilet. This year, we have introduced the MH Wall Hung Dual Flush Toilet, which has a chic design, characterized by a full-bodied bowl with clean, simple lines, which offers design flexibility.

This stylish high-efficiency toilet saves precious space in the bathroom -- a total of 9 inches -- as its In-Wall Tank System is concealed along with the mounting bolts, water shut off valve and connection for an optional Washlet personal cleansing system. The handsome, user-friendly dual-flush push plate may be removed, providing easy access to the tank's interior components.
Lifted from the floor, the wall-mount MH HET makes cleaning beneath a breeze. ADA-compliant, this versatile unit may be mounted at standard or Universal Height.

Washlet G400

Do you interface with the consumer?

We learn a lot from consumers through market research, surveys, focus groups, and social media.

One of the things that we have learned from our work with consumers is people want to purchase products from companies that align with their personal ethics. This is why we believe transparency is so important. In fact, you might say that transparency the 'secret ingredient' in all TOTO products. It's the TOTO Way.

At TOTO, we have a company-wide focus on being "beyond compliance": setting the market trends in energy efficiency,  water conservation, and material health instead of following them. TOTO is industry leader in products that contribute to healthy, environmentally-responsible design. We were the first in the plumbing industry to introduce both Environmental Product declarations and Health Material Evaluations in order to provide consumers with the ability to make informed purchasing decision.

Healthy, ecologically sound products are highly prized by both consumers and design and construction professionals. However, identifying them is an often-onerous burden. TOTO is dedicated to facilitating this process by providing deeper and deeper levels of transparency about our products' material heath and environmental impacts.

image credit: Tori Aston

The innovative future of bath technology is smart. Walls will soon start talking to us. Has TOTO started to think in this direction?

TOTO began developing “smart” technology for more than 25 years. In fact, we created anew industry-wide product category when we debuted the first intelligent toilet with integrated personal cleansing system, which we named NEOREST. With their sleek, modern design, NEOREST integrated toilets respond to users by opening, closing, and flushing automatically. Their integrated Washlet personal cleansing systems offers warm-aerated water to clean and warm air to dry, significantly reducing the consumption of toilet tissue.
Winner of the iF International Award for Design Excellence, our NEOREST 750H intelligent toilet introduces the most complete bowl cleansing system available by synergizing TOTO’s patented flushing and smart surface technologies to effectively rid the bowl of both visible and invisible waste.

Neorest 750H

This smart cleansing system starts with TOTO’s eWater+ technology. Using the incoming water supply, a pre-mist wets the bowl’s surface preventing waste’s adherence 80% better than a dry bowl. After each flush, TOTO’s eWater+ automatically mists the bowl with electrolyzed water, which has a slightly acidic pH value, keeping the bowl fresh and clean longer.

image credit: Tori Aston

Next, the NEOREST 750H’s bowl is glazed with TOTO’s HYDROTECT titanium dioxide and zirconium glaze, giving it a lovely iridescent, mother-of-pearl sensibility. Extremely hydrophilic, this HYDROTECT active surface makes it nearly impossible for organic substances to adhere to the bowl’s surface -- enabling waste, lime scale, and mold to wash away with ease. Further, when combined with sunlight, HYDROTECT triggers a photocatalytic process in which organic substances are broken down at the cellular level.

To achieve this process in the NEOREST 750H, TOTO integrated a UV light in the seat lid that is activated when the lid is closed. Once the UV light hits the HYDROTECT’s titanium dioxide coating on the toilet’s bowl, photocatalysis occurs, accelerating the decomposition of all organic substances in the bowl.
TOTO's Actilight system results in a toilet bowl that remains incredibly clean and fresh for months at a time.

Thank you TOTO! Your innovation is an inspiration!

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with one of the generous BlogTour sponsors:  TOTO

To get a daily dose of design, find MoD Design Guru on

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Steam up your Valentines Day

Will you be steaming up the shower with your partner this coming Valentines day? For this holiday of love, plan some alone time.....steam is essential to good health and well-being!

Hansgrohe Radiance Select 120 Air 3-Jet Handshower

Hansgrohe enlisted a research team to explore how couples experience the shower.  It was interesting to learn that two-thirds of 18-25 year olds regularly shower with someone else (67%), whereas only (32%) of 40-55 year olds admitted to doing the same. Speaking for the fabulous 40s, subtle changes are occurring but I still feel invincible. Before real problems arise, steam is an excellent option to add for long lasting benefits.

Las Vegas Sahara Spa & Hammam

"Feel Good," is what Martha, Mr Steam VP of marketing said while we gobbed TALA lava clay all over our faces at the Las Vegas Sahara Spa & Hammam at the Cosmopolotan hotel, while on BLOGTOURKBIS with Modenus. Steam is personalized therapy!

TALA  is the fountain of youth packaged in a jar. It's a mineral based clay from the mines of the Moroccan Fez region. Its supposed to help reduce redness and unblock pores. Martha from Mr. Steam found this clay at an actual Hammam in Morocco and brought it back to the States. At the spa, our faces had to wait until the thick mask dried before going into the steam room. We sat in the steam about 15 minutes and after only about 5 min, the mask started to drip. After wiping away the entire mineral enriched mask with a cool towel, my skin never felt softer. It was glowing the next day. Love that glow after a spa experience! 

HandshowerBlogTourKBIS 2016 TALA'd

If you want your own steam therapy, Mr. Steam's intelligent operating system iSteam offers an array of options with easy touch screen navigation: add music, aroma, lighting and/or control the temperature in your steam room. Mr. Steams online virtual spa system makes it easy. Get a simple system or all the bells and whistles. You can see the pricing as you select your options. 

When I think of Steam, three words come to mind: Relax. Health. Luxury. All at home! Enjoy your Valentines day!

To get a daily dose of design, find MoD Design Guru on

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with one of the generous BlogTourKBIS sponsors:  Mr. Steam

Monday, February 8, 2016

MoD Must Haves: Faceted Cabinet Hardware Trends

MoD Must Haves
stylish, tactile, novel 
for knob lovers

Jeffrey Alexander for Hardware Resources

Embellishments on the edges of hardware is trending right now! Cabinet hardware with faceted details etched into the side of the hardware gives a little more detail.

As part of my home renovation, I was looking for the perfect pull that would echo the lines of  my contemporary bathroom. Decorative Anwick Hardware by Jeffrey Alexander for Hardware Resources, a well-known manufacturer of kitchen and bath cabinet products caught my eye. Clean lines. Sleek. Interesting straight line detail embellished into the side of the hardware. Love! It is available in two knob sizes and six pull sizes. Ideal for any kitchen, bath or cabinet. In my case, my Linen closet. 

On BlogTourKBIS with Modenus in Vegas, we were introduced to Topknobsone of our generous sponsors. Designers value TopKnobs for their exceptional craftsmanship and attention to architectural detail!  Love the sophisticated lines of the  Serene Collection. The faceted edge detail is everything! 

I fell in love with the Octagon pull! Perfect profile!

 Refined style, flowing lines, solid construction!!

To get a daily dose of design, find MoD Design Guru on

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with one of the generous BlogTour sponsors:  TopKnobs

MoD Must Haves: Canvas prints from your iphone

MoD Must Haves
stylish, tactile, novel 
for photo lovers

Take a photo from your iphone and turn it into a canvas with Canvas factory

I took one of my favorite pictures from our Cape May vacation right off of my iphone and sent it to Canvas factory. I can’t tell you how easy it was to navigate the site, crop and size the photo. I got the canvas in a week and I was impressed with the quality of the image.  I loved it so much that I sent a bunch of images from the same summer vacation and did a Cape May collage. Love it!

And there are options: you can print on canvas, acrylic glass or aluminum! How cool is THAT?

Want one? 

Like my Facebook page and let me know if I should do a giveaway! 

Follow Canvas Factory on their WEBSITEGOOGLE+PINTEREST

To get a daily dose of design, find MoD Design Guru on

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Is Today's Design more Gender-Neutral minded?

In today's culture we are starting to move away from stereotyping and this shift is starting to explode in design. I have always been interested in the application of male and female features across architecture and design. Mostly the masculine - luxe mix, if I were to label it. But recently, an “aha” moment happened.  I realized that the type of design that I am really drawn to and execute as a professional is a design without stereotypes, a more gender-neutral design: a cross pollination of masculine and feminine traits wrung with innovation. I think this gender evolution stems from cultural shifts we are all experiencing today ie) new perspectives on equality of men and women in the business place, and incredible leading edge design we are seeing in science and technology. During my awesome experience on BlogTourKBIS in Vegas with Modenus, I had the privilege to be a part of something larger than I expected. I have been on BlogTour before, Cologne and California but this time around I was with an amazing group of 25 designers/bloggers, and exposed to groundbreaking  ideas, materials  and technologies at KBIS (the Kitchen and Bath Industry show), Responsive Homes built by Pardee Homes designed by Bobby Berk and The New American Home built by NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) designed by Element Design Build. While absorbing all this new information I felt my mind today is moving towards a gender - neutral arena where I feel connected, and in groove. Design is not just for His or Her; Design, assisted by technologies today is adaptable for everyone....

The New American Home

image credit: NAHB

On BlogTour, we were privileged to get a tour of the New American home by NAHB in Vegas. It shows the latest in innovative products for the future of home building. It shows how housing performance concepts, (energy efficiency, air quality) materials, designs and construction techniques can be replicated into the most simple or most complex homes. Its an universal design which is as almost important as the aesthetics. This is a very important project for the future of adaptable homes. 

image credit: NAHB

I'm loving this dressing room/bathroom concept where there is an integration of Thermador's built in coffee system and warming drawers for towels. 

image credit: Tori Aston

image credit: NAHB

A mini bar off the bedroom, now that is luxury! Yes, please! 

image credit: Tori Aston

We were also fortunate to take an evening tour of the Responsive homes by Pardee, designed by Bobby Berk. The homes serve the millennial generation's desire for smart technology, more space, seamless indoor and outdoor living and separate living areas for short term rental air b and b. Now this is excellent affordable and versatile living for young home buyers!!

image credit: Tori Aston


image credit: Tori Aston

Separate unit for rental for air b & b. 
image credit: Tori Aston

 Onto KBIS....

BlogTourKBIS #sistas

As a group we had an opportunity to connect with some awesome brands at KBIS (the Kitchen and Bath Industry show) such as TOTO, Thermador, Blanco, Wood-mode, Wilsonart,Top Knobs and Mr. Steam. These brands and more are showing that the home, specifically the kitchen and bathroom are now spaces for everyone, merging design, technology and innovation.

My winning #ikonrocksselfie at KBIS

BLANCO, a German company who is passionate and committed to innovation, high quality and unsurpassed service since 1925. The company designs and engineers unique sinks, faucets and decorative accessories in their revolutionary material called SILGRANIT. Thier newest product is called the Blanco IKON, an apron front design proving to be durable, ultra cleanable, and resistant to heat scratches and stains. The sink is fitted with an unique custom floating grid that can be used as an additional workstation for prepping or cleaning. It can fit and be customized at any height you like. This is a great feature for aging hands. 

 Blanco IKON. image credit: Blanco

image credit: Blanco

The anthrachite IKON and Artona faucet really pops in this white kitchen. The Artona's dual finish can be customized to match the color of your sink. Comes in three colors:  Anthracite, Cafe brown and Stainless,

Franke Chef center. image credit: Franke

I loved what I saw at Franke, one of the largest stainless steel kitchen sink manufacturers in the world. Franke showcased their groundbreaking chef's center. They are redefining fun and function in the kitchen changing the way one thinks about sinks. The Chef center brings open-concept and multi-functional living into one multi-purpose sink system. A single guy, or family would love this sink because this sink can enhance the way you entertain, or even clean up. There are so many accessories you can customize to your liking: a cutting board, colander, grid, mobile drainer, push button remote controlled operated strainer basket and Franke's Roller Mat. Chef Yuri Szarzewki prepared sushi with this mat at the show!! See below.

Ahh Thermador! Thermador exhibited an automotive painted ombre effect on this Culinary Preservation center. To fit any lifestyle, Thermador offers ultimate configurations. Yes!, personalized refrigerator possibilities! The ombre unit below combines a built-in fridge freezer with a wine center for ultimate entertaining! This is just one way. How will you build it? 

Thermador Culinary Preservation center

Thermador Induction cooking has also taken new revolutionary heights! The new Freedom Induction cooktop offers responsiveness and flexibility that I have never seen before. Anywhere, any position the heating elements below the cooking surface self maps.  Place up to four pots in any configuration and move them around and the cooking surface automatically detects the presence of your cookware. If you need to move your pot to another location, the cooktop will transfer all of your programmed settings to the new position of the pan. Here I am learning a few tricks from Thermador's chef.

Thermador Induction cooktop

Wilsonart combines art and science to create their new HD Laminate with Antimicrobial Protection. Laminate is having a come back with dramatic designs and textures with enhanced scratch and scuff resistant AEON technology too. Not only does it include an antimicrobial agent that protects the surface from odor and stain causing bacteria like mold and mildew but also produces the best countertop for work surfaces. Great customizable options for young families!!

Me with  Danny Seo, Wilsonarts brand ambassador - I won a magazine prescription for saying I was a germ phobe!

Whether your aesthetic is classic or modern, Wood Mode's fashion forward cabinetry is designed and fabricated to fit your needs. I learned that they can design anything whether its for your kitchen, bar, or bathroom. The style, finish and wood options are infinite. At KBIS, they showed us different metal options to inset into the cabietry. The polished metal on the drawer fronts were gorgeous! Alternatives were brushed and hammered.

As you can see, design is shifting away from His and Her. Due to the merge of design, technology and innovation, future homes are flexible and accommodating for both men and women I must thank  Veronika Miller of Modenus, and all the Sponsors for an amazing week filled with Design, Friendship and New Brand Connectivity!

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with some of the generous BlogTour sponsors:  
Thermador, Blanco, Wood-mode, Wilsonart