Emens says that none of the technologies emerging in the faucet and water accessory areas are new – innovations such as hands-free faucets and temperature sensors have been around for a long time in the commercial market, but are more recently being marketed for home use. “Meaningful use of technology or engineering is going to impact the future, versus new technology,” she says.
There is a growing demand for ADA-compliant sinks in addition to faucets, reports Rottinghaus, attributing this demand to increasing general awareness of the aging population, and an eye toward resale. “What is relatively new is the demand for attractive, less institutional-looking ADA sink models,” she adds. “For example, popular single-bowl, undermount sinks with the full complement of matching accessories are in demand at ADA depths. “
The accessories that designers add to a project will, of course, vary dependent on the needs of the homeowner. But some add-ons are quickly gaining a foothold as “must-haves” or “most wanted.”
Wall-mounted pot-fillers are one example, becoming increasingly common in larger kitchens, according to Emmons. “Mounted by the stove, they make it easy to fill a pot for pasta or add water to soups. In addition to being a status symbol, pot fillers can save time.”
Another benefit, he adds, is safety. “Pot fillers eliminate the need to carry a heavy pot of water across the kitchen that can spill at any time. This is particularly useful for older or disabled people who might not have the strength to carry heavy pots from one location to another.
Garland adds, “As the trend for professionally inspired kitchens continues to grow, so does the desire for pot fillers.”
Water filtration is another growing demand. “People are concerned about water quality for a variety of reasons – one of which is the migration to outlying communities where households rely on unregulated wells – so water filtration at point-of-use (at or under the sink) is something we’re seeing increased demand for,” says Gross. “For some, it’s a desire for greater assurance regarding contaminants and, for others, simply the desire for better-tasting water. “
Products that make work easier or that improve organization are also in high demand, manufacturers say.
Emens states, “When beauty is a given, the functional or usable design details make a difference.” Examples include sinks with built-in cutting boards and colanders, faucets with tangle-free hoses and magnetic hook ups, and integrated composting systems. Emens adds that open kitchen and entertaining areas have increased the need for secondary entertaining sinks with integrated accessories for serving and prepping.
Garland also sees this trend. “Second sinks are becoming more prevalent on center islands, so the cook can interact with the family while prepping or cleaning up from a meal,” she says.
New regulations, along with a growing awareness of conservation issues, are having a significant impact on the kitchen industry. Kitchen faucets are no exception, says Emmons. “The challenge for manufacturers is to continue to deliver reliable, dependable faucets that meet the demanding requirements of the kitchen, while also conserving water. The objective is to deliver more, by using less,” he adds.
Lord agrees. “Water conservation plays an important role in the design of our products and technologies,” he says. “It’s not enough for a faucet to offer water savings; it has to deliver on the performance expectations as well. Consumers are demanding high-quality, efficient products that don’t cause them to sacrifice time or experience.”
“Consumers are more aware of features such as low flow and WaterSense endorsement and desire those features regardless of zip code,” adds Rottinghaus. “Certainly more areas of the country are affected by water supply; however, our belief is that most homeowners are becoming more socially mindful and concerned about consumption and sustainability in general.” KBDN