I don’t know why I do it to myself, really I don’t. At the time of the last KBB in 2016 we were in the middle of our build and hadn’t yet started the renovation of the main house, but I was confident, ok, hopeful, that by the time the bi-annual show came around next (2018) we’d definitely have a new kitchen. Hmmmm. Life’s curious ways and other forces of nature have conspired against us and though it’s next on the list, it hasn’t actually happened yet. So, here we are at another KBB with me dreaming “I might have that in my house one day.”
Especially this. I’m now especially dreaming of this.Or, at least, something similar in hue. This beauty from Perrin & Rowe ticks all my Donwton kitchen dreams, even though the style might be a little too traditional for my new space. It’s just so damned pretty isn’t it? I’d sit this on white Carrara marble and lovingly stroke both tap and surface at regular intervals throughout the day.
Back in 2016, it was clear that many KBB exhibiting manufacturers were starting to get braver with their tap ranges, though at the time many of the models on show were still prototypes, testing the market for feedback from retailers and show visitors. Some European brands and those at the higher end of the price scale had already gone into production with brass and black finishes, but talking to those on the stands, the more affordable ranges were still sceptical whether taps other than chrome or brushed steel would sell well in the UK.
Step up social media. Design loving house owners have been lusting over mixed metallics for ages and images online have created a bravery never before seen in UK homes, especially in the past couple of years as Instagram has exploded. Lust translates into desire, desire into requests, requests into production, and production into sales. At least, that what the suppliers at KBB are banking on.
The question is, will we be brave enough to pit our money where our Likes are?
The veritable candy store counter by trade-only supplier 1810 had visitors smartphones snapping. Is it any wonder with this line-up? Eye popping colours and something for literally every kitchen. I could see that pink one appearing in quite a few Insta-homes I know soon, given half a chance. They are absolutely darling aren’t they? 1810’s price points are pretty good too, ask you local retailer for details if these have caught your eye.
Zip’s new range of Hydro Tap Arc comes in an array of different finishes including gunmetal, brushed rose gold and matte black, with such fanciness as a full colour interactive touch screen display with pin code protection, 2 boiling water safety modes, 3 energy saving modes including sensor activated “sleep when its dark”. Get me, it whispers, I’m high-tech but I’m gorgeous too. The stuff of kitchen dreams.The Althia range by Abode features matte black and both gloss and matt coppers, in a regular tap, plus they also do these finishes in a 3 in 1 hot water range called Pronteau. Pun intended, presumably! Now some might say copper had has its moment in the spotlight but with the rise of dark hues in kitchen design – think navy blues, greens and increasingly black – I reckon copper will be rightly popular for a while yet. Franke are also doing their 4 in 1 range in copper, black and a very dark gold. I had a play with this one and really liked it, preferring the manual two handle style to the more automated LED push version. The ease of having a tap which runs ‘normal’ hot & cold water, plus boiling water and filtered too – how fantastic. No more switching the kettle on waiting for a brew and also – banning any plastic filtered / mineral water bottles from the house completely!!This more traditional mixer is also one of Abode’s and is very similar to lots of those US faucets which I know UK designers have had shipped over as getting UK taps in these elegant brushed finishes has previously been very costly. Of course we’ve been able to buy gold taps yes, but those dreadful gaudy sheeny ones, not ones which look like Carrie might have rinsed her Manhattan glass under it. The white ceramic is adorable, imagine it sitting over a pristine Belfast sink. Even on stands where the taps weren’t the stars, they edged into the spotlight. Here at Caple, the red golds sat beautifully amidst dark hues. In fact, what was I just saying earlier!! It’s been really hard to specify taps other than chrome or brushed steel because anything else wouldn’t sit well with chrome wastes…. well, now lots of kitchen sinks are up to metallic speed too, so you’ll have no such issues.On both kitchen and bathroom stands, taps in everything but chrome shone out. Manufacturers were literally competing with each other to create visually arresting, interesting and exciting rooms. Long gone were the neutral, restrained and dare I say boring displays of previous trade shows. Over in bathrooms, Crosswater had a great new range of industrial style fittings called Union in brass, black and brushed nickel finishes. There was also a polished chrome but it cleverly incorporated a bright red accent lever, fun and very, very different. Reminiscent of Buster & Punch styling with the knurled edges, this relatively affordable range is cast in Italy and felt like a real leap forward in terms of UK tap design and accessibility. It’s a a bold decision to break away from the norm and do something so different to the rest, I applaud their style and hope the range does brilliantly. One final splash of colour and that’s my round up of KBB tap treasure all done.
No excuse for us all to stick with boring old chrome anymore is there? And even if we do, make sure it has a red handle!