The Swedish company is known among consumers for its very inexpensive home furnishings, but its kitchen cabinets are the go-to line among architects when the budget is tight. The company offers a range of door styles and features, and even sells aluminum and glass doors for those who like a contemporary look. IKEA. www.ikea.com.
Most consumers are used to a round drain in the middle of the shower or at the end of the tub, but a linear drain is a good-looking alternative. Installed against a shower wall or under a shower door, it’s ideal for those who like a clean look or hate an unsightly drain in the middle of the floor. Various lengths are available. Quick Drain USA. www.quickdrainusa.com.
The Onsia In-Wall Invisible speaker is a good idea when you want sound technology but don’t want to see it. Instead of a speaker that is surface-mounted or mounted in the wall with a visible grill, the sound panel is installed into the wall with screws and joint compound. It has no grates or grills. Acoustic Ceiling Products. www.onsiaideas.com.
The ultra cool 27-inch integrated all-refrigerator or all-freezer column is the way to go if you want to provide some flexibility in your kitchen layout. Measuring 27 inches wide, the units can be placed anywhere in the kitchen and feature digital microprocessors, low-profile hinges, and extra insulation to keep food fresh and cold. Sub-Zero. www.subzero.com.
It may be the best $6.25 you ever spend. That’s the cost of these polyethylene plastic and thermoplastic rubber flashing panels for exterior protrusions. Intended to minimize the possibility of improper installation, the products offer a no-caulk friction seal that prevents moisture intrusion. Quickflash Weatherproofing Products. www.quickflashproducts.com.
Anyone who has used a wall-mounted faucet knows the benefits. Not only is it more ergonomic, it also frees up the counter for a minimalist look and makes the area around the sink easier to clean. One caveat: Make sure the positioning of the faucet over the sink is correct to avoid splashing. California Faucets. www.calfaucets.com.
Introduced at the 2011 International Builders’ Show, the alarmed lock detects a range of actions around the front door and alerts homeowners of any activity. The alarm activates if a child tries to leave the house, if someone kicks the door, or if someone tampers with the lock. It’s battery powered so wiring is unnecessary. Schlage. www.schlage.com.
Casement windows are great, but they would be even better if there was a way to clean the exterior panes from inside the house. Now there is. The Ultimate Casement window is designed with hardware that allows the window to rotate inward, making both sides of the glass washable from the comfort of the home’s interior. Marvin Windows & Doors. www.marvin.com.
There are other pavers that promote water drainage, but this composite grid and brick system is both handsome and easy to install. Made from 95 percent recycled car tires and plastic containers, the two elements snap together for a sure fit, and the completed surface allows water to drain through. VAST Enterprises. www.vastpavers.com.
New heat pump water heaters have really upped the ante on energy efficiency. The Energy Star–rated products pull heat from the surrounding air and transfer it to the tank. As a result, a heat pump water heater is more than twice as efficient as a standard electric tank. A. O. Smith Water Products Co. www.hotwater.com.