Product Spotlight: Electric Mirror, The Global Leader in Lighted Mirrors & TV Mirror Technology

Electric Mirror logoEvery once in a while, you come across a company that combines functionality and technology to give you good design.  Electric Mirror is one of those companies.  The Mischel family headed by ‘Doc’ Mischel is one of those classic American stories that is rooted in hard work, good values and the omnipresent will to innovative.  Electric Mirror holds 32 industry leading patents with more than a dozen pending.  Their company culture is emblematic of ‘Made in the USA’ and their commitment to engineering, design, quality and service continues to separate them from their competition.

I had the opportunity to do a little Q&A with Stephen LaMachia, Electric Mirror’s National Sales Manager.  Stephen is no strange to quality products, having worked for a number of venerable brands before joining Electric Mirror.

What makes Electric Mirrors products unique?

What makes Electric Mirror unique is we are constantly pushing the edge with developing not only the best design elements from an aesthetic perspective but we are always looking at integrating the latest technology.  This makes our products not only the most beautiful mirrors you will ever see but the most highly functional one as well.

How is Electric Mirror minimizing its environmental footprint?

Being based in the Pacific Northwest the environmental impact we make as a manufacturer has always been on the forefront at Electric Mirror.  From a 100% recycle environment to high efficiency equipment, we make every effort to minimize the size of the our carbon footprint.  Beyond reducing our carbon footprint, we are designing products that have energy saving benefits and direct attributes like Keen Technology.

Electric Mirror Novo Lighted Mirror

Electric Mirror Novo Lighted Mirror

What markets does Electric Mirror serve?

Electric Mirror is a global company with offices around the world.  It is the major specification for mirrors in all 4 & 5 Star hotels throughout the world.

What kind of products would be good for the average homeowner?

We make a multitude of luxury but affordable products for the home. Not only do the products bring a discerning designers eye to the bathroom, they can also complement the master bedroom, the foyer and any walk-in closet.  We have made it our mission to bring beauty and functionality to the whole home. To name a few; Mirrored Cabinets for the bath with a fog free surface and upgradeable options for LED lighting.  The integrated HDTV full-length lit mirrors for the bath, bedroom and walk-in closet provide another excellent option and finally, the Lighted Mirrors and Waterproof TVs that work in “wet environments”.  You may never leave your bathroom.

Electric Mirror Stanford TV

Electric Mirror Water Proof Stanford TV

How does Electric Mirror work with showroom consultants?

Showrooms like the Granite Group, partner with us by showing the products in display in their showrooms. We train them to provide the best application for their home.  With a diverse product mix, we can meet every homeowners need.  Because we stand by our products with the industry’s best guarantees and insurance,  the showroom consultant can bring a high level of confidence to the sales process.

Where are Electric Mirror products made?

All Electric Mirror products (except make-up mirrors) are made in Everett, Washington – 22 miles North of Seattle.  We’ve partnered with a supplier for our make-up mirrors and we  find that they offer a great low price point for our residential offering as well.

What are some of the new products that Electric Mirror is featuring?

We have a unique market strategy of offering new product launches throughout the year. As you know technology changes so fast the days.  Electric Mirror is always adding or enhancing our product offerings.  This year, we launched multiple size mirrored cabinets for the bath (Medicine Cabinet).  We also launched Vive.  Vive Technology is our Bluetooth-enabled speakers built into the mirror with control via the device or mirror.  Keen Technology, which is an energy saving mirror is new this year.

Electric Mirror Vive Technology

Vive Technology: Bluetooth Enabled Smart Mirror

Could Electric Mirrors be installed by a ‘do-it-yourselfer”?

Sure! Our products are also designed with the installer or installed application in mind. Making it very easy to integrate our products into your application or design.

What do design professionals like about Electric Mirror?

The luxury look and feel of the product makes our product a highly desirable option for design professionals. The feature set of the products and the beautiful design make our high end options a no brainer for that client looking for that unique function design option.

If you could chose any Electric Mirror for your home, what would it be and why?

I would go with the Vive technology enhanced products, because they integrate with Bluetooth technology and are most cutting edge product line.

If you would like to see how the Electric Mirrors could enhance your home, please visit us at any of our New England locations.

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Water: Tap, Bottled or Filtered

When I was growing up, bottled water typically came in large glass jug called a carboy that was placed atop a water cooler. These coolers also known as bubblers were exclusive to office environments.   In fact, the expression ‘Around the Water Cooler’ started because people would leave the office to get a drink and catch up on the office gossip.

'Around the Water Cooler'

Catching up on the local gossip

My main source of water growing up came from the tap. Bottled water was either mineral water or sparkling water and although Poland Spring Water has been distributing water for almost 170 years, their primary market was commercial offices.   Bottled water has deep roots in the United States, but it wasn’t until the late 1970′s that the appeal for bottled water changed.  Whether this change was stimulated by clever marketing or poor quality tap water, the debate rages on.

Some Facts about the impact of bottled water:

  • The energy used each year making the bottles needed to meet the demand for bottled water in the United States is equivalent to more than 17 million barrels of oil. That’s enough to fuel over 1 million cars for a year.
  • If water and soft drink bottlers had used 10% recycled materials in their plastic bottles in 2004, they would have saved the equivalent of 72 million gallons of gasoline. If they had used 25%, they would have saved enough energy to electrify more than 680,000 homes for a year.
  • The average cost of bottled water and vended water in the U.S. was $0.90 per gallon compared to the average cost of tap water, which is roughly $0.80 per 500 gallons.
  • Most plastic disposable bottles are never recycled. According to the Container Recycling Institute, 85% of plastic water bottles end up in the trash even though they are made of recyclable materials. Americans throw away an average of 38 billion water bottles a year, which won’t biodegrade for 1,000 years.

Now, it is true that there are some areas where the groundwater or local water sources aren’t treated, but the safety of tap water is fairly consistent. Tap water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).   Water treatment plants that provide tap water must be tested multiple times per day, and every water provider in the country is required to provide consumers with detailed water quality reports to assure its compliance with EPA standards.

No matter the statistics, the debate between bottled water vs. tap water will continue on, but for bottled water drinkers, who are looking to convert back to the tap, there is an alternative; filtered water.  Brita produces a product that can be attached to your faucet, but it is bulky looking.  For a more integrated filtration system seek out Rohl’s Water Filtration System or Grohe’s Blue Prue.

Rohl Water FiltrationGrohe Blue Prue Grohe Blue Chilled & SparklingGrohe Blue Filtration

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Brizo Combines Form & Fashion with Jason Wu

It is not uncommon in the kitchen & bath industry to have a manufacturer embrace the design of a renown designer.  Phillipe Strack created the the Axor line for Hansgrohe.  Kallista and Kohler have had a number of lines influenced by the talents of interior designers. But when Brizo engaged Jason Wu, a new bar was set.

Jason Wu - Fashion Designer

Jason Wu was a virtual unknown when Brizo sponsored him in 2006 to work with their industrial design team to create a bold new faucet line, but after creating the inaugural dress for Michelle Obama and a number of successful ‘Ready-to-Wear’ clothing lines, Jason Wu stature and standing in the fashion world is beyond reproach.  This has enabled him to extend his aesthetics beyond fashion.

“When the Brizo brand was first partnered with Jason Wu, we set out to prove fashion can be expressed outside the runway, as it’s also a personal expression of oneself in the home,” said Brian Nobbe, director of the Brizo brand. “  Judd Lord, director of industrial design for Brizo, elaborates, “We’ve always looked to fashion in terms of design inspiration for our products. Our whole thought process here has been that our work is functional sculpture: jewelry for the home.”

The collaboration of these two brands created the Jason Wu for Brizo collection, which is highlighted by the elegant black Matte finish Jason Wu for Brizo Odin faucet.  Named after mythical Norse god of wisdom and magic, this faucet is equipped with Brizo’s SmartTouchPlusTM Technology and it meets the EPA’s rigid WaterSense standards.

Jason Wu for Brizo collection

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The Last Gasps of Summer: Swings, Things & Fires

September has become one of my favorite months.  It brings back a certain amount of normalcy. The school bus are rolling and the rhythms of life get back in sync.  My only problem with September is that daylight is getting squeezed leaving precious little time for outdoor living.

Before the winter chill sets in, there is still time to swing.

nap time!!!

the classic wicker look

hang it from a beam or a tree, it doesn't matter. just hang it!!!

free standing swings are ideal for the treeless back yards

elegance for the garden

While you swing away the afternoon, our little flying friends are either preparing for the trek south or fortifying for ‘Old Man Winter.’  Either way, they need their water breaks as well.

very groovy!!!

a little feng shui

the classic grecian cherub

The light may be fading, but the sun isn’t the only light source.  The heat and the glow of a fireplace extends that outdoor experience.

surround this cozy fireplace with some Adirondack chairs and absorb the warmth

beautiful stone and brink combination fireplace

it doesn't always need to be about the fireplace. brink ovens cook amazing pizza

create an amazing look with glass beads and gas

the combination of gas and glass creates a delightful ambience

and when space is tight, capture your heat from a outdoor heater

The fireplace can create the heat, but other sources of light create their own source of warmth and comfort.

keep the wind at bay with enclosed lanterns

funky candles can create their own brilliance

luminaries create a soft and subtle effect

welcome home!!!

dreaming of summer's return

Get out and soak up those last rays of summer.  Don’t let the fall’s chill, drive you in.  HAPPY AUTUMN!!!

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Bathroom Products and Golf

What do bathroom products and golf have in common?  Kohler, of course.  Okay, maybe that isn’t so obvious, but the Kohler family is providing excellence in both categories.  We are well aware that Kohler manufacturers innovative and distinctive products for bathrooms & kitchens, but most of us aren’t aware that the same innovative and distinctive attitude that the Kohler family pours into its manufactured products is also relieved in its golf destinations.

Kohler's Whistling Straits Golf Course

Kohler's Blackwolf Run Golf Course

The patriarch of the Kohler clan, Hebert V. Kohler Jr. was a late bloomer to the game of golf,  but he has poured his heart & soul into these golf destinations.  Whistling Straits is built on an abandon military base and it has already hosted a number of championship event.  It is slated to be the host course for the 2015 PGA Championship.  David Kohler, Herb’s son and heir apparent to the Kohler empire is the current general chairman of the 2015 PGA. He already has the event hitting pre-event attendance & hospitality records.

These golf courses are only part of the Destination Kohler.  The Kohler family has built luxury hotels that have world class amenities.  So if you’re looking for a destination to test your golf skills and satisfy your luxury hospitality cravings, check out http://www.americanclubresort.com/ .

Kohler's American Club

While we are on the subject of Kohler, let’s see what’s new from this this legendary brand.

Glass Bathroom Sinks

It is true that Kohler got it start 130 years ago, when John Michael Kohler took a cast-iron water trough, added feet and enameled it, creating a bathtub. Since then they have become one of the finest producers of vitreous china, but there is always more room to innovate.  Why not explore another material used to make beautiful sinks: glass.

Kohler Glass Sink - KallosKohler Glass Sink - Antilia

Kohler Glass Sink

Tailored Vanity Collection

Kohler’s Tailored Vanity Collection, newly established in 2014, brings style and functionality to the bathroom environment.  The custom drawer configuration, intuitive in drawer storage and coordinated medicine cabinets make these vanities exceptional pieces of furniture.

Kohler Tailored Vanity Collection - JuteKohler Tailored Vanity Collection - MarabouKohler Tailored Vanity Collection - PoplinIt might not be obvious that bathrooms and golf courses have something in common, but there is no question that after a round of golf, you will need to clean up in a bathroom.  Might as well,  make it a Kohler bathroom.  Come and see the fine Kohler bathroom products at one of our stores.

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Budget Friendly Bathroom Products

We all dream of that bathroom environment, where we can close the door and be transported to another world.  This bathroom has a steam room, a whirlpool tub and a walk-in shower that is big enough to have multiple showerheads raining down on you. It has ample space for a double vanity with tons of storage, a multi-functional toilet that spritzes and dries, a heated towel rack and lighting that can be adjusted to fit any mood.  And of course, the floor needs to be radiant, so our tootsies are never cold.  Okay, snap back to reality!!!

I must say, that I do love to dream.  Maybe one day, but for now, I have to trade in my champagne tastes for the beer budget.  Here are some ideas to upgrade your loo.

Drawer Knobs

glass adds a classic touch

I am a sucker for unique and cool drawer pulls.  I could spend hours rummaging through options to find that one of a kind piece.

brilliant colors add a marvelous touch

finished knobs provide a simple look

Decorative Towel Hooks or Racks

Towel hooks or racks are a big bang for your buck item.  They need to be strategically located,  so post shower or tub spluttering is kept to a minimum. Don’t be deterred that it is mostly covered, they can be mounted on all kinds of objects.

for the boat enthusiast

shaped metal to create a cascading effect

no frills

Bathroom Lighting Fixtures

The bathroom is a room, where you can keep it conservative or you can show a little pizzazz.

to heck with canning tomatoes

polished chrome adds a lovely feel

we conservatives like to stick our knitting

Decorative Drains

We stand over the sink and the shower drain and watch the water disappear.  Where does it go?

drain covers by linkasink

metal can be cut in any shape and configuration possible

square or round, it doesn't matter.

Decorative Mirrors

We have to face it every morning.  Goodness knows, the frame can’t change our view, but it can beautify the bathroom.

our disposition might not be sunny, but our mirror is

overlapping etched metal provides a beautiful border

is there such thing as too much exposure

Shower Curtain

The shower curtain can be funky, artistic, elegant or fun.  Don’t forget the hooks.

go bold or go home

fit for a queen

adding to that sunny disposition

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Product Spotlight: Showerheads

When Gene Kelly takes to the street in ‘Singing in the Rain‘, he losses the umbrella and let’s the rain take him away.  This is the same feeling that we should get when we step in the shower every morning. The challenge with this, is that water is a precious resource and manufacturers of showerheads need to be mindful of gpm (gallons per minute).  Although most manufacturers have adopted the EPA’s WaterSense program, showerheads can still provide a good dousing with a smooth look.  Here are some showerheads from Kohler, Grohe and Rohl

Kohler

Kohler Artifact

Artifacts™ Single-function 2.0 gpm showerhead with Katalyst® spray

Kohler Artifacts Handshower

Artifacts™ Single-function 2.0 gpm handshower

Kohler Moxie Showerhead

Moxie® 2.5 gpm single-function showerhead with wireless speaker

Grohe

Grohe Euphoria

Euphoria Cube

Grohe Rainshower

Rainshower Icon 190

Grohe Power & Soul

Power&Soul Cosmopolitan 190

Rohl

Rohl Bordano

6" Bordano Anti-Cal Showerhead

Rohl Rodello

8" Rodello Circular Showerhead

Rohl Santena

4 3/32" Santena Showerhead


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Finishing Touches: Choosing the Right Finish for Your Fixtures

The first word that comes to mind when thinking about finishes for fixtures is durability.  Whether it is a kitchen faucet, a bathroom faucet, a tub filler or a shower head,  it needs to hold up to years of wear & tear.  But before exploring the plethora of finishes, it is important to understand that a finish is the top coat.   What lies beneath that finish layer is vitality important to durability.  The best material for adhering a beautiful finish to a fixture is forged brass.

Steel and zinc can also be finished, but neither of these materials has the staying power of brass.  Plastic is an option, but it is not advisable unless you are price sensitive ( That’s a nice way of saying ‘cheap’).

Fixture Finishes

The most popular finish is polished chrome. Chrome is tough and scratch resistant. It also comes in a brushed style, which provides a little bit of depth and contrast.  Chrome will show water spots and fingerprints.

Nickel is another finish that comes polished or brushed. It’s darker than chrome and can give the impression of changing color with different levels of lighting.  It is a bit more expensive than chrome, but that can be justified because it hides water spots and fingerprints.  Nickel can also be hammered to give a unique classic feel.  It is relatively new as a finish option, but it has a great deal of appeal.

hammered nickel

To create a truly distinctive look, choosing a bronze finish provides a rich textured feel.  The oil rubbed bronze finish has an old world sense.  Bronze finishes are often coated with a PVD (physical vapor deposition).  PVD coatings are charged metal atoms that bond chemically to the surface of the metal to give it a harder, more corrosion resistant surface.

If you are looking for your fixtures to have a high end look at a reasonable price, then your best bet is polished brass.  A brass finish is never out of style. It can also come in satin, which is much subtler then it’s showy brethren.

polished brass

satin brass

Getting the right finish is about ‘touch & feel’.  To truly appreciate the differences, you need to see the fixture that you are seeking in it’s proper finish. You have to remember that it is part of the a bigger picture. Once you’ve made your final finish decision it behooves you to coordinate all of your finishes in that bathroom to have the same finish.  That is not to say that you can’t mix and match finishes, but one misstep can have your bathroom looking like a hodge podge.  You can avoid this by working with one of our sales consultants or a design professional, whose has a specialization in bathroom environments.  Feel free to stop by one of our thirteen stores in the New England area.

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Product Spotlight: Spa Baths by Bain Ultra

The hallmark of any great company is innovation.  Our friends to the north, BainUltra set the standard in innovation for spa baths.  BainUltra believes that inner wellness is achieved through daily, life-long attention to harmony with the world around us. This unique perspective sets BainUltra apart from any other bath manufacturer in the industry.  A perspective that is dedication to enhancing their client’s well being by creating an insperience as opposed to just a soak.

BainUltra was the first manufacturer to develop the air jet technology, in fact, they have trademarked the term Hydro-therm massage.  Hydro-therm massage is a combination of therapeutic techniques that use air, water and heat.  A variety of natural products can also be added for specific results: essentials oils, algae, mud, bath salts and more.  Hydro-therm massage was created to mimic the traditional massage, so that the end results would relax the body and mind, reduce stress levels, stimulate circulation and revitalizes your energy.

BainUltra’s newest therapeutic bath is the Citti. Citti™ is derived from the sanskrit for “free spirit.” At the same time, the name evokes today’s great cities: these are the perfect baths for urban living. This bath can be installed in an alcove (between 3 walls), perfect for smaller spaces such as those found in urban dwellings.

Bain Ultra Citti Therapeutic Bath

Citti 6032 had 42 jets and is available in standard colors: Almond, Biscuit, White and Bone. Optional colors are Black, Cashmere, Grey, Mexican Sand and Sandbar.

BainUltra’s Evanescence is a free standing unit that incorporates Bain’s Geysair technology. Evanescence™ means “state of transformation”. The collection is an invitation to turn your relaxation space into a veritable sanctuary of elegance and wellness.The collection’s first freestanding bath will delight consumers with its flowing modern lines and thin walls: a prestige bath that makes a great centerpiece of any bathroom.

Bain Ultra Evanescence

The Evanescence 6634 Therapeutic Bath provides 38 jets that provide hot bubbles to relax and relief your tired, achy body.

The Amma, which derives its name from the word “massage” as represented by two Chinese characters, AN and MO, meaning “calm through touch”.  It’s ergonomic design (oblate or egg-shaped) offers superior comfort and an enhanced hydro-thermo massage experience.

Bain Ultra Amma Therapeutic Bath

The Amma's 43 jets, armrests and heated back rest make this bath is easy choice for design professionals .

All of these bath can be combined with BainUltra’s unique well being therapy: Thermasens.  BainUltra’s Baths can be seen at your stores in Portland, ME, Concord, NH, Manchester, NH,  Groton, CT, Westerly, RI and Burlington, VT.

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Store vs. Big Box: Why Bath & Plumbing Experts are Better for Homeowners

Back in the early part of 2013,  we made a conscious decision to change our brand from the “Ultimate Bath Showroom” to the “Ultimate Bath Store”.   For us, the word ‘showroom’ had connotations of ‘exclusive’ or ‘expensive’ and although, this may seem subtle or inconsequential, the results are these words have a tendency to knock out a large percentage of the buying public.  By soften the word ‘showroom’ to ‘store’, you completely change the buying rationale.  A store is much more approachable and inclusive.  A store is more iconic.  We can relate to the grocery store or the hardware store.

It is more inviting and American apple pie.  This is especially important for those homeowners, who are about to commit to a kitchen or bath project and one wrong step can lead to host of issues.

Specialty Store vs. Big Box

When my wife enters a Home Depot or a Lowe’s (aka: Big Box),  she is already looking forward to the time that she is leaving this environment.  She finds it overwhelming and not very useful.  On the flip side,  there are plenty of DIYers (do-it-yourselfers), who relish the opportunity to go to the Big Box store.   It is like going to mecca.  The big difference is that most of these DIYers are male and as a rule, men are not making the design decision in our households.  Big Box stores have very little appeal to women, because they are overwhelmed by the size and underwhelmed by the lack of expertise.

The Big Box stores also have a tendency to sell inferior products than a specialty store.  For them, it’s more about price and turnover.  If a product is not moving in a Big Box store, it has a tendency to be dropped by the Big Box, because they buy the inventory and if the inventory isn’t moving, it is costing them money.  Specialty stores like the Ultimate Bath Store carry a wider variety of product offerings because they are looking to make sure that the homeowner is getting what they want.  They carry less inventory, because their products come with different features and finishes. They are less concerned about turning inventory as opposed to providing quality customer service.

Finally, the single most important differentiator between the specialty store and the Big Box, is the level of expertise. Like the inventory at a Big Box, employees turnover as well.  The Ultimate Bath Store sales consultant is a seasoned professional, because  like most professionals, they are always learning and improving.  They have dedicated themselves to the complete understanding of their product lines and they can troubleshoot a problem in a heart beat.  They are compensated as professionals and their average life span  is over 15 years.   So, when you’re looking to start a kitchen or bath project, put your faith in the expertise of the specialty store.  It will save you time, effort and many cases, money.

Visit one of your 13 locations before you start your next kitchen or bath project.

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