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From a simple wine press to today’s modern kitchen, the new BLANCO EMPRESSA™ faucet collection blends …

“The EMPRESSA Collection exemplifies on-trend design while paying homage to BLANCO’s European heritage,” states Tim Maicher, Director of Marketing for BLANCO. “The detailing in each handle connects with the winemaking tradition of BLANCO’s home region in Germany, while the versatile styling and functional features reinforce our continuing passion for excellence and innovation. This transitional series is a perfect fit for modern farmhouse style, with four versatile styles and new finishes that coordinate with any kitchen design.”

The EMPRESSA Collection debuts two exciting new finishes, Polished Nickel and Oil Rubbed Bronze. It also comes in Stainless Finish or Polished Chrome. EMPRESSA features four versatile models including: Semi-Professional, Pull-Down, Bridge and Bar. A matching soap dispenser is also available.

To download full press release and images, click here.

BLANCO EMPRESSA Details (Available April 2018):

  • Available finishes:
    • Polished Chrome
    • Stainless Finish
    • Polished Nickel
    • Oil Rubbed Bronze
  • EMPRESSA Bridge Faucet:
    • Pull-down dual spray
    • MSRP:
      • Polished Chrome:       $895
      • Stainless Finish:          $1075
      • Polished Nickel:          $1075
      • Oil Rubbed Bronze:    $1075
  • EMPRESSA Semi-Professional Faucet:
    • Pull-down dual spray
    • MSRP:
      • Polished Chrome:       $750
      • Stainless Finish:          $900
      • Polished Nickel:          $900
      • Oil Rubbed Bronze:    $900
  • EMPRESSA Kitchen Faucet with Pull-down spray
    • Pull-down dual spray
    • MSRP:
      • Polished Chrome:       $595
      • Stainless Finish:          $725
      • Polished Nickel:          $725
      • Oil Rubbed Bronze:    $725
  • EMPRESSA Bar Faucet
    • Steam spray
    • MSRP:
      • Polished Chrome:       $545
      • Stainless Finish:          $655
      • Polished Nickel:          $655
      • Oil Rubbed Bronze:    $655


For three generations, BLANCO has quietly and passionately elevated the standards for luxury sinks, faucets and decorative accessories. Proud of its European heritage and award-winning German engineering, BLANCO is steadfastly committed to their tradition of high quality, innovative design and unsurpassed service since 1925. Dedicated to quality without compromise, every sink is closely inspected many times before it receives the BLANCO name.

A remarkable history of firsts emphasizes BLANCO’s zeal for innovation including the first stainless steel sink to achieve a 10mm radius –STEELART® – the first to market colored hard composite sinks in North America – BLANCO’s pioneering MicroEdge technology with its virtual flushmount edge – and the first apron front sink in composite granite.

BLANCO has a long tradition of environmental stewardship and their production facilities operate to strict DIN EN ISO 14001 environmental performance standards.

BLANCO is the brand of choice in the luxury sink and faucet category for its unparalleled quality and an inspirational breadth of design possibilities. From the precision craftsmanship and artistic creativity of its STEELART brand to the stunning durability of its ground breaking SILGRANIT® collection, BLANCO has proven that the sink is far more than a mere functional element in the kitchen.

Since 1994, BLANCO has been a member of the Caux Round Table (CRT), an international network of principled business leaders and companies working to promote a moral capitalism.

For more information, visit

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These rubber kitchen gloves somehow cost $390

There’s a haute version of everything plus the kitchen sink these days — even dish-washing gloves.

Calvin Klein head designer Raf Simons sent models down his spring catwalk in rubber accessories that — price notwithstanding — are nearly identical to the kind you buy from your local bodega.

The main difference? This millennial pink pair is stamped with the designer’s coveted logo.

This isn’t the only grocery store staple getting a stylish reboot this season: French house Céline re-imagined the see-through plastic shopper, which will lighten your wallet of a whopping $600.

The gloves are currently available for purchase at SSENSE for $390.

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How to turn ordinary old kitchen items into snazzy décor

Striking the perfect balance between a kitchen that looks Instagrammable and one that you can actually cook in can be pretty tricky. Flip through any catalogue of perfectly-staged kitchens and the mind reels at how anyone could keep a kitchen that pristine for any amount of time. You know what though? A lot of those perfect kitchens have probably never even had food in them, let alone kids. You’re doing just fine.

We shouldn’t have to shy away from the fact that we *gasp* cook in our own kitchens. They should look like we use them regularly and enjoy it. Let’s celebrate using our kitchens for things other than taking photos by using functional kitchen accessories in our décor. Here are ways to turn your regular old kitchen stuff into part of the whole room.

Not your grandmother’s china wall

Remember how your grandmother used to have a wall dedicated to an assortment of evenly-spaced china plates? Even if she didn’t, you know what we’re talking about. It may be a dated style, but that doesn’t mean you have to hide your cute dishes away in a cupboard or cabinet. With a simple plate hanger, you too can decorate with your dishware, bringing the look into the twenty-first century with a little asymmetrical styling.

Group plates, bowls, serving dishes or baskets of all different sizes in a cascading pattern on your wall. For the best look, stick with a colour theme, use an odd number of dishes and space everything out on the floor before putting it up on the wall. Then watch your friends admire your DIY wall art and casually replicate it in their own homes while insisting they were planning on doing this for a long time.

A post shared by N̥ḁo̥m̥i̥ H̥o̥l̥d̥e̥r̥ (@happyholderhome) on Apr 20, 2018 at 7:24pm PDT

Don’t have enough decorative dishes? Hit a thrift store. There are any number of vintage finds to be made there.

Open the door to your best accessories

Stop hiding your pretty kitchen items away. Get some open shelving either new or from a thrift store (a coat of paint works wonders at reviving old shelves) and display the items that you love and use often. If you drink tea every afternoon, keep an assortment of mugs within reach. If coffee is your pick, keep the French press and a pretty can of coffee out. Put out some spoons or other silverware in a Mason jar or pitcher. Use open shelving to make your space more functional while also displaying the things that would otherwise be tucked away in a cupboard.

A post shared by Laura Higham (@the_indigo_house) on Feb 18, 2018 at 2:14am PST

Finally, a use for those tea towels that are “too pretty” for drying dishes

Do you have a tea towel (or five) that you bought, but just can’t bring yourself to use because it’s too pretty? It’s fine, we all have them, but what good are those “too pretty” towels doing in a drawer? Bring them out and use a little DIY magic on them to turn them into gorgeous wall art. Wooden dowel hangings are an option but don’t underestimate the classic look of just hanging your towels on some simple hooks.

A post shared by Little Polli And The Blackbird (@littlepolli) on Apr 23, 2018 at 2:23am PDT

Use a display tray for your specific needs

Trays are objectively adorable, especially when you load them up with cute cups and a tea pot. If you drink a lot of tea, why not set yourself up with a tea tray holding a few cups, saucers, a tea pot, sugar bowl and tins of your favourite tea blends? If tea isn’t your thing, use the same concept for whatever works for you. Coffee, hot chocolate, popcorn popping supplies, even small plants or candles would look sweet.

A post shared by bigred (@kimy__kim_) on Apr 21, 2018 at 5:20pm PDT

Cake plates aren’t just for cakes

Have a cake pedestal that spends most of its cake-free time luxuriating in a cupboard? Put it to work and use it to hold your salt, pepper and napkins on the kitchen table. Or put it on the counter and have it hold oil and vinegar bottles, your most frequently-used spices and finishing salt.

A post shared by Kitchen And Bath Authority (@kbauthority) on Apr 24, 2018 at 12:05pm PDT

“I just thought it was pretty”

Embrace the prettiest things in your kitchen and just put them out. Is the balsamic vinegar bottle cute? Put it out. Are you in love with your Twinings tins? Leave them on the counter. Are you absolutely in love with a vintage pitcher? Use it to house your utensils by the stove. Embrace the things you want to leave out and just do it. The easiest décor to use is the stuff that’s already tucked away in your kitchen. Find what’s pretty and put it out.

A post shared by janecooperwatson 🏡🐶❤️ (@janecooper321) on Apr 23, 2018 at 8:47am PDT

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Thousands visit Country Living Fair

The Country Living Fair brought the magazine’s content to life and gave guests access to a unique shopping experience, which included antiques sellers, food purveyors, artists, furniture makers, crafters and more. 

Wilson County Expo Center marketing director Charity Toombs said the event brought thousands of people to the center during the three-day fair.

The fair included local Tennessee vendors, including Bradley’s Creamery, a Brentwood artisanal ice cream inspired by old-fashioned Southern favorites; Cousins Maine Lobster, a Murfreesboro food truck that serves up fresh lobster, lobster rolls, soups and sides; JBS Mercantile, a Mt. Juliet modern farmhouse-style home décor business; Love Fig a Nashville business with playful and fun kitchen accessories; Scarlett Scales Antiques a Franklin antiques shop; Southern Fried Design Barn a Lebanon supplier of paper goods; and more.

Special guests included Rachel Ashwell with Shabby Chic and author of “My Floral Affair: Whimsical Spaces and Beautiful Florals,” Amie Sikes and Jolie Sikes-Smith from “Junk Gypsies,” Elliott Farmer, a Food Network chef and television personality, Maneet Chauhan, a Food Network celebrity chef and owner of Chauhan Ale and Masala House, and more.


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Get Yourself a High-Tech Humidor

What separates a cigar enthusiasts from a cigar aficionado? Knowledge, of course—but owning a high-end, high-tech humidor certainly can’t hurt.

Below we’ve identified top-tier humidor technology for the serious smoker who wants to make a statement with their cigar storage.


Who says a humidor should just keep your cigars secure? The Fortress by Döttling is a hand-crafted, calfskin luxury safe the not only houses a humidor but is capable of holding—and precisely winding—up to 14 watches. In addition to protecting timepieces and tobacco products, The Fortress includes a Colosimo two-door safe for securing any other valuable items. And The Fortress, which can be immediately connected to your home’s burglar alarm system, is no slouch when it comes to cigar preservation, either. The safe’s humidor is constructed of Spanish cedar, equipped with an electronic humidifying system and outfitted with a hygrometer and a barometer from Wempe for tracking humidity and air pressure in style.

The Fortress by Döttling is available, in varied configuration and color combination upon request, for $155,000.

Maklary Grand Cigar Cabinet

The humidor for the Havana fan with a huge collection. The Maklary Grand Cigar Cabinet is an infinitely customizable, grandfather clock-sized humidor, constructed of solid wood and featuring an interior of Spanish cedar, that can hold 1,500 to 2,000 cigars. The cabinet is not just a marvel of Macanudo-storing construction but comes equipped with technology to promote proper cigar aging and preservation. In addition to a powerful MCT XL digital humidification system built specifically for the unit, the Maklary Grand Cigar Cabinet can be outfitted to include thermal insulation, UVC air disinfection and convection heating and fans, all of which can be tracked and controlled easily by the user via an inset control unit, recessed into the sidewall of the cabinet.

Contact Maklary Humidors with your specific cigar needs and customizations for pricing on the Maklary Grand Cigar Cabinet.

Python Connoisseur Hi-Fi

Smokes with a soundtrack. A classic aesthetic paired with modern capabilities, the Python Connoisseur is a humidor and much, much more. The Python’s humidor unit features an active, microprocessor controlled humidifying system with automatic air circulation to maintain an absolute—and optimally distributed—humidity, with all essential info displayed via a high-precision digital sensor. But that’s just the start of the Python’s appeal. The all-in-one, extravagant hobby home is also capable of holding and winding 16 watches, includes a weather station with thermometer, barometer and hygrometer, and features a signature Buben Zorweg timepiece. Better still, the Python Connoisseur is equipped with an integrated, German-made Hi-Fi system capable of playing audio from any of your preferred smart devices or streaming services via Wi-Fi or bluetooth.

Contact a Buben Zorweg distributor via for pricing on a Python Connoisseur Hi-Fi unit.

The Linley Humidor of Monticello

The humidor for the cigar aficionado who is also a history enthusiast. A marvel of modern engineering, this humidor is a replica of third president (and renaissance man) Thomas Jefferson’s architectural achievement, Monticello. In addition to being a conversation starter for any cigar lounge, this presidential property is fully equipped for preserving smokes, with an in-built humidification system—as well as numerous hidden drawers for holding cigar accessories.

The Linley Humidor of Monticello is available for $70,318.

Imperiali Genève Emperador

The crown jewel of cigar storage, the Imperiali Genève Emperador is for the aficionado for whom a love of cigar smoke is second only to air itself. A marriage of luxury and technology, every aspect of the Emperador oozes affluence and innovation. At any point, Emperador owners can enjoy the Swiss-made Tourbillon timepiece set in the center of the humidor, but to access their (presumably very pricey) cigars, they must first enter a correct code sequence on the box’s golden touch sensor buttons. The Emperador houses 24 cigars, each contained within their own sensor-equipped glass tube, a solo storage system that allows the most high-end of humidors to control the humidity and moisture each cigar is subject to with medical precision. If that’s not enough to impress even the most jaded of cigar lovers, the Emperador is also outfitted with a laser-guided cigar cutter, a built-in triple-flame table lighter to ensure the perfect burn, and an intelligent ashtray that detects a cigar upon approach and opens to accept ash, rapidly closing until it’s time for another tap.

The Imperiali Genève Emperador is the world’s most expensive humidor at $1 million.

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What we saw at Salone del Mobile 2018

Last week, AN visited the Italian design capital to see the newest releases by brands and designers. We highlight a few more of our favorites finds from Salone del Mobile and its EuroCucina exhibition, as well as a few satellite shows, below. 

The designer Sebastian Wrong (Gabrielle Golenda/AN)

Filigrana Light (Courtesy Established Sons)

Filigrana Light
Established Sons

Sebastian Wrong’s Filigrana Light for Established Sons recalls glass making traditions from the 16th century. The orb is made by highly skilled artisans who spiral filigree stripes, continuously rotating the glass to and blowing it to make the final shape.

(Courtesy Ercol)

(Courtesy Ercol)


Icelandic designer Hlynur V. Atlason designed Ercol’s first commercial collection of modular furnishings. The series presents a whimsy, colorful new take on the British brand’s hardwood furniture aesthetic based on the Windsor chair. Comprising a chair, an armchair, a work chair outfitted with a student-like arm-desk, a bench/coffee table hybrid, and a magazine table, each piece can be combined for various working environments.

(Courtesy Poliform)


Debuting at EuroCucina, this new kitchen model was shown in four configurations to showcase the five new finishes in oak,  glass, extra dark marble, metallic brushed lacquer, and Dekton Calacatta. The series includes a modular stainless steel and glass island system, two snack tables, stools designed by Jean-Marie Massaud, customizable backsplash/wall unit storage, extra-tall to-the-ceiling cabinetry, an extractible steel shelf/work surface, and a range of sliding worktop accessories.

(Courtesy Alpi)

(Courtesy Alpi)

Kengo Kuma

Japanese architect Kengo Kuma worked with the Italian wood surfaces outfitter to create a collection that accentuates the woodgrains of maritime pine and Japanese cedar. The grain itself becomes a stylized trope of aesthetic articulations of the material. The Japanese cedar is adorned with smooth, vertical texturing; meanwhile, the pine is characterized by the bark-like shapes split between deep cracks.

(Courtesy Snaidero)

(Courtesy Snaidero)


Soft curves form human-centered, ergonomic base units for islands and peninsulas in this kitchen. The LED-lit structural framework outlines fluid surfaces integrated throughout, highlighting the integrated spaces that blur the boundaries between cooking, storage, and entertaining.

(Courtesy Roberto Cavalli Home)

(Courtesy Roberto Cavalli Home)

Sculptural Glass Vases
By Paul Surridge for Roberto Cavalli Home

Inspired by the fashion house’s infamous animal patterns, the swirling configuration laced around the vessels emulates leopard, zebra, giraffe, and snake motifs abstracted as tactile, textured cladding. The series of ten sculptural glass vases were handmade by Tuscan glass masters and then produced by Arnolfo di Cambio, the glass manufactured established in Colle Val d’Elsa in 1945.

Don’t miss last week’s Milan Design Week highlights! Click here

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Groupe BMR unveils its new store concept: the urban hardware store

La Shop opens its doors in Montreal

BOUCHERVILLE, QC, April 23, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ - Groupe BMR is unveiling today its brand-new urban hardware store concept, La Shop BMRâ„¢, with a pilot location opening on April 24 at 70 Peel St. (between Wellington and Smith) in Montreal’s Griffintown. 

Logo: Groupe BMR (CNW Group/Groupe BMR)

La Shop, a concept meticulously designed to meet local consumers’ needs, supplements the traditional hardware selection with products and services adapted to the urban market. At the new Griffintown location, for example, customers will be able to buy small home appliances and kitchen accessories, premium pet food, bicycle accessories, and storage solution products. This new store type will also offer home handyman services to interested customers.

In this environment, where industrial and modern styles meet, products from Canadian manufacturers will predominate. Firmly future-oriented, these urban hardware stores propose an omnichannel experience for attracting both the old and the new generations of consumers. “We are beyond excited about this new concept as it meets the needs of millennials, a generation that is both tech savvy and keen on supporting local retail products and businesses. La Shop allows them to shop locally and affordably with tailor-made service!” explains Pascal Houle, CEO of Groupe BMR.

“This pilot store in Griffintown will give us the chance to implement a variety of technologies over the next few weeks to optimize the customer experience in-store and on all La Shop digital platforms. We will carry out different tests and collect customers’ comments, which will allow us to put the finishing touches on our omnichannel experience this fall,” says Martin Lecomte, Groupe BMR’s Vice-President of Retail.

A hardware store that shares

Another La Shop feature that will undoubtedly entice consumers is its economic model of sharing, which consists in renting out tools free of charge to customers undertaking renovations with La Shop products.

A testament to La Shop’s desire to offer quality products at unmatched prices, the La Shop selection is eligible for the “Best price guaranteed” program.

Photos and videos:

About Groupe BMR inc.
Groupe BMR inc. is a subsidiary of La Coop fédérée, which regroups 300 home renovation centres and hardware stores in Quebec, Ontario, and the Maritime Provinces. Groupe BMR inc. and its members make an estimated $1.2 billion in retail sales annually and employ nearly 8,000 persons in bannered stores. Named Company of the Year at the 2017 Les Mercuriades awards, Groupe BMR inc. is the leader in Quebec’s renovation industry, operating under the banners BMR, Unimat, Potvin Bouchard, Agrizone, and La Shop.


Logo: La Shop BMRâ„¢ (CNW Group/Groupe BMR)


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