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Home is Where The Housewares Are: Our Look At The 2014 IH+HS Show

By Marielle Shaw in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 21, 2014 7:00PM

This year’s International Home and Housewares Show was a hot ticket (sometimes quite literally). We got our hands on some passes and hurried over to McCormick Place to check out the latest in design and innovation for the home. The bright white lights of the show floor shone on many an interesting innovation and some new line-ups from our favorite brands.

We started things off in the South Building for the Dine + Design expo, where we admired Daniele Semeraro’s chic drink-ware for Sempli, got a good look at Southwestern elegance with Nambe’s new lines and stopped in to check out a chef demonstration at the Wüsthof booth while admiring blades we had not yet added to our collection. Wüsthof celebrates their 200th anniversary this year, and was on the floor with some special celebratory carbon steel goodness, the 2014 Anniversary Set. The set features a 9” cook’s knife and a 3.5” paring knife with the vintage Wüsthof feel and a few exotic touches like brass rivets and rosewood handles. The set should be out April 1 and will make a great gift for those who love to cook, as it’s both practical and beautiful. A good sharp knife makes miles of difference in any kitchen. When we tired of admiring shiny new blades, we rested our weary feet on some anti-fatigue Comfort Co. mats, new from NJ based Sleep Innovations. From gorgeous copper pots to utensils specifically made for dunking Oreos, we’d found lots to look forward to, or at least glance sideways at.

We also checked out the Lakeside Center’s Wired + Well expo, which had everything from the ever-popular Soda Stream to Popeil’s favorite Nu-Wave to ogle. We admired a vast array of Osters, toasters and microwaves and moved along to view the Student Design winners’ exhibit in the Hall of Innovation. There was a definite focus on assistive devices ranging from the first place winner’s kitchenware for the visually impaired to redesigned crutches that make it easier to climb stairs and walkers which focus the weight of the user on the back and sides rather than the arms for better posture and balance.

To top it all off, all four days of the show were peppered with celebrity chef demonstrations. Some of Chicago’s own were there, including demonstrations by Rick Bayless, Grant Achatz, Gale Gand and Evanston’s ever spice-knowledgeable Tom and Patty Erd of Spice House fame. There were quite a few celebrity chefs in attendance with their own wares, from Duff Goldman to the oft-considered-dreamy Curtis Stone. On all four days, it was possible to walk the floor from open to close and still not catch every bit of it. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the magic of McCormick Place. We personally look forward to seeing the new lines and designs on store shelves soon for everyone to enjoy.