The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

International Home And Housewares Show Debuts New Designs And Innovations

By Marielle Shaw in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 13, 2015 3:00PM

The Suzie Q line, a debut for 2015, along with its designer. Photo by Marielle Shaw
We hit the ground running at McCormick Place last weekend for the 2015 International Home and Housewares Show. As always, it was packed and we scoured the buildings while talking to all sorts of industry reps about what was new and interesting. We wanted to share some of our finds so you can be on the lookout as new things hit store shelves. Below is our picks for several different categories.

If you’re an apartment dweller, we’re sure you’re familiar with the “no painting” rule. It can make it hard to create a space that feels like your own. That’s why we loved what Wallies was doing. They specialize in peel and stick d├ęcor, which may not sound that appealing. But the colors are bold and they’re introducing new bigger applications, making it possible to add a backsplash to a drab kitchen, chalkboard insets to cabinets or add big hits of color to white walls and still get your security deposit back. We also loved VPlant from Modular Livings, which is a Lego-esque concept for a vertical garden. It comes in four colors and has an an angular origami feel. It can be used outdoors or as an indoor wall feature (with proper drainage) and if used indoors, naturally cools the space.

If you’re a wine and beer enthusiast, we found quite a few new must-haves. BUILT NY’s booth was one we spent a lot of time at, admiring the fun patterns and smart ideas, including a backpack with a zip-off, insulated lunchbox that we adored. They specialize in neoprene products and introduced some great new ones this year, including six pack and growler holders and a two-bottle wine bag. They’re insulating, fun and make things easier to carry. We also found some gorgeous wooden wine glasses by David Rasmussen Furniture Design. The wood is specially treated to avoid staining for easier care and we found the whole drinkware lineup from this Colorado company quite stunning. When we talked to them at IH+HS, we were glad to hear that they might be available through CB2 stores later this year. Finally, one of our favorite finds at the show was the self-cooling ceramic from Finnish design company Magisso. It’s got a sleek matte finish, which is also a chalkboard surface, and if you soak it in cold water for one minute it will stay 40% cooler than the ambient temperature for hours.

If you’re a fan of all things quirky, you’ll be happy to hear about Fred & Friends’ new lineup. These are the folks responsible for things like silicone cupcake mold “muffin tops” which are shaped like blue jeans. They’ve got all sorts of new silliness for the kitchen to look forward to, including a cheese board and slicer made to look like a giant mouse trap and an elephant shaped olive or nut dish that lets you stash pits and shells in the trunk. Kikkerland has a similar fun approach, including graffiti cocktail shakers, martini jewelry holders and the infamous selfie stick. And finally if cute and retro are your thing, you should take a look at the kitchenwares from Fox Run Brand's new Suzie Q Collection, all of which are adorable and come in great colors.

Home cooks of all levels will have great things to look forward to, too. One of our perennial favorites, Wusthof, is introducing a reverse-scallop design for their knives which we tested out. It’s meant to be gentler on meats and soft vegetables like tomatoes, with less tearing than serrated knives and you can feel the difference. We also ambled over to Lodge’s booth. Cast iron isn’t a new concept but we’re hoping it gets more of the press it deserves. It’s durable, evenly distributes heat and only requires a little bit of care to serve many generations of cooks. We also got to check out Cast Iron Nation, a cookbook detailing all the things you can cook in your cast iron. (Hint: just about anything.) We also examined home immersion circulators and smoking guns from Polyscience and tried out Pop Top, a neat little microwave popcorn maker by chef’n that lets you air pop without all the stovetop shaking.

Overall it was a great show with many new products on the horizon for the home in 2015. Guess we’d better start spring cleaning, we’re excited to update our kitchens, bedrooms and baths for the new year.