Michael's Picks from the IBS Part Two

Here are a few more of the best of the gleanings form my time on the floor

Beth and I love the designers at MTI so I made a special point of seeing what they are up to. There are a lot of people designing tubs and showers and Kohler generally snaps up the top designers yet here is this little company coming out year after year with cutting edge brilliant stuff at a great price point. Their free-standing Osiris bath tubs (with the wide flat lip for wine glasses and paperback novels) have become almost standard equipment in our master bathrooms, a huge amount of luxury at an amazingly low price (considering what it would cost with a different label) and they nailed it again, on several products!

Clearly the sexiest bathtub I’ve ever seen is their new Elise tub made from some solid surface material that resembles Corian, a luscious matte finish totally unlike any acrylic whirlpool tub. Pretty expensive in comparison to the Acrylic tubs but just gorgeous and they come with several matching vanity sink options.

But they still do the whirlpool tubs like the Osiris but made them better by adding electric radiant heaters behind the shoulders. This is a thin, low-voltage heater that they embed in the tub before they put the gel coat on. Lean back and the area behind your back both above and below the water line is warm like a hot rock on a sunny riverbank. They did the same for the seat (and even floors) in their new line of showers so when you sit down to shave your legs you don’t have a clammy plastic seating experience. And even they make the matching heavy frameless glass shower enclosures to save another trade from having to measure and fit.

They’ve also addressed the issue of germs growing in the plumbing of a whirlpool with new technology and come up with a big challenge to Jacuzzi’s lock on the shower floor market with their new teak wood shower receiver. It is an acrylic shower floor that pairs easily with tile or glass wall treatments but has a teak duckboard floor that covers up the acrylic floor creating the appeal of a casual wood floor with the leak resistance and low maintenance of an acrylic floor. I haven’t seen the documentation but I think it’s safe to assume that when a company sweats the details as much as these guys do the teak is likely to be FSC certified sustainably harvested.

Finally, a very pedestrian product that solves a very common problem. We do a lot of stucco applications on chimneys and ICF walls and veneer stone applications that all require galvanized wire mesh to attach the stucco or thin set to the substrate. This stuff is very unpleasant to work with and can lead to moisture migration into the wall. Spider lath is a plastic stucco lathe with rubber gaskets that you nail through to attach it to the wall so you will not have leaks through the fastener penetration and it comes in a 4’ x 20 foot light weight roll that is very easy to work with and corrosion proof. It solves a difficult problem in a very elegant way.


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