L.A.'s Dwell on Design Unveils Homes of Tomorrow, Here Today

Pros and do-it-yourselfers flocked to the L.A. Convention Center to see the latest and greatest at the country's largest design show.

Photo courtesy of Airstream2Go This ain’t your grandma’s style of camping! These stylish, luxuriously appointed, specially built Airstreams provide you with (almost) all the comforts of home away from home. Rates start at around $1,700 for a three-day trip and go all the way up to about $14,000 for two weeks.

Unless you live in a hand-dug hole in the ground, you can’t help but be fascinated by Dwell on Design LA, the largest design event in the U.S. This year, the three-day international celebration of modern design returned to the Los Angeles Convention Center with 400 exhibitors and thousands of products and materials aimed at inspiring both professionals and do-it-yourselfers.

While there were plenty of bargains to be found, as well as green and economic solutions, the real ooh-and-ahh products on display were usually on the pricier side. After all, this is where brands debut their latest and greatest, and, as with most truly original products, competition has yet to bring the price down. 

Photo courtesy of GE Appliances All essential kitchen appliances fit in this Micro Kitchen Concept, a countertop-high, 24-inch-wide modular platform. It contains a microwave oven, conventional oven, convertible refrigerator and freezer, and dishwasher, all designed as pull-out drawers. On top there’s a cooktop and a kitchen sink with a disposal. It's so new that as of publication, prices had not yet been announced.

But this year’s emphasis on the small and space saving was of particular interest. GE unveiled the opposite of “Bigger is Better” with their new line of micro-kitchen appliances. “As cities grapple with housing shortages, the trend toward smaller living spaces is already a reality. Shrinking living spaces necessitate products and services that simplify, optimize and economize,” said a rep. You wouldn’t believe how many appliances they can fit into a six-foot “monoblock.”

Since everyone can’t make the trek to L.A. to browse this massive show, as always, we’ve done the footwork for you. We’ve come up with a list of 10 stand-out products that will inevitably be coming soon to a residence near you. Behold the future of home design:

Miele's Generation 6000 Built-In Coffee System: You see them in all the show house kitchens these days, but why is the Miele built-in coffee maker so hot? How about ultimate convenience, sleek design that frees you of countertop clutter, and foolproof cappuccino? You can even program this puppy from your iPhone. We like the idea of the guy who had one installed next to his bed and programmed it to wake him up with a fresh cup of Joe before he even gets out of bed. You’ll pay for the convenience, however; the price is around $3,000.

Dacor Discovery WineStation: All the best restaurants have them, but Dacor's is the first automated, temperature-controlled, four-bottle wine dispensing and preservation system for the home. It uses argon gas to preserve an open bottle of wine up to 60 days, has two temperature controlled compartments for red and white wines, and automatically adjusts the pour at the touch of a button. It can be set on a bar or countertop — doesn’t have to be built in. It’s still a luxury item, though; the price is just over $5,000. 

GE’s Micro Kitchen: Because real estate prices in metro markets are skyrocketing, one-person households are increasing and Baby Boomers downsizing, GE has come up with two micro kitchen concepts. One, dubbed the monoblock, is an integrated unit with cooking, cleaning and refrigeration in a single standalone enclosure that becomes a seamless part of the cabinetry. The second concept is based on a countertop-high, 24-inch-wide modular platform containing a microwave oven, conventional oven, convertible refrigerator and freezer, and dishwasher, all designed as pull-out drawers. On top there’s a cooktop and a kitchen sink with a disposal. These are so new we couldn’t find prices. Let’s hope they’re micro as well.

Photo courtesy of Stir Kinetic Desks Health experts now suggest standing up for 20 minutes every hour, and this desk can be programmed to automatically and smoothly raise and lower itself for that ideal balance. And of course the desk is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled, with plenty of ports and cord organization features. Price: around $3,999.

BEST Range Hoods: No, that’s not a spherical hanging lamp or a brushed stainless steel Korean alphabet character — those are actually Italian designer range hoods from BEST's Sorpresa Collection. Integrating form and function, they not only look like works of art, but they’re almost silent, and they clear the air about 30% faster and more efficiently. Price: around $1,700. 

Stir Kinetic Desk: Let's step out of the kitchen and into the office: This desk smoothly adjusts to pre-set heights and is perfect for workers who don’t want to sit on their derrieres all day long. Last year the treadmill desk was huge, but people found that answering the phone breathless could be awkward. Health experts now suggest standing up for 20 minutes every hour, and this desk can be programmed to automatically raise and lower itself for that ideal balance. And of course the Stir Kinetic Desk is Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled, with plenty of ports and cord organization features. Price: around $3,999. 

Cocoon Fireplaces: Space heaters take on a whole new hip vibe via the Cocoon, shaped like an elongated orb and looking more like stereo speakers. Designed by Federico Otero, they run on small cans of bio fuel, about the size and cost of a can of barbecue lighter fluid, and can heat 1,400 square feet of space for up to six hours. Place them on a sleek floor stand or hang them from the ceiling, they can be used indoors or out. Prices range from $2500 to $3500, and that includes shipping within the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Galanter & Jones This Galanter & Jones heated bench is intended for the great outdoors and not only keeps your buns warm, but, since it's ergonomically designed, it's also super comfy without cushioning. The electrically heated chairs and benches are priced from about $6,000 to $8,000.

Galanter & Jones Heated Outdoor Furniture: Speaking of keeping warm and toasty, these benches and chairs are intended for the great outdoors. In addition to keeping your buns warm, they’re ergonomically designed to be super comfy without cushioning. You might need an extension chord, however, as these Galanter & Jones creations are subtly electric, with all elements hidden. Priced from about $6,000 to $8,000.

The Monolith: How can you not be intrigued by a toilet called " The Monolith"? The name refers to the almost invisible, sleek tank that mounts against the wall behind the bowl. It's ideal for those who want don’t want all that bulky porcelain on display, but who fear ripping out the wall to mount the works inside. Dare we say it’s the toilet of the future? The price starts at $800.

Airstream2Go: This ain’t your grandma’s camper! These stylish, luxuriously appointed, specially built Airstream trailers provide (almost) all the comforts of home – away from home. With fleets in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Bozeman, Mont., the folks at  Airstream2Go will also set you up with a fully equipped 28- or 24-foot Airstream, plus a fancy GMC Yukon Denali to pull it. Rates start at around $1,700 for a three-day trip and go all the way up to about $14,000 for two weeks. 

Coolhaus: Last but not least, a Coolhaus truck dished out “architecturally inspired” gourmet ice cream sandwiches. The self-proclaimed architecture buffs turned confectioners who co-founded CoolHaus claim to be inspired by Frank Gehry and Richard Neutra, but we feel Emeril Lagasse and Wolfgang Puck might be their true muses, as they’ve come up with flavors like Brown Butter Candied Bacon ice cream inside Maple Flapjack flavored cookies. Other fascinating ice cream flavors include Fried Chicken and Waffle, Gin & Tonic and Balsamic Fig & Marscapone. These sandwiches were the biggest bargain at the show, costing $5 a piece.

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