Last month’s International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago at McCormick Place is an annual tradition for us at Third Coast. Every year it’s been in Chicago (since 1928), it’s brought the world together to introduce new ideas and innovations, and we’re always excited to get a look at what’s to come. After attending this year’s show and taking in all that we saw, we wanted to share some of our timeless favorites, brand new and exciting picks and interesting, space-saving selections with you so you can be on the lookout for them as you launch into Spring. Here’s a look at some of the best things we ran across at the show. Enjoy it, and look for these great items on the shelves, and be on the lookout for a roundup of all the amazing technology innovations this show had to offer in the coming days in our Games & Tech section.
Our picks, in no particular order:
- Aromatherapy is no new idea, but a company called Moodo wants to up the ante, with a smart diffuser. There’s a home model and one for your car, and both take specialized capsules full of curated scents that you can combine via the app in just the right amounts to make your aromatic nirvana and feel more relaxed at home and when you’re stuck in traffic. It’s a simple leap from pre-packaged scents to blends that are unique to you, and its mobile version means that traffic jams can be a little more pleasant, too. You can sniff out some more details on their website.
2. If you like to entertain and you want to up your wine glass game, we saw some absolutely gorgeous glass from German company Stolzle-Lausitz. It’s simple, sturdy and beautiful with great design elements that never look gaudy or cheap. The newest products feature beautiful inlays and smooth metallics that we very much loved, and think are likely to be great additions to anyone’s bar in the upcoming year. Though we weren’t able to obtain any images of these products, we still think they’re more than worth checking out in the coming months, so keep an eye on Stolzle-Lausitz’s website, and look for the glassware at retailers around town.
3. We’re huge fans of cast iron at Third Coast Review. It’s versatile, holds heat well, goes from stovetop to oven to campfire and grill, and it’s the pan we reach for the most in our own kitchens. That being true we’re always looking to see what’s new at Lodge Cast Iron. This year, one of our favorite new things is a 36-ounce oval serving dish. It’s the kind of thing that’s great to take straight from the oven to the tabletop–attractive and functional. They’ve also updated their melting pot, to make it more stable and have a larger capacity, and introduced a 14-inch “Cook-it-All” that is two pieces of cast iron that can be arranged into five different cooking configurations–a pizza oven, Dutch Oven, skillet/wok, grill and griddle. Lodge’s Cook-it-All was an IH+HS winner for Design Innovation of the Year and Best in Category and is already available to buy.
4. Especially as a photographer, I’m often wandering around with a good amount of gear strapped to my back that I want to make sure is protected. At this year’s housewares show, we came across the Travel Fusion Anti-theft Backpack by Korin at the Grand Fusion Housewares booth, and it’s more than simply a secure place to stash things. The TSA-approved combination lock keeps whatever’s stored in the nicely insulated, roomy main compartment safe, and a pull out metal lock cable allows you to lock the backpack to any available post, set or table. It’s attractive, water resistant on the outside to protect your devices, includes charging ports and a leakproof pouch for hot/cold storage, and it will fit a 15.6” laptop, along with a 10” tablet in their own secure sleeves. It’s also got quite a few great easy access pockets, including one for cards on the straps and another for easy access to your phone while you’re wearing it, as well as built-in cables and a special pocket for a power bank hookup so you can charge your devices while you’re wandering around town. There are two versions available for under $200 that are comparable to bags we’ve seen that cost almost $100 more, which to us at least makes them a front runner for our next camera/travelling office bag. The material is sturdy but lightweight and build quality seems great at first glance. We received a sample of this to test out and will likely report back with more after we’ve put it through its paces.
5. One of our favorite stops every year is Fred and Friends’ booth, for their irreverent and fun kitchen and home tools–everything from kitty butt wine stoppers to skull and crossbones egg molds and bear paw oven mitts (that turned out to be some of the best oven mitts we’d ever purchased). This year they’re introducing a brand new line called Fancy That! That’s picture perfect for this year’s girlie, rose-gold craze. It’s full of cute key rings, gemstone ice molds, iridescent gem flasks, and frosted metallic ice-pop flasks. They’re flirty, fun and would certainly make for a great addition to bridal showers and girls’ nights, with a name we already know brings quality with its kitsch. Better yet, Fred and Friends products are pretty easy to track down, available on Amazon and showing up everywhere from Target to museum gift stores all over town.
6. Moving from the trendy to the practical, the variety of over the sink cutting board options by Dexas can be a lifesaver if you live anywhere with a cramped kitchen. Fit the board over the sink and you’ve suddenly got one more prep area. Even better, the boards are designed with raised edges and in many cases have an attached strainer or food holding area, so you’ll have even more room to work with. If you’ve ever been trying to make cooking work with very little prep space these will be a godsend.
7. Meanwhile, if you’re planning beach vacations, picnics at Millenium Park or on the lakefront or other outdoor events where you might also like wine but glass isn’t permitted, there’s an interesting new contender for a solution in HaloVino. This plastic option is stackable for storage but snaps together to create a wine glass with a gripping rim (the “halo”) and retains the wine glass shape to aerate and deliver the wine’s aromas properly. We really like the stackable design to cut down on bag space needed and the halo rim for holding on to the glass securely.
8. If you like smoked meat and veggies but you don’t quite have the space for something like a dedicated smoker, we saw a great little stovetop kettle smoker by NordicWare that can be used indoors or outdoors and bring you some of that great smoky flavor without needing to take to the outdoors or even set off your smoke alarms. You can wet or dry smoke and while it’s not got a huge amount of space for larger cuts of meat, it’s sufficient for a few pork chops, burgers, or any number of veggies you might want to add some flavor to.
9. Another attractive space saving option we came across are the array of pot stands and hangers made by Enclume. Rather than stashing pots and pans in the oven or in overfull stacks waiting to crash out onto the floor noisily, think about an attractive corner stand or even overhead hanging pot storage. Enclume’s got some truly great options that’ll make your kitchen look better and function better, too. Another plus? Their products are available on Amazon.
10. Another trend we saw walking the aisles of this year’s show floor was geometric patterns with new twists. Some of our favorite examples of this came from Elementi Industrial, who had interesting organic meets geometric shaped planters in various sizes and beautiful calming earth tones that would look great in quite a few different rooms of the house.
That’s a wrap on this list of goodies garnered from walking through March’s massive industry event. We hope it’s given you a look at some of what’s new and useful for around the house that you might see in stores now or just a little further down the road in 2019.