Phila. Home Show draws crowds for Scum Off and bamboo bedding

Trish Dorey and son Christopher of Allentown, N.J., test out a bamboo-fiber-covered bed as salesman John Lovitt of REM Sleep Solutions gives them a demonstration during the Philadelphia Home Show at the Convention Center.
Trish Dorey and son Christopher of Allentown, N.J., test out a bamboo-fiber-covered bed as salesman John Lovitt of REM Sleep Solutions gives them a demonstration during the Philadelphia Home Show at the Convention Center. (AKIRA SUWA / Staff Photographer)
Posted: January 20, 2014

PHILADELPHIA Quartz countertops. "Smart" homes. Energy saving. Bamboo bedding.

Acres of inspiring products and professionals were on display Saturday at the Philadelphia Home Show at the Convention Center.

But perhaps none stopped more passersby in their tracks than Rob Franks' demonstration of Scum Off.

After all, who wouldn't be curious about a cleaner (even if it's only available online and costs $20 for 16 ounces) that's tough enough for soap scum, calcium deposits, road tar, and grease - yet safe enough that Franks could squirt it (diluted) into his mouth.

"It's also a fat-burner; I used to weigh 700 pounds," Franks joked about the kelp-and-coconut-oil compound.

"You always have to be skeptical," Kim Kravalis of Magnolia, Del., said as Franks dabbed her sneaker toe, leaving it clean. "But I'll try it."

In the less prosaic realm, quartz is competing with granite for high-end kitchens. Both are made of natural stone, but granite slabs are mined whole, and quartz is ground and combined with polyester resins.

Quartz is "more durable, has more consistent color, and resists cracking and chipping," said Emily Lee, a saleswoman with Element Granite & Quartz of Philadelphia.

Speaking of high-end, LED lighting systems are joining other "smart" technology such as interactive appliances, lights, and thermostats. LA Signature Home Interiors, with two Philadelphia offices, is doing a Society Hill Towers renovation in which a bedroom wall changes colors thanks to LEDs.

"I notice people are not doing improvements for resale value," said Signature's lead designer, Luis Hoz de Vila. "Now, people care about what's going to benefit their lifestyle."

Along the same lines, aging homeowners are remodeling to accommodate their changing physical needs. One Day Bath Inc. of the Poconos, for example, converts bathtubs into step-in showers by removing up to 30 inches of the front of the tub.

"It's done in a day, it's economical, and it's reversible," company co-owner Charles Etgen said.

Energy efficiency, long a driver of home improvements, was another big theme of the show, which runs Sunday, Monday, and next weekend, Jan. 24 through 26 (for hours and ticket prices, go to www.phillyhomeshow.com). Energy suppliers, solar-panel makers, heating and cooling companies, and makers of windows, doors, and siding were on hand.

Steve Smith, a sales associate with Dream House Windows of West Berlin, Camden County, demonstrated double-hung windows that not only had high energy performance ratings but also tilted out for cleaning and latched effortlessly. Guaranteed.

Finally, a word to remember about bedding: Bamboo.

Thread made of bamboo is more porous and absorbent than cotton or polyester threads, so bamboo fabrics are cooler to the skin, as well as hypoallergenic and dust-mite resistant, said Nicole Serra, a saleswoman with the California company Bamboo Pillows.

The REM Sleep Solution bed, with its natural bamboo fiber cover, claimed to be even better - "bedbug and dust-mite free."


mmccullough@phillynews.com

215-854-2720 @repopter

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