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  • Marielle Bokor

Eight of Our Favorite Finds from the 2023 Inspired Home Show in Chicago

The Inspired Home Show, or #TIHS23 (formerly known as the International Home and Housewares Show) is a pretty big deal. Not only has the show been hosted in Chicago since 1927, it survived its own version of the Chicago Fire in its early years at McCormick Place and has grown to include 1300+ members from over 80 nations. This behemoth of a trade show takes up more buildings within McCormick Place than both the Auto Show and C2E2. Visitors, vendors and buyers make their way here once a year to show off innovative inventions, stylish new designs and the latest lines of products both tried and true and all-new.


We have been doing our own trend-hunting at the show for the past 10 years and by now, have cultivated a keen eye for what you might want to look out for when you’re shopping for your home in the near future. To that end, here are 8 of the best things we saw at the show. Keep them on your radar and add them to your wishlists and you might just be one of this year's trendsetters.



Photo: Three by Three at the Inspired Home Show 2023. Photo: Marielle Bokor

Three by Three Seattle

Three by Three as a brand may just be our favorite find overall from this year's Inspired Home Show. COVID showed us that our home is our haven, and paying more attention to our personal space can really make a difference in how productive and peaceful we feel when we spend time there. Since working from home is a lot more prevalent than it was in the past, this is especially true in a home office.



Three by Three's Sort it Out! Wall Caddy at the Inspired Home Show 2023. Photo: Marielle Bokor

Three by Three has an amazing selection of organizational products and office accoutrements that are incredibly sleek and stylish with organic finishes, clever extras, bold colors and beautiful geometric designs. A few of our favorites from their selection include the Glassencorque Magnetic Glass dry-erase and cork board, which means your planning space is gorgeous but versatile, with places to pin, stick, write and hang things – and it comes with markers, pins, magnets and hooks so you can get to work right away.


We also loved their sculptural, modular monitor risers as well as their attractive and clever sliding shelves and the Sort it Out! Wall Caddy that gives you a place to hang your keys, dump your mail and look at your week’s schedule right when you walk in the door. This women-owned, Seattle based small business is absolutely worth a look when you’re looking for any kind of office or home refresh.



Aeropress Premium. Photo courtesy Housewares Connect.

Aeropress

Aeropress has been around for a while now. Borne of an engineer’s desire for better coffee, this little contraption has garnered a huge following without ever really straying from its original, handy, durable design, save for a handy dandy travel version that’s become part of our travel kit. It’s a household name for a reason – less fussy than a French Press, less time-consuming than a pourover, less counter space invading than a traditional drip coffeemaker, and more environmentally friendly than a Keurig by far, this device makes a perfect cup of coffee every time, with very little time and effort involved.


While we do generally agree with the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” adage, Aeropress has more room to shine in the coffee world, and a little glow-up that doesn’t change its function is welcome. This year, Aeropress comes to the countertop with a bunch of brand-new ideas that we love, like an XXL version that’ll brew 16 oz of coffee in one pull, a brand new clear version of the original Aeropress, and some premium versions of the OG that’ll give it not only a facelift but a bit of a material upgrade to boot, including a well-deserved presentational storage station. We can’t wait to get our hands on the next generation and give it its rightful place of honor on our countertops.




Ooni Pizza Ovens

We’ve always been all about quality pizza. We’re from Chicago, after all. And while we’re blessed with the ability to order great pies from just about anywhere in the city and suburbs, making pizza at home is its own form of fantastic.


You can do some great things with cast iron and your oven on 500, and a Big Green Egg or similar style smoker/grill can give you more options, but there’s still nothing like the magic a wood/coal or stone fire oven can give you. You can spend a few grand building your own (and we’ve definitely thought about it) but of late, there’s a new game in town, and it’s the trendy, capable Ooni oven. These sleek ovens use propane, wood pellets, or mixed fuel to give you that magic with all the bells and whistles of a high-end Weber or Traeger. These ovens come in a variety of sizes and price points, and are on our short list of things to add to our outdoor cookery.



This year’s surprise from this trendy pizza oven purveyor was actually meant for indoors though. The just released Ooni Volt is a first for the company – an all electric oven that heats to 800 degrees and cooks a 12” pizza in just 90 seconds, while being cool enough to the touch to have indoors and even lean your arm on, and whose electrical requirements are just that of a standard plug. We’d have had a hard time believing it could do everything its brethren could but there was a live pizzaolo on hand who proved it!


As for the icing on the cake – Ooni has an entire lineup of pizzamaking accessories that come straight out of professional pizzerias, from rocker blades to proof boxes and make table ingredient boxes that also provide storage for your toppings. If you’re serious about pizzamaking at home, Ooni is definitely a destination brand for you.




Matador

If you have ever lived somewhere that’s littered with mountains, lakes, streams and rivers with roaring rapids, you know that your Walmart special luggage just ain’t it. Things need to stay high and dry in extreme conditions. But let’s be real as city-dwellers, too -- we can be awfully tough on our stuff even without the peaks and valleys. And water, coffee and soda can all be introduced to our electronics in catastrophic ways.


Matador brings dry bags out of the kayaks and rafts and into your everyday travel gear. The materials are high quality, rip stop, and most excitingly waterproof. There are sleek backpacks, toiletry cases, duffles, hip packs and more, but our favorite (and perhaps being photographers, we’re biased) was the Camera Base Layer. There are a lot of camera bags in the wild, but few allow for your camera and the lens it’s married to (anywhere from pancake to wide angle in size) rest in comfort and dryness, nor do they allow for a smaller lens to be wrapped up in pillowy comfort at the end.


Not only that, but if you are into nature photography or need the extra protection somewhere else you shoot, you can use your existing camera strap and securely attach this bag to it. In the few minutes we had to check it out in person it went from interesting and innovative to “new essential kit piece” and we look forward to adding it to our gear bags.




Image via livelarq.com

Larq

There are a myriad of sleek, attractive and expensive water bottles out there to help us remember to hydrate, and to keep our beverages hot/cold for 24 hours. It can sometimes feel like if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

Larq takes it one step further, and wins a plethora of awards doing so. It boasts a filtration system that goes far beyond faucet attached purifiers and pitchers, with a filter that’s capable of getting out harmful microbes, meaning it’s safe to drink the tap water and fountain water places it hasn’t been before, and creating a sustainable and safe way to travel and hydrate.

Not only does it make safe water accessible more places, Larq comes with an advanced tech suite, great style, and plenty of helpful touches that make it easily packable. While it boasts a high price point, it delivers more bang for the buck than any bottle we encountered, and certainly stands out as most sustainable.



The Dash Booth at the Inspired Home Show 2023. Photo: Marielle Bokor

Dash

Dash rose to the top by thinking small. Their first foray into the spotlight came years ago with tiny little wafflemakers in a variety of fun retro colors that were more than a gimmick – they actually made great waffles.


Every year since, they’ve brought great new things to the table, and remained committed to helping people whose counterspace is nonexistent or at a premium, with a ton of great gadgets from tiny toaster ovens to diminutive egg cookers and more.


We checked in this year and found a ton of great new items, including a portable usb blender that you can pre-load with a bunch of your favorite fruits and goodies and plug in at work or on the go to blend up fresh when you’re ready.



Dash's pint sized ice-cream maker. Inspired Home Show 2023. Photo: Marielle Bokor

For people who’d love a chance to make their own ice cream who don’t have the room for the traditional churning machines, or singles who just need to make a pint, there’s a brand new mug-shaped pint producer we couldn’t get enough of.



Finally, Dash showed off their digital hand mixer – the Dash Turbo Digital Hand Mixer is a full size hand mixer that’s come a long way from your mother’s mixer. This beauty comes with a full range of accessories in a compact and cute stand, and has 7 speeds, attachable nylon beaters, a whisk, and a frother, and features a built in timer to track your mixing, and something called SteadyStart technology that ramps up your mixing speed to avoid a mess.


We’ve always found ourselves not only enjoying the retro-mini aesthetic but truly appreciating the mechanics of Dash’s kitchen devices and that’s why we highly recommend this latest batch, too.


If you don't see these beauties on the site yet, make sure to keep a lookout for these brand new products in the upcoming months - we know we will be!




LeKue Sourdough Starter Kit at the Inspired Home Show 2023. Photo: Marielle Bokor

LeKue

LeKue is a name we’ve come to recognize as an annual innovator and creator of great storage solutions and kitchen gadgets. So we were delighted to see a new item that’s straight out of 2020’s sourdough craze. LeKue has introduced a beautiful and easy to use sourdough kit, so you can make your own hybrid pet/sandwich foundation with a lot more precision and a little less mess. This Sourdough Starter Set features glass jars with special venting valves for gases, a silicone strip to use as a marker for tracking the rise, as well as recipes, a spatula and a detailed brochure that’ll guide you through bread-making if it’s your first time or you need a refresher now that you’re not quarantined at home with only YouTube to entertain you.







Image via omopus.com

Magnum Opus

Our final find is another pandemic byproduct. When the world shut down, things like Twitch and Zoom allowed us to have a presence online. Webcam sales rose exponentially, and even those the most tech-phobic among us learned to use ring lights and hop on Zoom to talk to family, friends, and coworkers.


This also lit a fire on the already burgeoning influencer/creatorsphere. More and more people took to places like TikTok to dance, sing, cook, paint and perform whatever it is they had a passion for.


In today’s world, a good camera setup, mic, and recording space are becoming a must, and with that comes the desire to make sure your creative space doesn’t just look good – it has to sound good too. Soundproofing is essential, but let’s be honest – it isn’t terribly aesthetically pleasing.

Or it wasn’t. Magnum Opus comes to the table (or more accurately, the studio) with beautiful, “aesthetic” soundproofing, from mid-mod style lamps to succulent shapes in sage greens that create gorgeous geometric patterns on your feature wall WHILE they do the job of sound-dampening.


Look good, sound good – sounds great!


Well, that’s a wrap for this year’s housewares hunt. We hope you like the treasures we uncovered and add a few of them to your own wishlist for the year ahead!

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