Introducing New (Small Form Factor) Smoke Detectors


Sampling Point Kitchen

Discreet Smoke Detectors Gain Favor in High End Homes

Small, unobtrusive smoke detection sampling points replace traditional smoke detectors for improved look, superior fire protection 

Although smoke detectors are essential for safety and mandated by the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association), traditional, bulky models mounted on ceilings or walls in high end residential homes can interrupt – even ruin – the overall design and feel of a space.

As a result, many affluent homeowners are seeking out alternative solutions that allow for the discreet placement and even concealment of smoke detectors.

For some, this has meant adopting more advanced technology used in commercial spaces that not only provides early detection and warning, but does so using very small, discreet “sampling points” the size of a quarter that can be painted or hidden away completely.

“Homeowners do not want to take the focus away from vaulted ceilings, furnishings or extravagant finishes by installing traditional smoke detectors,” says Queen Gonzalez, a co-founder of Intelligent Fire Systems & Solutions, Inc., a fire and life safety installation company based in Southern California.  “This is driving a demand for recessed, hidden or concealed smoke detection.”

Traditional smoke detectors tend to be quite large, often seven inches or more in diameter.  Having to install such units in just about every room can be a challenge for interior designers, with the available solutions rarely appeasing affluent homeowners with high expectations.

Fortunately, Gonzalez and Intelligent Fire Systems Co-Founder Chris Santamaria had experience installing a sophisticated, unobtrusive smoke detection system called the VESDA-E VEA from Xtralis, an innovator in fire prevention equipment.

In several recent projects, Intelligent Fire Systems installed the VEA system in luxury homes ranging in size from 5,000-20,000 sq. ft. throughout Los Angeles and neighboring counties.

Used for decades in the most sensitive smoke detection applications, the VESDA (Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus) system from Xtralis, an innovator in fire prevention equipment, is now available in a simplified commercial version – the VEA – that is increasingly crossing over into the residential market.

Instead of typical bulky smoke detectors that passively detect smoke, the VEA system instead draws in air from each room or space through small, flexible tubing.  The air is then analyzed at a remote unit for the presence of minute smoke particles in a continuous process.

Because the tubing is only 6 mm thick (thinner than a pencil), the system’s sampling points are very small and unobtrusive.

“You can get creative in concealing the sampling points so they blend in with the surroundings,” says Santamaria.  “The sampling points can even be concealed in ceilings with multiple types of finishes including plaster, wood, marble, or behind crown molding.  All that is required is a small point of entry for the sampling tube.”

Mike Hard, President of Hardfire, an engineered special hazards and fire alarm company based in Ohio, has also had requests from affluent homeowners for more discreet solutions to smoke detection.

One recent case involved a project in an elegant residential neighborhood in Ohio that involved a 12,000 sq. ft. home with an extensive art collection.  Another project was for a designer home that essentially had a small, attached museum, built to approximately a 30,000 sq. ft. footprint

“We suggested the Xtralis VEA system because of its discreetness,” says Hard.  “Each sampling point is very subtle – about the size of a quarter.  We even painted the sampling points the same color as the ceiling and walls, so it blends in very nicely.”

With the VEA system, the analyzer can be installed in a central room or closet.  This has the added benefit of allowing for regular testing, service and maintenance to be performed at the analyzer without having to enter homeowners’ bedrooms or other private areas.  This is a major selling point for homeowners over traditional smoke and CO monitoring systems that should be checked manually on a regular basis.

According to Hard, after completing the project several of the homeowner’s neighbors contacted him based on word-of-mouth to install the VEA system in their homes as well.

Safeguarding Life and Property 

Beyond improved aesthetics, advanced technologies like the VEA also provide significantly earlier smoke detection.  This can enable a swift response that saves lives and limits property damage.

The VEA system, in fact, is able to detect minor particles in the air considerably faster than a passive smoke detector, even before a fire starts to flame and burn.  In many instances, this ability to get a very early warning of a fire in one area can help prevent it from spreading to other areas.

“If there is a small, smoldering fire, the active air sampling VEA system will detect it much faster than a passive traditional detector,” says Hard.  “It goes above and beyond [fire] code for better protection.

The VEA system analyzes air using sophisticated laser-based technology at a central unit.  As a multi-channel, addressable system, the central unit can pinpoint the exact location of the alarm.  A single system supports up to 40 sample points and can be extended to 120.

“Since the Xtralis system is addressable, it tells you exactly where the smoke is so fire response is faster as well,” says Hard.  “Homeowners do not have to run to every room if the detector triggers an alarm.

Although smoke detectors have long been mandated to protect lives, with more subtle and effective choices now available, homeowners and architects no longer have to settle for units that compromise the cohesiveness of their interior design.

For more information, contact Xtralis at 175 Bodwell Street, Avon, MA 02322, call: +1 619-252-2015, email:, or visit:






The Larco U-WAV touchless sensing wall switch opens doors with the wave of hand, so you never have to touch the door.

 The U-WAV is ideal for healthcare facilities, use in clean rooms, pharmacies, physician’s offices, restrooms, food processing plants, restaurants, and anywhere hygiene and convenience are required. The U-WAV touch-free switch is compliant with part 15 of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules. The switch works by sensing motion—the wave of a person’s hand—at a selectable detection range from zero to 15 inches. It features blue LED backlighting and is uniquely designed to be aesthetically pleasing while providing reliable operation. Composed of durable Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) plastic, U-WAV’s universal plate design fits most standard single gang electrical boxes. The U-WAV cover is available in gray, black or white.






GROHE Blue® Chilled & Sparkling was named as one of the 100 Best New Products by Professional Builder magazine in the Interior Products category. In the past 12 months, building product manufacturers introduced a vast number of new products. The magazines’ readers, through responses and inquiries, selected these standouts as the 100 Best New Products.

“We’re honored to be included in this important resource for building professionals,” said Cheryl Dixon, GROHE America‘s Head of Brand and Trade Marketing. “This award for the elegant yet highly functional GROHE Blue Chilled & Sparkling system affirms that GROHE is a leader in innovation and impeccable design.”

GROHE Blue Chilled & Sparkling combines a modern faucet with a high-performance filter, cooler and carbonator – and is as easy to use as an ordinary kitchen faucet. The right lever on the faucet is used to mix hot and cold tap water as usual, while a single turn of the left handle provides filtered and chilled, medium sparkling or full sparkling water. It is also equipped with two separate internal waterways to ensure that once the water has been filtered, it never comes into contact with anything that may alter taste.

According to a recent blind taste test, 73 percent of participants concluded  GROHE Blue Chilled & Sparkling offered superior freshness over leading still mineral water. The product eliminates the need for plastic bottles and pays for itself in less than 250 days, saving you nearly $400 in the first year of use. Using a GROHE Blue filter system means taking responsibility for the environment.


GROHE faucet and shower products are distributed in more than 180 countries and represent nearly 80 years of excellence in European design, innovation, engineering and quality.

GROHE America’s headquarters are in the heart of the Flatiron district and houses the GROHE Live! Center, an interactive showroom created for inspiration and collaboration.

The GROHE Group is the world’s leading provider of sanitary fittings, comprises Grohe AG, Hemer; Joyou AG, Hamburg and other subsidiaries in foreign markets. With its global GROHE brand, the GROHE Group relies on its brand values quality, technology, design and responsibility to deliver “Pure Freude an Wasser”. With the JOYOU brand, the Group covers the fast growing Chinese market.

For more information and to find local showooms, please visit or call 1-800-44-GROHE (47643).


E’LOO’s Got one bad lid

E’LOO’s New One Touch Electronic Bidet is an eco-friendly technological bathroom product. At a touch of a button, it washes and dries in a minute’s time. Manufactured under a fully integrated OEM turn-key operation from concept to prototype, tooling, casting, and injection molding. E’LOO’s philosophy of maintaining a healthy body is a company ideal.

The E’LOO product is a colorful combination of functionality and art.


Direct Ship Unique Artisan Furnishings:

Italian craftsmanship has long been admired for its quality, integrity, and durability. Finding products made by Italian craftsman, let alone the top of the trade, is worth mentioning as they are collectively hard to find. Today, Direct Ship programs allow customers the ability to combine many designers under one roof and allow these unique products to reach a wide group of clients.

Mad in Italy Store of North Miami Florida is a designer’s first resource for incredible products from Italy’s most respected names such as: Bellini, Casamania, Cerruti Baleri, Gaetano Pesce, Martin, and Meritalia, to name a few. TheMad in Italy sells, stocks and ships items from these notable designers and more. Some of the newest and coolest items include lighted outdoor patio furniture which is heavy duty and available in several standard colors.

Visit for more information.

Fire-Rated Glass & Framing

There’s an App for that!


Combining High Fashion & Interior Design By Digitally Imprinting Wood Surfaces

Custom Cupboards, Inc’s New “Facets” Line of Personalized Cabinets Launching Now