Just over a week ago, part of the Freshome Team decamped to Cologne in Germany to visit the International Furnishing Fair known as imm cologne. Our CEO Mihai was speaking as a guest panelist at the We Are Social Bloggers Summit organised by Holly Becker of decor8 and  I was there too, as part of BlogTour Cologne. Several times a year, a select group of carefully chosen design bloggers are invited to international destinations where they are able to immerse themselves in trade shows, showrooms, design events and local culture. Thirteen top design bloggers from the US and the UK descended on Cologne to find out what new products, trends and innovations were being exhibited at imm cologne and LivingKitchen. We asked them to let us in on their top picks from the show and this is what they all had to say…

Stacey Sheppard: “One of the best innovations that I saw at imm cologne was the Hidden Kitchen by Warendorf. Named ‘Interior Innovation Award – Winner 2013’ by the German Design Council in the first jury session, this concept kitchen was one of the highlights of LivingKitchen for me. This impressive kitchen reveals itself at the touch of a button as the five-metre-long central section of the wall units opens up to reveal the work surface, shelving, extractor fan and integrated lighting inside.

I love the idea that you can close up the kitchen entirely hiding away clutter that you might not want in plain sight. But that isn’t the only reason that this kitchen caught my eye. I was also attracted by the surface finish, which I discovered is actually a natural rust finish that is made from a special mixture of rust particles that are sprayed on to the surface by hand in the same way as a lacquer coating.”

Stacey Sheppard (that’s me!) is a freelance design Writer and Blogger and I am also one of the Editors of Freshome. I write my own design blog over at The Design Sheppard as well as writing for a number of other sites. You can follow me on Twitter @StaceyJSheppard

Lisa Smith: “One of my top picks from the show is the Miele Generation 6000 series PureLine appliances. I chose these revolutionary appliances because they come in white and not just the same old black or stainless steel. As we move more towards open plan kitchens, fully integrated appliances offer the most cohesive appearance. What excites me is the fact that they offer this wonderful Brilliant White finish, which blends seamlessly with classic white kitchen cabinets.

While we might love our appliances, they don’t need to stand there screaming for attention. The ability to have an appliance on the same visual plane and in the same color as the cabinetry is a big step towards a kitchen designed for daily living in the modern home.”

Lisa Smith is an Interior Designer and the founder of The Interior Design Factory. She is also the author of the blog Decor Girl. Follow her on Twitter @TheDecorGirl

Alexandra Williams: “Sleep is one of the pillars of good health, and what could be more healthful than sleeping on a mattress made with cashmere and olive oil? Candia Strom from Greece had a bed at the show that is 100% handmade. Eschewing glue and chemicals, the company uses the olive oil as an antibacterial treatment, emphasizing that the acidity in the olive oil is compatible with that of our skin, offering a decidedly Greek medicinal and cosmetic link. Some of the other components that caught my attention were bamboo, camel hair, cotton wool and coconut fibers. I lay down on one of the beds and immediately wanted to fall asleep to a vision of Hercules bringing me a pillow.”

Alexandra Williams has been teaching, mentoring, presenting, emceeing, editing and writing about fitness for over 25 years. You can read her blog over at Fun & Fit. Follow her on Twitter @Alexandrafunfit 

Courtney Price: “My pick of the show was the Liebherr SBSes 7165 side-by-side combination that utilizes wine storage in half of the freezer space. The efficiency is appealing, and it makes perfect sense for small spaces or kitchen areas that are not intended for cooking, such as offices or guest spaces.”

Courtney Price is an Interior Designer and the founder of Courtney Price Design. She also writes a blog over at CourtneyPrice.com. Follow her on Twitter @CourtneymPrice

Carmen Christensen: “The product that really stood out for me at imm cologne was this range of glass countertops by Lechner. Although they may not be available or sold in the United States yet, it is a product range that is similar to some already sold in the U.S. But what I found to be most interesting is the unusual colors, finishes and patterns on offer. That is essentially what drew me into their booth at imm. Their glass countertops are for me what sets them apart from other countertop manufacturing companies.”

Carmen Christensen is a registered Interior designer and author of the blog Time2Design. Follow Carmen on Twitter @Time2Design

Tina Ramchandani: “It’s hard to pick my favorite because there were so many innovative ideas at this year’s imm and LivingKitchen. One thing that caught my eye was the retractable Blancoeloscope-F II faucet by Blanco. Many people opt for a minimalistic kitchen design and many are in favor of de-cluttering their space. This faucet is clean lined, and after use it can be tucked away into the sink. The retracted faucet results in a countertop free from distractions. The Blanco retractable faucet is ideal for islands and open kitchen plans.”

Tina Ramchandani is an Interior Designer living & working in New York and she writes the popular blog Life in Sketch. Follow her on Twitter @LifeinSketch

Todd Vendituoli: “Now if you know me at all you know I love coffee in every size shape and form. I’ve seen this Miele Generation 6000 coffee system and would love to be able to have one someday. I particularly like the “CupSensor” technology that allows the spout to automatically move up and down until it reaches the optimum distance between the spout and the cup or glass eliminating the problem of spluttering and splashes. I could do a whole write up about its great features, stylish look and how it would beautify any kitchen but I keep getting stuck on the images of me going downstairs and saying- ‘I think I’ll have an espresso now!’  – staring at it while my perfect espresso is made right there at home.”

Todd Vendituoli has been a builder for almost 30 years and now works in the field of social media. He is the founder and author of HomeCentrl. Follow Todd on Twitter @TALV58

Brandon Smith: “We here in California embrace wood like a bunch of hippies. But parking a giant slab of walnut next to our Benz’es has always been the dilemma. Others have done it but Riva 1920 has perfected the art blending the raw attributes of a slab of Mother Nature’s finest with the contemporary “look at me I’m shiny” aesthetics we’ve come to love in our McMansions. The base, a delight in chrome, evokes the rock like formations of a US state park whilst the resin enhanced top surface ensures a comfortable setting for all of your guests – not just those you like.”

Brandon Smith is the founder of d.coop, a boutique spatial design and development firm in San Diego, California. His blog D.Scoop is home to his witty musing about all things design and interiors. Follow Brandon on Twitter @dcoopsd.

Michele Alfano: “My top pick from the imm cologne show is Clouds, an innovative, beautiful and sculptural tile solution for your home, designed by brothers Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec. I was drawn to its dynamic capabilities. You can infinitely dream up different free-form shapes and functions: they can hang from the ceiling, grow from the floor up to the ceiling, become spatial dividers, act as soundproofing, cover windows and walls, create pods or hideouts, etc……the ideas for your home are limitless.

You can keep adding and adding new elements so it’s constantly evolving. I love that tinge of surprise!! The tiles are made out of durable Kvadrat fabric and connect by rubber bands making it easy to install. Clouds are available in 2 Kvadrat fabrics and 11 color combinations.”

Michele Alfano is an architect and designer with over 18 years’ experience in the industry and is the creative founder of Mod Design Guru. She also writes the popular blog of the same name

Sarah Sarna: “One of my favorite pieces from imm cologne was Küppersbusch‘s Floating Island Hood. The hood’s design is so sleek and compact that at first glance I thought it was a glossy white glass chandelier. It’s that beautiful. In lieu of a hood that raises and lowers with a button, this almost invisibly suspended hood provides an architectural, illuminating element above an island cooktop. I find it so streamlined and chic.”

Sarah Sarna is an Interior Designer in New York with over a decade of experience designing residential interiors. She’s the founder of Sarah Sarna Interior Design and author of the blog Live The Life You Dream About. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahSarna

Kathy Sandler: “Rima is a LED desk lamp that is controlled by sliding four rings along a tubular light bar. This allows the user to choose the type of lighting that’s right for the task. A representative from Dreipuls demonstrated how to operate the lamp by focusing one spot of light on a wine glass and another to create a larger beam spread. After setting up a test shot, she moved one of the rings less than half an inch. Notice how the light in the two sections never cross or touch.

Lighting lighting can be tricky, and the difference between the test and the final photo of the glass was a marked one. Rima offers exceptional clarity using minimal electricity and is adjusted with just the slip of a finger. It couldn’t be easier to operate.”

Kathy Sandler is the founder of the Nashville-based Sandler Design Group and she authors the blog Live The Fine Life. You can follow Kathy on Twitter @livethefinelife.

Katie Treggiden: “My favourite part of imm cologne, was definitely the [D3] Design Talents exhibition, showcasing award-winning work from students and graduates from all over the world. One of the stand-out pieces there was Dear Disaster by Jenny Ekdahl. Inspired by recent global disasters, she wanted to create something that would help people to recover after natural disasters, to help them regain their trust in nature. The moving tiles let people start to process their emotions. Jenny investigated which shapes, textures and patterns, and ideas such as rhythm, complexity and playfulness, comfort and intrigue us as human beings.

The cabinet features more than 2000 wooden parts, each of which can be individually flipped. One side of each scale is painted blue, white or grey, while the other side has been left plain – representing the sea and the sand. The cabinet itself provides a space for small keepsakes from the past to be placed safely behind a closed door, and the high legs prevent the water from reaching them. A thoughtful and beautiful piece of design.”

Katie Treggiden is a freelance design writer and author of the book Interviews. She also writes the award-winning design blog confessions of a design geek. You can follow Katie on Twitter @coadg

Were any of you at imm cologne? If you were we’d love to know what your top pick of the show was so please leave us a comment. If you didn’t make it there please tell us which of the bloggers’ picks is your favorite. And don’t forget to follow these guys on Twitter and stop by their blogs if you haven’t already. They know their stuff too!