I just returned from Las Vegas, where I spent nearly a week with BlogTourVegas at the annual Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS), where premier kitchen and bath brands come together to show off their newest introductions and innovations to designers, dealers, and editors from around the globe. Last year I navigated the show solo, but this year I attended with Modenus’ BlogTourVegas which consisted of 18 designers and design bloggers from around the world. Needless to say, this year’s trip was much more eventful than last year’s, with tours of several suites in the Mandarin Oriental Residences, a tour of the New American Home, parties, media tours and lots of one on one time with the brands that sponsored our trip (in no particular order): TotoUSA, Walker Zanger, Wilsonart, Top Knobs, KBIS, Poggenpohl, Blanco, Cosentino, Wood-Mode, Thermador, Mr. Steam and Mohawk.
One of the main reasons I enjoy attending KBIS is to see all the kitchen and bath manufacturers all in one place, albeit a very large and expansive show floor that encompass 3 large halls in the Las Vegas Convention Center. Having all the brands and product in one place makes it easier to spot all the new introductions and see the kitchen and bath trends at KBIS as they unfold. With flat, comfy shoes on my feet I raced down the aisles to see what I could during the time I was not attending media tours. Here are my trend observations:
The Top 5 Kitchen and Bath Trends at KBIS 2015
- Universal Design
- Micro Living
- Grey Tones are Warming Up
- Tech in the Home
- Purposeful Storage
The aging in place consumer accounts for 55% of total income earned domestically, and kitchen/bath brands and manufacturers have come to the realization that this demographic is continuing to grow. Because of this, there has been a huge shift in the industry and more attention is being paid to universal design – design that is accessible to everyone, including the elderly and those with disabilities. I, too recently joined the bandwagon by getting my CAPS (Certified Aging in Place Specialist) designation and am now equipped with the knowledge to design spaces that are beautiful yet still meet the needs for the aging consumer. Design modifications can include a zero entry, curbless shower, grab bars (that don’t look they belong in a nursing home) or lighting that is strategically placed in the home. Some of the products seen at KBIS that were geared to the universal design consumer included shower seating, accessible hand showers, drop down cabinets, wall hung vanities, and an emphasis on illuminated cabinetry.
TotoUSA showed a curbless entry shower with enough space to accommodate a wheelchair (if needed), decorative grab bars strategically placed along the walls and at varying heights, a shower bench, and a hand shower that is accessible at varying heights . Having had ankle surgery a while back where I was in a cast and unable to navigate the bathroom with the ease that I was accustomed to for several months, I know all too well that universal design not only addresses the aging place consumer, but it can also address those with temporary injuries. When we’re able, we never think of the obstacles one might face later on down the road, but having experienced it first hand, it is amazing to see how these slight modifications can make such a difference. TotoUSA also showed an ADA counter height vanity with enough clearance down below to ensure that those in wheelchairs can comfortably reach the faucet. The wide spread faucet features levered handles, making it easier for the aging in place consumer to turn off and on. TotoUSA makes sure that that one need not sacrifice style for accessibility.
Taking our cues from Europe, where space is at a premium, micro living is another rapidly growing market. This past June while attending Dwell on Design, I noticed that manufacturers were placing quite an emphasis on stylish solutions for small spaces. You may remember my post on trends at Dwell on Design this past June where GE industrial designer Lou Lenzi unveiled the GE prototype micro-kitchen. If not, it’s worth a look!
At KBIS, Bosch unveiled their version of the micro kitchen. Very different than GE’s prototype modular micro-kitchen, Bosch’s interpretation look very much like the same appliances we are accustomed to, only minified.
When space is at a premium, wall hung toilets and vanities are the way to go. Toto USA shows us above with their interpretation of a micro-bath. A wall hung toilet can save several inches of valuable space by utilizing a tank that is installed within the wall. Many wonder how the tank is accessible if it is installed within the wall and one of the biggest fears is how accessible is the tank should there be a leak or the tank need servicing. It’s actually quite easy – the flush plate which sits on the wall above the toilet is removable and behind sits the opening to the tank, where all the tank mechanisms are easily accessible. Having wall hung toilets and vanities also offer another advantage in addition to added space – easier cleaning!
Warmer Tones of Grey
Grey and brown are morphing to the point where it is hard to tell if it’s a greyer brown or a browner grey, if that makes sense. Clean, crisp, cool grey as we once knew it is giving way to a much warmer and more inviting grey/brown.
Walker Zanger hit one out of the park with their recent introductions. The Sterling Row collection, inspired by tailored menswear and features warmer grey tones of wood textured porcelain paired with white marble in a variety of patterns. This collection also won Walker Zanger 1st place in the Best of KBIS/Bath category. You can see why in the photo above, which features “Buckle”, also from the Sterling Row collection. p.s. – Stay tuned for more from Walker Zanger in a later post – they had quite a few noteworthy introductions.
Wood-Mode shows off maple cabinetry in a grey-brown stain with a creamy white glaze. The result is warm, but still fresh, and a finish that works well with a variety of styles. This warmer grey/almost brown tone is the color du jour in cabinetry, and every manufacturer at KBIS included some variation of this color. Get used to this color, as we’ll be seeing a lot of it in the near future and soon all the cool painted grey cabinetry that we’ve been overloaded with on Pinterest will be a distant memory…
Tech in the Home
There’s no escaping tech in the home – it is here to stay, and more and more I’m starting to realize that soon I’ll be able to control everything in the home from my desk, sofa, or even from across the world . From iOS and Android operated thermostats, lights and ovens to robot vacuum cleaners and no-touch toilets, we are getting closer than you think to the home of the future that those of us Gen X’ers once viewed on “The Jetsons” and imagined “if only we could have our own Rosie to do our mundane housework…”, when we were children.
One of the more innovative introductions that I saw at market was Tech Top by LG Hausys, a wireless charging surface that can be is embedded into any Hi-Macs or Viatera solid surface. Hi-Macs is a durable eco-friendly solid surface that is used for countertops and is resistant to heat, scratches and stains. Viatera is 93% natural quartz stone that is blended with advanced polymer resins, and colorfast pigments. How it works is that a LG Hausys certified fabricator will rout out the back surface, after which he embeds the Tech Top transmitter beneath the surface. The AC adapter is then plugged in and your cell phone can be charged without wires simply by placing it directly above the transmitter! The only drawback is that only one device can be charged at a time, but I’m sure that it’s only a matter of time before multiple devices will be able to be charged simultaneously. Tech Top also won Best of KBIS in the Best of Show Category. See the video below to see how it works.
Cabinetry has come a long way and long gone are the days of the cabinet doors getting in the way. I’ve seen cabinet doors that open up and out of the way with a gentle touch of a button, but nothing as sleek and sexy as Bauformat‘s most recent introduction. See it in action below:
Coffee and Espresso machines have been all the rage as of late. Why spend money at Starbuck’s when you can make yourself a cup of joe at home for next to nothing (unless, of course, you use Illy beans)? Over the last few years we’ve seen several of the higher end appliance lines come up with built in wall coffee systems, but GE is the first to integrate a coffee system into the refrigerator with the GE Café Series Refrigerator with Keurig K-Cup Brewing System. Because it is integrated into the refrigerator, wall and counter space can be used for other things, like perhaps to charge your cell phone on the Tech Top charging station mentioned above.
Cabinetry can now be customized for a specific use or specific items to be stored. We can now tailor each space to suit our individual needs and no longer are we seeing large empty spaces within our drawers and cabinets. Cabinetry is now meticulously designed so that each item has a designated place, keeping our items organized and our lives in check.
Wood-Mode offers specialized storage for wine bottles in their beautiful walnut lined drawers. No more rolling bottles!
For the person who loves to entertain, a dedicated beverage bar by Wood-Mode might be in order.
One side houses a built in Miele coffee system…
And the other side houses bottles of wine and everything else that goes along with enjoying a nice bottle of wine. The unit built above doesn’t show a built in wine and beverage refrigerator, but that’s what I would put it. Because it’s custom, and you deserve to have it any way you want it.
Wood-Mode also offers specialized storage for rolls of tin foil and plastic wrap – brilliant! Let’s face it – the only reason we keep the boxes that the rolls come in, is so that we can tear off the sheets that are needed. They are a pain and get stuck when opening and closing the drawers. With a built-in serrated edge lid, there is no need for the unsightly boxes and the interiors of the drawer are just as beautiful as the exterior. And if that isn’t enough, organizational inserts from companies such as Häfele or Rev-A-Shelf can also be incorporated for maximum personalization.
In the bathroom, Robern‘s M-Series electrical cabinets provide electrical outlets (convenient for those of you who use an electric toothbrush), a mirror defogger, USB charging, a magnetic panel to store items such as tweezers and nail clippers, storage for glasses/razor. There is even a model that has an integrated tv on the mirror. As a result, the bathroom counters are clutter free and easier to clean.
Also seen at KBIS – felt lined drawers and illuminated drawers to house fine silverware and cabinetry specially designed for our furry, four legged friends. In this day and age, customization is key and manufacturers are making sure that the consumer’s needs are met by constantly evolving as our tastes and desires change.
The above observations are my own, but I urge you to take a look at what my fellow BlogTourVegas mates have written about their experiences at KBIS. Seeing the show from multiple viewpoints is the best way to get a bigger overview of what the show was all about. Links to their blogs and websites are listed below.
- Leslie Hendrix Wood of Hadley Court
- Chris Laumer Giddens of LG Squared Inc
- Gloria Graham-Sollecito of Kitchens For Living
- Mitzi Beach of Mitzi Beach Boomer Smarts®
- Mal Corboy
- Joann Kandrac and Kelly Kole of Kandrac Kole
- Linda Holt of Linda Holt Interiors
- Alison Habermehl of hd STYLE STUDIO
- Carla Aston of DESIGNED with Carla Aston
- Michelle Cortizo of Decortizo
- Regina Sturrock of Regina Sturrock Design
- Jane Lockhart of Jane Says
- Rose Dostal of RMD Designs
- Laurie Gorelick of Laurie Gorelick Interiors
- Pamela Copeman of Posh Palettes Blog
- Holly Hollingsworth Phillips of The English Room
- Jeffrey Johnson of Jeffrey Design
- Jeanne Chung….and I think you know where to find me.
It’s much more than just kitchen and bath trends at KBIS, so stay tuned for more KBIS coverage in the upcoming weeks.