This January, I had the good fortune to be one of 18 design bloggers chosen to attend the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, also known as KBIS. This annual event in Las Vegas is the largest kitchen and bath show in the world. Spread out among several buildings and thousands of square feet of showrooms, KBIS is the place to see all the latest products and trends relating to the two most used spaces in the home. It was a fabulous show, and here are the three major trends I identified.
Tech in the Home: Some very exciting products made me realize that we aren’t too far away from living the way they did in the popular ’60s TV show “The Jetsons.” I saw smart toilets from Toto that never need to be touched or cleaned, and Thermadore refrigerators that come with internal cameras and an accompanying app, enabling you to see inside the fridge via your smartphone while shopping at the market. Thermadore also introduced a new “smart” induction cooktop that detects the presence of your cookware. So, if you need to move a pot to another location, the cooktop will transfer all your programmed settings to the new position of the pot.
One of my favorite tech discoveries at KBIS was the “best of show” product called TechTop by LG Hausys. It’s a wireless charging station that’s embedded in your countertop. Imagine coming home and placing your cellphone on a discrete “dot” on the countertop in order to charge it.
No cords needed.
Color and Pattern: All around the show, I was surprised to see that warm neutral tones outnumbered the cool grays that have been so popular for the past few years. For fixed finishes such as tiles, flooring and countertops, I saw lots of warm grays, browns and taupes. Copper, brass and gold tones were very prominent, especially for hardware on cabinets, faucets, sinks and tubs. Gold, rose gold and copper tones greatly outnumbered brushed nickel and chrome.
Bright and bold colors were plentiful on appliances and cabinets. I saw stoves in bright orange, cobalt blue and fire-engine red. Brightly colored lacquered cabinets were shown in several of the more contemporary lines, and AquaBrass introduced a new line of soaking tubs that can be custom painted by an artist to any design you want.
Patterns on tile and wood flooring continue to be popular, especially
Moroccan-inspired designs. Walker Zanger, a tile manufacturer, debuted a new line called Sterling Row, inspired by menswear. It was a huge hit among the design professionals, along with Ann Sacks’ new line of metallic tiles.
Personalization / Customization: The overriding theme of this year’s KBIS seemed to be customization and personalization. Cabinetry can be customized for a specific use or to store specific items. No longer are cabinets and drawers big empty spaces. They are meticulously designed so that each item has a designated space, whether it’s pet food, wine bottles or special dishes. I couldn’t help but notice how much the felt-lined kitchen drawers resembled jewelry boxes, or high-end closets with a space for everything.
Universal design, which is home design that works for people of all ages and physical abilities, is becoming more routine as more baby boomers choose to age in place. This is personalization and customization at its very best. The show featured several universally designed kitchens and baths, making it clear that there’s no reason this type of design should be less beautiful than any other.
Since KBIS caters primarily to the high-end kitchen and bath market, luxury was on full display. It was a treat to see what a $200,000 kitchen island looks like, and what a $30,000 stove can do (hint, Hermes leather-wrapped towel bars and everything you would want a stove to do). Beautiful finishes, high-end appliances and cabinetry, luxurious soaking tubs, and hardware that rivals fine jewelry — it was all on display at KBIS, and will soon be at an upscale showroom near you.