Last week I traveled to Vegas for Design and Construction Week at the Convention Center. The combination of IBS (International Builders Show) and KBIS (Kitchen and Bath Industry Show) is the largest in home building. I just read today that there were 65,000 attendees!
The show itself is massive. I walked 7.5 miles on Tuesday and other 6.8 on Wednesday, which were my two full days exploring the showroom floor. In addition to previewing the latest and greatest in building materials, appliances, plumbing, materials, and other home design elements, I also attended continuing education seminars and met new and old friends from all over the country.
It was a total blast, and I can’t recommend it enough to any designer who does any remodeling or kitchen and bathroom design.
This post is the first in a series on my favorite discoveries from the show. I’m providing a high level overview of some of the more popular trends and exciting products that I saw while I was there.
#1 More color, Especially Blues and Greens
After several years of white and gray dominating interior color palettes, saturated color is making a strong comeback. This should be no surprise. Sherwin-Williams color of the year is Naval, a deep rich navy. And, Pantone’s color of the year is Classic Blue, which is very similar to Naval.
Color was everywhere at the show, but blues and greens put in the strongest appearance. They showed up in everything from plumbing, to cabinetry, to tile.
#2 High tech Plumbing
High tech plumbing innovations were evident at every major plumbing manufacturer at the show and provided some of the most stand out moments.
My favorite was the Zip Water Hydro Tap, and I’m already dreaming about how I can get one of these incredible faucets into my own home. With a touch of a button, you can have filtered boiling, cold, and sparking water in seconds. Plus, it dispenses regular unfiltered water both hot and cold.
I’m also excited to start specifying Kohler’s DTV Mode shower and bath controls. This petite digital dial replaces the traditional valve and transfer valve in your shower for a very clean minimalist look. It has a temperature dial, can control multiple functions, and can be paired with a remote switch outside of the shower.
As I’ve mentioned before, having to get wet to turn on the shower is the worst, and this little valve solves that problem perfectly.
It also comes in a version for deck mounted tub faucets.
#3 Sculptural Free-Standing Tubs
I design several master bathroom remodels within any given year, and my clients are evenly split on whether or not they want a tub. I don’t currently have one and I often dream of how I can incorporate a tub into my master bathroom.
There were so many options for tubs at the show that I lost count. Of course, the big brand names brought their A game, but I discovered many new-to-me manufacturers with some great options at a wide range of price points.
I spoke with several manufacturers who offered options for retrofitting a standard 60″ alcove tub space with a freestanding model. I particularly liked the tubs from both Bain Signature and Sterling that are designed to back up against the wall. Some models have a ledge for installing a deck mounted faucet. The tubs themselves were reasonably priced, and those two features also help keep the budget under control.
#3 Brass Fixtures & Accents
Brass fixtures, hardware, and accents were everywhere at the show. Every plumbing line had some form of brass available. The luxury appliances manufacturers are all offering brass handles and knobs. Door and hardware companies displayed more options, including satin finish and polished brass.
Designers might be feeling brass overload, but I think this is a trend that will be sticking around for a while.
#4 Organic Elements & Design Motifs
I felt like organic elements or manmade versions of organic materials where everywhere. This wasn’t surprising as biophilic design – connecting the built environment to nature – is surging in popularity and importance right now.
Compac surfaces was a new-to-me manufacturer of solid surface countertop material that I totally fell in love with. Their signature designs are the closet to marble that I’ve ever seen, but I preferred the terrazzo styles pictured above. Something about them felt both soft and fresh. The style on the right also comes in a gray/black version and both can be used in exterior applications.
The IKONNI flexible wood panels drew some of the biggest oohs and ahs that I heard at the show. The surfaces were just so tactile, they were begging for you to touch them. And, with the flexible backing, the design possibilities are really exciting. Picture them wrapping an interior arched doorway or around the back of a curved island or the base of a pedestal dining table.
Daltile presented a new porcelain roofing tile that mimics slate in three colorways as well as red clay tiles and a wood shake look. They looked really great in person and one of their sales reps showed me some photos on her iPad that were truly impressive.
These tiles do cost more than a regular architectural shingle but should cost less than the real version of the product. Best of all, this product has a lifetime warranty that can be transferred to the next home owner, so it definitely adds value to your home
Popular trends in tile included organic motifs like the pretty cement look tiles from Arizona tile shown above. They come in black and a high contrast black and white version.
The porcelain slab manufacturers also showed off a number of new patterns that were incredibly realistic – more so than the quartz slabs we’ve been seeing for the past several years.
#5 Matte Black
Matte black finishes were prevalent at KBIS this year, especially in hardware but also in plumbing. One of my favorite finds was a matte black glass shower surround with the industrial grid look. This version is much more affordable than the custom styles. It’s also easier to keep clean because the grid is silk screened onto the glass and won’t chip or scratch.
The Antonio tub by Bain Signature (shown below) was notable because of the manufacturing process. The outside of the tub is not simply coated or painted. Rather, the actual material used to form the tub is black. So, you don’t have to worry about the black exterior chipping or scratching to reveal the white interior.
#6 Marble Accents
Marble, particularly white marbles like Carrara, is still going strong. I don’t think this material will ever fade in popularity because it lends a touch of timeless appeal to modern forms. One of my favorite faucets at the entire show was the Axor MyEdition collection, shown here in matte black with a white marble top.
As you can see, many of the trends overlap with each other. I firmly believe that we will continue to see a strong emphasis on wellness, sustainability and tech along with natural materials or manmade materials that mimic natural elements.
I hope you enjoyed this overview of my trip to KBIS 2020 and the International Builders Show for Design and Construction Week. What trends for kitchens and bathrooms are you most excited about? If you’re a designer who attended, what was your favorite find from the show?
If you want to see more of my in the moment photos and videos, check out my KBIS 2020 highlights on my Instagram profile.