Elizabeth’s KBIS 2019 Recap

With this years Kitchen and Bath Industry show still fresh in mind I wanted to take a moment to reflect on the experience and the fantastic new and innovative materials that were showcased.  Hold on to your hats folks…it’s going to get interesting!

The main motivation for attending this year’s show was to get rejuvenated and energized.  Over the past few years I had been longing for innovation and the tools to create unique spaces for my clients.  I was not disappointed.  I spent three days walking the floor and getting in lots of steps!  Here is a recap of the highlights.


In general, countertops are probably the main topic of conversation once people find out I do kitchen and bath design.  Now I can blow people’s minds!  The material that I am most excited about is a new take on an old material.  Plastic laminate…that’s right people!  The big difference is the construction of the material.  Wilsonart is coming out with a new material called Thinscape.  It has a solid core, so you can do an undermount sink.  I love that the material is thin and thanks to a cool new hinge by Blum (I will spare you the geeky details) I can now use this thin countertop material as cabinet doors.  This allows me to do some fantastic modern details and would also give you an extremely durable surface.  Lab Designs has also come out with a laminate surface with a solid phenolic core.  With its large slab size and unique textures, it may be a cool outdoor countertop as well.


The materials listed above can be used for other types of surfaces, i.e. wall cladding, cabinet doors, and flooring to name a few but there are also so many fantastic materials that are meant for wall cladding.  I’m talking about kitchen backsplashes, shower walls, fireplace surrounds, etc.  I have many clients looking for seamless options for their showers.  We have used Onyx brand to achieve this but the look is so limited.  Later this year Wilsonart will be launching a product called Wetwall.  It has many looks but one of the most interesting was the wood grain options.  I also fell in love with Prem Line, a product that I can use for wall cladding but also cabinet doors.  IKONNI is bringing unique wood grain veneers for use in cabinetry and I couldn’t have been more excited to see their walnut veneer with a quilted texture.  Another product that crossed our path was Stikwood wood cladding.  This is not a new material for me but it was great to see some of their new finishes and I can’t wait to implement this on a basement ceiling or as a bar backsplash or accent wall in a bathroom.  Their reclaimed gym floor is fantastic!

Plumbing fixtures:

For the most part the various plumbing companies displayed a few new designs but the biggest story this year would be the finishes.  I can find you a faucet in just about any metallic finish and just about any color you can imagine.  You name it… they have it.  This was not all that unexpected.  The metals in our projects have been moving from the silver and bronze tones to the gold tones for some time and this year everyone had matte black options to add to their collections.  The plumbing product that had me most intrigued is a product by an Australian company called Zip Water.  It is a water purification system that you would install under your sink or bar sink.  It will give you filtered instant hot and cold water.  This is nothing new.  What is new is that it will also give you instant sparkling water.  Sold!  I have so many clients that spend a fortune on bottled sparkling water and this gives them an integrated solution.  Their faucets that accompany the product are also stunning and will easily compliment many of the primary faucets we already utilize, and the finishes are on trend, so you can match your matte black pre-rinse faucet.  I know you were worried about that!

Decorative Hardware:

For decorative hardware it was all about the integrated tab pull.  I fell in love with Manzoni’s walnut pull and other wood grain options.  The other concept presented was the hardware to implement a kitchen with no hardware.  A simple bump of the hip can be used to open a cabinet.  I can tell that the future of cabinet hardware, at least in modern design, will be the integration and minimization of the hardware.  Less will certainly be more!


The world of appliances is heading in two drastic directions.  One direction is to hide your appliances as much as possible.  How can I make them disappear?  Most of the high-end appliance makers have this in mind as they are rolling out new and interesting products.  Dacor even has a refrigerator that does not need a handle (see above).  Just give the door a push and it will open.  Then you have the other direction – appliances that jump out at you with bold and fun colors.  Cooktops by Forno in blue, purple, orange, and yellow as well as Dacor with unlimited custom finishes.  SMEG was a show stopper with its custom painted Dolce Gabbana range, hood and refrigerator gets this point across.  Another cost effective option was GE’s new Café series that allows for customization of your appliances by choosing different appliance body colors and fun handle choices.  The appliance world is getting more and more vast with choices for everyone and every budget.


As you can see a lot was learned and I can’t wait to attend again soon!