The Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) may be half the size of the International Builders' Show-in attendees, exhibit space, and in the sheer number of exhibitors, but for a products editor it is not any easier to cover. Why? Because the concentration of cool stuff to see at KBIS is staggering.
Everyone who knows anything about housing knows that the kitchen and bath are the two most important rooms, the spaces that sell a house and increase its value. And the primary reason people have come to Las Vegas-aside from the fountains at the Bellagio and Wayne Newton--is to see the products, the latest trends, and latest issues affecting these two crucial rooms in the house.
Several issues continue to dominate products: Manufacturers such as Grohe, Kohler, and American Standard are focusing heavily on faucets and high-efficiency toilets that conserve water; even as stainless steel appliances maintain a stranglehold on the industry, splashes of color are appearing everywhere, including accents on appliances, showerheads, and cabinets; and the environment is taking center stage with eco-conscious materials made from salvage or wood certified by environmental organizations as being harvested in a sustainable manner, low volatile organic compounds, or other environmentally friendly materials.
Here is a sampling of other cool products debuting at the show:
Cambria USA: The manufacturer has introduced 12 new colors to its lineup of quartz-based surfacing, including the Quarry Collection of products that look like natural stone and the Desert Collection of monochromatic hues. Shown here is the Desert Collection. www.cambriausa.com.
Smeg USA: The 60-year-old Italian company arrived in the U.S. market earlier this year, and already it is making a splash with its 36-inch integrated dishwasher. The unit has four wash arms, stainless steel interiors, and can be mounted under a cooktop. It holds 14 place settings and operates at 43 decibels. www.smegusa.com.
Grohe: Grotherm 3000 is a thermostatic mixer that allows users to set the water temperature for a perfect shower every the time. Available in chrome, it has Teflon-coated ceramic disk valves for long life. www.grohe.com.
Samsung Staron: Quartz is one of the hottest surfacing materials in the industry, so this manufacturer has gotten wise. Its new Tempest line of solid surfacing uses clear chips to mimic the look of quartz. Available in 10 colors, the products are lighter than quartz and can be had at a lower price point. www.staron.com
Danze: The company prides itself on offering cool products at a lower price point than luxury brands. The Parma lav faucet continues that tradition. Available in brushed nickel, the unit is made from solid cast brass and features ceramic disk valves. www.danze.com.