During Design and Construction Week, the International Builders Show (IBS) and the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) come together for one huge trade show that showcases the newest products and materials for residential design and construction. This year the show was in Vegas and despite the very cold weather (it snowed... twice... in Vegas!), I made my way to the convention center to check out most of the exhibitors.
If you go to the show every year, like I’ve done in the last several years, you’ll see the many of the same tried and true products on display each year. But there are a few things in this year’s show that caught my eye.
Here's a list of some of my favorites:
1. Combination Gas and Induction Range
Ok, I know that I’m officially a house geek because when I saw this range I literally gasped and said “Oh my word!” in my highest pitched voice. Two years ago when I learned about induction cooking I thought, why don’t brands make a combination gas and induction range? And now they have. At least 2 brands have—Thermador and Dacor. Both are higher end appliances companies, but other companies may soon follow suit.
If you remember from episode 110 called “Choosing a Kitchen Range, Cooktop or Oven,” induction burners use heat created from electromagnetic energy to cook your food. An element that creates an magnetic field is located just below the surface of an induction cooktop. When you put a piece of cookware containing iron, a cast iron skillet, for example, on top of that magnetic element, it causes a vibration that converts to heat.
Induction cooktops are safer than gas or electric burners because they don't use flames or direct heat. Induction burners only produce heat while iron containing cookware is in direct contact with the element. You can put your hand directly on the element and you won't get burned.
Induction cooktops are also more efficient and heat things up faster than other types of burners. Many induction models can boil a large pot of water in 6 minutes.
Combining the efficiency and safety of induction burners with the temperature control and high heat potential of gas burners is perfect for serious cooks. A gas/induction combo range is also nice for households like mine that have both experienced and amateur cooks. Although experienced cooks usually love gas, those flames can be intimating for those of us don’t do a lot of cooking, so having the option of using those flat, smooth induction burners will give us the best of both worlds.
2. Solid Wood Drawer Organizers
One of the most beautiful, practical, and seemingly simple trends seen at the show was solid wood drawer organizers. These drawer organizers come in several wood species, but walnut is probably the most popular. The solid wood drawer organizers add interesting contrasting color and a luxurious feel to the inside of your otherwise boring drawers boxes. You can use these wooden drawer dividers for everything from silverware in the kitchen to cosmetics in the bathroom. It’s a simple way to pretty up a would-be boring space that you’ll look at everyday.
3. Motion Activated Trash Bin
This is a feature that let’s you access the trash bin without touching it. You just move your foot across the motion sensor that’s placed near the floor and the trash bin will open. You could put this technology anywhere in the house, but it would be especially helpful in the kitchen, at times when you need to open the trash can, but have raw chicken, uncooked meatloaf, flour or something sticky covering your hands.
4. LED Lighted Mirrors
I first saw these fancy bathroom mirrors a couple of years ago at the Kitchen and Bath Industry show. At that time, only a couple of models were out. Now, several brands have mirrors with built-in LED light strips. These sleek LED mirrors are usually used over bathroom vanities, but can also be added to dressing rooms and hallways.
LED lighting comes in a variety of color temperatures and lumens. Most of these lighted mirrors have cooler color temperatures and higher lumens. This ensures that the light is pretty close to the color and brightness produced by natural sunlight, meaning it’s not too bright or dim and not too yellow and not too blue. This type of lighting is perfect for applying makeup, tweezing and shaving. And because the lighting surrounds the mirror, no unattractive shadows will be cast onto your face when grooming.
The other great thing about these mirrors is that the LED lighting uses very little energy so you’ll have lower electricity bills. Plus they’re long-lasting. Many LED lights will burn for 50,000 hours—which will last over 10 years, depending on your use. LED mirrors now come in many sizes and shapes and some of them come in a medicine cabinet configuration.
5. Gas Fireplaces With Heat Management
I was super excited to see these fierplaces. If you’re like me and want the beauty and ambience of a fireplace, but live in a climate that’s warm for much of the year, this might be the fireplace solution for you.
These gas fireplaces redirect heat to either other areas of the home or to the outdoors, so you get the beauty of the fire without all the heat. Heat management systems on these gas fireplaces not only send heat where you want it, but they also keep the firebox glass cool for safety and the fireplace surround cool so you can add a TV, fine art or other heat sensitive materials above your fireplace.
6. Stained Wood and Wood Veneers
Wood veneers, remember, are thin sheets of real wood that can be placed over plywood or other materials to give the look of solid wood. You’d use wood veneers in place of real solid wood because using veneers is considerably cheaper. But whether it was solid wood or wood veneers, wood stained in medium to lighter tones was everywhere—from kitchen and bathroom cabinetry, to accent walls and countertops, to custom closets and kitchen vent hoods.
Now white, gray, blue and other colors of painted wood, or wood-like materials still have their place, but this year there was an abundance of natural stained wood. I love the trend because wood warms up the white and gray rooms that have become so popular. Sometimes, all that white and gray can read as cold.
Wood is being used all styles of homes, including contemporary homes. The more contemporary the style of the room or home, the cleaner the lines and more minimal the design the wood materials should have.
7. Simple Hardware
Simple hardware has been on trend for several years now, but this year, more elaborately decorated hardware choices were few and far between. Unadorned, straight pulls were by far the most prominent style. Those simple pulls come in many finishes from matte black to shiny chrome and warm brass and copper, but the vast majority of hardware was very understated as far as shape and style. Simple rounded, square or hexagonal knobs were exhibited too, but I saw mostly linear pulls. And lots of oversized pulls. The trend seems to be to use straight, linear pulls on both cabinets drawers and doors, and forgoing knobs all together. It's definitely a matter of personal taste, so if you find some knobs or more decorative pulls that you fall in love with, go for it.
8. Undercounter Lighting
For a while now, we’ve been seeing undercabinet lighting under upper kitchen cabinets that’s great as task lighting for chopping vegetables, or doing other countertop tasks. We’ve also seen toe kick lighting below cabinetry in kitchens and bathrooms. Toe kick lighting shines light on the floor and acts as a night light or accent lighting when all the other light are off. But this year, I saw undercounter lighting the goes directly under the kitchen or bathroom countertop. The undercounter lightning is achieved using strip lighting. Lights under the countertop is mainly for the cool factor. The light highlights cabinet fronts and the strips might cast a little light inside the opened cabinet, but this type of lighting mainly used for a subtle, unexpected wow factor.
9. Lighted Closet Rods
This is another cool factor product, but it's practical too. Lighting strips are built directly into closet rods and they help you see your clothing much more easily. They aren’t cheap, so you don’t have to put these lighted rods in every closet or everywhere you need a rod, but might want to splurge on them for the darkest corners of the closet or in coat closet so your guests can easily distinguish their coat from others.
So those were some of my favorite products at this year's Design and Construction Week. That’s all I have for you this week. Don’t forget that you can subscribe to the show for free so new episodes will automatically be sent to your library of podcasts, that way you won’t have to try to remember the name of the show or our release day. Thanks for stopping by.
Please remember that the purpose of this podcast is simply to educate and inform. It is not a substitute for professional advice. The information that you hear is based the only on the opinions, research and experiences of my guests and myself. That information might be incomplete and it’s subject to change, so it may not apply to your project. In addition, building codes and requirements vary from region to region, so always consult a professional about specific recommendations for your home.