There is a lot for kitchen and bath designers to see and learn at Lightovation, so if you chose it over this year’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS), I don’t blame you. Still, I went to KBIS, and not because I prefer Orlando to Dallas.
For the unfamiliar, KBIS is a show within a show –– a section of the much more massive International Builders Show, which once a year, caters to the construction industry as a whole. So if you missed one, you missed both. KBIS, though, is specifically a place for kitchen and bath companies — from Delta, GE, and Kohler, to small boutique shops like NK Woodworking, which designs all-wood tubs and sinks. It’s a chance for manufacturers to showcase new and innovative products and trends and a chance for attendants, who run the home improvement gamut, to explore and learn.
If you missed KBIS, it’s not the end of the world because I, the Managing Editor at Professional Remodeler, was there. And here’s what I learned.
Farmhouse as you know it is dying
TK Wismer is a designer for GE and helped curate the company’s displays at KBIS this year. What she told me was basically this: Classic farmhouse style is going the way of the dinosaurs.
“I love the style. Those classic white kitchens you see in farmhouses –– they’re beautiful, they’re timeless,” said Wismer. “But people want a little more drama.”
Drama here means a sense of cool and diversity.
“It’s moving into a more sophisticated realm,” she told me. “We’re seeing dark and moody spaces come to the forefront, matte finishes on our appliance, our hardware, our countertops.” Wismer’s also seeing bolder colors in kitchens and bathrooms –– reds and oranges, especially, as well as navy and, of course, black.
When I spoke with Lorena Morales, a designer with door manufacturer Masonite, she corroborated Wismer’s observations and added that homeowners were also showing a new fondness for combining different woods and colors — a lot of white-black contrast and different metals, like oiled bronze and gold, mixed with hammered materials.
New neutrals and the rise of beige taupe
Look out for a new batch of neutrals to start making their way into your kitchen and bath designs.
“We’ve had a lot of gray over the past few years, and that’s still doing well, but we’re seeing that gray warmed up,” Wismer said, noting a marked increase in the usage of beige to do just that. “Beige is back, but we’re calling it taupe.”
The application of these colors is also different. Where in years past, a kitchen’s design might hinge on a single neutral color slapped on every surface –– something Wismer said “pigeonholed” people design-wise –– now the pallets are being diversified.
“People are mixing those neutrals to get a little more depth, a little more character,” she said, pointing out a nearby GE display, which featured taupe cabinetry, with a white backdrop and a charcoal-grey base. “When you mix those colors, it’s still a neutral pallet, but you avoid the homeowner getting burnt out on any one color.”
Grand, outdoor kitchens and the big doors that get you to them
The grand, outdoor kitchen is old news. Outdoor spaces have been growing in popularity for years, and it should surprise no one familiar with the industry that they’re maintaining their upward trajectory. What is new, is the way people are accessing them.
“We’ve seen seismic growth in indoor-outdoor living spaces over the past few years, with bigger decks and grander outdoor kitchens,” said Nathan Creuger, big door business manager for Anderson Windows. “To help open up these spaces, we’ve started investing in big doors with clean lines.” And those doors come in every configuration, Creuger said: sliding, pivot, folding, everything, including ones electronically controlled.
“Manufacturers are all doing the same thing: trying to deliver style, performance, and innovation to be more conducive for indoor-outdoor living.”
Morales of Masonite said of big doors: “People want big, large, height! It’s a huge trend in the industry.”
James McClister is the Managing Editor at Professional Remodeler. Read more from him at www.proremodeler.com.