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Buzzed Up: KBIS Trends—Part II

Five more kitchen and bath trends that showed up in Chicago
By Alice Liao
July 16, 2010

Did you catch yesterday’s report on the trends that generated buzz at this year's KBIS? Here are an additional five that also caught K+BB’s attention.

Installation Ease. In addition to new product offerings, many of the plumbing manufacturers played up contractor-friendly components designed to make installing and upgrading your shower or faucet a no-fuss affair. Interestingly enough, most of them are not new, but with consumers becoming increasingly selective about what they want to change in their bathrooms, the promise of less elbow grease could be a great selling point. Among those on display were Hansgrohe’s iBox Universal Plus, Moen’s M•Pact valve and Symmons’s trim replacement program and Symmons Temptrol valve, which is compatible with all of the company’s premium trim. Similarly, Delta’s Universal Design shower systems incorporate not only a universal valve, but also a patented bracket-and-cleat system that enables the shower wall panels to be installed quickly while ensuring the stability of grab bar and seats.
Filling Out. For those who like having everything in their bathroom match, this show provided no shortage of solutions. Accessories, such as toilet paper holders, hooks and towel bars, were ubiquitous, offering up budget-friendly options for freshening up a bathroom. But some companies went bigger in supplementing their wares, as did ShowHouse by Moen with a new decorative lighting collection for its Felicity, Savvy, Solace and Waterhill (shown) bathroom suites and Robern, which introduced a line of wall-mounted vanities in a variety of designs, sizes, colors and finishes.
Water-Efficient Toilets. No, this isn’t a new trend, but one couldn’t walk the show floor without noticing the plethora of WaterSense-certified HETs, many of which were also quite attractive. These include Plié, a 1.0/1.6-gpf dual-flush model, from Kallista and TOTO’s Aquia wall-hung toilet, which is also a dual-flush unit that conserves water at 0.9/1.6 gpf. Of course, some toilets impressed based on performance and functionality alone. Coway’s BA17 bidet seat, for example, is self-powered and non-electronic, using pressure from the water flow to generate electricity, while Niagara Conservation’s Stealth System toilet is extremely water-efficient at 0.8 gpf.

Sparkling Surfaces. Who couldn’t use a little sparkle in their life—especially in this economy? That may or may not have been the message at the show, but surfaces that glittered and shimmered were on display at the booths of Hanwha Surfaces, whose Constellation Series incorporates pearl chips (Libra shown); DuPont, which showed a line silver- and gold-flecked Corian metallics; and Samsung Staron/Samsung Radianz, which “hypnotized” (a reference to its humorous marketing campaign) with its Noble collection.

Classic and Modern. It’s an age-old debate: Is traditional style still in? Or is contemporary the “it” look? Those seeking a definitive answer at KBIS this year may have found themselves no closer to the truth. If anything, the show suggested what industry insiders have long been noticing—a gradual migration toward the middle of the style spectrum. Visually, this could translate into more streamlined traditional-inspired designs, such as those shown by Devon & Devon; a warmer and softer modern aesthetic, as in Webert’s Flauto, which comes in a rotund single-lever version with or without black handles (shown above), as well as a ribbon-style widespread model; or transitional looks, such as that of Diamond Cabinets’ Benson PureStyle laminate line and Liberty Hardware’s Stratus collection, both of which could go either way. Missed the show this year? There's always 2011, when KBIS will be held April 26-28 in Las Vegas. Check the KBIS website for more information and updates.
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