A kitchen is something consumers usually live with for many years. So unlike more fickle clothing or food trends, the look of kitchens evolves gradually. But even if you aren’t doing a gut job anytime soon, you might want to upgrade to an appliance with techy new features, install a fresh countertop or change outdated hardware. The annual Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS), held in Las Vegas two weeks ago, always dishes up products that are fun (and functional) inspiration.
There are lots of upgrades you can consider for your own place, whether it’s a vast trophy kitchen or a tiny galley: kitchen cabinets with doors that lift with a touch of a button, steam ovens, charging stations built right into stone counters and more.
This year, KBIS had 600 manufacturers and brands represented, and the event drew about 125,000 designers, builders and suppliers. According to Brian Pagel, vice president at Emerald Expositions, which produces the show, technology continues to be a major focus.
“As the economy and housing market continues to improve, we are really seeing more products that address connectivity in the home,” Pagel says, “such as having a fridge tell you are out of milk or suggesting a dinner menu based on what you currently have in your refrigerator.”
Richard Anuszkiewicz, a kitchen designer with Alt Breeding Schwarz Architects in Annapolis, has attended the show since 2008. One of the most interesting products he noted was Cosentino’s Dekton glass, porcelain and quartz surface in the new Aura color, which he says very closely resembles classic Calacatta marble. “It’s hard to tell the difference between the two,” he says. Dekton’s advantages are that it is resistant to stains, scratches and heat.
One of his favorite booths was La Cornue, the French company known for its colorful high-end kitchen ranges. He was particularly taken with a new stove called Chateau 150, featured in an orange color reminiscent of the classic Hermes orange. He reports that La Cornue unexpectedly showed its high-end rustic range in a very contemporary setting.
The show reflected a general shift from traditional styling to more modern, contemporary finishes and looks, according to KBIS officials. Today, many kitchens combine several styles and colors in their design.
Designers are always analyzing how families function in their kitchens and try to improve the flow. “I love moving beverages out of the main refrigerator and creating multiple zones in the kitchen,’ says Maria Stapperfenne, a kitchen designer at Tewksbury Kitchens & Baths in New Jersey who is the 2015 president of the Kitchen & Bath Association. “If you want to get something to drink, you won’t be fighting for the same floor space with someone doing food prep.” She reports that a number of manufacturers featured beverage and wine refrigerators that reflect this lifestyle pattern. “Wine refrigerators have been a fixture of high-end kitchens for a while,” she says, “but now they are available at many different manufacturers.”
Often consumers focus on small details to update their kitchens, such as changing hardware. Stapperfenne says KBIS confirmed the continued popularity of a brushed nickel finish. “It’s easy to keep clean and doesn’t show fingerprints,” she says. “While polished nickel is lovely and is reflective, it does show fingerprints and smudges.” She added that brushed nickel also coordinates well with stainless steel appliances that continue to dominate. She also noticed a new sparkle in places such as kitchen island sinks. “There is an increase in the use of glass and crystal hardware in the kitchen. It’s almost like accenting a piece of furniture,” Stapperfenne says. “Putting this kind of hardware in the kitchen is like adding jewelry.”
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