The Dark, Intense World Of Today’s Kitchens and Baths At KBIS 2018

As many of you already know, I’m freshly back from seeing the latest trends and new products in kitchens and baths at KBIS 2018 (Kitchen And Bath Industry Show) held in Orlando, Florida this year.

And before I go any further, according to FTC rules, I have to disclose that it was a free trip. (hotel, airfare and some meals) I did not receive any additional monetary compensation, but we had a bunch of sponsors, that are all terrific. Not everyone that I’m writing about is a sponsor, however.

In addition, in case you are wondering, none of these thoughts, ideas and words are my own. They belong to the freak that took over my brain a while back.


I was lucky enough to be selected for last year’s Designhounds blog tour, but except for one other person, the fabulous Claire Jefford who you will be hearing a lot about, everyone else was not on last year’s tour. (although many have been on Modenus/Designhounds previous blog tours)

BlogTour-IG-Headshots-kbis 2018
here we all are!

The reason I got to go two years in a row is because you guys voted me as the number one interior design influencer of the year. So, thank you again for that!

And a very special honor!

DMMtalks Xlounge kbis 2018

Claire Jefford invited me to speak on her panel with the delightful social media, marketing manager and mentor to me, Leslie Carothers and the extraordinary Maria Killam who I know that a lot of you read her blog as well!

Please check out Claire’s fabulous youtube channel that’s linked to her name. She shares tons of interior design advice.

marketing success blogging


The topic of the panel was all things blogging which is a subject that we could go on for hours about.


I love talking about blogging for these reasons:

  • I remember what it was like to have no idea what to do or who to turn to and was completely overwhelmed. If I can help someone through that, it’s very gratifying.
  • It’s fun
  • Blogging changed my life in the most extraordinary ways
  • For the first time in my nearly 62 years, I’m actually pretty confident that I won’t die penniless.


I know that some of you are interested in some of the behind the scenes stuff.


Or, maybe you are interested in finding out if I can actually move my mouth and make words come out.

And everything we talk about applies to ANYONE who’s interested in blogging either as a part-time or full-time occupation.  If so, you may access the video here.

It was never my intention to actually make a living solely from the blog, but after 3.5 years, I realized that the scale had tipped so far in favor of that notion, it was a no-brainer.

Because of our panel discussion which took up an entire morning, Claire and Maria who were also part of the blog tour and I hung out to look at our sponsors that we were missing the morning of our panel discussion.

A few words about this show, in particular, especially if you have attention issues like I do.


  • It is loud. Lots of hard surfaces and nothing to absorb the sound.
  • Much of the lighting is horrendous and hard on the eyes. (but some brands do go to great lengths to make sure that their lighting is good.
  • The booths are all different sizes, and the numbering system makes no sense, so navigating is like going through a rat’s maze.
  • Plus, there are lots of shiny things (literally) to distract one.
  • And throngs of people.

In addition for me, it is difficult to walk, listen, take photos and comprehend what I’m being told — ALL at the same time.

But despite all of that, it IS a lot of fun!

Maria Killam, Claire Jefford and Me on rickshaw built for two - KBIS 2018 Orlando Convention Center

Maria Killam, Claire Jefford and moi on a rickshaw (yes! a rickshaw) built for two passengers. And blessedly, seconds after this shot was taken, a rickshaw built for three showed up and Claire hopped out and rode with some colleagues. The rickshaws are available to shuttle attendees between the two buildings that make up the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.



When are you going to get into the dark and dirty?

Right now!


My over-all impression of the kitchens and baths I saw at the show is this:


  • LOTS of black and dark gray
  • rustic wood finishes
  • plain almost industrial looking pipes, well faucets
  • brushed gold
  • masculine and contemporary.

But here and there– FLOWERS – Bright, bold, colorful flowers, but juxtaposed against black and gold.


We’ll get to all of that in a sec, but let’s begin with Day One at KBIS 2018, Kitchens and Baths


We began our day at 9:00AM (well, not really, we had to leave our hotel by 8:00AM) for the annual private event for Modenus and Designhounds (which anyone can become, BTW) called Champagne and Cupcakes.

I wised up this year and had a flute of OJ (no champagne).


No cupcake either, but did have some fresh fruit. You can see me last year stuffing a big, pink, sticky, pink cupcake in my face. This year the event was sponsored by LG Appliances. There’s a contest but I don’t have enough engagement on instagram to even have a hell’s bean’s chance of winning.

And I did not take a photo at this event except for the one above, because I do not take photos before 10:00 AM ;] but around the corner was the niftiest product, ever– especially if you hate to iron.

The LG Clothes Styler – Steamer. You can read about it here.

It’s available here.

I definitely need one of these. But what I want to know is… Does it come with the butler? If so, then I’m definitely getting one!

After that, we were on our own for a while and so Claire, Maria and I headed over to the Lixil company of brands. Lixil is the umbrella company for American Standard, Grohe, DXV and another small company called Fiat but obviously, not the same Fiat that makes cars, I’m presuming.

Fiat products doggie bath kbis 2018 kitchens and baths lixil brands
They do, however make the world’s cutest doggie bath. I would stick my kids in it too.

Not with the dog.

I do not recommend doing that.

Acticlean American Standard self-cleaning toilet

We were handed off to a different guide who did a proper demonstration of the ease of operating a few American Standard self-cleaning toilets. There are toilets that clean with every use and toilets that clean on demand with either a light clean

OR a, a, a— HEAVY-DUTY clean.

Sorry. Just sharing my findings.

But then our other guide returned because she wanted to show us the Grohe Faucet that makes coffee and offers a choice of full-fat or skim milk.

Just kidding. It does not make coffee but at that moment in time, I truly wish that it did. However, it DOES make sparkling water in addition to regular tap water. Is that bloody brilliant or what?

You can get one here.

Okay, it’s three large but I probably go through a bottle or two of that stuff every day. So, after a few years, it pays for itself. Right?

The beautiful Maria Killam enjoying her seltzer.

and me, just in case you thought I was making this up. The sparkling water was delish!


Then, we saw what I was talking about at the beginning of the post.

DXV is the luxury end of Lixil. Above is the Modulus group of bathroom fixtures.

I bet you can guess what my favorite part of this vignette is. (hint: it’s not the bidet)

DXV modulus tub kitchens and baths kbis 2018
Righto! The gorgeous mouldings on the wall! And again, we see the charcoal gray paint color. I do love the juxtaposition of the traditional mouldings, painted in the dark gray with the contemporary fixtures. And thank you to the unwitting model, whoever you are.

We will be seeing more of DXV in a later post, but we need to move on…

My vote for the most breath-taking bathroom prize goes to Kohler.


Do you have any idea how many people I had to knock over and/or tackle to get this shot? No, really. I just got SUPER LUCKY.

STUNNING bathroom in the Kohler area featuring Tile designed by Kelly Wearstler for Ann Sacks Tile, Kallista Plumbing.

But then came this equally stunning but intensely colorful FLORALS

Amazing design for Kohler by Ashley Woodson Bailey

photo: janie Yu

Above features the the new Purist floor-mount bath filler.

Kohler really outdid themselves.

Beautiful bejeweled handles on this elegant faucet from Kallista.

Kohler kitchen - Kalista plumbing faucetAnd if this wasn’t enough came this stunning kitchen.

Featuring exquisite back-lit alabaster and limestone counters.

It really was like being in another world!

More faucets from Kohler – image via Sherry Millien

Next we met up with the rest of the gang to go to one of the top most busy booths in the entire show. Thermador. I will never forget that incredible party they threw for us! Frankly, we all know that they are top of the line. Here the beautiful woman (who obviously got the gig because her hair matches the cabinet finish) was explaining about the new induction range.


But I couldn’t tell you one word that she said.


it was all I could do to make  sure that my camera was as straight as could be in the 15 seconds I had before someone was sure to step right in front of me. You show goers know what I’m talking about. Apparently, that hood does some special things too.

Oh, just shoot me! Fine. I can’t walk and talk and take pictures and carry a purse and another bag and listen to someone that I can barely hear even with a mike. However, if you want a fabulous blow by blow of the entire show, I very much recommend that you read Stacey Bewkes over at Quintessence. She has the best photos AND she knows everything about the best sources. Some of which I saw and some, not.

But there’s also a lot of the dark finishes. I do love black.

Does it have staying power?

And what about the gold?

Well, let’s talk about that!





PS: Please don’t forget to check out the updated hot sales. Lots of great sales going on.

PPS: All show photos were taken by me unless otherwise noted. It’s fine to help yourself to one or two, if you’re a blogger, but please link back to this post. Thanks!

Welcome To Laurel Home!


Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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