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)
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!
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.
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 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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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)
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
Above features the the new Purist floor-mount bath filler.
Kohler really outdid themselves.
Beautiful bejeweled handles on this elegant faucet from Kallista.
And 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!
So many beautiful bathrooms, thanks for sharing! I am drawn to so many ideas- wall moldings, subway tiles, dark shelves and cabinetry.
I got to watch the panel with Claire and etc on fb that day! How fun to snatch a piece of the show thru the lens.
I paint cabinets for a living. When I read down thru this post and came to the DXV picture, all I could see at first was the bad paint job on the walls. lol Then you mentioned the idea of mixing all that trim with the modern fixtures. Love it!
Thanks for all you do!
You know… you are right! The paint job is not-so-great! I hadn’t noticed because I was mesmerized by the moulding. That’s how much I love it!
While the black is dramatic and shows off the appliances etc. in a showroom, I just would be so depressed living with it. Plus, every single crumb or fingerprint shows on a black counter. I hope the industry gets over this fast!
Something softer, warmer, and more livable, please.
Yes! You are so right about everything showing up on the black surfaces.
I took my little kids on a tour of the HGTV smart home in Scottsdale and my favorite part was that LG steam iron. Their favorite part was the self cleaning bidet/toliet! I don’t recall which brand it was but the kids loved flushing and spraying via remote control!
self-cleaning. It’s a good thing! haha
Laurel, Just last night I thought the same thing about how nice it would be for English style interiors to come back into fashion in the US (I was reading the latest issue of House and Garden UK 😉 Why do you think it’s a long shot for that kind of look to return? I find the current taste for nothing but Spartan, gray scale interiors somewhat limiting, to say nothing of a bit phony. English eclecticism allows for more personal expression and accommodates a wide variety of styles from period antiques to Italian modern pieces (in moderation, of course.) I so trust your perspective on interior design, but I hope you are wrong on this score.
Thank you for the fabulous write up of the KBIS.
I agree with you wholeheartedly. Please see my comment to CK. It applies here too.
I may not be crazy about black and gray, but I’m soooo over all white kitchens, bathrooms, etc!! Can we please return to rooms (not “spaces”) that not only have some color, but some real personality!!
I think the issue is manufacturer vs designer. They aren’t necessarily in sync. Yes, some, but not all. some designers get into all of the trends and some buck them completely.
the manufacturers need to change so that they can make money. They know that not everyone will buy into their thing, but the idea is that they can sell more and turn a profit.
Perhaps that’s a cynical view, but I do feel that there’s a disconnect with what many designers are doing.
You know, you won’t ever catch certain designers at these shows, (unless they’re hawking a product line they designed.) There’s a good reason.
Maaaaaaaaan, it sure would be fun to walk that show with you! That bathroom with the KW tile is LEGIT.
I think black with gold is classic and will hang in there for the test of time; one just has to be comfortable with the drama. I, personally, do not save mine for my mama…
I really needed the rickshaw to come inside with me. Would you drive it please? If not, I’m sure that we could find someone.
I will! But will need to eat lots of those cupcakes for fuel. 😉
Trust me. One of them alone, will put you into insulin shock! No offense to anyone who truly has issues with sugar/insulin regulation.
We all concurred that it would be better if they were mini cupcakes! Yum! And I would be happy with a mini eclair too! But I suppose Champagne and Eclairs doesn’t have quite the same ring to it! haha
Hi Laurel! Great report. Dacor was stunning with so many cool things to show off including their black matte products and the availability to customize art on porcelain on a fridge drawer – WOW! I love the Kohler faucet shot showing the huge range of finishes including the black and gold. Richlelieu was showing off one of their lines that has drawer pulls/handles that comes in all the colors of an Iphone…..who doesn’t need their pulls to match their phone ;).
Your name seems so familiar! I am wondering if I saw a photo of yours somewhere?
Of course you are right. Gray has been done to over done. Imo white as well. I’ve about had it. I love a dark moody room with lots of windows to let in natural light, dark wood and pops of bold color. And I love black or dark walls. That’s why I love you blog, variety. I know that when I view one of your post I’ll find something not white to love. I dont know how long the black trend will be around but I’m loving it.
I love so many different things as long as they are done well.
Yeeeeesh. I am not into the black and gold. We looked at a house with an all black bathroom (don’t remember what stone type), it was so aggressively shiny.
I really like the self cleaning toilet. That sounds A+AMAZING.
Thanks so much Celeste!
First of all,, thank you for calling me your *mentor* and for the lovely shout out in this post. I loved being on the panel with you, Maria and Claire and sharing with everyone what we’ve all learned.
I’m glad you gave everyone the live link to our talk, in case they have an extra hour — LOL!
And, as always, thank you for your honesty in all things. We have all learned so much from your generous, well researched posts!
See you in other places…and I will look forward to your latest *e-product*, when it launches!
So nice to see you here in my little digital salon! Please take your shoes off if you like and make yourself comfortable. Can I get you something to drink or eat? ;]
It is sooooo COLD today, wind chill is zero and then it’s 90 degrees in my apartment. I think that’s why I was cold all of the time in Florida when indoors. I’m used to it being very warm.
But anyway, it was so terrific to see you as always and of course to be on the panel with you! I don’t know if I’ll ever believe my good fortune. That’s why I want to do this guide. Yes, blogging is hard work, but if one is going to work hard, they might as well do it in a way that’s going to give them the best results! See ya back at the “ranch!” xoxo
I love black and charcoal with real wood and cream walls. I’ve been so depressed these past few yrs w all the white on white kitchen, baths, living rooms. JUST STOP IT. I all but stopped all my shelter mag subscription.
I think either combo can look great if done right. But my perception has been a lot of gray, gray, gray in the market place and not so much white for quite a while. Of course, magazines are different and are based on what the designers are doing. Two different things. At least, that’s how I see it.
Laurel–do a search on “Tina Trahan spends $16 million on Lake Geneva…”
Interested in what everyone thinks about the before and after photos. This mansion is at the east of the lake where I live.
I found an article which shows what she did with the living room. hmmm… I do love the white paint to knock back the formality of the one room. The furniture SUUUUUUCCCCKKKKSSS. The porch looks like a different home. In the manner of Bobby McAlpine. The place is so HUUUUUGE. I can’t relate to this. It really should be a hotel. That’s what I think.
Laurel, great post as always! It was so much fun to see you again at KBIS. I can hardly wait until the Bahamas cruise! Thanks again for being on my panel. It sure was a popular topic, as I knew it would be. You ladies are amazing. Chat soon my dear! xo
So nice to “see” you here! My little chat room. haha! The panel was terrific. It’s a little cringe-worthy looking at myself at times. Like, “oh, PLEASE laurel, don’t say that!” The part about I could have all the clients I want sounds grandiose. What I should’ve said is that I would like to hand them all over to Maria! xoxo
Hi Laurel, I love the mouldings and color in the DXV bath. On my screen it looks similar to Raccoon Fur? I agonized about the gold when we did our bathroom 4 years ago. There was so much less to choose from then. We chose nickel mixed with vintage brass. Crazy about black walls in the right places.
Your bathroom ala Mark Sikes is black done right and your more white bathroom too! Both gorgeous! I think the manufacturers feel that they have to come out with something new and “clever” even if it’s weird looking. But the reality is, that once they’ve come up with a winner, there doesn’t need to be something new.
Not everything needs to change all the time. That is, unless it was installed in the 60s-80s. Then, there’s a very good chance that it does need to be redone!
Thank you as always for your beautiful comments! I agree, you can’t reinvent everything. Some of the new finishes are going to be as cringe worthy as the shiny lacquered brass fixtures of the 70s/80s.
YES!!! I agree completely with that assessment.
Did you really take ballet classes with the famous Madonna? That’s kind of cool.
Reading your blog reader’s comments, I’m surprised no one said anything about the LG Steamer. That looks to me like it would be the greatest thing since sliced bread. I’m a big fan of the fresh, crisp and ironed, especially linens. I realize most people don’t live like this anymore, but there’s something wonderful about opening a closet and seeing everything clean and pressed, and smelling of lavender.
I like the return of gold colored fixtures too. Do you have an opinion of those very beautiful, (and expensive), Sherle Wagner sinks and fixtures? Thanks Laurel.
Re: Sherle Wagner. Do you mean the sinks that look like a gold-plated bundt pan? Not my thing.
And yes, I really did take ballet classes with the famous Madonna back in 1979 in a studio that was in Greenwich Village owned by Dennis Wayne, called “Dancers.” We took class with a fabulous teacher, Lawrence (Larry) Rhodes who then left that fall to teach at NYU. Coincidentally, a close friend of mine was a freshman in the dance department then.
The thing about Larry is that if you were new, he would come up to you and ask you your name and that was that. He would not forget it and would call out corrections, (in a very classy way) using your name. That is how I knew Madonna’s name. A few years later, I saw her on MTV and nearly passed out!
“My rec would be for the tide turning towards England.”
LOL & OMG!! This is **precisely** what I was thinking last night as I leafed through the latest edition of House and Gardens UK!
The way the English use color, and their ability to marry eclectic art/accessories (ranging from bohemian/artisanal finds to modern, cutting edge elements) into a traditionally furnished house is brilliant (to steal an idiom.)
I hope that people will tire of the gray scale aesthetic and consider their houses to be a reflection of themselves instead of an homage to an artificial ideal.
I agree completely Tasha. Make that BLOODY BRILLIANT! :]
Re: the last paragraph, I think that you hit on the issue. Most people, in general have NO idea who they are and what they’re about. And in truth, I didn’t either until I went to design school and was forced to figure it out. I found some pics of projects from the 80s and what kills me is that aesthetic hasn’t changed much. I’ve always been drawn to the classics– with a touch of the contemporary thrown in for interest.
Thank you so much Laurel for linking to my post! So sorry I missed you! And yes, what an overwhelming show and with you re: navigating it!
Looking forward to your other posts as well. And glad to know it wasn’t just me trying to get to places. Although when I was with Claire and Maria, we were all going a little nuts trying to figure out the numbering system.
I’m with you, Laurel. Love those moldings, but ixnay on the dark greys and blacks. GLOOMY! No thanks. If I want to live in a cave, I’ll be a hermit up in the mountains somewhere.
haha! I’ve seen some more urbane interiors that have dark walls that are gorgeous. But it’s difficult to convey in these convention centers. And it’s not really how most of us live. But, the Architectural Digest Show manages to look beautiful, so it can be done. Lighting is everything and the lighting and acoustics at this show in particular is abysmal.
I am glad to see that different shades of gold are making a comeback in bath and kitchen fixtures. I never was a fan of the silver, brushed aluminum, chrome look. However, I do not like at all, the blacks, grays and overall darkness of the colors. They just depress me too much.
I think a lot of people feel that way. I love mixing metals too. I think I feel a post coming up about that. Soon, I hope! And I also don’t like brushed nickel and chrome.
I’m just happy not to see black toilets making a comeback! I was worried when I saw the headline! I love pops of dark to add contrast but will always love an overall feeling of light and bright. Thanks for bringing this info to us, you’re the best!
Thanks so much Lori. I’m with you on black as an accent in kitchens and baths.
What a great summary of KBIS–thanks for that! I don’t like the dark kitchens and bathrooms. I need light! But as a designer, it’s not about me, so I’m sure there are some dark spaces in my future.
A question about blogging that I think will only be truthfully answered by you: do you think it’s possible to run a design firm with steady business (with a part time assistant and an intern) AND write a blog that garners a business-building following? I’m not sure I want to dip into monetizing the blog, but writing and posting pictures is something that I enjoy. It brings a personal vibe to the website. But it takes SO MUCH TIME!
Well, this could be a blog post in and of itself! IMO, all designers who are looking to build their business should have blogs. And yes, it’s possible. I know dozens of designers who have thriving businesses and blogs. Even if you post just once a week, that’s absolutely fine. But yes, it does take a lot of time. However, it is worthwhile time.
I am working on a blog business building blueprint so that designers and anyone who wants to have a blog can set things up optimally and get the most benefit out of their blogs from the get-go. I wasted nearly two years doing things the wrong way and the benefit to having the blog was nil. If I knew then what I’ll be sharing, I would’ve gotten to this point much faster.
I’m hoping to have that out by the end of February.
Great! I’ll look forward to reading that when it’s published in February.
Well, I guess I’m committed now! haha. It should be okay, it’s getting close to being finished.
OK looks lovely but……dark in baths and kitchens reminds me of…..dirt!
It’s definitely not a cottage country look, that’s for sure!
Hi Laurel, thanks for the post showing us all the new trends for kitchens & baths. Was the link to the dark gray paint color supposed to tell us what the color is? The link took us to your Rolodex and Paint Colors page…was that the intent? I’d love to know the paint color!
Oh, that’s an automatic thing that links certain words to that page. It’s more subtle marketing rather than shoving my products ad nauseum down people’s throats.
I’m sorry, I don’t know the color and also don’t know how it’s reading on your device. My rec is to get some paint chips and try to match them up that way and then get some samples.
But what it might be is the wall moulding. That’s what makes it look so spectacular, IMO. Moulding on the wall is like hair and makeup on a woman. ;]
P.S. I am a fan of gold, it is probably a favorite finish of mine
I like it too but the rest needs to work with it. I wouldn’t pair it with a brown stained wood finish, for instance.
The bathrooms have a really formal, pre-war, Manhattan, Cole Porter sort of vibe to them. I have to say, I love them. I wouldn’t mind pretending I have enough cash to live in a beautiful, pre-war apartment overlooking Central Park, even if I could only pretend that in my bathroom!
Your name reminds me that I used to take ballet classes (1979) with the famous Madonna, before she was famous. ;] And yes, I was just saying that I fully expected Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire to come floating in. Too funny!
But most of us don’t have bathrooms with 20 foot ceilings! haha. Still, I appreciated the effort they took to create something sensational. Great company Kohler. I visited their facility in Wisconsin many years ago and was very impressed. My mom lived only about 30 miles away for many years.
Your name reminds me that I used to take ballet classes (1979) with the famous Madonna. And yes, I was just saying that I fully expected Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire to come floating in.
But most of us don’t have bathrooms with 20 foot ceilings! haha. Still, I appreciated the effort they took to create something sensational. Great company Kohler. I visited their facility in Wisconsin many years ago. My mom lived only an hour south.
I don’t have a problem with black and white as long as there is more white than black. Wasn’t it Nate B. who said “fads are made to make us feel bad about what we don’t have?” By the time you buy into the new look, it is outdated and they are on to something else.
Yes, yes and yes!!!
Wow, do I love that floor tile by Kelly Wearstler for Ann Sacks Tile in the Kohler bathroom shot! LOVE. Flooring for my dream kitchen, but cabinets and counters, appliances would be much lighter than all the dark grey and black featured this year. Not a fan of this trend.
Thanks for sharing!
I’m with you there. I mean I love black and I love gray, but big swaths of it need some white. The Kohler bathroom was positively jaw dropping person. I kept expecting Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire to come floating in.
I’m so impressed that you’ve already written a KBIS post! I’m still recovering – it was quite a whirlwind, wasn’t it? So lovely to spend a little time getting to know you better on the Design Hounds tour. I’m sure we will meet again soon!
Yes! Wonderful finally getting to meet you too! But make no mistake, I’m plenty zonked. What else is new? haha!
Dark and masculine is right! Yikes! I love a traditional kitchen, including the un-kitchens you’ve posted about. I know that some people like sleek and modern, but I would find living with one of these kitchens or baths depressing. Love the paneled wall and doggie tub though. Glad you had a good time.
Well, I’m pretty sure that you know how I feel. While I love the new innovations, as in the furniture industry, I very much wish that the tide would turn.
My rec would be the tide turning towards England. They have the right idea, IMO.
Laurel!! This will happen!! The tide WILL turn towards England, I know it!! You are helping making it happen, keep at it!
Well, that would be something, but I think I’d have a better chance of swimming across the ocean. haha. The other thing is that it’s not the black and the dark gray per se. There are lots of beautiful bathrooms and other rooms on this blog that are black and dark gray. In fact, I should’ve linked to some. Mark Sikes and Nancy Keyes black bathroom is one that comes to mind. STUNNING! But there’s a lot of white and mirrors, beautiful lighting and some warm things too.