My Favorites from KBIS 2011

"This year's show is SO much smaller than past years' shows." KBIS 2011, in my opinion must have been the smallest show in many years for the NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association).  I think I must have overheard this quote about ten times during my three days in Vegas.  Despite this perceived lack of attendance, it still felt like a pretty big show to me, and I met a lot of people who will definitely make a difference in my business the upcoming year.  Best of all, I got the opportunity to see the best and brightest new products that are on the market.

Lighting in the kitchen and bath is a real focal point now.  Toto even has a line of sinks with integrated LED lights underneath that shine up and through a transluscent material.  Hafele probably has the LED product with the most "cool factor".  It is called LOOX and it's versatile, energy efficient, and simple to install.  LED is still rather expensive, but it is very energy efficient and you'll probably never have to change a bulb for as long as you own your house.  Check out my earlier blog post about the Basics of LED Lighting.

I was also impressed with Northern Contours.  Based in Minnesota, Northern Contours builds doors for major cabinet manufacturers.  They have great capability and are true custom in this respect.  To give you an idea of their capabilities, I took a picture of a high gloss real wood custom veneer cabinet vignette that was on display.  What does this mean for you?  Take a look at their website,, and if you find a finish that you love, it can be made for your very own project.

Karran makes sinks with zero lip on them for solid surface or laminate countertops.  Laundry rooms would really benefit from this feature.  Using a patented design, Karran has created a sink that can be undermounted to laminate or solid surface, virtually eliminating any and all seams or overhangs.  It's a great look.  TIP:  So you can't afford granite?  Specify a Karran sink for your laminate countertop and really upgrade the overall look of the space.  It immediately gives a high end look.

Ok, now for an item that might not be practical for everyday use, but if you're looking to really make a statement with a powder bath and just want the WOW factor, I might suggest the following product...Toto has a line of vessel lavatories called "Luminist".  Luminist incorporates LED lighting beneath a translucent lavatory bowl.  When turned on, the vessel appears to emanate light evenly in all directions.  The Toto website has better pictures of this product, but here's one I snapped with my camera phone.

If you are planning on creating a steam shower or a shower with multiple rain heads and heavy volume of water flow, it is worthwhile to explore the Schluter Kerdi Board System for the encapsulation of all moisture and vapor.  Schluter is well known for their tile accessory products and this is just one more addition to their various products.  Schluter has incorporated the drain into the pre formed pan board of the shower, virtually eliminating the risk of water leakage at that point.  They also have some very pleasing designs for the drains.  One of which is pictured below.

To view this year's "Best of KBIS" as voted on by the NKBA, check out the following link:

Til next time...have fun with those projects!