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Although KBIS and IBSx had a rocky start due to technical issues, I thoroughly enjoyed this unique virtual experience and discovered a number of cool products for the kitchen and bath world. Favorites included new materials for tubs, a moxie showerhead and even a Central Park West faucet! I loved Zooming in on a press conference hosted by the National Association of Home Builders on “Home Trends, Buyer Preferences & Most Likely Features for 2021.”
Of particular interest was its take on the most in-demand elements of today’s new homes and the features builders are most (and least) likely to include. Full of great trend analysis, the conference was led by speakers Rose Quint, assistant vice president of survey research at NAHB, and Donald J. Ruthroff, principal of Dahlin Group Architecture Planning.
To me, the biggest takeaway for our industry was that the double sink is the leading request for kitchens, along with walk-in pantries. And laundry rooms are top of the list for most-wanted features, along with a full bath on the main level. Let’s take a closer look at some top picks from this virtual event.
Double Sinks in Demand
Lenova meets the growing demand for a double sink in the kitchen with its Double-Bowl Ledge sink, which takes the trend one step further with a bump in prep functionality, too. As part of the brand’s award-winning Ledge Series, this two-bowl design features an engineered platform in the front and back. It converts to a food prep center when accessorized with a stainless-steel colander, roll-up grid drainer and beautiful bamboo cutting board.
A low divider between basins easily accommodates large pans with long handles, while the generous dimensions let this hard-working sink keep pace with the demands of the busiest home kitchens. Available as a drop-in or undermounted installation, this double sink is constructed from durable, commercial-grade 16-gauge 304 stainless steel for lasting beauty without rust or corrosion. Lenova sinks are insulated with padding to keep the sink quiet and water warm. They are backed by a limited lifetime warranty.
There’s something very satisfying about a well-designed faucet — the way it looks, the way it feels. When you add the star power of two of our industry’s most celebrated design forces, you end up with something truly exceptional. Central Park West is a bespoke brassware faucet series created in partnership between Kallista and renowned architecture and design firm Robert A.M. Stern Architects. This modern, classical aesthetic is refined and luxurious, a great choice for contemporary and traditional decors.
The collection is notable for the fresh twist applied to detailing inspired by 20th-century fixtures, such as the knurling and fluting and the monogram-style lettering. The Central Park West collection is offered in several stunning finishes and encompasses a comprehensive range of fixtures, including sink faucets, showering components and accessories.
New Kitchen Showstopper
One of my favorite “discoveries” at the virtual KBIS is the new Sharp Smart Convection Microwave Drawer oven. This innovative appliance combines the speed of sensor microwave cooking with the flexibility of convection cooking to bring delicious meals to the table in record time. The oven uses dual convection fans and dedicated heating elements to bake, roast, grill and heat; there are even three Speed Cook modes for those times when you’re really in a hurry.
Use the Sharp Kitchen App to enable smart features and voice commands via Alexa and a compatible Echo device. The technology available with this oven is quite impressive, such as the “Easy Wave Open” feature for quick, touch-free opening of the drawer. A sleek, modern exterior makes this Sharp oven a great choice for today’s kitchens.
Tailor-Made Medicine Cabinets
Imagine a medicine cabinet designed just for you. Robern introduced the extraordinary PL Portray medicine cabinet with made-to-order options that allow customers to create their ideal cabinet based on their personal preferences. A three-mirror construction provides the ultimate styling environment, and customers can choose a beveled mirror for a traditional look or a polished edge mirror with a more contemporary vibe.
Interior glass shelves can be adjusted in one-inch increments to easily accommodate must-have grooming products, while a sliding magnification mirror is perfectly positioned and always close at hand. The Portray electric upgrade adds interior lighting, magnetic storage, electric outlets, USB charging ports and a convenient phone holder so users can stay connected while keeping their bathroom space clutter-free. The cabinet can be recessed or surface-mounted and used in pairs to maximize storage capabilities.
Available in a variety of sizes, the PL Portray cabinet is filled with thoughtful touches, such as soft-close hinges and a personal caddy, to imbue your daily bathroom routine with organization and ease.
Acquabella introduced its spectacular new Serena bathtub with curved lines inspired by the rolling tides. This elegant freestanding tub is a true stand-out with gentle curves and intriguing angles, evoking a sense of tranquility and relaxation.
It is made in Spain and crafted from Acquabella’s signature Dolotek material. With its unique chemical and physical properties, Dolotek makes it possible to mold complex shapes into functional designs and create truly inspired tubs for the bathroom. Measuring 67 inches x 29 inches, the Serena features an included drain, integral overflow and is offered in traditional white as well as shades of gray, brown and black.
Rock Out in the Shower
Singing in the shower has never been so fun. Kohler’s Moxie showerhead elevates the everyday showering experience with an integrated wireless speaker to easily bring your favorite songs and podcasts into the bathroom. With high-quality audio by Harman Kardon, this fully waterproof speaker offers impressive sound and hands-free control, including an option for an embedded Amazon Alexa.
A magnetic docking system keeps the unit firmly in place, and the speaker is tuned especially for the shower to overcome the white noise of falling water. The Moxie showerhead provides a luxurious full-coverage spray and is finished in a choice of polished chrome, white, brushed nickel and matte black.
The Bluetooth-enabled speaker can be used in any room of the house — in regular or shower mode — with up to nine hours of playtime per charge. The Moxie package includes the showerhead, speaker, charging dock and charging cable.
Grout-Free Shower Solutions
Say goodbye to tile and grout! Wetwall brings its patented waterproof paneling system to the bathroom to create beautiful, nature-inspired looks that are on-trend and increasingly in demand. The system is easy to install with standard tools in as little as 2.5 hours. The designs are breathtaking, with looks that include marble, granite, limestone and even lovely wood grains.
Wetwall can be installed in a shower or throughout the entire bathroom – a perfect option wherever water is present. Because it is grout-free, the waterproof panel is easy to clean and maintain, as well as exceptionally durable. It’s an exciting new option for bath design that is exceedingly practical and organically beautiful.
Sculptural Sink Sensation
Cosentino unveiled a fabulous alternative to traditional bathroom sinks with its Silestone Evita Washbasin Collection. With a distinctive sculptural look, this singular sink dramatically presents flowing lines and a graceful silhouette. The visual continuity provides seamless integration with the surrounding countertop, eliminating unsightly joints for easy cleaning and maintenance.
The Evita Washstation is crafted of Silestone, a proprietary material composed of more than 90 percent natural quartz for extreme durability and resistance to stains and scratches. Available in three sizes, the Evita is offered in three distinctive nature-inspired finishes — White Zeus, Statuario and Desert Silver.
While this year’s virtual platform was interesting — and definitely easier without all the traveling and tired feet — I’m happy to report that KBIS/IBS will return to their traditional live conferences next year. The venue will be in sunny Orlando, Feb. 8-10 — a perfect time and place to escape chilly winter temperatures. Here’s looking forward to a return to “normal” in 2022. Hope to see you there!
To find out more about the virtual tradeshow, visit www.nkba.org. And learn more about the brands shown, visit these websites: