We explore the hottest styles and products on display at the latest Kitchen and Bath Industry Show.
By Rebecca L. Rhoades
“Home design is moving faster and faster, much like fashion,” says Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award-winning interior designer Amy Klosterman.
Helping professionals and homeowners stay on top of the trends is the annual Kitchen and Bath Industry Show. The second-largest trade show in North America, it is one of the best places to discover the latest developments in kitchen appliances, storage and gadgets, and to see the hottest trends in surface materials, colors and smart-home technologies. This past February, more than 100,000 attendees converged on Las Vegas to experience the diverse collection of products and latest kitchenware from the most influential players in the industry.
While it would be impossible to cover everything we saw and loved, on the following pages we take a look at the three biggest trends that dominated the show: technology, integration and innovation, and color. One thing’s for sure: This ain’t your grandma’s kitchen anymore.
A World of Color
White kitchens, popular in the early 1920s, saw a resurgence in recent years, thanks in large part to TV shows such as “Fixer Upper,” which brought farmhouse style back in vogue. Paired with stainless steel appliances, the look is adored by traditionalists and minimalists alike. But appliance and cabinetry makers are betting that their fresh lineups of colorful ranges, refrigerators and cabinet doors will make homeowners want to ditch their monotone fixtures for bold, jewel-tone statement pieces.
Appliance manufacturers showcased products in a range of primary colors, from ovens in canary yellow and scarlet red to wine cabinets in emerald green and refrigerators in cobalt blue and carrot orange. Saturated hues dominated the show floor.
“Color is everywhere; it’s indoors and outside,” says Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award-winning architect and designer Daniel Germani. “But it’s not just color for color’s sake; it’s color with intention. I think we are tired of exploring natural materials; we’re bored of all the neutral shades and wood tones. We need to have something else. Color is going to be a huge impetus in the way we look at our home kitchens.”
Luxury maker Smeg has long been known for its pastel-hued retro-inspired appliances. It’s new Portofino line, with sharp angles and stainless steel accents designed for more contemporary and industrial settings, comes in six cheery shades, as well as classic white and stainless. Fisher & Paykel, ZLine, Hestan and Dacor also unveiled a rainbow of appliances. BlueStar took the colorful concept a step further with its powder-coated printed ranges. Homeowners can take any digital file, from a pattern that matches the room’s wallcovering to a photograph of loved ones, and have it printed on the face of the appliance. “Dacor also introduced a concept, DacorMatch, that allows you to pick any shade from a paint catalog and, for not a lot of money, custom color your range,” says Klosterman.
For those seeking a more subtle change, deep black and metallic shades of gray, gold and brown were also seen on appliances. Black stainless steel from companies such as Bosch offered a fresh, updated look on a classic, while Meile’s graphic gray and brilliant white options epitomized the sleek, European aesthetic. GE Appliances’ Café Collection included a matte white stainless steel refrigerator, and Samsung got in on the color action with the introduction of its golden-hued Tuscan colorway.
“Introducing these warmer colors into tech experiences, such as appliances that are now small computers, is a really beautiful synergy. It gives a bit of life and earthly resonance,” says celebrity designer Genevieve Gorder.
Not to be outdone, cabinetmakers displayed a range of vibrant options. Thermador showcased its integrated appliances in cabinet solutions in shades of burgundy, blue and even pale pink. Wellborn and Serenade featured high-gloss flat-panel cabinetry in primary reds, blues and greens. Metallic finishes, including brass, were also popular.
Brass and black were the hot finishes of the show, popping up on everything from kitchen faucets and light fixtures to sinks and appliance and cabinet pulls and knobs. Mixed-metal fixtures—from brass faucets with black handles to knurled steel refrigerator door pulls with copper cuffs—permeated displays. “Many appliance manufacturers are coming out with new trim kits and face pieces that can be swapped out,” notes Klosterman. “As the metallics change every few years, you will never be out of date.”
Café’s Professional Collection features four hardware options—bronze, stainless, black and copper—that can be interchanged for a fully unique appliance. True Residential, which offers refrigeration systems in eight rich shades, put forward six hardware finishes. And Kohler’s Ombré Vivant takes mixing to a new level, with graduated metallic hues—for example, rose gold to titanium—in an ombré effect.
While color adds a breath of freshness to the kitchen, industry experts realize it’s not a style for everyone. Don’t worry: Stainless steel and white cabinets aren’t going anywhere. The key with any hue, as it is with all products shown as KBIS, is giving people a variety of options from which to choose.