22 January 2010

Live from the International Builders Show 2010

The show is coming to an end this afternoon and attendees are heading home. Like the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show last spring, it was a smaller event than in past years, but exhibitors were happy with the quality of leads they got, if not the overall quantity of traffic.

My goal in attending these events is to see the latest products my readers and clients would find appealing for their homes. IBS2010 didn’t disappoint in that regard. Here are those I found most notable.


Kohler always has innovative and stylish products. On the innovative end is the Conceal Mirrored Cabinet and Lock Box. What a terrific way to keep prescription medicines secured from curious children, prying guests or open house shoppers.

On the stylish end, Kohler has introduced the Vault 18-gauge stainless sink that works as a drop-in or undermount. While good-looking contemporary sinks are easily found in the undermount class, they’re much harder to find for drop-in applications. This one has a very sleek edge that separates it from its clunky cousins! It's also available in a single bowl style.


Always in style, Delta’s upscale Brizo brand, introduced an elegant new faucet series called Virage. It’s available in numerous finishes and a non-aerated water stream that accentuates its clean, classic lines. I personally loved the polish nickel. Not a game changer, just a lovely looker worth writing home about.


KitchenAid has come up with a new French Door refrigerator that answers the prayers of moms everywhere who want to show off their kids’ photos and art. Rather than magnets and paper, parents scan juniors' artwork onto a memory stick and upload it to the fridge's USB port, where it will "hang" for as long as you want to display it. The LCD panel has other functions, as well, like displaying recipe substitutions and measurement conversions, but to my mind, the ability to personalize it with kid pics and vacation shots tops them all! (FYI, I mentioned to KitchenAid's brand manager that a future version with food preservation guidelines would be another great feature to include. She agreed.)


Also in the Whirlpool family is a fun new fridge called the Amana Quick Tap. The dispenser can be filled with any beverage of your choice, and would be ideal for game rooms. It’s adorable and affordable.


Whirlpool also introduced a super-convenient feature to its newest refrigerator called MicroEtch. What it does is prevent spills from escaping from a shelf and leaking down the sides and bottom of the fridge. I wish I would have had that last month when a Coke glass tipped over on the top shelf just before a house showing! This fridge also has good lines, LED lighting and excellent capacity, too. The anti-spill feature, though, is what makes it a must-have.


Merillat's builder cabinetry line has also addressed leakage with its new CoreGuard feature for sink base cabinets. These are the most vulnerable to plumbing leaks and can be a real hassle to replace once damaged. CoreGuard replaces the standard wood box with a plastic one. Only the removable face frame and doors are wood, to offer a consistent look. The floor is also tilted forward, so that leaks are easier to identify. Cleanup of household cleaning products is easier in this storage area, too. Let’s call this concept a Game Changer!

Cedar Mountain

A vanity line that you’re not likely to find in a builder model, home center or kitchen and bath showroom is Cedar Mountain’s custom log vanities. Each one is customized from a different tree for the homeowner’s space and sink choice. I could see them fitting in beautifully in a mountain home or log cabin. Not for everyone, certainly, but beautifully made and highly specialized.


Another bathroom innovation is Aquatic’s Ava Bath. This accessible tub is a departure from the standard walk-in model and offers nicer design points than is typical in this class. As I told one of its executives at the show, it’s not quite designer quality yet, but it’s a huge leap forward. It’s also not going to meet every user’s accessibility needs, but neither do the walk-ins. Aquatic is definitely on the right track with this Game Changer.

New City Door

I really like the door offerings from this Israeli company. New City Door's styles are sharp and a homeowner has the option of changing out the panels if their taste changes in future years. They offer glass and laminates in bold and subtle patterns.


This well-respected cabinetry maker has just launched a line of exterior doors that can be coordinated with its cabinets. Imagine having the capability to have your kitchen door stain and door style coordinate with your cabinets and the glass inserts repeat in your cabinetry's focal points. I love the design possibilities of this capacity. Bertch also makes coordinating interior doors, which would work great for walk-in pantry applications. The exterior ones are so new that there is no official photography yet. This is my iPhone floor shot.

Cree LED Lighting

Cree is offering LED remodeler recessed light kits with color rendering far superior to what’s been on the market in the past few years. They’re also developing a real game changer: an LED bulb that will replace incandescents in every lamp, chandelier and wall sconce in your home. Consider the energy savings inherent in this capability. These should be available by the end of the year. Look for them in your local home center after Halloween; your electric bills will be less scary as a result!


Not being a plumber, I wasn’t familiar with this company before the show. Known mostly for hoses and the like, Kanaflex has gone in a new direction with a super-lightweight stone composite panel that can be used for countertops, shower surrounds, baseboards, backsplashes and fireplace surrounds. KanaStone has numerous design applications and various sizes and thicknesses to meet them. They are as beautiful as their granite and marble skins, but more affordable and easier to work with. They’re so new that there is no official photography. Here's my iPhone floor shot.

Shirestone Custom Countertops

Shirestone is another great surfacing option. It is not new for 2010, though their highly-textured outdoor tops, I’m told, are. This material is non-porous, making it highly stain resistant and low maintenance. It is also a pour-in-place product, like cement, so that it can surround columns or extend great distances and curves without seams. It can even go over existing tops, like outdated laminates, making a small scale remodel possible with a huge visual impact.

Click here for companion post, More from the International Builders Show.


  1. Love those refrigerators, Jamie. Love Brizo faucets,too. You have such a keen eye. No better person to see the latest and the greatest first! I'll be happy to vote for your blog for the 2009 "Homies" Award.

  2. Great post, Jamie! Makes me want to redo my kitchen and bathroom!


  3. Thanks for your Homies vote, Debbie... And for the compliments, both of you!

  4. Great Finds! I can't wait to see the Brizo in person next month in NY!!! --KitchAnn


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