10 May 2011

KBIS 2011 - Top Products

I attended the 2011 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas the last week of April. As I mentioned in my KBIS trends post last week, this was the smallest I've seen the show since I started attending, both in terms of exhibitors and attendees.

Nonetheless, there were some worthwhile products to see and share. These are some of my favorites from the show.

My dear friend, colleague and Gold Notes contributor Dean Larkin, AIA, accompanied me to the show again this year. As an LA-based architect of luxury residences and commercial projects, Dean is a great second set of eyes to have along. Some of the elements shared in this post and the trend post that went live last week were pointed out by his expert eyes.

Game changer steps outside

Finally. At last. Hurrah! Someone has produced a dishwasher for an outdoor kitchen. Dean and I have been asking for one since the 2007 International Builders Show... Gold Notes didn't even exist back then. Surprisingly, it's not one of the established U.S. appliance leaders offering this breakthrough. It's from outdoor kitchen equipment manufacturer Kalamazoo. Their sleek entry is weatherized to withstand the pressures of outdoor living, and available in stainless to coordinate with their cabinets and with other stainless equipment. It will be available this summer. About time!

Better hang-ups

Innovative Product Sales International is bringing Nie Wider Bohren, a multi-purpose German mounting system that lets you secure heavy or light objects to walls without making holes in tile or stone. No Drilling Required, as it translates, can be used in wet or dry locations, even for grab bars. Best of all, whatever you install can be removed without leaving holes or marks. Pretty nifty!

Bath toys

American Standard
has found a new way to get your kids to take a bath! Their fun fire engine and princess shells fit over your standard tub and plumbing, while giving your young 'uns - and bath d├ęcor - a real kick. They don't call them FunBath for nothing! Their kid-friendly line also comes with a vanity incorporating a pull-out step for younger users.

Slip sliding away

As I mentioned in my trends post, sliders were quite the thing at this year's show. One of the sweetest was Salice's Bortoluzzi Sistemi. These allow cabinet doors to open across each other, rather than swinging out. They're also available with automation for a really slick effect.

Another great leap forward from the Italian hardware manufacturer are hinges that let an appliance garage door to open vertically. No slats to break or stick. No pocket doors that don't align with the standard doors above. This lets you get great, functional access to the space without compromising on style.

Light the way

Hafele's Loox LEDs makes illuminating your cabinets with energy-efficient lighting easy and affordable. Some were slim enough to mount in a frameless cabinet or under a countertop for better storage visibility. Others were still pretty slim, but battery-operated. I like the ones that illuminate a space when you open a door or drawer.

The great entertainer

Lenova showcased a very innovative modular prep Entertainer Sink that lets you store drinks, condiments, dips and other party chow. It's got a built-in drain board and cutting boards that conceal the sink when it's not in use. This ties into a European trend of hiding your sink while yielding extra counter space. I wasn't familiar with this brand before, but am glad I discovered them here, especially since they're also offering a no-drain-ring PermaClean option in their sinks now. The only other brand I'm aware of that offers that is Affluence Seamless Sinks.


  1. I haven't seen that dishwasher -- definitely a game-changer! Thanks for sharing.

    (These are great photos, too!)

  2. Wow, the only one of these I saw was the Kalamazoo dishwasher. You came across some very slick things, though, especially the hardware. I am particularly intrigued with the doors that can slide in front of each other. That is a very slick concept. Kalamazoo has been on the cutting edge of outdor kitchens for some time, though, so I cannot say that it suprised me to see their dishwasher. The other thing I like about what they're doing, apart from the stainless steel, is the rain gutters they put around all the door openings. What that means is that there is no way at all that rainwater is going to enter the cabinets, which just has to be the ticket if you're going to leave that stuff out there year round.

  3. Thanks, Julie and Joseph, for your feedback. I've been waiting for years for that outdoor dishwasher. So glad it's available now. There were some other cool items at the show, but very few game changers!

  4. Great choices for your KBIS highlights, Jamie. Must say though, the high point of the show for me was getting to spend time with all the awesome folks I've gotten to know(especially you and Dean)!

    Thanks for making my KBIS one of the best ever!

  5. Thanks, Nick. The feeling is most mutual!

  6. Hi Jamie - great to meet you at KBIS - the kid's bathroom shot for American Standard featured here was our firm's (studiobstyle.com) design work and photography. Hope we can share more info - our design blog is through cabinet manufacturer cliqstudios.com

  7. Your work is great, Barbara! Glad we met.

  8. Thank you for your generous review of the Salice/Bortoluzzi Sistemi sliding door systems. This really produces exceptional movement and allows for some unique design ideas.

  9. Glad you liked the write-up, Dennis. Salice makes great hardware and I was glad to see so much of it at the show this year.


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