For the first time, two of the biggest national design and construction conferences met at the same time in the same place. The result was Design & Construction Week 2014–an event at the Las Vegas Convention Center that drew tens of thousands of designers, architects, builders, remodelers and the vendors who sell to them.
The Convention Center appeared to be nearly at capacity, with three halls filled with vendors from the US, Canada, other international suppliers and a special section devoted just to China. The “village” outside included model modular homes and an Ultimate Kitchen display.
The Kitchen & Bath Industry Show focuses on products that its name suggests–faucets and sinks, cabinets, appliances and accessories. The North Hall was KBIS central, and the aisles were packed with people, smiling and talking about the products they were seeing. Many manufacturers’ debuted new products at the show, some of which won’t be available until later this year for retail purchase.
Rohl is now offering a few faucets with unvarnished brass, which starts out a shade different from varnished brass and will also add patina over time as it tarnishes.
Having installed many industrial-looking grab bars over the years, were really excited to see Invisia’s line of beautiful bath accessories that double as grab bars. They also have beautiful fold-down and corner seats for the shower or bathroom that are finished with Ipe on the surface. Great design!
Their new line of controls features some innovative and colorful plates with short- and long-flush buttons. They are also offering infrared, touchless control. Wave your hand in front of the flush you want, and that’s all it takes.
The International Builders’ Show is for builders and remodelers of all shapes and sizes. Some build just a few homes a year and others build thousands. The exhibit hall includes some cabinets and bath and kitchen fixtures, but generally focuses on building components–windows and siding, tools and insulation, waterproofing and HVAC. It’s not particularly flashy, but it’s what makes your home warm and dry.
Some of what we liked there:
The newest Panasonic fan is not designed to be seen or heard much, and this is what you see behind the wall. It’s called an ERV, and provides heat exchange for your bath exhaust fan through a honeycomb filter inside. That means the incoming air is warmed by the outgoing air so that you minimize heat loss in your home. The filter is patent pending and a nice design innovation for this type of exhaust fan.
Jeld-Wen had a new interior door that we had to stop and see. It’s a flush door with a decorative strip–either black or stainless–routered into the face. It turns out they already make this door for their markets in Asia, but have not yet brought it to the US. They included it in their display to get feedback. We told them, “Bring it on!”
James Hardie had their thicker cement-based siding on display, and we were impressed with how good the mitered corners look. Standard Hardi siding is too thin to miter, so metal corners must be installed to achieve a mitered look.
Speaking of Hardi, there is a new tool coming out that is designed to help cut this commonly used siding material. Using circular saws to cut it is not ideal because they create a cloud of dust containing silica. When Hardi first came out, there were special powered clippers to do the job, but they weren’t great either. This new saw sucks in and captures the dust as it cuts, making it possible to get a nice, clean cut without causing a job site hazard. Nice thinking!
There were dozens of products we learned about, many of which we will now be able to suggest to our clients. We wrote up some of those mentioned here, along with some additional favorites into two idea books for Houzz, Automation Meets Innovation in the Latest Kitchen and Bath Products and Standouts from the 2014 Kitchen and Bath Show
We were last at the International Builders’ Show in 2010 or so, when attendance and morale was down, as the construction industry struggled through the economic downturn. It was wonderful to return to this event and see renewed energy, new products and come home with new ideas that will help our clients and our business. And when you get to meet the Owens Corning Pink Panther, that makes it all worthwhile.