kitchen DESIGN | VEGAS KBIS 2020 Part Three – Inspiration

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Who doesn’t love a bit of INSPIRATION now + then?!

As part of the KBIS’ (Kitchen Bath Industry Show) national convention recently in Las Vegas, I attended as many of the show floor talks as I could, hoping to learn what I could about Kitchen Design and the coming decade of this Industry. Topics ranged from DesignBites – what’s hot + new!; The Dawn of a Decade – What to expect from the “Roaring 20s” – what has momentum that will move us all into the next decade?; a fascinating chat with Zero Waste Kitchens – Upcycle and Recycle. to name a few.

There was, as expected, a lot of conversation about sustainability and wellness. It was great to hear a number of points I had already been planning to approach in my own Kitchen re-design, including:

  • re-using to-be-demolished Kitchens/cabinets (and, I’m hoping, countertops!),
  • integrating edible plants such as herbs,
  • using efficient LED lighting,
  • incorporating vintage in purpose and style (OF COURSE!),
  • use of natural materials such as wood, metal and glass vs plastics,
  • consider future ‘aging in place’ (esp since Hubby is already 60!) as well as future grandchildren running about

A few other quotes and ideas really inspired me, as well. So glad I’m an obsessive note-taker LOL!

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‘Society’s need for replenishment and balance will only increase. As Designers, we will have to address these anxieties and enhance our Clients’ wellbeing so they can aspire to live in a state of bliss at HOME.

laurence carr, laurence carr design

I love the focus on well-being. Most of us, in our daily lives – especially here in ‘outdoorsy’ Vancouver – are pretty focused on our health. What we eat being a major factor in that, the Kitchen becomes even more so the ‘heart of the HOME’ than ever. A center for wellness – fresh water, well-kept vegetables, organized and therefore accessible frozen goods, steam over radiation, etc. Sustenance at it’s very finest.

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‘Designers are evolving from trends experts to solutions experts. Clients are design savvy, but solution-poor.’

liza hausman, houzz

Funnily I had already written a post about “Trend vs Style”, and this quote takes it all a step further – “Trend vs SOLUTION”. The entire core of my product lines over at Alison Kent HOME, Inc. was to start solving problems I had seen in the home industry and dealt with as a Designer myself. I love LOVE LOVE problem solving.

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‘There will be a huge convergence of design and wellness in the coming decade. People will spend more on it, because they believe in it.’

jamie gold, kitchen bath + wellness design

YES! A healthy environment, health-supporting appliances, helping us feed ourselves and others with healthy options, hopefully also in full sunlight and using fresh herbs etc. Wellness for all the senses in this magical room!

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‘There is a huge movement towards a seamless indoor / outdoor experience, especially in warmer climates.’

liza housman, houzz

The ONE THING (well, one of two things) I do NOT like about my dear old HOME is that our living space is a 3/4 floor above the back yard, making indoor/outdoor living a bit cumbersome. Dishes upon dishes up all those stairs? We do it, but it’s by far not seamless. I’m constantly trying to figure out how to bring indoor and outdoor closer together with the space/restrictions that come with an older house.

The other, just FYI, is that I wish we could afford to put all our Bedrooms upstairs so the Main floor was free and clear to entertain and live. *sigh*. Can’t have it all!

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‘Rather than accessibility or design for aging, (flexible design) should be considered ‘extended life design’ as a concept for designing with all of life’s stages in mind.’

JAMIE GOLD, KITCHEN BATH + WELLNESS DESIGN

This is very much how I’ve approached designing houses in the past, for all kinds of Clients, as well as for myself. Spaces must have the flexibility to perform and support in a wide variety of ways, and through many phases of life. From a just-married couple that has at most 4 friends over at a time, to a growing family that hosts many birthday parties, to spaces for teens to seclude, to maturing with festive dinners with grown kids, spouses and grandchildren and aging in place. Humans evolve through life – our spaces should, too.

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Anything in there strike you? Inspire you?
I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

While I’m not sure I’ll make it to the KBIS show for another few years (I believe it’s moving to Florida the next 2), I’ll keep reading and try to keep you all inspired along with me!


kitchen DESIGN | VEGAS KBIS 2020 Part Two – New Products

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For colleagues, some of the things that might be NEW to me as I start this Kitchen Designer journey might not be so new to them, but it was definitely fun to check out some real stand out products amongst the 600+ booths at the latest KBIS Conference!

I’m excited to learn more about Fisher-Paykel, with whom I was previously only vaguely familiar. They had the highest BTU burner I’d seen on the floor (outside of WOK burners) – or so they said. Looking on the website, only the 48″ version has the high-output 23,500BTU, but for some future clients that might be fine. Unfortunately I can only fit 36″ in my kitchen, but they have a sexy black version and I love the double-ring burners.

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The front dials have LED lighting that shows RED when ON, which was a great way to quickly see a low-burner left on. The lovely guy spent 30 minutes with me explaining how the product was at least – if not more than – comparable to the Wolf I have been considering, which of course makes me curious.

The PLUM wine “espresso” bar – needs to happen in full 24” / 30” widths with multiple bottles (min. 4) for entertaining / etc., but what a brilliant idea! I’m wondering, though, if it also works for already-opened bottles, as those tend to get wasted at the end of a dinner party. After our recent ‘la nuit noire’ dinner there were 6 partial bottles of wine left, and I can only finish them up so quickly! LOL.

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Fotile had an interesting.3-in-1 sink/dishwasher/veg cleaner/counter (when closed) that might be perfect for smaller condo’s / apartments – will wait for reviews / testing on how clean the dishes actually come out. It’s not online yet, but I suppose it will be soon.

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Slated for late 2020, Cambria’s “recycled” quartz answered a question I had – ‘what happens to all the waste bits from quartz cuts?’ They have developed 2 styles, one with cut pieces of one style glued together, and another where all the bits from all sorts is ground up and re-processed. I love the idea of the first one. Also not online yet, it appears.

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A few companies such as Caesarstone were featuring outdoor quartz / new tech resin marble so your outdoor can integrate w your indoors (which was a key point in one of the design talks as well). Maybe this isn’t new, but new-to-me. Either way, love it.

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I kind of liked the John Michael kitchens that match with a lot of the ‘fancier’ ranges out there such as Lacanche and Le Cornue – makes for some really lovely ‘commercial/residential’ styled kitchens.

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JennAir was there defining themselves as “Revolutionary”, but I have yet to see what, particularly, was ground breaking. Will set up a meet w the local rep to hopefully learn more b/c I obvs love any company that seeks to be amazing…

And that was about it for bold new moves at KBIS 2020!
Is there anything in there that you would incorporate into a new kitchen??


kitchen DESIGN | VEGAS KBIS 2020 Part One – First Impressions

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WELL, that was M A S S I V E to say the least! My venture out to KBIS (Kitchen & Bath Industry Show) in Las Vegas last week to learn whatever I could about Kitchen Design definitely embarked on a complete sensory overload experience LOL.

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Viva Las Vegas!

In addition to it being my very first visit to Las Vegas (and potentially my last… not sure Vegas is my kind of town), the Convention Center held approximately 600 businesses, at least half of whom were specifically geared towards the Kitchen / Bath industries. Whew! And I walked ALL OF IT. Multiple times. Between walking the show floor and the rest of Las Vegas, my back and feet are deeply hating me right now. I’m going to say massive conventions are officially a young persons game hahaha.

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Comfy AND stylish! But all that walking AND my lower back definitely did not agree…

First impressions?I definitely got the most out of the KBIS talks, which I don’t believe would have been available online or anywhere else, so that inspiration and information was pretty much the most valuable part of being physically present AT the conference.
The other was a first impression of a Brand that I may or may not have had face-to-face time with as of yet. It costs a TON of money to show at these events. Your best foot, as a result, would be forward, no?!!!

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Show time! View into one of the floors of “South Block”

Seeing various “company cultures” put forward was fairly telling. There were a few high-end appliance brands that I was unfamiliar with but had wanted to get to know. However, walking THROUGH THE MIDDLE of their (not even busy) booth where they all huddled and talked to no one but themselves off to the sides said volumes of the culture of their company. They got a big “X” on my map. I’m thinking if I were to specify their products, is this the kind of service I would receive? Probably. If something goes wrong, would they suddenly pay attention to me, a Client or Clients representative? Extremely unlikely. Done.

On the other hand, brands that clearly had a system of greeting, scanning, directing, informing – it makes me genuinely believe they would take the same care throughout the inquiry, purchase, service of their products. Time will tell, but first impressions can be lasting…

My first question to the vendors was always “What is NEW and exciting?”. I’m already familiar in general – although I’m just beginning to specialize in Kitchens, I’ve been in Architecture for a few decades (cough) – but I want to learn MORE or want to hear about the directions they’re going this year, or where their company’s focus is. Don’t have a new product or technology? That’s fine – no one can or should be ground breaking every single year. But tell me what new or exiting directions your company is going in so I stay interested and want to follow your journey. If nothing is NEW, my second question was – talk to me about what specifically makes your company/product/brand stand out in the masses here? Some had answers, most did not.

Why is this video sideways?! ANYHOW, cool feature for a ‘hidden’ bar, but I walked this booth twice without anyone talking to me until the third time… Now I don’t even remember their name.

The third conversation I often had with a booth that would give me the time (without an appointment) was a problem I had or had seen in design. I get that most people on the floor don’t have power to make change – or do they? Again, it speaks to their company culture. Does a part-time sales employee have a direct line of connection to bring problems/solutions to people who CAN solve them? I think if I go back I need to make appointments to have these bigger conversations with the right people, but these were my first impressions anyhow.

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Loving this commercial X residential vibe at Fisher and Paykel, who kindly chatted with me until my every.single.question was answered – as well as trying to problem solve my Fridge!

Three (and a half lol) problems I spoke with many brands about were >

Q: What happens to the flat stove-top surfaces or elements on the counter (How do you even CLEAN these?) when a pot boils over?
A: (very matter of factly) Oh, don’t worry – it goes on the floor.

WHERE MY FEET ARE? Do you KNOW how painful 3rd degree burns are?! WTF? When a company says “yeah, well, that’s how it’s done”, I know this company is not a problem solver, and we’ll have a very short future together as designer-brand. To a few, I offered a solution (just have the countertop divet around the stove top, like the ‘moat’ on a meat cutting board that catches all the drippings), almost none seemed to care about the problem, much less any solution (except Richelieu who totally got into the conversation as we started problem-solving together with their fully moldable countertop surfaces – awesome job, Richelieu!).
Which makes me think – if this is a problem for just about everyone with these new element-on-the-counter or induction stovetops, wouldn’t you want to be the spearheading company to solve it?

One appliance company said the water will evaporate on the surface of an induction top before it gets on my feet, so there’s a bit of homework to be done on my part there… Most started questioning what the hell kind of cook I was that my pots were always boiling over. Rude, but also fair, considering I’ve only just healed from painful 3rd degree burns myself haha.

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Where do boiling spills GO here?! Apparently off the countertop onto your feet. Hope you have medics nearby… Are we so obsessed with minimalism that we forget to be practical? Or SAFE?

Q: What happens to all the bits off the slabs once the clean cuts are done?
A: I don’t know / don’t really care – it’s a fabricator problem.

WHY don’t you care? How much volume of this is going into landfill? Don’t you want to be the brand that solves the problem? I mentioned to one that I’ve been planning for months now to use the fabricators offcuts to seal together Kinstsugi style for my own countertops this year, and although Cosentino found this interesting, that was about it. Caesarstone didn’t care to problem solve as they were too focused on their warranty being voided. Cambria and a few others have already started looking into this problem with recycled and repurposed products (not yet on their website) – Well done. I can’t wait to work with you!

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Countertop from Cambria using off-cuts and waste to create a new Quartz counter product

Q: Do you have a DEEP freezer/refrigerator?
A: Nope. <insert blank expression here>

Fisher and Paykel‘s people, however, did try to come up with alternate solutions and I ended up loving their 5-in-1 freezer drawer (if you can’t go deep, go low?) as a potential option in my Kitchen.
Generally my oft-designed 30″ counter depths were constantly met with blank stares LOL. I kept patiently informing salesmen I won’t be going back to 24” counter depths if I can help it, so … keep up, people. I’ve moved on and have no plans to give up that extra, beautiful counter space depth!

Q: I didn’t even know I had these questions / problems.
A: RICHELIEU – don’t worry, we’ve already solved them all. BOOM.

.What a creative company that seems genuinely out there to SOLVE all your/my kitchen problems. Love it.

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Not even sure what this all is, but looks like a great addition to the cabinets for small condos or tiny homes – RICHELIEU

Special note to the company – Task Lighting & Power – that saw me looking inquisitively from the aisle and pulled me in, answered all my Q’s and gave me all the info online (so I didn’t have to carry huge bags of crap) – well done!

Anyhow, those were the first impressions – more to come on special products, and notes from the talks!