Nancy Fire, Creative Director and founder of Design Works International, shares her trend-spotting observations during this year’s Kitchen/Bath Industry Show.
At this year’s edition of the Kitchen/Bath Industry Show (K/BIS), color appeared in unexpected places, such as stoves, outdoor grills, sinks, cabinets, and other appliances. Another noticeable trend was the discovery of new uses for established materials – for example, Wilsonart® adapting its renowned countertop laminate as wet location-proof shower walls, and Formica® unveiling chalkboard writable surfaces for cabinets and walls.
K/BIS Conference’s keynote presenters Nancy Fire design director of HGTV HOME and pop icon and DIY Network host Vanilla Ice held a special session – aptly named Fire & Ice – to talk about current trends in home improvement design.
“I love viewing creative home products that embrace new style, substrate, and design produced by a multitude of amazing manufacturers and designers,” Fire says. “First up was the awesome color by Kohler® in collaboration with floral photographer Ashley Woodson Bailey to create a contemporary bathroom with a stunning DutchMaster floral sink. We know that florals and botanicals have been trending, so we were so excited to see this awesome trend-inspired sink at KBIS…think SPRING!”
Continuing with the floral theme was Thermador’s Freedom Kitchen, “which truly expresses our love of art by offering oversized panels of colorful artwork as an expression of custom creativity,” Fire comments. “It might not be for everyone, but it’s truly a show stopper!”
There were still plenty of Black Stainless finishes at K/BIS – along with Matte Black, which has also been trending in lighting and plumbing fixtures – but what was especially fresh was the mix of metal finishes. “We’re moving away from the singular metal trend of seasons past and now witnessing metal mixing through combinations of various finishes throughout the home,” notes Fire, who points to numerous examples of hip metal mixing on various products that [will inspire] consumers to metal mix in their homes.
For example, Kohler’s Reve Freestanding Bath vignette showcased Chrome hardware that was shown mixed with an accent table in brass and slate. “It’s all about the mix today,” Fire states. Appliance manufacturer Thermador presented stainless, copper, and brass accents in its kitchen displays that highlighted “the art of metal mixing,” according to Fire.
One trend that shows no signs of waning is the desire for natural looks and environmentally inspired décor. “Homeowners are looking for new ways to incorporate organic materials into their living spaces,” Fire remarks. “The warmth of wood is continuing making its way into many rooms across a wide range of aesthetics and style sensibilities.”
At Wilsonart, wood tones were shown “warming up the home with accent shelves that bring a more contemporary and updated approach to bookcase-type style,” Fires says. “Using lighter wood in the home usually creates a lighter vibe and coordinates nicely with other textures and surfaces.”
Naturally smart technology played a part in this year’s appliance introductions. Home Connect expanded its line up of partners to include Amazon Alexa, Nest, IFTTT, EVE Connect, and Innit.
“With Home Connect, our vision was to create an open platform that would make it possible for all appliances and all brands to use one app,” says Christofer von Nagel, BSH Home Appliances CEO & President. “We are now the leading open platform for the appliance industry, and our partner network is not only impressive, but it is infinitely growing. This enables participating appliance brands to deliver tailored experiences that exceed their consumers’ expectations of a home appliance.”