KBIS 2018 Showcases Design & Tech Fronts

The industry’s leading kitchen and bath design show highlighted what’s new and what’s next for industry professionals and their clients.

authors Anita Shaw 

The fifth anniversary of Design & Construction Week was celebrated in a big way, with large crowds canvassing countless products displayed across two halls of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. Held Jan. 9-11, 2018, DCW included the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show and the International Builders’ Show, hosted by the National Association of Home Builders. And, once again this year, the two shows partnered with CEDIA, the trade association for the residential technology industry.

KBIS alone featured 600 exhibitors, presenting new finish trends in cabinets, hardware and plumbing, a variety of surfacing materials and styles, and the latest in connected appliances and other elements for the kitchen and bath. Attendance is estimated to have increased over last year, the fifth consecutive year of professional attendee growth, according to the NKBA. Floor space was also up, expanding to over 400,000 sq. ft. in 2018.

“KBIS 2018 was incredible. Exhibitors introduced amazing new innovations this year and the energy on the show floor was electric. What a positive start to the new year for our industry,” said Suzie Williford, v.p. of industry relations and chief strategy officer, National Kitchen & Bath Association.

Kitchen & Bath Design News provides a sampling of some of the most technologically savvy and interesting designs seen at this year’s show on the following nine pages.


In addition to the exhibits, KBIS delivered impactful educational initiatives through a variety of presentations. Educational sessions, design presentations and news-related events kept attendees up-to-date on the latest happenings in the industry.

Among the highlights, NKBA CEO Bill Darcy noted during the association’s State of the Association address that results of the latest NKBA research, “2017-2018 Kitchen and Bath Market Outlook,” revealed that homeowners spent over $54.4 billion for major/complete kitchen remodels and over $38.5 billion for major/complete bath remodels in 2016. The study projects the U.S. residential kitchen and bath market will increase more than 10% in 2017 to an estimated $163 billion, and estimates the market will grow an additional 9% to $178 billion in 2018.

The panel discussion following the address, moderated by Fox News and Fox Business anchor Melissa Francis, included such industry notables as David Kohler, president and CEO of Kohler Co.; Rick Hasselbeck, chief commercial officer of GE Appliances; and Scott Culbreth, senior v.p. & CFO of American Woodmark Corp. The executives spoke about macroeconomic issues affecting the residential building and remodeling industry, the tight labor market, changes in U.S. trade policies and more.

The sharing of knowledge continued with 80 Voices from the Industry Conference educational sessions and presentations by design experts, celebrity hosts and young professionals at the NKBA KBISNeXT Stage. The stage kicked off with Nancy Fire, design director for HGTV, talking with pop icon Vanilla Ice about his experiences as host of DIY Network’s “The Vanilla Ice Project” and “Vanilla Ice Goes Amish.” The two discussed his approach to kitchen, bath and outdoor living design challenges.

DesignBites, also presented at the KBISNeXT Stage, provided information about 14 brands for the kitchen and bath. Hosts Kevin O’Connor from “This Old House” and Jeff Devlin from HGTV hosted the consecutive-day events.

The NKBA, along with KBIS, also hosted the “This Old House” team and kicked off 2018 by supporting the Generation Next philanthropic campaign to encourage and empower young people to join the skilled trades. Norm Abram, Kevin O’Connor and “This Old House” personalities took to the Fairway Architectural Railing Stage in the KBIS Backyard to speak about the great work done by the Design & Construction Week industry partners throughout 2017, and all of the work yet to be done in 2018. The NKBA got the ball rolling with a $10,000 donation. The event included a silent auction and raffle on stage. All proceeds from the campaign went to the Skilled Labor Fund, an industry-wide effort to raise funds to address the shortage of skilled labor entering the residential construction market.

“Closing the skilled labor gap is critical to the future health of our industry,” noted Williford. “Without an army of skilled tradesmen and women, all construction projects will take much longer and cost much more. Design & Construction Week is the perfect place to bring attention to the career opportunities in a growing industry for well-paying trade professions, and avoiding the burden of college debt. The NKBA is proud to support Generation Next and be a part of such an important cause.”

Honoring the Best

Awards citing the best in the industry were also presented during KBIS, and this year honors were handed out to a range of well-deserving recipients.

Products were tapped with Best of KBIS Awards, which were chosen from a slew of innovative and stylish pieces found on the show floor.

The Best of KBIS 2018 award winners by category were:

Also recognized were companies with the most creative and innovative booth designs. Awards were given to booths that best showcased creativity, innovative and beautiful product display, thoughtful design and an outstanding attendee experience, according to show producer Emerald Expositions.

This year, KBIS recognized six booths as KBIS Best Booth Award recipients. They included:

“This year KBIS exhibitor booth designs were incredible, and as a result, the show was one of the most beautiful and well-designed expositions we’ve had,” said Brian Pagel, senior v.p., Emerald Expositions. “Thank you to all of our exhibitors for bringing incredible design to KBIS.”

Returning this year was the KBIS Innovative Showroom Awards, which received submissions from showrooms across the U.S. Honored in an awards ceremony at the KBISNeXT Stage were:

  • Independent Retail Showroom Locations (1-5 showroom locations) – Small: K2 Kitchens & K2 Kitchens Design Group
  • Independent Retail Showroom Locations (1-5 showroom locations) – Medium: Häfele America Co.
  • Independent Retail Showroom Locations (1-5 showroom locations) – Large: Empire Kitchen & Bath
  • Multi Location Retail Showrooms (6+ showroom locations) – Medium: Miele
  • Multi Location Retail Showrooms (6+ showroom locations) – Large: Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery – Naples
  • Overall Award Winner: Empire Kitchen & Bath

KBIS has ended its two-year run in Orlando and will return to Las Vegas from Feb. 19-21, 2019. ▪

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