The 2012 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS), held April 24 - 26, 2012, drew thousands of professionals to Chicago’s McCormick Place, the site of the largest event in the industry.

KBIS 2012: New Finishes, Demographics Enhance DesignThe National Kitchen & Bath Association’s annual show and conference brought together 550 exhibiting companies with 16,091 industry buyers and specifiers, a 10 percent increase from 2011. This included independent kitchen and bath designers, custom builders, remodelers, architects, dealers and retailers.

KBIS 2012 provided the opportunity to glean insights on the changing marketplace and the impact on design.

Finish Frenzy
With the economy improving, homeowners are more likely to spend on products that add to the beauty of their home, including a shift in color palettes throughout a variety of design mediums. Sinks and tiles were draped in color, while black faucets and other earthly hues experienced a resurgence in both the kitchen and bath.

KBIS 2012: New Finishes, Demographics Enhance DesignExhibitors also embraced the exploration of lighter shades. White and grey were popular in natural stone tile and quartz surfaces, as well as appliances, and attendees embraced the unique movement and light color incorporated into the new products. Observers noted that they were seeing what ‘smart texture’ which includes products that are outside of today’s clear trends, yet easy to adopt into any kitchen design for a more personal design alternative. For example, updated granite-like countertops with pops of color in the pattern or a fresh take on the use of stained glass or retro tile for the backsplash speak to today’s aesthetic and are offered by both small and large manufacturers.

Colliding Generations
KBIS 2012 strongly emphasized the impact of colliding generations in the marketplace through the unveiling of its UNcontained exhibit. Products at the show reflected the unique desires and characteristics of each generation, including exhibitors striving to make aging in place easier for the Zoomer (ages 45-65) and Prime Timer (ages 66-plus) generations.

Designs included cabinets that opened at the touch of a button, shades controlled by a hand-held remote, walk-in tubs with digital technology and hardware in extended sizes. These products also fit right in with the younger generations, who appreciate technology and products that make their busy lives easier. According to Grogan, “Hand-in-hand with the aging-in-place trend, are products designed to last. More products encourage the homeowner to design with taste, rather than resale value, in mind. Black matte finishes, for instance, offer the homeowner an opportunity to showcase their personal style.”

This year’s show presented a unique shift toward a fashion aesthetic. Many exhibitors debuted fashion-forward styles and partnerships with designers reflecting society’s fascination with the cutting-edge. From ovens with fire-engine red exteriors to bathroom mirrors that function as works of art, many areas of KBIS reflected the feel a fashion runway.

Functional Hardware at KBIS
KBIS 2012 featured many companies exhibiting hardware products. Products from Häfele, Blum and Grass, ranging from soft close concealed hinges to touch-activated, motorized flap door openers are best viewed in motion. Videos from KBIS 2012 are at

Following are some of the latest functional hardware product offerings and updates.

Salice America offers a range of Silentia hinges with decelerating closing action. The new series includes Silentia 100, 800 and 900, which require a drilling depth of 12mm. The decelerating effect is designed to offer performances on doors with widths up to 450mm, Salice says. Silentia hinges come with four arms and retain the assembly and adjustment features of other hinges without the deceleration system. (800) 222-9652

Sugatsune America introduces the MonoFlat LIN-X hinge, which provides a unique closed flush door feature. It is flushed in closed position, can stop in any position and has self and soft closing features. A lateral swing mechanism allows doors to swing out laterally in a small radius making it suitable for tight front space applications. The hinge also allows full cabinet access, is 4-way adjustable and is designed for standard 32 system mounting with snap-on capabilities. (800) 562-5267

Hardware Resources introduces the new Vitus 110-degree European hinge with built-in soft close, which can be used for all applications including face-frame cabinetry (any overlay) or frameless cabinetry (full overlay), the company says. Features include: hinge and plate with 6-way adjustment (3-D); clip-on plates available in a variety of European and face-frame applications. (800) 463-0660

Outwater Plastics introduces Soft Closing Door Lifts and Stays for a wide variety of vertical and lateral door opening and closing applications. Outwater’s vertical and lateral door openers and closers are suitable for use with wood and aluminum doors and the vertical and lateral door openers and closers require no lubrication and also can be used with doors of varying weights, says the company. (888) 772-1400

The new Full Access Quadro from Hettich America is the result of optimizing the tried and proven Quadro slide, says the company. The economical slide with minimized extension loss compared to a full extension slide provides 15 percent more access than a partial extension slide, according to the company. The new Full Access Quadro for face frame applications meets ANSI/BHMA 156.9 grade 1 requirements up to 75 pounds dynamic load (21-inch length slide). The slide can be used for drawers designed with a 1/2-inch, 5/8-inch or 3/4-inch drawer side thickness and is available with or without Silent System soft-closing function as well as in a version for frameless applications. (800) 777-3733

The Dynapro undermount slide system from Grass America is geared toward effective movement and flexibility in cabinetry design. The slide offers a high-load capacity, 3-D adjustment option for optimal alignment and a synchronized movement designed for soundless drawer operation. The slide also offers soft-close action. Available for 5/8-inch and 3/4-inch drawer material, longer lengths and heavy-duty carrying capacity. (800) 334-3512

Edge Lighting offers Soft Line mounting hardware for indirect lighting uses: white or RGB LED soft strip (sold separately) to provide soft, ambient, indirect illumination for decorative and architectural applications. For compact shipment and storage, Soft Line coils like a retractable tape measure. When uncoiled, the Soft Line becomes a 1.25-inch-wide cupped aluminum channel that can be mounted on any angle between opposing wall, ceiling or floor surfaces. Soft Line is field-cuttable, making it easy to configure custom. (773) 770-1195

Häfele America Co. introduces Frontino sliding door hardware, which allows sliding doors to sit flush on tracks instead of on separate tracks. The Frontino closes quietly and gently and sliding doors maximize available space as doors don’t open outwards. The Frontino sliding doors allow easier access to cabinet interiors for those who may be in a wheelchair or need the assistance of a walker. (800) 423-3531

Keeler, div. of Belwith, offers Architectural Door Hardware with SecuRemote Technology, a door hardware system that controls and manages home access. SecuRemote bypasses reliance on home networks by harnessing the power of Bluetooth and smartphone technology to control the door lock. (616) 247-4558


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