Published on February 17, 2014
International Builder’s Show Day 1 Notes 2/10/2014 Winston Ledet City of Hope reception the night before the event was fantastic and well attended. Raised over $800K and Karen Mendelsohn, VP and CMO at MASCO, was the honoree and gave a great talk. Great attendance by all the biggies in the industry and a strong turn out by Home Depot. It is a great cause (curing cancer) and a great event. 2014 IBS This year IBS and KBIS were combined. This seems to work really well as attendance is up especially for KBIS which was very anemic the last few years. This is just a log of some of the things that I saw that caught my attention. Some may be just new to me and not really new to the industry. I picked out a few themes to organize my observations: Embedded LED Lighting The trend here continues with LED lighting showing up integrated into more and more applications. I am probably a little over sensitive to seeing these as we spend a lot of time on this category but the trend is undeniable Interesting company using LED tape lights to light everything from Mirrors to under lighting to closet rods to toilet seat nightlights
Broan Nutone had an impressive list of new technologies including an expanded line of LED bath Fans. Everything is getting smarter Viking had an impressive booth. I am inherently more interested in their grill than other appliances. I thought this relight and range style ignition feature was really nice and something that could be brought to more of a mass product. Delta had a smart shower head where you dial in and read out the temperature. And a technology to shape the flow of water in the shower to make it feel like there was more water flowing
Not to be outdone, Kohler had a sink sprayer that shaped the spray into a “blade” to make pot and sink clean up easier. Seemed to actually work as well. They also expanded the line of no touch faucets that were released last year. Trying to catch up to Delta and its Touch2O technology. Kohler also highlighted their Moxie Music Shower head that launched in 2013. There was a big line to give it a try. LG had an impressive boot focused on countertops. This was one concept we were not sure of though. It does re-enforce the trend of enabling mobile computing everywhere. A startup that was exhibiting was showing a concept for vanity drawer charging. Seemed to have a lot of interest but to my eyes the price point was way too high at over $150. And the UL now only allows for 4 amp DC recharging. They are working on a 10 amp hair dryer version.
If having your shower sing to you feels too indulgent how about your bath fan? Broan Nutone is finalizing a product to bring high fidelity to any bathroom. They partnered with their sister company that makes the SpeakerCraft line to bring an ultra quiet fan with a blue tooth speaker. The upside is that they also made it retrofittable into the million plus installed ultra-quiet fans already installed in homes. Seems Kohler had roughly the same idea but this is built in the vanity as an option not a stand alone device for retrofit.
MasterLock is in on the trend with a digital lock. Was not clear though what happens when the battery runs out. Leviton also had a number of offerings including Humidity control switches. Broan Nutone had their own version of this as well. Schlage has an answer to Quickset’s Kevo. It also helps to answer a question that I have been considering. How will manufacturers deal with the various standards in place between Lowes, Staples and the pending Home Depot one? Schlage is looking for one product to play nice with all of them. They indicated that they are working on integrating several more.
I keep thinking (hoping) that someone will come out with motorized window treatments for the mass market but if they have I did not see it at the show. There were a number of high priced premium offers but the world awaits a game changer. New or Continuing Trends A trend that we started following 2 years ago was the death of the Whirlpool tub in favor of a small and more elegant free standing tub. More of those on display again and the looks keep getting more and more interesting. Also seeing more affordable options for fill taps for these Amerock seems to think the next finish is brushed copper. I am not buying it yet. Maybe the “prettiest” booth on the KBIS side. Copper sinks and hardware all made to look like a tree. Copper again…hmmm Houzz and several other social and web based companies were there and were packed.
. Other cool stuff that defied categorization LG and others with increasingly impressive engineered stone products. LSG joins Cambria and Consentino in truly breathtaking engineered stone. Gone are the regular patterns and now they have really beautiful natural stone looks. Better performance as well. LG was highlighting their new Music Line. (the Cambria approach strikes me as better branding as it is more location based and more likely to tap into some emotional ties.) As you can see below, heavy traffic in the LG booth.
“Old is new”. One of Viking’s focused innovations was the French Door oven in the middle. My Grandmother had one of these in the 1940s. Also note the colors! Are these really making a comeback???
OK, I call this wrong 7 years ago but I am getting a buzz again regarding bidet toilet seats. I hear people talking about them more and more. The aging population drives demand (if you are too young to know why, you will find out). Huge in Japan and Asia and decent adoption in Europe. US just can’t seem to get behind it. Electrical need the John has always been a barrier in the US. This one below is an all mechanical version. TOTO also has a really impressive line up as well. If HD, Lowes or a biggie like Kohler or Delta took and interest I think they could clean up. I am not sure how new this is but I thought Moen’s hidden pull out kitchen faucet was very cool. I would have bought it for my kitchen remodel last year had I known about it. Gives much sleeker lines.
Insinkerator has their first attempt at a full purpose kitchen faucet. Their claim to fame is 2 in 1 with a hot (200 degrees) dispenser. They are also adding a chiller option later in the year. This was pretty cool. Plaspro had Vinyl Planking that looked great and seemed easy to install. Great for damp or wet areas. This one is cool for what you can’t see. There are something like 100 deck screws in the board. The company has a proprietary fastener and driver system for composite decking that counter sinks the screw the exact depth needed for their plugs which they carry in over 100 colors to match most of what is sold in the market. I am not so sure that it is a good idea relative to concealed fastener systems that others have but it was impressive.
DAP was showing their Smart Bond that launched in September that is their better, stronger, easier to apply construction adhesive (forgive the fuzzy picture). They gave a strong presentation but the application is different than what the pro is used to. The pro customer is risk adverse and often a creature of habit. My guess is that it will take some marketing and training to drive adoption. Big ASS Fan had a Big Ass Booth showing that they have really grown in the industry from niche player to category leader. I did not see anything particularly new but their growing presence was impressive.
Panasonic was everywhere with their bath fans and had to be one of the bigger advertisers at the show. They also introduced a new innovation WhisperGreen that is a configurable fan to allow multiple modes in one fan. Mechanix Wear was the only major glove company that seemed to be at the show this year. Unusual. They had an impressive line up and seemed to be most proud of a Winter Glove coming out next fall. It incorporates Columbia/North Face’s OutDry technology which they believe is better, more comfortable and more breathable than GoreTex. It also allows touch screen use. Broan Nutone had a number of new innovations and a big impressive booth. They worked to make the install time on their key replacement items shorter and a very cool app that recognizes the pattern of you bath fan grate to tell you which retrofit with fit it.
What was Missing? Home Depot. Pulled out several years ago and has never returned Almost all tool manufacturers. The 1st tier pulled out several years ago but had a presence with HD and Lowes. Now the second and third tier are gone too. Almost no tool presence at the show. Lowes pulled way back. Booth was the same size but it was all about signing people up for various things with almost no product to show. There was a display of Dewalt, Insulation and roofing but that was it and no interactive displays as has been their norm. Lowes appears to have their own version of HD’s Red Beacon the referral service for PROs. This was new to me. Seemed to have moderate interest.
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