24 January 2010

A dispatch from the International Builder's Show

The International Builders' Show is big Kahuna of builder and renovation trade shows. It rivals in scope and size the trade show of the kitchen and bath industry, KBIS. KBIS and the IBS are large on a scale that's hard to describe accurately. These shows are so big that there are only four convention centers in the US large enough to handle them. So they rotate between Orlando, Atlanta, Chicago and Las Vegas. This year, KBIS is in Chicago and the IBS took place in Las Vegas last week. I love going to these shows. They are closed to the public and they provide a forum where manufacturers can meet with specifiers face to face. Becasue nothing's for sale, it's a chance too for some great product previews and product training.

I couldn't go to the IBS this year but I'm fortunate in that I had a pair of eyes on the showroom floor. Jamie Goldberg is a friend of mine and she was gracious enough to share with me some of the highlights of what she saw. Jamie writes the terrific blog Gold Notes as well as writing for a whole host of industry publications and websites. She's one of the more savvy designers I know and if she noticed it, that's all I need to know. So without further ado, here's Jamie.


Kohler always has innovative and stylish products. On the innovative end is the Conceal Mirrored Cabinet and Lock Box. What a terrific way to keep prescription medicines secured from curious children, prying guests or open house shoppers.

On the stylish end, Kohler has introduced the Vault 18-gauge stainless sink that works as a drop-in or undermount. While good-looking contemporary sinks are easily found in the undermount class, they’re much harder to find for drop-in applications. This one has a very sleek edge that separates it from its clunky cousins! It's also available in a single bowl style.


Always in style, Delta’s upscale Brizo brand, introduced an elegant new faucet series called Virage. It’s available in numerous finishes and a non-aerated water stream that accentuates its clean, classic lines. I personally loved the polish nickel. Not a game changer, just a lovely looker worth writing home about.


KitchenAid has come up with a new French Door refrigerator that answers the prayers of moms everywhere who want to show off their kids’ photos and art. Rather than magnets and paper, parents scan juniors' artwork onto a memory stick and upload it to the fridge's USB port, where it will "hang" for as long as you want to display it. The LCD panel has other functions, as well, like displaying recipe substitutions and measurement conversions, but to my mind, the ability to personalize it with kid pics and vacation shots tops them all! (FYI, I mentioned to KitchenAid's brand manager that a future version with food preservation guidelines would be another great feature to include. She agreed.)


Also in the Whirlpool family is a fun new fridge called the Amana Quick Tap. The dispenser can be filled with any beverage of your choice, and would be ideal for game rooms. It’s adorable and affordable.


Whirlpool also introduced a super-convenient feature to its newest refrigerator called MicroEtch. What it does is prevent spills from escaping from a shelf and leaking down the sides and bottom of the fridge. I wish I would have had that last month when a Coke glass tipped over on the top shelf just before a house showing! This fridge also has good lines, LED lighting and excellent capacity, too. The anti-spill feature, though, is what makes it a must-have.

You can read more of Jamie's findings on her post Live from the International Builders' Show on her blog Gold Notes

© 2010, Jamie Goldberg, AKBD, CAPS.


  1. I love the idea of the LCD screen fridge, I have a fridge covered in old artwork and recipes; but I hate French door fridges SO much. I don't know if it's just my experience with them in other people's homes, but they never seem to have enough space in them and things kind of get lost in that deep, narrow space.

  2. The concealed mirror cabinet and lock box is a super idea. Congrats to Kohler for being so innovative.

    Re the fridges, as stated in a previous comment I made on another post .....BUYER BEWARE! To be more precise; am I allowed to state on your blog Paul, "Whirpool...I feel your design of the model I own...Sucks with a capital S!

  3. Oh Brenda, there's a world of sucky appliances out there and all are free to say so around here. lord knows I do enough.

    Nim: Are you talking about a side by side or a French door?

    In the photos above, the Kitchenaid is a French door and the Whirlpool is a side by side.

  4. Thanks Paul for allowing me to publicly vent, as after all it is YOUR blog and I fully would understand if you ever wish to censor me.
    With appreciation...... -Brenda-

    (I feel so much better....as yes, I bumped my head again this morning.)

  5. I don't censor anybody. Unless it's somebody who's trying to sell something unrelated to the topic at hand that is. Consumer complaints such as yours are important and a surprising number of manufacturers read this blog. As we learned with Sears last fall, remember?

  6. Any of the narrow side-by-side door ones I guess, there's likely more to it than what I've seen (especially since most people don't seem to pick that kind for me to look at).

    I should just stop trying to explain myself right now and go to bed actually, long day topped off with Scotch and a hot tub.. and now I'm too tired to think!

  7. I was curious to hear because I have the same beef with the side by sides. The freezer compartment is always too narrow to hold such things as a whole turkey and most of them don't end up with enough clearance for the doors to open completely. Give me a bottom mount freezer and R/L swing fridge any day. More jargon, sorry. Maybe I need to write a refrigerator jargon post.


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