Monday, April 19, 2010

What is Old is New Again at the 2010 Kitchen & Bath Industry Show

I attend the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) each year to see what is new and to identify trends in the plumbing and hardware business. One thing that I have learned over the years is that vintage-themed plumbing and home hardware products are always in style.

Design elements common to hardware at the turn of the 20th century can still be found in today’s door and cabinet hardware. Classic Ribbon & Reed designs and even Eastlake-inspired geometric nature motifs could be found on the latest designs from many hardware exhibitors. Although polished brass is typically still a finish option, most of the exhibitors displayed their hardware in a variety of other finishes. Bronze continues to be popular with bronze cabinet and door hardware appearing in shades of bronze that range from reddish brown to charcoal black. Spectacularly brilliant chrome finishes seems to be one of the new trends this year. For example, there were such highly finished chrome door knobs that they exhibited extremely reflective and even jewelry-like qualities.

Vintage kitchen and bath faucets and clawfoot tubs were also very popular at this year’s show. Judging from the displays that I visited, the clean lines and distinctive geometric shapes of the Art Deco period are in vogue once again for bath and kitchen faucets. Similarly, Victorian clawfoot tubs and Art Deco style pedestal tubs were also popular items from most bath exhibitors. However, unlike cast iron originals, most of the tubs exhibited at the show were made of lighter weight acrylic materials.

I visited Hamilton Sinkler’s large display. They displayed their solid bronze door hardware, bronze vent covers, and a wide range of decorative cabinet pulls and knobs. Hamilton Sinkler’s hardware is available in their popular bronze patina as well as their more contemporary brushed nickel finish.

Strom Plumbing displayed some of their new acrylic clawfoot bath tubs including their unique framed Hula bath tub. Their exhibit also included many of their new thermostatic clawfoot tub faucets and their antique reproduction bathroom faucets and kitchen sink faucets.

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