You never know who will sit next to you on a plane. Late last month, while sitting on the runway for several hours during one of our many snowstorms, I noticed a lot of hand sketching going on next to me. It turned out that my neighbor was freehand drawing a bank of cabinets for a project.
He was good, too, so I introduced myself. Trent Duong has been a product designer for Crystal Cabinet Works for several years, and even remembered a Wisconsin Passive Home project my company bstyle, inc. worked on with them a few years ago.
We hadn’t met until this flight to the National Kitchen and Bath Show held in New Orleans this year from April 19-24. We were both going to walk the show to see new product ideas, trends, and gather inspiration for kitchen and bath design.
Here’s some of what I found:
The Grey Area
What’s on trend for Crystal Cabinetry also is on trend for other manufacturers—a lot of exclusive grey stain finishes. In fact, after chatting with another cabinet expert, Plain and Fancy’s president, Butch Achey, we discovered that grey finishes are some of the most requested in the industry. Plain and Fancy featured a custom Silver Shore finish on quarter sawn white oak door on an island display (below, left).
Minnesota has a strong presence in the cabinet industry and when I just happened across Mendota Height’s Northern Contours (NC) fabulous finishes at the show (above, right), it was by accident. NC’s Annette Wildenauer, director of design and development, hosted a booth tour covering all their recent product introductions. They too have grey wash finishes and so many more unique woods and door styles that designers can literally dream up virtually anything for their clients.
Annette’s willingness to collaborate and share her inspiration from traveling around the world made an impression on me. Any designer or homeowner would relish NC’s wide range of styles.
I’ve had several requests for stainless kitchen cabinetry because of the popularity of the industrial chic style. Coincidentally, one of my favorite stops on the show floor was Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet, but I didn’t know that they manufactured custom louvered stainless cabinetry until the visit. Chris Mordi is the vice president of communications at Kalamazoo and never forgets a face or a name. Over the past years, he’s introduced me to high-end outdoor kitchen design and gourmet recipes. He told me how Kalamazoo engineers developed the louvered door style and explained the seriously solid construction. I also got a peek at their new Pizza Oven; find more info on that at kalamazoogourmet.com
A Contemporary Move
Why is Formica listed in this cabinet trends post? Because my company just designed and built an entire kitchen out of laminate, including all custom cabinetry. Now cabinetry can be any finish and just about any color. Our cost-effective design had luxurious contemporary appeal. We also specified Formica’s Solid Surface on the countertop, but that belongs in a surfaces post…
It was Formica’s 100th birthday recently, and we got all caught up in the celebration with cupcakes, music, and old friends. There are 12 new Formica patterns introduced as the Anniversary Collection with neutrals and bright colors.
This event was the last stand-alone National Kitchen and Bath Show for at least the next few years, if not forever. Next year we’ll all rendezvous at the International Builder’s Show February 4-6 in Las Vegas. Hope to see you there!
Barbara Schmidt, is principal and lead designer of bstyle, inc., a nationally recognized design firm creating and building spaces for homeowners, retailers and manufacturers for over twenty years.