The Kitchen & Bath Industry Show held April 26-28 in Las Vegas provided a more intimate venue for product introductions.

Meeting in front of a Jason Wu photo at the Brizo booth were (L-R) James Calbert and Heather Peterson from Mountain Supply with Pat Lenius of Supply House Times.

KBIS 2011seemed a bit smaller in size and met mid-week as opposed to Friday through Sunday, but vendors expressed satisfaction with booth traffic and leads generated. Here are some highlights.(All photos courtesy of Pat Lenius and Supply House Times, unless otherwise noted.)

One of the most talked-about product categories at KBIS 2011 was the bidet seat, or “smart toilet” with bidet functionality. American Standard Brands presented its Porcher electronic bidet seat for elongated bowls; first-time KBIS exhibitor INAX demonstrated its Regio and Satis bidet seats, which feature two spray nozzles, light, heat and music; TOTO showed its Washlet B100, a new introductory model at an aggressive price point; and Kohler unveiled Numi, which has bidet functionality and deodorizer built into the vitreous china as opposed to the seat; just to name a few!

Another trend observed was product design patterned after nature. TOTO’s contemporary Legato suite, inspired by a bird in flight, includes lavatories, toilets, showerhead, faucets and trim. Delta Faucet’s Linden kitchen collection is based on the linden tree. Brizo’s new kitchen faucet Vuelo, which means “flight” in Portugese, resembles a swan with its wings spread in flight.

Lenora Campos, Ph.D., senior manager, public relations at TOTO USA, showed the company’s new Maris semi-recessed vessel, which is SanaGloss glazed for easy cleaning and features a deep basin to reduce splashing.

Among the finishes featured were champagne bronze and Arctic stainless by Delta Faucet, cocoa bronze by Brizo and rose bronze by TOTO. Kohler unveiled the color Dune, an off-white that is slightly darker than biscuit, and Myson displayed products in a satin (matte) white.

Paul DeBoo of Sloan Valve reported growing interest in green technology and some growth in the renovation and replacement business. He noted that high-efficiency toilets are still getting a lot of buzz.  A spokesman for Your Other Warehouse said they have seen an uptick in sales, with some weeks generating volume unheard of before now. 

Jeannette Long, vice president/e-commerce and international joint venture management for American Standard Brands, noted that there had been steady traffic in the booth and said products that address water conservation and accessibility continue to generate interest.

Ben Fix, marketing communications manager with the Bath and Wellness Division at Villeroy & Boch, pointed out the growing interest in bidet seats and the increasing popularity of vessel sinks in the United States.

Christine Dwyer, senior public relations coordinator, Ferguson (Newport News, VA) said she was posting pictures and information from KBIS on the wholesale distributor’s  Facebook and Twitter pages to share with showroom personnel, plumbing contractors, interior designers and consumers.

Dottie Ramsey, president and chief operating officer of Modern Supply (Knoxville, TN), and her husband, Mayford, browsed the booths at the show.

Zuvo Water LLC introduced the Zuvo Water Purator, a compact, chemical-free point-of-use water treatment system that attaches to a standard kitchen faucet or is connected in-line with plumbing under the sink. It mimics nature’s water cleansing process by exposing tap water to ultraviolet light and ozone to create a harmful environment for water-borne bacteria and microorganisms, trapping particles and dissolved solids in a carbon filter, and exposing the filtered water to a final UV pass before it leaves the unit.

GROHE demonstrated new products at off-site events during KBIS including an affordable sparkling water faucet, high-performing faucets for the amateur chef and a lozenge-shaped showerhead for a powerful, custom shower experience.

Myson launched three models in its brushed stainless steel Hydronic Towel Warmer Collection: NENE, which uses flat panel tubes; WENSUM; and ESKE. Each is offered in a range of sizes with heat outputs up to 3,156 Btu/hr, so they can serve as both a towel warmer and a room heater.

Houzer discussed its new partnership with Schock GmbH (Regen, Germany) under which it will distribute and sell the German company’s granite sinks under the name Schock Houzer in the United States. The new line will feature sinks in Schock’s patented quartz and acrylic Cristadur material.

Native Trails launched the Vintners’ Collection, a line of vanities and accessories made from salvaged winemaking materials. French and domestic oak barrels and staves are repurposed for the bath and mirrors. Pictured is the Bordeaux wall-mount vanity, which can be adapted for small bathrooms, powder rooms, wine cellars or as a wet bar (pictured left).Photo courtesy of Native Trails.

Niagara’s new low-flow Sava showerheads feature an oversized 4.4-inch diameter sprayhead that provides wide coverage. A patented, non-removable pressure compensating device in the showerhead maintains a constant flow of water regardless of the home’s water pressure or psi (pounds per square inch). 

 Danze introduced several multi-function, water-saving showerheads. The 503E features wide, centerjet and aeration function options. Both the 505 and 525 showerheads offer five functions including massage and wide+centerjet. All feature Danze’s D-Force (Dual Valve) technology to reduce pressure loss and optimize water flow and spray performance. 

INAX hosted a dinner during KBIS, where Akihiro Kimura (left), vice president of INAX USA, and Toshimasa Iue, president of LIXIL Corp., parent company of INAX, greeted guests.

Foremost Groups showed its shower enclosures including the Marina Collection of sleek, frameless heavy glass doors in a variety of configurations, protected by ClearShield, a clean glass technology.

Artisan Manufacturing displayed its new hand-crafted Fleur-de-lis collection of sinks featuring 14 gauge heavy duty metal construction with four proprietary LustreGarde finishes including antique bronze, antique copper, nickel silver and stainless hi-lite.

Broan NuTone’s new collection of range hoods offered under the BEST label is named Sorpresa, the Italian word for surprise. Designs include Island hoods (Gloss, Secret and Vertigo Double); Chimney hoods (Surf, Modulare, Eclisse, Dune and Lipstick); and a Ceiling hood called Cirrus.

KBIS 2012will return to Chicago April 27-29.

(Pictured right): Kohler’s Numi with bidet functionality and a minimalist design is WaterSense and CALGreen-certified. It features a sleek, interactive LCD touch-screen interface; dual-flush technology; intuitive auto-open and –close lid; a built-in music system with multiple options; adjustable levels of light integrated into the fixture so it can serve as a nightlight; a heated seat and a heat blower to warm both feet and floor.Photo courtesy of Kohler Co.

(Picturted left): Aqua Glass launched INNOVEX, a new technology that involves a patent-pending combination of a microcellular core with a rigid, smooth polyurethane backing. It is certified by the GREENGUARD Environmental Institute. When fused with a thick acrylic surface, the application creates a strong and damage-resistant material that is easy to transport, install and maintain. The first production unit will be a 60-inch by 32-inch one-piece tub-shower design.Photo courtesy of Aqua Glass.

(Pictured right): Jason International’s (L-R) Ron Kelley, regional sales manager, and Remo Jacuzzi, president, met with John Murphy, showroom manager at wholesale distributor Redlon & Johnson (Manchester, NH) and president of the National Association of Plumbing Showroom Professionals, at Jason’s booth.Photo by Pat Lenius.

(Picturted left): Moen received a Silver Award in the “Best of Bath” category at KBIS for its new Flushmount body sprays that fit cleanly against the wall. At the Moen booth, the Weymouth two-handle high arc bathroom faucet in oil-rubbed bronze (pictured) was featured in a vignette.Photo by Pat Lenius.

(Pictured right): Networking at KBIS were (L-R) Michael T. Allen, national sales manager, St. Thomas Creations; Constantin Von Boch, director of marketing Americas; and Ben Fix, marketing communications manager, all with the Bath and Wellness Division at Villeroy & Boch. Photo by Pat Lenius.

(Picturted left): WarmlyYours launched its new LAVA Designs infrared glass heating system that can be mounted on any wall surface to provide safe, efficient and comfortable heating for any room. The LAVA panels emit heat in three dimensions and are safe for use around children or pets.Photo courtesy of WarmlyYours.

(Pictured right): Pictured (L-R), Robert Hoff, president of both Omni Corporate Services and Luxury Products Group; Scott Franz, publisher of Supply House Times; Linda Koenig, Omni’s MIS director and executive director of Luxury Products Group; and Pat Lenius, managing editor ofSupply House Times, met on the show floor.Photo courtesy of Supply House Times.

(Picturted left): JSG Oceana demonstrated its glass kitchen sink, available as undermount, drop-in or vessel. Made of “Hard Roc Glass,” a formulation of  borosilicate glass created for the company by Jeannette Specialty Glass, it is thermal shock resistant and can withstand fluctuations in temperature. Pictured: the black nickel undermount glass kitchen sink.Photo courtesy of JSG Oceana.

(Pictured right): Rheem presented its Integrated Heating & Water Heating System (pictured) which heats both the air and water in a home while operating seamlessly with Rheem cooling systems. When a Rheem tankless gas water heater is matched with a Rheem hydronic air handler, the system operates at the same efficiency as the tankless water heater.Photo courtesy of Rheem.