percent over last year to account for nearly 40 percent
of all the kitchens on display.
Both conventional face-frame construction and
full-overlay face-frame construction (which somewhat
mimics the look of frameless construction), were on
the decline for this year’s exhibitors. Yes, full-overlay
face-frame construction is still the dominant case
construction shown, accounting for 46 percent of
all the kitchens on display. But that continues the
downward trend from last year. Conventional face-frame construction also slid to about 8 percent, down
a point from last year.
Inset door case construction, once the darling of
some of the highest of high-end cabinets, also took a
significant downward slide, accounting for just a little
over 5 percent of the kitchens on display this year.
Euro urban influences
Case construction wasn’t the only thing that had a
trending Euro flair at the shows. Plenty of exhibitors were showing colors, finishes, materials, and
hardware that all followed European-inspired design
Lots more displays featured high-gloss finishes
What’s driving change?
and acrylic door and drawer fronts. New laminates,
On the hardware side, European-style metal
drawer systems made big gains this year. Full metal
drawer systems accounted for more than 22 percent
of the displays this year compared to 17 percent last
year and just 12. 5 percent the year before. To com-
plete the clean Euro look, many displays downplayed
knobs and pulls or did away with them entirely.
We’ve long talked about manufacturing advantages
of frameless construction, but manufacturers in
the United States have long been reticent to adopt
the European method, pointing to reluctance from
consumers for the style. But that appears to be changing. A number of designers we talked to at the show
reported increased demand for “clean lines” and the
“Frameless is trending to contemporary-transitional designs,” said Angela O’Neil, director of marketing
and advertising for Wellborn, which is expanding and
promoting its frameless Aspire line. She said customers who like Ikea are looking for kitchen cabinets that
offer similar clean lines.
But she said there is a practical side, too. In
smaller spaces, customers appreciate the full-access
design of frameless cabinets, which maximizes usable
interior cabinet space. “It’s also easier to remodel if
they decide to change color,” she said.
Priscilla Sellers, a designer with Noble Craft,
pointed to the increasing urban trend, with more
European designs like this kitchen from Poggenpohl were in
vogue at KBIS. Note the high-gloss finish and absence of
handle hardware, both trends this year.
Case type displayed