Marking its 67th year as arguably the home building industry’s most influential show, the International Builders’ Show brought us into the new year with the latest in home building products, design and accessories.  My team and I attend every year, and enjoy seeing friendly faces and familiar products. At IBS 2011, however, I couldn’t help but notice that only the strongest brands could truly bring innovation to the channel. Maybe I’ve become jaded to walking the show floor and familiarizing myself with home and building products. But that’s also why these brands justly caught my eye.

  • Masco Bath’s transfer tub is built for aging-in-place and mobility-challenged users, however here’s the difference: it’s beautiful. The feminine, organic shape makes it unlike any other I’ve seen. Typically, easy access tubs are clinical in appearance, but this one looks gorgeous while providing incredible accessibility with a folding seat.
  • Showing us that doors should not only be functional, but fashionable, Masonite flaunted its new line of exterior and interior doors made with varying textures, patterns and a realistic wood grain.
  • Nichiha introduced the new Plymouth Brick Panel, made to mimic brick, but made of fiber cement, providing an affordable and sustainable product that is designed for efficient installation. Nichiha’s Shake Plus Boards made a splash as well, taking care of the NextGen home’s exterior siding.
  • “Cool” in both the temperature and trendy sense of the word, Hafele’s LED lighting stood out in the crowd of incandescent lightbulbs. The company’s lighting emits little to no heat and looks good while doing so.
  • Wood grain finishes showed their popularity at the show. When an industrial-looking, metal finish isn’t called for, many door, cabinet and drawer manufacturers demonstrated the ability to overlay a warmer, wood finish onto metal. DANVER Stainless Steel Cabinetry and ClosetMaid both demonstrated this opportunity.
  • If you were looking for real wood, however, Carlisle Wide Plank Floors delivered it the best. Specializing in wider planks, the Carlisle team displayed its handcrafted, specially selected boards with the company’s new Watermill hand-distressed finish.
  • This was a cool product demo: Reversica’s hardware smoothly and easily transitions from a media center to a hidden bookcase system, saving on both space and clutter.
  • Gerber’s toilets inherently combat cleanliness issues through their design. Its siphon jet technology causes water to swirl around the entire bowl, rather than experiencing a flush from the front which splashes off the back of the bowl. Combined with a drain hole located further back in the bowl, these toilets stay cleaner use after use.
  • Contributing beautifully to outdoor havens was Trex, whose dimmable LED deck lighting can be used on rails, stairways or posts, adding ambiance while saving on energy.

Check out our photos from the show here.