The European invasion is coming! Relax. I’m talking about European brands invading kitchens and bathrooms all across America. Do you really think I want to write about the state of foreign affairs or Harry and Megan here on a site based on interior design?

Honestly, it’s not really new to have quality European brands in America. There are several appliance brands you may have already heard of or even have in your home, like Miele and Bosch, or fun appliances from Smeg to higher end like Gaggenau. So many good appliances to choose from. But I have been sensing a few trends in the look of the kitchen that you’re really going to start seeing more of, I bet. 

How Do I Know?

Well, because I just got back from KBIS! This year I was selected by Modenus as one of 15 people to attend KBIS as a DesignHound Influencer. Besides having a terrific time with fabulous new friends, I got to see prototypes of various products not yet on the market, some of the latest technology, and exposed to a lot of new trends in all things kitchens and baths. We had some amazing SPONSORS, who gave us some in depth one on one time to learn more about their brands.

DesignHoundsKBIS, DesignHounds, kbis2020, KBIS, Christine Kohut Interiors, Design Ninja, interior designer
I still can’t believe I was part of this incredible group!

Besides having a terrific time with fabulous new friends, I got to see prototypes of various products not yet on the market, some of the latest technology, and exposed to a lot of new trends in all things kitchens and baths. We had some amazing sponsors, who gave us some in depth one on one time to learn more about their brands.

Nobilia

When we met with Nobilia, I had to admit I didn’t know if this brand before, and I bet you didn’t either. They are HUGE in Germany and are starting to work on their American market. Bauhaus style is front and center.

What I found so interesting is a popular European concept that the kitchen is outfitted with a more freestanding furniture look, rather than the typical American way of filling almost every kitchen wall with cabinets and appliances.

Nobilia, KBIS, DesignHounds, kbis2020, kitchen cabinets, european kitchens, Christine Kohut Interiors, Design Ninja

The way their cabinets are made is quite different than most American cabinetry, whose emphasis is on solid wood doors and plywood frames. (BTW in humid areas, this actually isn’t the best type of cabinetry to install.) High quality laminates and metals are more popular in Europe, as well as easily changeable door and drawer fronts. That reduces waste and saves money when it comes time to update a kitchen since you don’t have to rip out the whole kitchen to get a whole new look. There’s so much I want you to know about them, it’s just easier if you click HERE and check it out.

You know the German engineering is always top notch, from cars to cabinets. That is especially true of what is INSIDE the cabinets. Making the most use of the space inside allows you to have more open space on the outside. Again, for a more free-standing furniture feel. Handle free door fronts, smooth operating hinges and glides, and simple buttons to close doors and control LED lights keep things efficient while being sleek and contemporary. I like the idea of the wall unit with potted plants growing, seen at then end of this quick video.

Mixing finishes and colors, as well as variating the heights of the cabinets (for instance, to accommodate aging in place layouts) creates unique spaces designed just for you, although the way the company makes the frames at their factory, they can produce and ship cabinets from Germany to your area in about 10-12 weeks. Pretty cool, right?

I think my favorite find at Nobilia was the way the upper cabinet raise up with a simple touch feature and close with an easy press of a button. You can set all of your cabinets to close with one touch if you need to, like after you’ve emptied the last item from the dishwasher. Kind of cool, I think!

Having fun with Jennifer Tampasis from Jennifer Lynn Interiors

Compac

Compac, the Surfaces Company. Just the name should tell you, right? This Spanish brand is making some beautiful quartz and marble surfaces that just elevated the game. And they won a fantastic award at KBIS this year!

Yeah, quartz made with vegetable resins that, in addition to being better for the environment, also can withstand much higher heat. Not bad, eh? Look at some of the technical specs (be sure to note the last line, especially!):

Compac, KBIS, DesignHounds, kbis2020, kitchen cabinets, european kitchens, Christine Kohut Interiors, Design Ninja

We spent a lot of time learning about their different products.

You see me back there, paying some serious attention?
Compac, KBIS, DesignHounds, kbis2020, kitchen cabinets, european kitchens, Christine Kohut Interiors, Design Ninja, quartz countertops, bathtub
Well, we had a lot of fun too!

It’s safe to say that the tub was all of the DesignHounds favorite things at the show. 

I’m with Laura Muller of Four Point Design Build and Nicole White of NWD Interiors

This thing was fantastic! And check out this quick video to see how it was made. I think that is really why we thought it was so awesome.

As much as I loved that tub, I did actually fall in love with this material, the Ice of Genesis by Arik Levy. There’s a luminosity you don’t generally see in quartz countertops. It really does have that translucence you see in cracked ice. I don’t know why I love it so much. The ice black and the ice white are both pretty cool, pun intended.

Compac, KBIS, DesignHounds, kbis2020, kitchen cabinets, european kitchens, Christine Kohut Interiors, Design Ninja, quartz countertops, ice black, arik levy
Compac, KBIS, DesignHounds, kbis2020, kitchen cabinets, european kitchens, Christine Kohut Interiors, Design Ninja, quartz countertops, ice white

The European Influence

Ok, ok. Maybe I exaggerated when I said “invasion”. The Europeans have always been influencing design, from fashion to food to cars to interiors and pretty much everything else. There are so many elegant, well thought out, highly engineered European products coming to the American markets, and I could spend days talking about all of them. American made products are great. Asian products are EVERYWHERE. Many European brands just quietly bring you some of the best of what is out there in the world.

These two intelligent, eco-friendly companies are just examples of what is out there, and I encourage my readers to think outside of the typical stuff you see locally and on Pinterest. A lot of what you see might have a lot to do with heavy handed marketing by the big name brands, so your exposure to something new and different might only come from people who take the time to learn about new products and technology, or just different brands that are quite successful outside of our tiny bubble. People like the DesignHounds. People like me.

Speaking of which…

Some of you awesome readers knew about me being nominated, making it as a finalist and many of you voted for me in the DesignHounds Influencer of the Year Awards. Well, thanks to all those votes, I cracked the Top 10! I came in at number 10 out of all of these designers, bloggers, and influencers. That’s pretty freaking fantastic, don’t you think? It was announced on a big stage at KBIS, and I totally didn’t realize I was number 10, so when I saw my face on this big screen I was very confused. But I did manage to get myself up on the stage and we found out that there will be some amazing prize package sent to us at a later date, so now I’m like a kid waiting for Christmas!

You can see by the look on my face that I’m still in shock, but I’m rocking my leopard in honor of my friend Liza, who recently passed away.

I have more to share from my awesome trip to Las Vegas. What happens in Vegas definitely can’t stay in Vegas when it comes to the DesignHounds and KBIS. Stay tuned!

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