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BlogTour Vegas :: Design & Construction Week ReCap


Okay … we were a little quiet on the blog last week, but if you know, you know – Building Moxie, Barry and myself were in Las Vegas, Nevada covering the first ever Design & Construction Week. For the first time ever, the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) and the International Builders’ Show (IBS) trade shows were running simultaneously.

For me, I took part in the prestigious BlogTour Vegas, which itself delved deeply into KBIS 2014. Barry, on the other hand, roamed free on the IBS side of things.

Design & Construction Week by the Numbers

According to early reports from NAHB (the National Association of Home Builders), Design & Construction Week drew some 75,000 attendees. Housed in two halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center, IBS spread across somewhere near 440,000 sf. KBIS, sponsored by the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), took up residence in the North Hall, and by my calculations, accounted for something in the range of 160,000 sf total.

Now, as you can imagine, it was difficult, no – impossible, even with two of us, to see it all.

Sure, much of my time went to the various activities associated with BlogTour. Barry, instead, bounced rather freely between a few strategically-selected meetings. The hope is we’ll be able to push out what we gleaned over the next few weeks.

“Costume to Candelabra” exhibit @ the Cosmopolitan

What Happens in Vegas … Gets Shared by BlogTour

What is BlogTour?

Well, as I mentioned in my Design & Construction Week PreviewBlogTour is a collection of bloggers assembled by Veronika Miller, CEO of Modenus. She is the mastermind behind BlogTour – a globetrotting phenomenon, which several times a year gathers. It hosts select bloggers as they travel to international design events. (Contributor, Lisa Smith provided What’s New in Range Hoods, several BlogTours ago.)

Veronika Miller, glasses, at center

BlogTour connects bloggers to the pulse of the design/build experience at hand. It also provides opportunity to engage with local sights and sounds.

Case in point – this BlogTour, Veronika (or V. for short) brought us in a few days ahead of the Show, on Sunday. Super Bowl Sunday to be exact. And yeah, while I didn’t really know beforehand, apparently Vegas is like the 2nd best place on the planet to watch the Super Bowl.

While it was on, well, virtually everywhere (Vegas has a lot of TVs), Barry and I primarily took it in (at least the first half. Ha!) at Caesars Palace. It was only a short stroll passed the Bellagio and down from the Cosmopolitan – where we were staying.

Probably a good time to point out too that I am/was a Vegas Virgin. Did I gamble? Did I leave anything behind? Ha! No. </end comment>

For an outline of activities on BlogTour Vegas, here.

Modenus Talks

BlogTour officially kicked off with Modenus Talks. Joined by BlogTour alums, sponsors, and other respected members of the design community, this first-time event was designed to be a direct extension of BlogTour. According to V, “BlogTour itself is often fast paced, full of great events during which brands and influencers can meet and connect, but there’s often not enough time to deepen those connections.”

Across four hours, we were put through the paces in two separate challenges – one, a design challenge; another, a business challenge. Ten participants each assigned to four randomly selected teams tested the principle – “The Answers are Already in the Room.”

At the outset, sponsor Martha Orellana of Mr. Steam suggested that the event was an exercise in a new, Einsteinian “Theory of Connectivity.” I don’t know about alllll that (Ha! Still love ya Mrs. Steam), but I do know one integral member of both victorious teams … *huffing on right hand nails and then rubbing them on left breast* … Meredith Heron! (I mean – I should have taken her out to the casino. ;~) )

Design Challenge Winners. Meredith H., aka Red, 3rd from right.

It was a team effort.

BlogTour Takes Center Stage. Oh! and So Does HGTV

NKBA Center Stage, that is – a sorta nucleus for the Show. As sponsor and producer of KBIS, NKBA had their booth set at the virtual center of the Show – right off a path dubbed “The Builder’s Highway.”

Here, NKBA’s 30 Under 30 was named. It was here that HGTV and the DIY Network held open auditions throughout the Show (and No, I did not try out). HGTV, too, framed (physically) and helped highlight the Show’s new “socialness” and a new level interactiveness at the Show.

Daisy-chained micro-printers swept Instagram for the hashtag #LoveDesign. They produced real time “insta-prints” which were later collated and included on Truthfully, it was plain fun to watch quietly as the 2×3…ish snapshots rolled in from around the floor.

The Best of KBIS

NKBA’s booth sat directly across from a span of the Best of KBIS competition wall and it was in this booth that the winners for both the Best of KBIS as well as for a new Innovation Booth Awards were announced.

With some 70 entrants to the Best of KBIS, plus another 40 booths entered for the Innovation Awards, we were busy much of the Show’s first day reviewing and submitting our votes for these two awards. BlogTour’s own Stacy Naquin did the honors of announcing the winners.

Stacy Naquin, at left

The Winners, if you were wondering, were as follows.

For Innovative Booth:

First Place: Brizo
Second Place (tied): Electrolux and Elmwood Fine Custom Cabinetry
Third Place: Kohler

(Two of my personal favs: Danze & Cambria – and maybe this makes for an honorable mention of sorts.)

Best of KBIS

Dacor: Discovery™ iQ 30” Wall Oven  Best in Show
Dacor: Discovery™ iQ 30” Wall Oven – Best of Kitchen: Gold
Glideware Best of Kitchen: Silver
Delta® Temp2O™ Technology – Best of Bath: Gold
TOTO: NEOREST 750H – Best of Bath: Silver

(If I have time, maybe I’ll circle back and re-visit these and some of the other great entrants … we’ll see.)


Celebs in the House

A number of kitchen-type celebs, too, were floating around the NKBA booth. For one, Alison Victoria from the DIY Network‘s Kitchen Crashers. idk … let’s call it journalistic curiosity … or something and really, I just had to stop.

My take – she’s as sizzling hot in real person as she is on TV.

Alison Victoria, at right

Oh! Hi Jen. Ha! Only the facts, dear, only the facts. :~)

BlogTour in Vegas

As part of BlogTour, we made a day trip visit to Walker Zanger’s Las Vegas location. Featured on the A&E show Flipping Vegas, it was, for lack of better words, just Wow! In other words, and as I shouted out on Facebook (almost uncontrollably) …Tile Porn! (More on this visit, I promise, soon.)

A short party bus ride took us to The BASH at XS Nightclub in the Encore. A select group of the Select Group had the face of “KBIS Social”, Leanne Wood Newman, to thank for both the passes and for a night out, disco dancing. Great fun … thanks Leanne.

image via the KBIS Pressroom

Our final day was a Spa Day hosted by Martha Orellana and the Mr. Steam team at the Spa @ the Aria (more on Mr. Steam too in the coming days). It was fantastic to soak up learning on, and in, I mean – while taking a steam shower – ahhhh! and Thank You!

Breakfast before the Spa. Martha O., 2nd from left

Not much of a spa guy, I pulled up short and opted instead to close out my stay with one final trip back to the Show.


Trends Emerging from Design & Construction Week

As the group begins to kick around their thoughts on the trends (*cough* … Smart Sizing, Space Saving, & Double Duty-ing), I guess I’ll call it for today and leave you with KBIS’ Scenes from KBIS 2014. For a great glimpse of the Show, click that link.

Our own glimpe(s) herein. Ha! Thanks for reading and I’m out.  ~jb

Barry Morgan, at left. jb bartkowiak, author, at right.


BlogTour, with previous international tours to London and Cologne and domestically in New York, New Orleans and LA, has quickly become a digital and social media phenomenon that reaches an audience of over one million followers and readers. Bloggers are selected based on their solid design business and social media savvy.

Design and remodeling enthusiasts can follow BlogTour Vegas on Twitter using hashtag #BlogTourVegas and view all the latest posts on Information about the entire “select” group of bloggers can be found here.

BlogTour Las Vegas sponsors include KBIS, Blanco, Poggenpohl, Sub-Zero, Cosentino, Mr Steam, Top Knobs, Wood-Mode, Formica Group, Walker Zanger and TOTO USA. For coverage on each of these sponsors, see our tag BlogTour. For part two of our recap – News from Design & Construction Week :: The Final Take. ~jb


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