WELCOME BACK to our third and FINAL RECAP POST from our annual trek to the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) with the Modenus DesignHounds.  We’re so glad you’re here and THANK YOU ALL for your great comments and responses so far; it means the world to us!


There was no doubt about it, there was an overarching THEME to this year’s KBIS, and the concept of customizing just about everything and building WELLNESS into your lifestyle, home, office, buildings and/or your community, was EVERYWHERE.  This theme can also be seen in PART ONE and PART TWO of our three-part recap.

You can catch up on our first two DESIGNHOUNDS KBIS RECAP posts here, PART ONE / PART TWO.

Important topics such as resiliency,  sustainability, biophilic based design practices, products and solutions, and mindful manufacturing were somehow woven into every discussion and every panel presentation; from the way we market our businesses on Social Media (yes, wellness was even a topic in THESE conversations), to the furniture, equipment, and construction products we specify, ship and install; wellness was certainly on everyone’s mind.


What do you think of when you hear the word, “wellness”? I used to think that it was exclusively the opposite of sickness, with no “in-between”.

Well, the older I get the more I understand that life primarily exists in that “in-between”, and that “wellness” is a lifestyle PRACTICE and mindset; a thoughtful, strategic, holistic leaning-in to “living your best and healthiest life”!

Wellness (a HUGE topic that covers a vast array of sub-topics and interpretations) is also a HOT topic in the Kitchen and Bath Industry, that isn’t going anywhere soon. In fact, the trend is bold and here to stay. However, wellness is not really a NEW idea.

Let’s face it, the principals of using STEAM for optimum health [for example] have been a practice since the days of ancient Rome, based on the very same principals of wellness, and “…numerous other traditions are all testament to steam bathing’s cultural and therapeutic significance.” – Mr. Steam



  • Do you ever wish you could have a true SPA experience right in your own home?
  • Ever say to yourself, “Ugh, I don’t have the time or money, and can’t handle the disruption and mess!”?
  • Ever think about about improving your mental and physical health and well being?
  • Have you ever researched the proven nourishing properties and benefits of steam?
  • Are there times you would do ANYTHING to REDUCE ANXIETY and stress in your home (especially for your children) in a healthy way?


Our #DesignhoundsKBIS visit with our Sponsor, Mr. Steam, was VERY special, and that was due primarily to the incredible investment and personal interest that the Mr. Steam team makes in Designers; and you thought I was going to say that it was the SPA visit that made it special, right? Well, it did, but that is definitely NOT the only reason we loved our Mr. Steam tour.


Yes, our MR. STEAM Designhounds TOUR began in a SPA.  I mean, where else should you talk about STEAM, than in a SPA, right?  EXACTLY!

The Designhounds were treated to a luxurious spa experience at The Nomad Hotel/Park MGM Grand SPA.  Experiencing the benefits of STEAM first-hand, and discussing the evolution and properties of STEAM while engaging all the senses was (honestly) quite incredible. Especially after a long day on the KBIS floor.

During the evening, lovely honest stories were shared of personal experiences using Steam, and how so many of us are already integrating STEAM SYSTEMS into our projects and homes.

Photo Courtesy of Designhounds




I am sure that we can all recognize and agree on the value and need for great customer service in our industry, especially as designer’s working on behalf of our clients, when presenting and specifying products; and for those of you who have been following along on our blog, you know exactly how important the “WHY” for every single company we work with.  For our team, this value system is very important. Customer service that is responsive, kind, enthusiastic, prompt, accountable and responsible is AS IMPORTANT as the selection and aesthetic of the product itself. It is what a proper investment is all about, and what generates and supports the true longevity of any product we install.  The customer service and dedication that the Mr. Steam team provides to the design community and thus, to our clients, is without a doubt, bar none!


So now that we know we can count on Mr. Steam’s enthusiasm and service, and understand their mission for excellence, let’s talk about the true benefits of STEAM.

Did you know that turning your existing shower into a steam experience can be surprisingly affordable, straightforward, automated (“Alexa, steam please!”), and you don’t need a lot of room (okay, yeah, maybe there’s a slight intrusion for installation) but oh man, take it from me, the benefits FAR outweigh the few weeks of inconvenience; and it completely pays for itself in wellness and productivity.  Here are some of my personal favorite STEAM benefits:

  • Increased respiratory health
  • Reduced stress and anxiety
  • Increased metabolism
  • Burns calories
  • Muscle relaxer
  • Cleanse toxic impurities
  • Improves circulation
  • Reduces water waste by using less than 2 gallons of water for a 1/2 hour steam
  • And it feels so darn awesome

Read more here / Download the 40 benefits of STEAM here Courtesy of Mr. Steam


Now that you’ve seen our favorite recent Mr. Steam remodel project (images above), let’s take a look at a few more projects that have integrated residential steam systems.


In these examples, you can see on the left is an image of a standard enclosure.  On the right, you can see the enclosure installed to accommodate steam.

Photos Courtesy of Mr. Steam


Photos Courtesy of Mr. Steam



Our Tour and evening wrapped up with an exciting and delicious evening at the Bellagio Hotel with the Mr. Steam team.  The steam stories and fun continued and a great presentation was given with an opportunity for questions that provided a deeper and more focused understanding of the product and benefits.

Photos Courtesy of Designhounds


Photos Courtesy of Designhounds



So, when considering your health and wellness, or if you or your loved ones suffer from respiratory, heart, sleep, and/or anxiety challenges (as my family does), I urge you to consider integrating a daily steam ritual into your lifestyle.  Take it from me, STEAM is a game changer!

If you’d like to know more about my personal journey with steam, or considering a steam system for your home, give us a call! We’d love to share our wellness journey with you, and personally introduce you to Mr. Steam.

See some of the thoughts I shared with Mr. Steam, and what a few other Designhounds had to say about STEAM, here.

THANK YOU to our Sponsor, MR. STEAM, for their incredibly gracious hospitality and for your absolute JOY and PASSION for Designhounds and SSSSSSSSSTEEEEEEEAM! 


The #1 kitchen manufacturer by volume in the world, Nobilia builds intelligently designed kitchens at an exceptional value. But let’s dig a little deeper…

One of the top “buzz words” at the show this year (besides “wellness”) was biophilia. I learned about this concept and how it is integrated into “design” about 13 years ago when specifying materials for my first “sustainable” project. It has been a topic of many conversations since and it’s wonderful to see the evolution of so many kitchen and bath products over the years in terms of design, availability, and selection. This term is fast becoming a standard in our design and build industry, and more and more each day, we design and build with more mindful solutions.

Biophilic design (design features that reconnect people with nature) could help reduce stress in the workplace. Such amenities are in line with scientific and psychological theories about humans’ intrinsic need for exposure to natural environments — a disposition known as biophilia.

“…If green building focuses as much on biophilia as it has on saving energy and water in the past, it could help us rediscover the ecological interaction and relationship we need to thrive. At a minimum, biophilia brings about a new dimension for sustainable design that necessitates the integration of nature to trigger human health and wellbeing. At best, biophilia can radically alter the entirety of the built environment.” –


Biophilia is defined as the inherent human inclination to affiliate with nature. Biophilic design, an extension of biophilia, incorporates natural materials, natural light, vegetation, nature views and other experiences of the natural world into the modern built environment.

The Six Basic Features of Biophilic Design consist of:

  • Environmental features
  • Natural shapes and forms
  • Natural patterns and processes
  • Light and space
  • Plant based relationships
  • Evolved human/nature based relationships

Click here for more reference tools to learn more:  How Biophilia Can Improve Our Lives

So, how does “biophilic design” work it’s way into our last sponsor’s products and “wellness” in the holistic sense?

Designing and integrating nature and organic materials into our interior spaces is one way our Sponsor, NOBILIA, is leading the way.  Based on our basic human need to interact with nature and understanding the benefits of simple, purposeful, and organized spaces, AND responsible manufacturing practices, these kitchens are the perfectly designed solution.

Photos Courtesy of Nobilia


Since 1945, (founded by brothers Brothers Johann and Willy Stickling), Nobilia (a German company) has been Europe’s largest kitchen manufacturing company, producing and shipping more than 3500 pre-sold kitchens per day.

European influence trends in mega-kitchen brands, Nobilia is coming to our US consciousness as we see the rapid success of IKEA and the streamlined kitchens for the millennial generation.

When looking at the average cost of a mid-sized kitchen, NOBILIA falls (beautifully) somewhere between IKEA and the higher European kitchen brands (Bauformat and SieMatic, for example) with a high-quality, high-performing, sleek, purposeful and functional option.

With strong environmental and corporate values, a clear and inspiring foundation for design, integrated sustainability and mindful manufacturing practices, they have earn and maintained the top environmental certifications for sustainability.


  • Form follows function
  • Purposeful, organized design
  • Contemporary style
  • Mindfully produced and delivered

Photos Courtesy of Nobilia


Details driven further by the Bauhaus movement and the concept of conscious living styles, smaller spaces, less waste but higher efficiency and organization, and quality, we see this streamlined philosophy in their integrated moulded cabinet hardware, and drawer and hinge systems, which further drives the parallel between wellness, mindful living and zero waste.

Photos Courtesy of Four Point


Photos Courtesy of Four Point


Learn more about NOBILIA here:  overview / history / quality / products

A warm THANK YOU to our Sponsor, NOBILIA, for their gracious hospitality, time, and energy.


There wasn’t much time to roam the show as our itinerary was FULL. However, I DID happen to capture a few of my favorite finds from KBIS that sparked my interest and inspiration.



Keeping in line with the THEME of KBIS this year and the concept of CUSTOMIZATION, my first #4ptFavoriteFind was this custom concrete CANYON SINK by Trueform Concrete.

Designed by Dunsmuir Institute Architects and cast by Trueform in the form of the topographical map of the canyon where their client resides, you will notice a tiny brass sparkling feature in the sink beneath the faucet which represents the Clients home, for whom this one of a kind sink was created.

Organic style materials such as concrete have been around for a very long time, and this may not be for “everyone” or for “everywhere”, but to see that new and innovative ideas and forms are being created, was inspiring and I, for one, APPLAUD the creativity and bold exploration!

Trueform Concrete / Photos Courtesy of Four Point


// DXV

As you may already know, I have had the great privilege of being on the 2018 – 2019 DXV Design Panel, which gave me the rare and prestigious opportunity to learn intimately and deeply about the DXV products, people, vision, and ethos.  This year, they did not disappoint.

Leading the trends in luxury bathrooms, DXV has presented many modular components over the last few years, and this year I am blown away by the “details”; and so beautiful they are; thin elegant framing on the consoles in stunning finishes; inlay details (so crazy about the inlay); and the highest in modular function and performance!

Photos Courtesy of Four Point / Here with Fellow DesignHound, Laurence Carr and the President of Design for DXV, Jean-Jacques L’Henaff


Photos Courtesy of Four Point




The toilet. The place every single human interacts with on a daily basis.  So I ask, why shouldn’t it be sexy, beautiful, functional, COMFORTABLE, easy to clean and maintain, and GLAMOROUS? Well, it SHOULD. And Kohler did it again. Always a fabulous and popular display booth at KBIS, and this year they did it again!

I mean, it’s an open and shut case. I mean lid. This streamlined (and truly quite lovely) toilet was a surprise. FINALLY, a massively functioning toilet that actually looks sexy.  I know, incredible, right?!?

My favorite (L & R) was the San Souci Comfort Height 1.28 GPF toilet with cleansing toilet seat.  So many beautiful neutral color finish selections. And a little BLING for fun (C).

Photos Courtesy of Four Point



It was refreshing to see the gorgeous new hardware designs from this tried-and-true company.  The stunning collection of Artisan designed hardware had me inspired and surprised; in particular, this contemporary metal cabinet pull designed by Alessandro Piva. The entire collection took my breath away. Great sizes and finishes available.

“The Autore collection is the fruit of a creative process featuring ingenious design, aesthetic elegance and functionality. This pull (L), like every piece in this unique collection, is a statement beyond trends.”

And just LOOK at how lovely the finishes coordinate with the Kohler finishes.

Photos Courtesy of Four Point




So there you have it; Our #4ptkbis2020recap is complete!  We hope you’ve enjoyed taking an “up close and personal” look at our #DesignhoundsKBIS Sponsors, and will consider YOUR “why” carefully when thinking about selecting your materials, when selecting your design and build team, and most importantly, when considering how your selections and decisions will impact the greater good.

OUR TOP THREE REASONS “WHY” we attend these national trade show events:


There is something to be said for focused research. Trade shows enable industry professionals to view the newest and latest innovation and design in construction, kitchen, and bath products all in one space, with no distractions.  It allows us the opportunity to discover new things, ask questions directly pertaining to the product and our expertise, build communications and connections, develop relationships and learn (in depth) about products we might typically not have exposure to in our typical day to day research.


Networking with good friends, colleagues, manufacturers and service providers is an essential element to creating our firm’s excellence and optimum function, productivity and profit giving us with the tools to provide the very highest quality and best service/ products available.


It makes a tremendous difference when we can fully experience products! Specifying ANYTHING “online” is risky. Even in a retail environment, there is a loss of intimacy and density   When you can see it, feel it, touch it, and learn (from the manufacturer themselves ) about the newest products


Thank you all for being part of our blog and wellness journey, we are so grateful for your time.  Of all the blogs you could choose, you have chosen to be a part of our world, and for that, we are truly grateful!  Please let us know in the comments if you have any questions or need more information about any of our sponsors OR the Designhounds community! We’re always so happy to connect!

Learn more about the Designhounds Community here.

For more inspiration, FOLLOW our hashtags:






As always, if you have any project questions or if you want WORK WITH US, tell us about YOUR next project and please say “HELLO” by contacting us here.  Fill out our questionnaire, and let’s get started!

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Thanks for stopping by and we’ll see you next time!







    • Laura Muller on

      Hi Lisa! Thank you for your kind comments!!! I am SO happy that you found our recap so inspiring. That fills my heart! Hope you can make it next year!!! xox

  1. Leslie Carothers on

    Once again, this is such a thorough and well written post, Laura. Thank you for putting so much time into sharing with us the deeper stories & benefits that these brand offer.

    And…hats off to Mr.Steam for making a product that conserves so much water – especially important for all of you there in California!

    • Laura Muller on

      AMEN TO THAT, Leslie!!! AND THANK YOU for your wonderful comments and time. It means the world to me to have the opportunity to amplify the BRANDS that are doing things (in my opinion) mindfully and RIGHT! And isn’t that such a great statistic! Shocking right! And yep, especially in our beautiful California! Much love and thanks… xox

  2. Janet Lorusso on

    Spectacular post, Laura, and THANK YOU for sharing all you learned at KBIS. I especially love learning about the Nobilia kitchens, as I didn’t know of this line before – are those actually grow lights built into the shelving?? That would be so awesome!

    • Laura Muller on

      Hi Janet! Thank you so much for taking the time to read our post, and so glad you loved reading about our Sponsors! Yes, those are “grow” lights! Perfect, right?!? Thank you again, see you next time! xox

  3. Mary Ann Benoit on

    Thanks for sharing your great finds. I love that biophilia and wellness are the primary focus in the trends this year. Those concrete sinks and shelves with grow lights are amazing. I think a spa in my bathroom would make my wellness complete!!

    • Laura Muller on

      Thank you for your comments, Mary! I agree, a home spa WOULD be amazing, and the “grow” lights are a game changer! xox

  4. Sheri Bruneau on

    What a wonderful third post, Laura. I love that Mr. Steam continues to be number one in educating us with the benefits of steam. Martha is a true leader in the industry! We actually have a steam shower slated to go into our own master bath renovation.

    Thank you for sharing your finds with Nobilia as well as your favorite finds.

    I really love reading your blogs, Laura. I can hear your voice and passion for our industry. <3

    • Laura Muller on

      Thank you SO much for your kind words, Sheri! I am truly so happy that you enjoy our blog so much. It means the world to me, and I appreciate it to much. I DO love our industry and I DO have a passion for honor and excellence in the work that we all do! Truly, so grateful! xox

  5. Linda Merrill on

    Laura – what an amazing post and recap! I feel like I was there (almost!). But now I am dying for a steam or a sit in a hot tub with the girls. Thank you for that… 🙂

    • Laura Muller on

      Hi Linda!!! Thank you for taking the time to read our blog, so glad you love it! Steam is EVERYTHING… SO GOOD!!! So grateful for your time and comments! Sending so much love Linda! xox

  6. Mitzi Beach on

    Well Laura being a wellness advocate for a very long time, I was enthralled with your post! Your questions regarding wellness were so introspective and thorough.
    Of course I loved the Mr. Steam images and info but the benefit is of steam you covered are for real. We all could benefit from steam showers! Someday……
    Thank you also for covering biophillia. This is a huge arena being brought to the forefront and as always, you did an remarkable job of teaching us more.
    Best to you Laura in all you do!!

    • Laura Muller on

      Thank you, Mitzi!!! Such lovely kind comments! I so appreciate your time and thoughtful sharing! I couldn’t agree more about the trend moving toward wellness and biophilic design! Much love, xox


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