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Live from Int'l Builder Show: Paul Anater of Kitchen and Residential Design

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Every year, the NAHB International Builders’ Show acts as a summit for builders, architects and designers alike to not only check out new products and trends, but to gauge the state of the industry. We caught up with design pro Paul Anater, editor and publisher of Kitchen and Residential Design, to get his take on this year’s IBS.

What’s the general mood at this year’s International Builders’ Show? Do you get the sense optimism is coming back?
There’s definitely a sense of optimism coming back. A recovery’s not here fully but it’s well on it’s way.

How has the steady remodeling sector affected the landscape at IBS?
It’s pretty clear that the remodeling sector is driving the train here. This seems to be a remodeler’s show.

As innovation goes, what are some of the cooler tips, tools and concepts you’ve seen?
I’m seeing a greater mainstreaming of sustainability into everyday products. It’s no longer a second-best option.

Any must-see green products or materials that have caught your eye?
The Siderna lavatory faucet from Brizo. Its handles attach with very powerful magnets so there are no set screws. It makes for a perfectly sleek installation.

Is the era of the granite countertop over?
I would say that it’s crested, but it’s not over.

Is the kitchen permanently ensconced as the most important room in the modern house?
Oh yeah. And as somebody who makes a living from that dynamic, I’d say that’s a very good thing.

What’s this year’s must-have appliance?
A new three-oven, built-in oven from GE.

What’s your take on the microwave drawer oven?
I think they’re a bit of a gimmick. There are times when they do the trick but for the most part I think they’re more trouble than they’re worth.

How is energy efficiency impacting kitchen design?
There’s a greater emphasis on smart appliances and minimizing energy waste.

Are there any trendy new materials you’d warn against using? Any which create challenges for builders?
I haven’t seen anything that raised any alarms, at least not from any of the major suppliers.