Our Vegas Trifecta - 2019 IBS Recap Part 1

March 14, 2019 | By Hope Marie Sneed
Over 100,000 people attended the 2019 International Builder’s Show in Las Vegas last month, and so did we. But why should you care?

Well, if you didn’t go, you can still learn about some winning trends and ideas – without the stress (and sore feet) of convention travel. And if you were there, odds are you found it challenging to “get to everything”. If you feel like you missed out, maybe we can fill in some blanks.

We’re excited to share the highlights from our experience at IBS. This year, BSB Design team members bet big on three winners:


Product tours are always valuable, especially when viewed through a builder client’s eyes. The homes and communities we toured this year gave us a few design ideas worth sharing.


It’s always interesting how traveling halfway across the country can actually make it easier to meet up with someone. We enjoyed seeing some old friends and making new ones.


Before the show, we attend and participate in many of NAHB’s committees, including Design, 55+, and National Sales & Marketing. Along with supporting the industry, we seem to always learn something interesting.

We’ll dip our toe into #1 here, but check back for a discussion on items 2 and 3 in the next few weeks.


by Hope Marie Sneed, Principal, VP of Sales, BSB Design – Denver

Before ever setting foot inside the Las Vegas Convention Center, I set out with a builder client to tour some local homes and communities. Several design themes were in play regardless of home size or location.

We are continually asked by our builders to design homes as efficiently as possible while maintaining “cool livability,” so as I tour homes, I think about: How can we incorporate these unique design ideas into new home plans without blowing the budget, especially in smaller spaces? And more importantly, how do I help my builder clients see the value in this investment when price point is king?

Additionally, while touring, I like to photograph key design elements as a way to catalog the data for discussion with my clients back home. Also, by gathering data from multiple homes in multiple communities, I can develop a strategy about where our builder clients can invest design and finish dollars to have the most impact. Armed with this data, I then encourage builders to prioritize these trends based on their target demographics and choose one or two areas of each plan to focus on. Here’s the coolest of the cool that we saw.



Every new home, regardless of size, had more glazing than we expected to see. The immediate reaction is “that has to be expensive”, so we wondered about the practical application of all this glass. Homes had more windows, bigger windows, and unique window configurations. Many had full-glass entry ways and front doors.


 Find a way to incorporate corner glass into your floor plans. No need for the super high-end full-wrap corner options. Use traditional framing and windows but have them meet at the corner. Since they look so cool, they could be the only windows in the room, saving expense elsewhere.

Also, be flexible with transom placement. Put them below the casement instead of above. Use them above cabinets to emphasize high ceilings, especially on narrow product where extra light is essential to help the space live large.



Kitchens continue to use higher-end finishes and design elements. Floor plan changes were minimal, except for some unique wrap-around layouts and “stacked” kitchen/dining/wet bar areas that work well for outdoor living connection.


Glass is more prevalent in kitchen cabinetry than ever before, and so are open shelves. Both add to the open feeling and can be huge in small homes. Buyers are willing to sacrifice some storage to get the look they want.

Islands continue to be the primary focal point. I saw tall skinny islands that really expanded the rest of the great room, C-shaped wrap-around versions for the show cook, and wet bar islands that connected to the outdoor patio area, serving as a secondary kitchen.

Builders can’t go wrong pumping more of the budget into the kitchen, and even some of the more extravagant examples I saw could be toned down and incorporated into more economical homes.


nullWell, I have trouble calling them “laundry” rooms since the versions I saw included everything from crafting areas to dual wine refrigeration to full-sized walk-in pantries. The flexible use of laundry rooms was off the chart in these homes.


Builders would be wise to consider incorporating plan flexibility into their laundry rooms. Combining various work areas into a single, behind-closed-doors space can be very effective, but only if it fits into a buyer’s lifestyle. Light colors, high ceilings, ample light and even multiple windows helped these multi-functional spaces feel much larger than they were.

Even though I didn’t tour many homes targeted to first-time buyers, the trends I saw could easily be scaled to meet the entry-level market. Remember, pick one or two key elements for each plan – you don’t have to do them all. It takes some courage to do it, but the builder who finds a way to incorporate these ideas within attainable price points will be the one to chase.