Embracing the Outdoors Reigns Supreme at IBS

Laurie Cowin
February 26, 2019
THE TALK... | Markets & Trends

Growing up, one of my favorite rooms in our house was our back “blue room,” which had one huge picture window with two casement windows on either side. They encompassed nearly the entire wall. We had a perfect view of our backyard and at Christmastime we displayed our tree in front of the window so the few people who traveled down the back alley could see the lights and (mostly homemade) ornaments of my childhood.

Fast forward several decades and I live in a country home with plenty of windows so I can always see outside and each room is bathed in natural light, which makes my home a happier, brighter place. My fondness for feeling like I’m outside even when I’m inside, however, spans far beyond personal preference. It’s now one of the hottest trends overtaking the fenestration industry.

Last week, the Window & Door and Window and Door Dealers Alliance team traveled to Las Vegas for the 75th annual International Builders’ Show, part of the annual Design & Construction Week, which, this year, drew more than 100,000 attendees.

Two days of walking the show floor and meeting with exhibitors kept reinforcing the melding of indoor and outdoor living. No longer content to just have great indoor spaces and great outdoor spaces, homeowners are demanding areas in which the two seamlessly transition and where the outdoors still feels accessible even if they’re inside. So, what does this mean for window and door manufacturers? Minimal sightlines, large folding door systems, huge glass panes for expansive views and retractable screens that don’t interfere with the views. 

Dozens of products on display exhibited those very features, and more. Door systems from Boral Building Products, Andersen, NanaWall, Marvin Windows, Panda and Caoba Doors, just to name a few, grabbed the attention of many passersby. Fleetwood Windows & Doors showcased its 4070T system that, even with a hidden track system, exhibits good water performance and has the capacity to accommodate panels up to 100 square feet.

Phantom Screens told and showed me how their retractable screens are well-suited for French doors and that their screens can be made up to 12 feet wide. Meshtec, meanwhile, had on display a stainless steel screen that is impact rated and can’t be punctured by knives or even by a dog running through it. (A chocolate Labrador was the test dog, they told me.)

We certainly saw many products beyond just those that focus on the indoor-outdoor living trend, though. Inox and Masonite showed off a wide range of colors to fit any palette; Piva Group and Eko-Okna displayed European designs; and several companies, including Kolbe, Arcadia Custom and Häfele, embraced the rustic and barn door trends in their displays.

Check out Window & Door’s Twitter feed (@WindowDoorMag) for full coverage of what our staff saw during the show and send me an email, lcowin@glass.org, to tell me what products grabbed your attention this year.

Laurie Cowin is senior editor of Window & Door. Contact her at lcowin@glass.org.