Another International Builders’ Show is in the books, and many people hearkened back to the “good old days” to describe the show. You know, back in the day when housing starts were well more than a million and business was good all around. As new-home construction continues to climb toward that million mark, the aisles were packed and the mood was positive. As is tradition, here are a few of my “all-over-the-place” thoughts from the show.

Biggest trend: The contemporary style rules by a mile—it wasn’t even close. If your company makes a door or window, it’s a pretty safe bet you had one of these in your booth. Check out all our news stories and our videos for a look at some of the options on display.

Biggest new trend: This one goes to barn doors, and if you think about it, it’s kind of interesting given my biggest trend above. So the modern look can fuse with the rustic look in the same home, perhaps. These could be found in almost every booth of a company that makes doors.

Masonite representatives say Barn Doors are a new trend in the industry.
Masonite representatives say Barn Doors are a new trend in the industry.

“This is a big, crazy trend,” said Masonite’s Todd Apple. “Using barn door hardware, these can be used in any type of application.” He adds that designers are really interested in these, and they also offer kits available through their retail partners.

Affirmation of barn door popularity (See above). Glasscraft president John Plummer told me this story: “An architect came by first thing first day of the show. He saw the barn doors and said ‘you are going to have a very successful show.’ Why? ‘Because every job I work on, the customer wants a barn door.’” Plummer says his company can make these as large as 9 by 8 feet or as small as a customer desires.

Favorite quote: Mark Montgomery, vice president, marketing, Ply Gem. When introducing a new sliding door prototype he said, “This is our Detroit auto show concept car.” We all know Detroit is where the latest and greatest technology is on display, so I particularly liked this analogy, giving a nod to the auto industry. The door’s minimalist design draws on European influences, is thermally broken anodized aluminum and is available in custom colors.

Couldn’t have staged it better myself experience: So I am at the Jeld-Wen booth looking at a 10-foot-wide by 4-foot-high beautiful door in the company’s IWP line and an attendee walks by and said, “Now, that’s a door. Holy crap.” That about sums it up.

Big is still better in many cases: Therma-Tru expanded its collection of 8-foot doors in its Craftsman and American collection and also added 42-inch-wide doors. “Builders are still going after that grand entryway,” said Heather Sonnenberg, vice president of strategic marketing.

It was so great meeting Shirley Wang and Michael Tull at the show.
It was so great meeting Shirley Wang and Michael Tull of Plastpro at the show.

Cool and unique (and unexpected) find. I have to admit I was taking a break near the Simpson door booth when the company’s John Quist came up to me and we started chatting. He told me about the book he published, What’s Wrong With That Door, available in English and Spanish (you can find it on While the book was written with wood windows in mind, Quist says it could work with other materials. Some even use it for dealer training. Quist published the book after his father passed away a few years ago. “This is a homage to my father, who was a door guy,” he said. “He always wanted me to write it.”

Favorite first introduction. I always heard about Plastpro founder and president Shirley Wang, but I never met her until yesterday. What a knowledgeable, passionate, and put-together person. She was a delight to meet on the day the company celebrated its 21st anniversary.

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