Trying to keep up with the latest technology in kitchen products is daunting and confusing even for those in the residential design and construction industry. Seems like there are new ideas and products arriving on the scene every day. Some will be available in the not too-distant future and some are available right now.
House Beautiful: Kitchen Idea http://ow.ly/gXA7 featured a kitchen with a custom built-in refrigerator that can be accessed by either side (front and back). This thing has eight doors! This is really intriguing, and my mind is racing imagining the applications for it. I wonder if one of the appliance manufacturers will pick up on this idea for mass production. Indoor-outdoor kitchens? What might the building and plumbing code issues be? Where does the compressor go? Can it be plumbed for ice and water? How about refrigerator drawers (or even freezer drawers) that could be accessible from both sides –in an island perhaps? As @Stagehouse on Twitter commented, “I’d be obsessed about only buying good looking items and how it looked from both sides!” as the one featured has glass doors.
Another interesting Twitter tweet this morning was by @KitchAnn_Style about Kohler’s latest faucetless sink: “Contemporary Kitchens need a sleek sink. This one doesn’t require a faucet.” http://bit.ly/qZVD2 #design Looks like bathroom technology in the kitchen! A sink that flushes? Maybe not the best analogy ;-p –but it does inspire the designer’s imagination. Clean room applications? Others commented that there might be a foot pedal option rather than a button on the countertop. This might be a great feature for a universal design or an aging-in-place application.
Already on the market is Jenn-Air’s new oil-rubbed bronze finish. I am surprised this one is going to fly, though we already have a client who is getting them. The client’s biggest quandary is finding a coordinating cabinet style and finish that appeals to them. Though Jenn-Air’s intent is to provide an alternative ‘metal’ finish to stainless. Stainless steel has become the new ‘neutral’ for appliance finishes which seems to be holding the line as the most sought-after finish for any design style or color scheme in kitchens (modern or traditional) and advances have been made to make it easy to clean and remain fingerprint free. Thus, one major drawback of the oil-rubbed bronze finish (not for Jenn-Air of course) is that you have to get all your appliances to match –no mixing brands ‘cause nobody else makes it. For some of us, the oil-rubbed bronze finish is a little reminiscent of the ‘autumn brown’ or ‘copper’ finish that was popular in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s so won’t likely give stainless much competition anytime soon.
KitchenAid has a new “steam assist” double oven that, in combination with convection cooking, eliminates the need to baste. Considering a complaint that convection cooking tends to dry food out,, this feature that promises “maintaining internal moisture” and “consistent heat on all three racks” is a really nice solution.
When it comes to cutting-edge technology in the kitchen, Fisher & Paykel is leading the way. First it was the dishwasher drawer –now it’s with a new kind of cooktop: http://link.brightcove.com/services/player/bcpid1578001942?bclid=1452188548&bctid=1502855473 Their new cooktop is glass with a gas burner and “pot supports” that pop up. You’ll get the best of both worlds –an easy-to-clean and good looking sleek glass top (when the burners are down) with the superior cooking ability of gas (when the burners are up). http://www.fisherpaykel.com/tomorrowskitchen/index.html#products/cook-surface. They have also jumped on the refrigerator drawer band wagon with their drawer that has multiple temperature control options touting this as the innovation that sets theirs apart from the rest.
There is no code requirement anywhere that says you have to have a hood, but unless you never cook, you’ll really need one to protect the rest of your house from grease build up, odors and damage from excessive heat and steam. So if you have to have one, why not get one that is not only highly efficient, but functions as an artistic focal point for your kitchen as well. The hood in this kitchen http://bit.ly/oJuDG inspired a lot of buzz on Twitter this week when posted by @GoodMillwork. It turned out to be made by Gaggeneau. Though I do think it is a custom width because I couldn’t find an option to get it that wide on their website. http://www.gaggenau.com/US_en/products.do. More other-worldly hoods on the market are made by Zepher and Italian company Elica. If traditional is what you seek though, take a look at Stanisci http://www.wood-hood.com/default.asp?ContentID=208&FileName=products.html for beautifully crafted wood hoods that can be stained to match your cabinetry yet have state-of-the-art blowers and inserts that can handle the ventilation requirements of commercial cook stoves.
So, you might ask, why am I telling you about all of these new products? Simply, when you are thinking about remodeling your kitchen or building a new house, you might seriously want to consider hiring a kitchen design professional who keeps up on these things and can find out where you can purchase them and how they will work into your budget and construction schedule. If you are working with an architect, builder or interior designer, they may not have the time to devote or the most up-to-date knowledge regarding kitchen design and product availability at this level as there are many other issues involving your project that they need to focus on. Your kitchen designer can work with these other professionals to help you come up with the best solutions to your design needs. What will they think of next when it comes to innovative products for the kitchen? Just ask your kitchen design pro.