With homeowners putting more time and money into their abodes, kitchens are becoming more sustainable, technologically advanced and filled with cool appliances. One current trend is giving the kitchen a facelift with a minimalistic look, which tends to give one of the most popular rooms in the house a contemporary, European feel.
“Different people have a different idea of what contemporary is,” says Pam Josey, director of corporate relations and education for SunWest Appliance Distributing in Tempe. There are different forms of the contemporary look homeowners go for, but most tend to be a softer form of contemporary, which involves the presence of clean, functional
appliances that help prevent the kitchen from feeling lifeless, Josey says. One way to get that minimalistic / contemporary look? Hide appliances.
One appliance that an increasing number of homeowners are tucking away is the refrigerator. Manufacturers are not only downsizing refrigerators in order to hide them within a kitchen’s cabinetry, but they are also strategically placing them around the kitchen. This is called modular refrigeration.
Refrigerators are placed where its contents are most conveniently served, such as a unit that contains only vegetables next to the vegetable sink. Another example is placing refrigerators containing drinks at the end of an island. Having multiple small refrigerators allows easy access to the foods needed in a certain area in the kitchen.
Refrigerators are also taking a step forward in terms of technology. Designers are adding Wi-Fi to them, which will inform owners when the door is left ajar. Other appliances have USB ports that update and search for problems the appliance may have.
However, among all of the kitchen appliances, coffee makers are making the biggest splash. “Built-in coffee makers are kind of the hot appliance everyone wants to get their hands on,” says Megan Still of Allstate Appliance in Scottsdale. Built-in coffee makers allow for increased countertop space and enhance the minimalistic look.
Not only are homeowners saving money with built-in coffee makers by avoiding the morning trip to the coffee shop, they are also saving money by investing in environmentally friendly appliances.
Companies are using recycled material, making appliances more energy efficient and decreasing water consumption. They are also helping to lower the running cost as well as the amount of energy it takes to run kitchen appliances, according to Still, in turn decreasing your electric bill.
As an example, Sub-Zero markets a line of fridges that cost less than $75 a year to run compared with the average $126 a year. As for dishwashers, its water usage is lower than the average 5.8 gallons required for new dishwashers, some using just two gallons of water per load.
However, homeowners are still interested in receiving the “best quality in the best price they can get it in,” Josey says. “People are willing to pay more for something that’s going to last longer,” Still adds, because people are staying in their houses longer instead of moving around.
Upcoming trends include the use of less upper cabinets, linear cabinets and adding pops of color to the kitchen with appliances.