“The kitchen can be immediately transformed by simply adding one colorful appliance,” says Arcadio Lainez, director of marketing for Zephyr in San Francisco, CA. “We’ve seen a lot of deep red appliances that give the kitchen a dynamic look, and the color is a great complement to cool stainless steel.”
Lainez says the color trend is also hot in ventilation hoods. “We’re seeing more color, fashion and technology,” he says. “Consumers are making a bold statement in their kitchens, with colors and customized designs to match the existing cabinetry and kitchen décor.
The trend toward additional finish options isn’t limited to the super premium market, notes Frye. “Even affordable design has caught on to it,” she comments. “Amana’s newest refrigerator color – Midnight Blue – and the Quick Tap entertainment refrigerator, offered in red or silver, help add more personality to the kitchen.”
“There is also a trend toward glass,” Joseph notes, pointing to the interest in Dacor’s Preference line, which features color-infused glass-front panels in six neutral tones. “It’s a nice finish, very easy to clean and doesn’t scratch.”
The current economy has spurred an interest in remaining closer to home. That trend, in turn, is driving the rising demand for appliances that increase convenience for home dining and make entertaining a lot easier.
“For many homeowners today, entertaining is all about preparing a gourmet meal at home in a well-appointed kitchen,” says Marni Hale, spokesperson for BSH Home Appliances in Huntington Beach, CA. “The dinner party is the main event, as homeowners invite guests into the kitchen and involve them in the process of preparing food.”
As informal entertaining grows in popularity, open-plan kitchens are gaining momentum, notes Frye. “The open plan allows people to move from room to room more freely,” she explains. “Better kitchen ventilation helps when cooking meals such as fish in an open-plan kitchen, as the smoke, steam and odors are captured and removed.
“Downdraft ventilation is an appealing option, as it eliminates the need for an overhead hood, clearing the way for more innovative kitchen plans and making island and peninsula installations easy,” Frye continues. Jenn-Air recently introduced a duct-free downdraft cooktop, which brings downdraft ventilation technology to high-rise apartments, condos and households unable to run ductwork or vent smoke to the outside.
Drawer appliances are on the upswing due to their ease of use and assimilation into the design, and drawer dishwashers provide flexibility when cleaning up. “Two-drawer dishwashers allow for two dish loads to be cleaned simultaneously at different cycle settings,” explains Frye, “so fine china can be cleaned in one drawer and pots and pans in the other.”
The sleek and modern design with cutting-edge technology that has been part of the consumer electronics market is beginning to be seen in the kitchen appliances arena, believes Lainez. He points to induction cooktops as an example, which he says are much more minimal than traditional ranges and complement a modern kitchen layout as a major technological advancement.
“The speed and energy savings with induction cooking is changing the way consumers cook, giving them more control with their temperatures and faster cooking time,” he remarks. “Overall, this is an easier and more efficient cooking experience – from the heating to the cleaning.”
Thermador’s new line of induction cooktops features Sensor Dome cooking technology, which brings cookware to an ideal temperature and cycles on and off to maintain the precise temperature.
Gas, of course, remains a popular choice, and Fisher & Paykel’s CookSurface incorporates new technology that makes it more user friendly, according to Scott Davies, marketing manager, Fisher & Paykel Appliances in Huntington Beach, CA. The gas cooktop features trivets and sensors that retract into the ceramic cooktop when not in use, making it seamless and easy to clean.
And, ordinary cooks can mimic gourmet chefs when using some of the more advanced ovens, many of which feature touch LCD screens.