Luxury Appliance Trends
by Margaret Macdonald
With exceedingly busy lives, both style and convenience in appliances are becoming more paramount in today’s ever-changing world. Appliances, for example, have come a long way from the brash style of the 1970s harvest gold refrigerator and stove era. Technologically speaking, appliances have progressed light years from energy-wasting refrigerators and coil element stove tops.
The top three trends on the appliance market today are integrated refrigeration, induction cooking and convection steam cooking.
Aesthetically, a huge trend in residential kitchens is that less is more. Minimalist design trends demand the need for fully integrated appliances with refrigeration seamlessly blending into the adjacent cabinets.
Fully integrated refrigerators are typically 24-inches deep and require a cabinet door front (panel ready) from the cabinetmaker to be installed directly on the appliance. These refrigerators can include full-height models as well as under-counter versions.
With so many options on the market, what is the right choice? Aside from functionality and performance, a big consideration would be the hinges: are they completely concealed and do they allow for a 3-mm to 6-mm reveal between the adjacent cabinetry? A minimal reveal will allow for the perfect alignment to match the cabinetry. Cabinets typically have a 3-mm reveal, which is the gap between cabinet doors and/or drawer fronts.
Another consideration would be the adjustment flexibility of the cabinet door front on the appliance (the adjustment capabilities are dictated by the appliance manufacturers specifications), allowing side-to-side, up-and-down and in-and-out adjustments of the panel, which guarantees a perfect fit. Integrated refrigerators have heights that can vary from brand to brand. Make sure you check specs carefully with the cabinetmaker.
One the best technological advances in the appliance industry, although often the most misunderstood, are induction cooktops and ranges. Induction cooktops offer a ceramic cooking surface which is great solution for today’s design trends. With decreased cooking times and superior ease of use, the benefits are almost limitless.
But what exactly is induction cooking? Electricity flows under the ceramic surface, which generates a magnetic field and in turn causes electrons to vibrate. This vibration causes the pan to heat up immediately. Because of the magnetic field, only magnetic cookware will work. Induction cookware is now very common and can be purchased everywhere cookware is available.
The cooking surface itself does not heat up – only the pan. This whole process can cut down on cooking time by up to 40 per cent compared to gas and standard electric cooking. Imagine boiling a pot of water in less than 60 seconds. Induction cooking also makes cleanup of the cooktop a breeze because the area outside of the cookware doesn’t heat up, hence no more scorched boil overs.
Convection Steam Cooking
Although convection steam cooking has been around for over 40 years, this cooking style has gained popularity in the last few years. Often when we imagine steam cooking, we think of food that is bland and void of flavour, colour and crispness. But this is not the case.
Convection steam ovens use both convection heat (air which is circulated in the oven for a more consistent heat and quicker cooking time) and steam (heat from the oven turns water into steam, which allows for the food to be moist and hold in more nutrients). Typically these two cooking methods can be used independently of each other or in tandem. From baking the most incredible loaves of bread with a beautifully browned, crisp crust and a fluffy, moist inside, or to baking the perfect pizza that you swear was cooked by your local pizzeria, convection steam ovens are the perfect addition to any kitchen.
You can also defrost in a convection steam oven – gone are the days of greyish, partially cooked meat from defrosting in a microwave. When defrosting frozen meat in the convection steam oven, the results are phenomenal. It’s as if you just picked up dinner at the local butcher.
|MARGARET MACDONALD has been involved in kitchen design, both as an international designer and as A&D sales manager for luxury products for over 20 years.
Her vast wealth of experience in all areas pertaining to residential kitchen design has been invaluable in her current position as A&D, trade sales manager for Maroline Inc.