Kitchen appliances are a hefty investment, and aside from design efficiency, are the most important part of your kitchen. Use this appliance buying guide to discover how to choose, when to splurge and what’s new on the market when it comes to kitchen appliances.
The newest dishwasher designs are so tasteful they blend right into your kitchen design so quiet they barely make a peep when turned on. Look for models with concealed control panels and stylized paneling built into the door for even more design subtlety and versatility. To minimize noise, choose a dishwasher with a quiet motor or sound buffering stainless steel interior. Noise control is especially important in a kitchen that’s open-plan or built adjacent to another room in the house.
If you own a large home, have a large family or love to entertain, some designers may recommend splurging on two dishwashers. Dishwasher drawers, a very hot new trend, can help make this double dishwasher dream come true. The drawers – which are currently made by companies such as GE and Kitchen Aid – are two independent dishwashers stacked one on top of the other. However, if space is a challenge, choosing a single dishwasher drawer can be a real square footage saver, too, and keep you on the cutting edge of kitchen appliance trends.
The wave of the future when it comes to dishwashers is all about energy efficiency. Many companies are now introducing models that use less water, require less detergent and boast shorter cycles – which is good for the pocket book and the environment!
More often than not, cooktops and ovens are now separate entities, which opens up myriad options when designing a kitchen. Rather than choosing a cooktop that sits atop an oven, homeowners can go big with commercial cooktops and high end gas models which can be placed anywhere in the kitchen and allow for a range of burner configurations. A popular choice is an island cooktop, which allows hosts to face their guests as they cook – or watch over children while preparing the family meal with greater ease. A cooktop is an excellent area on which to splurge. Electric residential cooktops are still available, but gas models are much more precise than electric ones and industrial size cooktops often contain extra burners or griddles.
Ventilation systems have also seen a great deal of change over the past few years. Rather than unsightly range hoods, new technology such as downdraft ventilation means more efficient cooking with less bulk. Also look for a system called induction cooking to emerge on the scene as a major player. This new cooking technology is ultra-safe, flame free and involves magnetic force fields.
Ovens: Convection and Conventional
An oven is another prime opportunity to splurge when constructing or redesigning a kitchen, if budget allows it. Convection ovens cost more, but the extra cost is worth it, especially for those who love to cook. The convection system features a powerful air circulation system that allows for more even heat distribution and faster cooking.
One oven alone is no longer enough when designing the ultimate kitchen. As with dishwashers, homeowners are now often opting for double ovens, which can be mounted on the wall or installed below the cooktop. Having two ovens means greater flexibility when cooking, and opens the door to a wide variety of culinary possibilities, especially when entertaining or feeding a large family. Warming drawers, which are not a new concept, are popular as well. These drawers keep cooked food at optimum temperatures without drying it out and are a wonderful addition to any kitchen – but particularly those that get a lot of use, whether due to entertaining or family food preparation frequency.
This standard kitchen appliance now comes in virtually all shapes, sizes and styles. Start by thinking practically. How big is your family? How often do you eat at home? Going over the realities of the lifestyle of your family should help you choose a refrigerator size, if nothing else. And don’t be conservative – when it comes to fridges, if space allows, bigger is always better!
The options for refrigeration units are virtually endless and include side-by-side, top-and-bottom, built-in, multi-purpose, paneled, drawer or pantry styles. For those who live in lofts or small condo units, Liebherr (distributed by Euro Line in
Perhaps the ultimate refrigerator on the market today is the Sub Zero Pro-48. This Cadillac of cooling devices features sculpted steel, dual refrigeration, triple evaporation, advanced controls, sumptuous design and energy efficiency. But luxury has its price – $24,000 (Canadian) to be exact!
Bar fridges are gaining ground these days, too – and some come with fabulous front panel options, which means a beverage-only fridge can be subtly integrated into other cabinets. Door panels are an option for regular fridges as well, and are an excellent way to hide a fridge behind warm, wood panels.