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November 28, 2013

Your 2014 Dream Kitchen: What Can Your Appliances Do For You?

When is the last time you purchased a major appliance for your home? If it’s been a while since you’ve walked through the doors of your local big box store or appliance retailer, you may notice a few changes.

Competition among appliance manufacturers is as fierce as ever, with each major brand struggling to anticipate upcoming design trends while balancing the wants and needs of today’s consumer.
GE’s Café Series French Door refrigerator
For brands like GE and LG, the goal isn’t to add the latest gadget to an appliance, but to enhance appliance performance and ultimately the user’s way of life. For instance, manufacturers are investigating ways to design laundry products that help preserve your textiles, and cooking appliances that maintain the freshness and nutritional value of food longer. GE’s Café Series French Door refrigerator, for example, offers an improvement over stoves and microwaves with a dispenser that offers water ranging in temperature from 32C to 85C, so users can make cocoa, tea, instant oatmeal or soups in a hurry.

Thanks to product reviews easily accessible online, today’s consumers have often done their share of research before walking into an appliance store. And if they’re redesigning their space like many Monarch clients, they ask for assistance and recommendation from their designers, as well.

“Most clients, to some degree, ask for assistance with their purchase decisions,” says Monarch designer Kevin Samson. “ Often, they will mention wish list priorities, or concerns they have with their existing appliances, and look to their kitchen designer for suitable solutions. Brand choice is all over the board. Typically, clients make choices based on factors such as past ownership experiences, budget, specific features, visual appeal or recommendations.”

Miele dishwasher
“Many of our clients like the Miele dishwasher because of its top cutlery rack and ability to be fully integrated with panels,” says Monarch designer Janet Dawson. “Another popular choice is the Wolf range because of the bold-looking red knobs. However, clients tend to make appliance choices in a broad range based on their tastes and preferences.”

The popularity of open concept kitchens or great rooms has translated into a move toward the transitional and away from the traditional. While stainless steel appliances are still considered the standard, consumers are now open to a broader range of appliance finishes and are opting for a mix of traditional in addition to appliances hidden by cabinetry. Drawer-style dishwashers have started to replace a full-size traditional dishwasher, and smooth-surface and induction cooktops have also gained popularity for their sleek design.

What features are home and condo owners looking for in an appliance now that they couldn't find 5-10 years ago? Our designers weigh in.

Janet Dawson:
“Induction cooking. Smarter appliances that have more automated settings. Smaller sized appliances are becoming more popular as baby boomers downsize and condos become a more popular housing choice. Homeowners are also looking for appliance choices that suit their needs more specifically; they want a broader range of choice than was available in the past.”

Kevin Samson:
“Many of our clients are excited by the prospect of having a second oven in the kitchen. Today, this can be accomplished in a number of ways. A double wall oven is one solution, while some manufacturers offer a stove with two separate ovens. Many microwave ovens are offered with a combination feature allowing the user to cook with the microwave feature, or a full convection oven.”