Four trendy ways to add pizzazz to the heart of your home.
by Roberta Maynard
|Fast and Easy
Our demand for convenience and fast turnaround has influenced our everyday lives in powerful ways, and functionality of our kitchens is no exception. Thanks to technology, more products than ever address our need to get a meal on the table fast. New this year are high-speed ovens by Kenmore and Samsung that can cook foods in one-fifth the time of a conventional oven. Another innovation, a combination refrigerator-stove from Whirlpool, keeps your dinner cold all day until your pre-set command starts it cooking. When you return home, there’s little to do but set the table and make the salad. Soon, remote access to this and other appliances will be widely available.Designer Frank Barnes says that even among his custom-home clients, convenience is a priority. “People are starting to enjoy cooking again,” he says, “but Monday through Thursday, they want to be able to cook in 15 minutes or less.” That desire has yielded a variety of time-saving devices, including Maytag‘s “family-size” ranges. Five cubic feet of cooking space means an end to cooking items in shifts; everything can be done in one load.
Fast and easy also means low maintenance. For folks who have soccer games, business meetings and tee-off times to consider, easy-to-clean materials are more important than ever. It’s a priority that has fueled the growth of solid surface countertops, and it’s affecting other kitchen surfaces as well. For instance, despite the continuing popularity of stainless, several manufacturers this year introduced a brushed stainless finish in response to customers who love the neutral look of silver, but who prefer not to spend their time wiping fingerprints from their appliances.
|New appliances are doing more for busy families on the go. Sharp’s high-speed oven (left) reduces cooking time by 20 percent, and Whirlpool’s refrigerated range (bottom right) keeps food cold until pre-set cooking begins. With Grohe’s pot filler (top right), there’s no need to haul heavy pots, and a new brushed-finish stainless, shown on the Samsung refrigerator (middle), all but eliminates fingerprint clean up.