Meeting the needs of culinary- and tech-obsessed homebuyers

The modern kitchen has evolved to become more than a space for preparing food. Having ample kitchen space is a must, along with more opportunities for customization—whether the owner is into gourmet cooking or specialty baking, or fancies him or herself as a coffee barista, wine connoisseur, or signature cocktail maker. 

Post pandemic, more individuals are still doing at least some of their work remotely.   While a “hybrid” schedule may mean they won’t be spending quite as much time at home, homeowners don’t appear to be moving backwards in what they demand of their homes or any less intentional about how they will use their space to live full lives.

The traditional kitchen triangle work zone comprising the sink, refrigerator and range is changing.  The experts say that at least one kitchen zone should be dedicated to work—whether it’s where the professional powers up the laptop to start the weekday mornings near the coffee center or the homework hub for the kids after school.  Following this trend, multi-functioning extra-large kitchen islands are a must-have. Double sinks and walk-in pantries remain among the most desired features in the modern kitchen, according to NAHB research.  Consumers are investing in pro-style appliances and specialized gadgets like pasta makers, sous vides and bread makers.

Signature Kitchen Suite’s wine column refrigerators interact with a Signature Sommelier app to manage your personal collection with photos of labels and notes on shelf placement.  The app can even learn your preferences to make pairing recommendations.

The KitchenAidⓇ SmartOven+ 30” Combination Oven with Powered Attachments enables grilling, stone cooking and steaming. The steamer attachment can also be used with the Steam Assist mode to create a humid cooking environment ideal for baked goods, breads and roasts. The mobile app allows users to remotely monitor and control the oven, suggest when it’s time to tend to the food, or enter cooking instructions and save them for next time.

The name of the game for ovens is sizing to suit, multiple cooking modalities

For baby boomers who are downsizing, the right sized appliance is compact but functions with all the same capabilities and options as those found in a premium full-sized kitchen.  Other buyers seek an oven that is maximum in every way– from range cavity size to BTU output.  Whether big or small, units offering multiple cooking modalities in a single unit are also all the rage. Gas and induction cooking methods are nearly equal in popularity, with induction expected to replace traditional glass electric cooktops.  A number of manufacturers now offer both convection cooking and steam cooking in a single unit.

Capturing two 2021 Best of IBS Awards in the Home Technology and Indoor Product categories, Signature Kitchen Suite offers the only 36-inch dual-fuel pro range with built-in sous vide functionality – in addition to induction and gas – all on the rangetop.  It is engineered to be installed without the need for a separate and expensive make-up air system, as it stays under 39,000 BTUs, making this ideal for installations in urban homes or luxury high-rise buildings. With the potential to significantly save builders costs on ventilation, this is a true game-changer for the industry.

On the other end of the spectrum, Italian appliance maker Forza offers the world’s first 48” range with single-cavity oven with 7.8 cubic feet in the range cavity and over 40-inches of clearance, it can cook two Thanksgiving turkeys side by side.   To bring the outdoor barbecue trend indoors, the MaxRotisserie accessory is a 33-inch motor-driven rod that can rotate a whole goat, lamb or small pig for multicultural cuisines.  With 18,000 BTU, it heats the oven cavity evenly from edge to edge, eliminating cold spots and maximizing the heating area. The oven goes 0 to 400°F in 8 mins and tops out at 536°F in 20.  It’s range features Forza’s proprietary MassimoBlu™ Hyper Double Broiler—the industry’s only blue-flame double broiler and the Infinito™ Grate System—a continuous grate system with an integrated bullnose, utilizing edge-to-edge cast iron grates.  With four 12,000 BTU full brass burners in the back and four 20,000 BTU dual flame full brass burners in the front, it has 128,000 BTU of total cooktop power.

Forza, shown in Radicale Red, offers the world’s first 48” range with single-cavity oven with 7.8 cubic feet in the range cavity and over 40-inches of clearance.

LG’s InstaView side-by-side refrigerator has an InstaView window that allows you to knock twice to see inside without opening the door.  It features a UVnano water dispenser that kills up to 99.99% of bacteria using ultraviolet light on the dispenser nozzle.  Linear Cooling, Smart Cooling, and Door Cooling+ work together to extend the life of produce and help keep all foods fresh and flavorful.

Refrigeration:  When it comes to food preservation, one temperature does not always fit all

Creating a suite of complementary refrigeration and freezer appliances, or appliance columns, is a trend that provides food storage flexibility, yes, but it also accomplishes much more.  Today’s homeowners are sensitive to the fact that more than one third of the world’s food production is lost to waste every year.   While food producers go to great lengths to ensure the food we buy is fresh when it reaches the grocery shelves, it takes the right refrigeration and knowledge of how to properly store food and ingredients to make a difference in reducing food waste. Modern refrigeration makes it easier to store every type of food ingredient at its optimal temperature and humidity level – locking in flavors, texture and micronutrients.

 Luxury appliance brand Signature Kitchen Suite has earned the reputation for bringing groundbreaking innovations to market, and its 24-inch built-in undercounter convertible dual drawer refrigerator is no exception. Homeowners will enjoy unmatched flexibility with dual convertible drawers that operate independently of one another. Users can select from six temperature zones including Pantry, Fridge, Bar, Seafood, Meat and even a setting to convert each drawer into a freezer.

Pantries are a Top Priority

Ultimately, the pantry serves as the problem solver of the kitchen. Homebuyers are happy when their kitchen counters are clutter free. Walk-in pantries are listed as the 7th most wanted feature by homeowners according to the NAHB HMI survey.  Installing a countertop in the pantry makes unloading the groceries easy.   For more counterspace and a clean, seamless look in the kitchen, consider designing the pantry to house some of the countertop appliances  (including the coveted gadgets listed below), and be sure to add plenty of electrical outlets.  Ideal shelving would be a combination of adjustable shelving along with some solid wood shelving to allow for storing and protecting of valuable dishes or family heirlooms such as china without the worry of it toppling over.

The Drink’s The Thing

 Now that people have had time to practice up on their culinary and bar-tending skills, home entertainment is even more the rage, and specialty appliance options are here to support the habits. 

Plum’s integrated wine dispenser offers a sleek design and the ability to hold two opened bottles of wine for up to 90 days so you can have a glass of wine at the touch of a button. Using artificial intelligence, it also automatically identifies varietals and chills the bottle to the proper temperature. Dacor also makes a 24-inch integrated wine dispenser that implements argon gas technology to store four open bottles for up to 60 days without a loss of flavor.

GE Profile’s Opal 2.0 nugget ice maker lets you have “good ice” at home for your cocktails or mocktails. Designed to fit on countertops and low enough to clear cabinets, the device makes one pound of chewable nugget ice per hour and holds up to three pounds. It comes in stainless steel and black stainless steel finishes and has built-in Wi-Fi that lets you set the ice-making schedule via an app.

Miele’s CM6 MilkPerfection countertop coffee system allows you to control the quantities of water, milk and froth at any point in the preparation. You can also store your preferences in a user profile, so your significant other will magically know exactly how you like your morning caffeine.

Make it a Comfortable Retreat

Use cushier seating, make it easy to clean, put some thought into clever clutter-reducing design, add some mood-inducing lighting, art and music.  The kitchen is indeed the new family room!

BLANCO’s modern design, dual-spray control faucet has a powerful pull-down sprayhead – concealed within its graceful, gooseneck spout. With a convenient swivel of 190 degrees, this faucet can easily clean every corner of the sink.

A fingerprint resistant finish, three adjustable racks, large capacity, quiet operation and dishes that come out clean the first time are the qualifiers of a great dishwasher like the latest one from Whirlpool®.

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