Monday, March 4, 2013

Trend Alert!: Why You Should Conceal Your Kitchen Appliances

by terracottaproperties
Recently, I was browsing through my collection of kitchen magazines and was shocked to witness the transformation of kitchen appliance design over the past 10 years. Yes, kitchen appliances have been reinvented over and over throughout the decades, usually due to improved technology, but today it's about more than faster cooking speed and refined functionality. As kitchen living and cooking have taken center stage in our lives, the balance between style, function and budget is often tipped by the desire to make a statement.

 Whether we choose streamlined, minimalist appliances, pro-style industrial-grade appliances or even retro-chic units that channel a 1920s playfulness, all of them are designed to perform not only efficiently but beautifully. Of the many options we now have, one of my favorite new trends is the introduction of fully flush, concealed appliances, known in the industry as integrated appliances. As the name suggests, these products are designed to fit flush with the face of the cabinets and be outfitted with custom panel fronts and hardware.
The panel fronts can be designed to match the surrounding cabinetry, thus making the appliance virtually disappear without sacrificing an inch of capacity or effectiveness. This design is most often used for refrigerators and dishwashers, but it's also found as an option for trash compactors, ice makers and other bar-related appliances.
Why do it? As a designer, I specify concealed appliances whenever I can. It allows me to focus the design around one great element in a kitchen, such as a statement-making hood or an eight-burner gas stove fit for a five-star restaurant, rather than have all appliances competing for attention. While these appliances shine, the rest of the space can remain visually uncluttered yet seriously functional. Think dual dishwashers that flank a sink yet can’t be seen, or a refrigerator that disappears into a wall of pantry's like a little dose of design magic!



For historically sensitive renovations, integrated appliances can bring modern technology into a kitchen while maintaining a vintage aesthetic (i.e. hiding a refrigerator behind beautiful white beadboard). Likewise, concealed appliances can be placed anywhere in the house without sacrificing style. In rooms beyond the kitchen, refrigerator drawers and ice makers that look like built-in cabinets can show up in a media room or a library. They are also useful in small kitchens, where too many appliances and changes in material can make the space feel crowded.

Currently, only a few manufacturers offer these truly integrated appliances—some of my favorites are the Asko dishwasher and the 36" Sub-Zero refrigerator. Both are quiet and efficient, and the refrigerator is small enough to fit into almost any sized kitchen. As the trend gains popularity, expect to see more options appear on the market.
Keep in mind that if you select concealed appliances, you'll need to let your cabinetmaker know in advance and provide the shop with manufacturer's specifications that detail the sizes and mounting requirements for the panels. Luckily, most appliances follow standard dimensions that correspond to cabinet dimensions, but some European manufacturers may differ slightly, so be sure to double check before you place the order.

At Cabinet-S-Top, we can help you balance your kitchen design between style, function, and budget while making statement.  Stop by our showroom located at 1977 Medina Road, Medina, OH  44256 ~ 330.239.3630.




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