10 Elements of Today's State-of-the-Art Kitchens
New technology, smart kitchen layouts and the hottest new appliances will make you feel like a Top Chef
Rebekah Zaveloff, owner and principal designer of KitchenLab, co-founder of Design in a Bag.com and Houzz contributor. I'm a self-professed tile nut and believer in good design for all! You can also visit me at: http://kitchenlabdesign.com and http://designinabag.com
Rebekah Zaveloff, owner and principal designer of KitchenLab, co-founder... More »
The first things people think of when it comes to state-of-the-art kitchens are appliances, with good reason; new technology and appliances go hand in hand. Laying them out for maximum cooking efficiency along with clever new organization strategies will give you a restaurant-inspired workspace. With a busy-cooking holiday season upon us, let's take a look at some state-of-the-art kitchens and 10 elements for the cookspace of your dreams.
1. Restaurant-style ranges and cooktops. There's nothing like a wall longer than the span of your arms full of cooking goodness: a multi-unit range with a combination of gas burners, a griddle, a wok burner and a fryer or steamer. Overhead there's a full-length hood to provide maximum ventilation coverage, a pasta filler and the wall rail for gadgets and utensils. A cook's dream.
2. Modular cooktops and ovens. Flexibility is at the forefront of cutting-edge kitchen design these days. All the state-of-the-art appliance companies are now offering 15"-24" cooking modules that fit into the countertop on their own or side-by-side to create a custom cooking environment.
3. Dedicated task stations. It's not just about the work triangle anymore. State-of-the-art kitchens are designed more like restaurant kitchens, complete with a clean up station, a prep station, a hot station and computer station.
4. Commercial-style and high-efficiency refrigeration. Refrigerators and freezers are going modular, too. More companies are coming out with separate all-refrigerator and all-freezer options, as well as the glass door/stainless interior units beautiful enough to make you fall in love with an appliance. Combo units are raising the bar on keeping food fresher longer while conserving energy.
5. Universal design. Product design is becoming more thoughtful and taking into account how people age with their homes. Everything from faucets to raised dishwashers are being designed for easier use by people of all ages and needs.
6. Gorgeous and functional ventilation. Hoods are breaking out of the basic box they've been in for years. We're seeing wilder and more imaginative designs, both modern and vintage, that get the very important ventilation job done.
7. Flexible small appliances. Not in the market for a complete state-of-the-art kitchen overhaul? Not to worry, appliance companies are coming out with more fun small appliances and gadgets to make cooking more enjoyable every day.
8. Cutting-edge organization. The kitchens of today are nothing like the ones from even 10 years ago, when you would consider yourself lucky to find roll-out shelves in cabinet. Today there is every form of organizational gadget, including magic corners, pull-out pantries, spice organizers and waste bin and recycling organizers, just to name a few.
9. Stylish workhorse sinks. The new sink designs coming out everyday are truly reinventing the infamous mousetrap. Offset drains, integrated cutting boards and multi-level interiors are just some of the options in sinks, which are available in all sorts of stunning shapes and sizes.
10. Convenient, hands-free faucets. Designed with universal design in mind as well as today's focus on hygiene and food prep, this commercial-inspired product has finally found its way into the home, and I think it's just a matter of time before it's available in all faucets.
This awesome restaurant-style range for the home even has what's called "a Salamander" in restaurant kitchen-speak, but Blue Star calls it "a broiler with raised griddle."
This commercial-style 60" range is what I would have in my ultimate dream kitchen if I had the room. This terrific range comes with a professional-style raised griddle broiler where you can both broil and fry simultaneously, restaurant-style.
A 60" double-oven range from Wolf, matching all-refrigerator, all-freezer units from Subzero, and island prep station complete with Sharp microwave drawer in the island make this kitchen state-of-the-art.
2. Modular cooktops and ovens. This induction cooktop is all one needs to boil water in record time.
Modular steamer units can be used for more than just steaming veggies; they're great for noodle dishes and soups, and they keep food warm while serving.
Talk about state-of-the-art : This induction cooktop is built into the surface of the Pyrolave countertop. Brilliant!
The wall steamer oven is another cutting-edge appliance that reflects how people's eating habits and concerns over healthy food are becoming a way of life.
3. Dedicated task stations. Modular cooking stations have been seen in ovens and what I call "tall walls" for some time, but they're becoming sleeker and more integrated. Microwaves, ovens and warming drawers can be stacked or separated.
A wall oven and warming drawer is the first thing I put outside the work triangle if I don't have room to fit everything within it. As I tell my clients, you don't stand in front of a wall oven and work at it; you put something inside and walk away. A separate wall-oven cooking station often makes a poorly laid out kitchen work again.
I'm a big fan the tall wall. Get all of these appliances in one spot to it make the other parts of the kitchen feel more open and airy. Here you have a double oven, microwave drawer, TV and wine refrigerator all tucked nicely into to one station.
Another tall-wall station holds a pantry, coffeemaker and refrigerator in addition to the ovens and microwave. This wall is quite the workhorse.
4. Commercial-style and high-efficiency refrigeration. State-of-the-art appliances often combine a commercial sensibility and a focus on efficiency, with both brawn and beauty thrown in.
If you have room for separate refrigerator and freezer units, it can make for a much better layout. We go into the refrigerator a dozen times a day, but the freezer doesn't need to be right in the middle of the work triangle.
5. Universal design. Once you see a raised dishwasher, you will wonder why dishwashers were ever designed to be placed down to the floor. If you have the room to do this, it's wonderful for those with bad joints or knee problems. Universal design is in the forefront of state-of-the art design.
6. Gorgeous and functional ventilation. Ventilation is one of those things that's gone from functional to sexy in no time.
7. Flexible small appliances. Countertop appliances are a great way to get the state-of-the-art function and style into your kitchen when you're not in the market for a remodel.
8. Cutting-edge organization. From silverware and dishes to trash bins and recycling, product designers are constantly on the hunt for new ways to make products more functional, stylish and helpful to those who use them.
Dedicated trash and recycling bins did not exist in kitchens 20 years ago.
Wall rail systems are another great way to add state-of-the-art organization to your kitchen.
9. Stylish, workhorse sinks. I own this sink and I'm absolutely in love with it. The offset drain and integrated drainboard, cutting board and mise-en-place dishes make it one of my favorite pieces in my kitchen.
If you have a small space and want your kitchen sink to do more than the typical tasking, try out a work station like this. It's like a mini restaurant kitchen all in one little sink.
10. Convenient, hands-free faucets. I believe that some day all faucets will have some form of smart-touch technology. It just makes so much sense. How many cooks out there wish they had three hands most of the time? Especially when cleaning or seasoning a chicken?
If you can integrate a few of these items or the whole slew of them, you'll be happier for it when cooking. Designers are constantly thinking about how to make the products they design better and more beautiful, and many become what's known to us as state-of-the-art.
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Ideabook published on Oct. 20, 2011.
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