Kitchens are constantly evolving as technology and designs improve. So what are the latest trends and how do they affect your options for a kitchen redesign?
Winning Appliances CEO David Woollcott explains six of the latest trends surfacing in the kitchen.
If you’ve been looking for an upscale apartment in the last 12 months, you will have come across countless real estate ads promoting state-of-the-art kitchens, complete with the latest steam ovens. So for those of us still operating a regular old convection oven – what are they? A steam oven cooks your food using small injectors of steam, producing a less dry heat than your standard oven and removing the need to baste meats and vegetables in fats and oils to keep them moist. Woollcott says steam injecting technology has been available for a very long time, but in Australia it has really only taken off in the last two years.“The steam oven has pretty much replaced the microwave now,” he says. Steaming takes longer than microwaving – an extra five minutes – but the nutritional benefits make it well worth the wait. “You retain 80% of your nutrients when you steam as opposed to losing 80% when you boil or microwave,” Woollcott says. “Which means ultimately your getting the full benefits of what is pretty expensive fruit and vegetables these days.”
A combination steam oven – popular with gourmet chefs – combines the the benefits of steam cooking with all the necessities of a multifunction convection oven. These machines can come with specific settings, like “bread”, that will bake dough conventionally for however long it needs. Before the cycle finishes, the cavity will fill with steam to give your loaf a crusty top. It will look like a professional made it. “You’re likely to impress your friends, which is what it’s all about,” Woollcott says. If you’re considering selling your property down the track, a steam oven can also be tremendously valuable. “The quality of these products means that if you were to renovate and put a steam oven in, there will be a noticeable increase in the value of the property.”
Minimalism has been a trend in kitchen design since the early 2000s, but now appliances blend into their environment as they are made from the same materials used in cabinetry. This contrasts with the American or colonial look which positions large, flashy appliances as showpieces of the kitchen. “I think the European style is ultimately more desirable for Australian tastes… using really high quality kitchen appliances and allowing them to sit there elegantly but somehow blend into the environment.”
The American style is more suited to a larger kitchen/dining space with room for commercial-grade appliances. “The American style suits a kitchen where you have more room. I would struggle to fit a Sub-Zero (popular US brand) refrigerator in my kitchen,” he says. However, Australian kitchens are getting bigger, a trend that was foreshadowed in the US where large kitchens have become a must-have commodity – for those who can afford them. “Kitchens are getting bigger and bigger, we’ve seen that trend for a long time,” Woollcott says. “You have a look at kitchens built in the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s and they were smaller and more sectioned-off from the rest of the home. “But the more modern build has made the kitchen, dining and living areas fully integrated.”
How loud is your range-hood? If you’re going to have a large, open-plan kitchen, Woollcott says, you need to have a good quality range hood with an external motor. The motor will be installed on the outside of the house or in the roof, which means if you’re cooking it is silent so you can still hear the children or the TV. “I think some ways we’re coming back to the ‘campfire’ and enjoying the space where the food is prepared.”
A low energy rating is now expected when it comes to appliances – saving the environment and your bank account all at once. “The premium customer is so into this topic – they no longer want to buy a product that is going to burn more energy than their previous product, even if it has more features.”
Australians love to make use of their outdoor space with open plan kitchens flowing onto a backyard entertaining area, complete with its own outdoor appliances. Everything from dishwashers to refrigerators are finding a place outdoors. However, they can be expensive. “The indoor-outdoor movement is big but at the moment, but it’s quite expensive to do well because the equipment you put outside needs to be of a very high quality stainless steel,” Woollcott says. “But I think like steam ovens, the prices are going to come down and people are going to get better and better at integrating.”
Article courtesy of realestate.com.au