Cooking is still the most important kitchen activity, and today there are a variety of ways to get the job done. These ideas will show you some of the latest developments in kitchen appliances.
A stainless-steel professional-style range is the hot ticket for many people, but a true professional model has special requirements. At up to 60 inches wide, some pro ranges are twice the width of a standard 30-inch consumer model. That means giving up some cabinet space. For home use, consider a "professional-style" range. These models look the part and often offer pro features such as dual fuel (gas cooktop and electric oven), convection cooking, self-cleaning ovens, smaller sizes, and childproof controls.
Wall ovens offer another option for serious cooks. Conventional, convection, microwave, and broiler models are available, though some use different cooking methods simultaneously to speed up the cooking process. If you opt for a wall oven, you'll need a separate cooktop. A separate cooktop allows you to have as many or as few burners as you need regardless of oven size.
Warming drawers reduce the stress of having the complete meal ready at the same time. They reduce juggling and keep food at serving temperature, from 140 to 200 degrees, for extended periods. A drawer can be placed near the oven, or even built into the dining area to keep hot food within reach during meals.
A freestanding refrigerator, at about 30 inches deep, protrudes beyond standard 24-inch-deep base cabinets. However, built-in refrigerators measure about 24 inches deep to blend seamlessly. The shallow depth means a built-in refrigerator has to be wider to achieve the same capacity as a standard model. Built-in refrigerators are available with stainless-steel or painted finishes, and many accept door trim panels that can be made to match the rest of the kitchen cabinets. Border the fridge with full-height pantries and it is almost or completely unnoticeable.
Refrigerator drawers slide out of a base cabinet like any other drawer. Inside these drawers is a small, self-contained refrigerator with an individual temperature control. This allows each drawer to store a particular type of food. These appliances blend easily behind a panel that matches the cabinets, similar to a full-size, built-in fridge. Install one for vegetables near a prep sink, another next to the range for meats, and another in the family room for drinks and snacks. Adding one in the family room or game room keeps snacks handy and snackers out of kitchen traffic zones.
Cleaning up isn't glamorous, but it is necessary. Thankfully, today's trends in dishwashers make the job easier.
Dishwasher drawers install under the counter, stack, or border the sink for a quick, energy-saving wash. Run one drawer and save your larger dishwasher for pots and pans. This new concept in kitchen appliances also works in the dining area for a fast table clearing. Place glasses and silverware in the drawer for cleaning while you enjoy company.
Elevated dishwashers prevent bending over while loading and unloading dishes. Consider raising your dishwasher off the floor from 6-18 inches, but remember good kitchen design dictates having at least 18 inches of counter space on one side, and 24 inches on the other, at the same height as the sink.
Quiet dishwashers allow you to throw the dishes in for cleaning right after dinner, without hindering conversation in the kitchen or great-room. Many of today's high-end models are so quiet you'll have trouble hearing them run.
Double dishwashers allow separating pots and pans from finer dishes, and cleaning more at the same time. Install one full-size unit on each side of the sink, especially in larger homes. Or, use two dishwashers as permanent storage for everyday dinnerware. Pull clean items from one dishwasher as needed, then load them into the other dishwasher once they are dirty. This saves time and cabinet space.