How Advances in Kitchen Appliance Technology are Impacting Residential Interior Design Planning

Fred Wilson, AIA

Fred Wilson, AIA
Founding Partner at Award Winning Chicago Architects, Morgante Wilson

Jul 11, 2014 - 5 min read

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How Advances in Kitchen Appliance Technology are Impacting Residential Interior Design Planning

Walk into any kitchen appliance store today, and the array of choices is breathtaking. Take ovens, for example. Options include gas and electric ovens, of course, but also convection ovens. Speed ovens. Even steam ovens. Not only will your selection govern the way you cook, increasingly, it’ll also govern the way you plan your kitchen. And the way it looks.

Consider this: until just last night (okay, until very, very recently), most professionally-designed kitchens incorporated dramatic range hoods as “Look at me!” focal points. Whether plastered to evoke a French chateau, or clad in cottage-like beadboard, eye-catching range hoods have long been considered stylistic musts to communicate a kitchen’s overall design sensibility. Even by all of us at Morgante Wilson Architects. But not any longer.

Today, you see, new kitchen appliance technologies are rendering range hoods all but obsolete. Cooktops offer one example why. Not long ago, our choices were confined to gas or electric models. But now, induction heat is rapidly becoming popular. Professional chefs note induction cooktops heat up faster and can even boil water in about a minute, shortening time spent working in the kitchen. As if that wasn’t appealing enough, the burner on an induction cooktop will remain cool to the touch, even as your spaghetti rolls and roils at 100 degrees centigrade. Another benefit – and now we’re honing in on range hoods, here – is that induction cooktops generate a lot less steam and smoke than conventional cooktops. Suddenly, the need for a big, hard-working range hood disappears. And with it, your kitchen’s assumed focal point.

Instead, you’ve got a delightful choice to make: a beautifully milled, glass-front cabinet to show off your antique china collection, say, or a leaded glass, arched window? Because now that it’s no longer necessary to position a range hood on your wall, you have plenty of space to consider other, possibly much more beautiful, options.

Speed ovens and steam ovens, too, offer novel possibilities in terms of kitchen space planning. Both are gaining popularity as versatile alternatives to microwaves, as they cook quickly like microwaves, but offer enticing additional features, such as browning. Either makes a compelling alternative as a second oven, and replaces the need for a microwave – freeing counter space, island space, or wall space. (If you simply cannot imagine your kitchen without a microwave for quick reheating, buy a cheap model for under $100 and stick it in your pantry.)

Ultimately, these fresh technologies are going to impact the way you – or the architects at Morgante Wilson – plan your kitchen. To learn more, give us a call. We’d love to share with you all we’ve learned in terms of the many fantastic design opportunities they offer.

Fred Wilson, AIA

Fred Wilson, AIA

Founding Partner at Award Winning Chicago Architects, Morgante Wilson