It’s Your Kitchen

Filed in Design and Decor by on September 16, 2014

kitchen1Savvy homeowners want more from their kitchen appliances than dependability and a certain look. They’re on the hunt for convection ovens for even, fast baking. They want French-door refrigerators that let them see their food at eye-level. They know there are several options for dishwashers from drawers to dual units.


They’re not afraid to look and ask for what they need.


“People are often coming in with a list,” says Tiffany Olson, marketing and advertising manager for ApplianceSmart in the Twin Cities and Rochester. “They’re more aware of what’s out there.”


Most homeowners are still going with the look of stainless steel, though some will give up stainless in favor of a feature. Stainless is better than ever thanks to improvements in finishes to reduce fingerprinting and marking.


“I think people correlate stainless with cleanliness, and they want a clean kitchen,” says Dan Zierden, owner of Cullen’s Home Center in Fergus Falls.


Homeowners are also concerned about appliance energy efficiency, as well as childproofing features, adds Olson. They’re evaluating how certain appliances would fit into their lifestyle. “A lot of people are being more conscious of kids and what’s safe for them,” she says. “For example, they don’t want controls on the fronts of the range.”


But beyond those basics, homeowners are seeking specific features to meet their needs. Here’s a sampling of what’s popular:



French-door refrigerators are leading the pack. The side-by-side fridge doors, with a freezer on the bottom, are as functional as they are visually appealing.


countertop-depth-refrigerator“Consumers get better access and are able to see all of the food in the fridge without having the bend over.” Olson says.


Counter-depth refrigerators are also growing in popularity. Rather than jutting out into the kitchen, these shallow fridges reach just to the cupboards and can be paneled to match the cabinetry.


“They leave a much cleaner look, cleaner sight lines and better traffic flow in the kitchen,” says Erin Bjerke, appliance manager at Ferguson in Fargo.


Other features in consider include water and ice dispensers which are available inside or outside the fridge, as well as handle styles which can lead to a variety of appliance looks including professional or more European.


“Refrigerators today com in many different configurations to accommodate almost anyone’s needs,” Bjerke says.




When it comes to freestanding ranges, they seem to have a little in common with their relatives of the past. More people are choosing convection ovens, which use fans in addition to heating elements to cook food more quickly and evenly. Lower prices are making this a more affordable option.

double oven


Double ovens (one larger than the other) are another feature to consider.


“They give the home cook more versatility to cook multiple dishes at once without having to remodel the entire kitchen,” Olson says. “The smaller oven can handle most of the everyday cooking while preheating quicker, using less energy and not heating up the home as much.”


Gas cook tops are increasingly popular due to the temperature control they offer, and they are available in duel-fuel ranges, with gas cook tops and electric ovens.


Induction cook tops can be an even better option thanks to their quick heating, safety measures and easy-to-clean smooth surface. Induction cooking uses electromagnetic fields to heat only the cookware, while the rest of the surface remains cool.


“It’s more efficient and much faster,” Zierden says. “There’s a fairly significant price difference right now, but from a green standpoint, I can see it catching on and taking off.”



The biggest demand on dishwashers is actually the lack of something – noise. Most high-end dishwashers today are actually silent.

hidden control dishwasher


Other features include hidden controls, stainless steel interiors and a third rack on the top of silverware. Drawer dishwashers (two independent dishwashers stacked on top of each other) can save space and offer a clean look.


Zierden says some people even opt for dual dishwashers, one on either side of the sink.



Even the microwave has a newer feature to brag about. Speed cooking microwaves combine convection backing, microwave cooking and halogen light for browning to heat food up to 60 percent faster than a regular oven.


“You can make a frozen pizza in less than 10 minutes, and it doesn’t need to be preheated,” Olson says. “Speed cooking is growing in popularity as the cost has come down.”


Built-in microwaves are also replacing over-the-range styles as home owners upgrade their ranges, requiring hoods for ventilation.

Finding the Right Appliances


There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to selecting features for kitchen appliances. It’s all about sifting through the options and determining what’s important to you.


“Some people find a feature useful where others think it’s a waste,” Bjerke says. “Features are now getting more customized to what people want.”



by Amanda J. Peterson



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