Increasing my skepticism toward Pantone’s choice of orangish hue Tangerine Tango for color of the year is Viking’s choice to replace Pumpkin and other less-popular choices for colored appliances with finishes that sound like they were plucked straight from the pantry.
Viking nearly doubled its colored appliance choices in 2008 to 24, including Metallic Silver, Oyster Gray and Golden Mist. But Dijon, Wasabi, Cinnamon and Kettle Black — as called by Viking, not the pot (couldn’t resist) — will overtake those four come March.
Coincidentally, I featured Pumpkin and Golden Mist in a previous roundup of kitchen appliance colors because I thought them so…distinctive. (Turns out I wasn’t alone.)
If you’ve always dreamed of a Cinnamon kitchen, Viking appliances such as microwaves, ovens, refrigerators and ranges can be paneled in the colored finishes.
The free, self-guided tour includes 55 homes within the Minneapolis and St. Paul city limits with a focus on the actual homeowners sharing their experiences and ideas. The homes range in eras and lifestyles to offer a realistic look at the diverse housing and neighborhoods in the cities.
When appliances claim to “revolutionize” kitchen design, skepticism is only fair — except in the case of Sharp’s microwave drawer.
Microwave placement poses a problem (it’s an ongoing series for a favorite blogger of mine, Sarah Lloyd of Kitchen Clarity) for many concerned with the aesthetics and functionality of their kitchen.
Standard microwaves easily clutter an otherwise beautiful design, especially within kitchen islands and open-plan kitchens, when placed near eye-level.
And — I’m sorry — but who in her right mind would put a standard microwave under the counter? Retrieving hot and possibly heavy items while bent down begs for trouble.
So when Sharp introduced the first microwave drawer, it truly did offer a solution to what many consider a problem.
The newest 24″ microwave drawer and 30″ microwave drawer models expand capacity (now 1.2 cu. ft and tall enough for 20 oz. coffee cup) within their existing footprints and include new, feedback-driven functions:
Short cut options such as “Warm” to heat maple syrup and dessert sauces
Keep Warm function maintains the serving temperature for up to 30 minutes
Soften and Melt functions keep me from having to press my face up to the microwave glass to make sure I don’t make a buttery mess all over my microwave
Sensor Cook settings expanded to include popular items such as brown rice and sweet potatoes
Defrost options available for both boneless and bone-in poultry
Opens quietly and smoothly (minimizes messes!) automatically at the touch of a button
I’d personally love to have one of these. I use my microwave mostly for defrosting meats, steaming veggies and softening ingredients while cooking, so I like the idea of keeping it tucked away yet accessible.
What do you use your microwave for?
Does the idea of a microwave drawer seem like a novelty or practicality to you?
It was fun to watch the crews document the shopping experience of our customers, homeowners Carrie and Robert.
Carrie and Robert are doing a “gut job” of the kitchen in their South Minneapolis home. (Carrie joked that she didn’t let Robert buy a snow blower last winter because she was so set on saving for their kitchen remodel!)
First, we learn about Carrie and Robert:
They enjoy cooking (lots of soups!) and baking, and are ready to move from electric to gas cooking.
While still a good size for a South Minneapolis kitchen (the home was built in the 1920s), they still want to maximize their space.
The current dishwasher is too noisy and doesn’t really offer them much versatility.
Carrie and Robert plan on spending a good deal of time in this current house.
The appliances will need to complement custom cabinetry, new floors and counter tops.
Based on what he found out from Carrie and Robert, our appliance specialist (and my brother!) Joe Warner suggested the following:
Carrie and Robert currently has an LG ceramic top electric range. They like the brand, but want the power and responsiveness of gas cooking. The four main burners offer a range of temperatures, for a low simmer at 5,000 BTUs to a power boil at 17,000 BTUs — and the burners can all be rearranged. So, Carrie can simmer two soups on the back burners while using higher heat on the front-most burners. Also, the fifth burner offers a place to heat oblong pans or place a skillet for breakfast items. The heavy-duty grates offer a continuous surface to easily move pots and pans around.
The oven, with a gorgeous blue finish, is a big, 5.4 cu. ft. capacity, which can accommodate pretty much anything Carrie and Robert will throw at it.
Basically, I’m super jealous.
At 50 decibels, it doesn’t get much quieter than this LG dishwasher. It’s so quiet, in fact, that LED lights tell you when it’s operating and when it’s not. Adjustable racks will accommodate nearly any size pot or pan Carrie and Robert throw at it, and there are even wineglass holders (which Carrie noted will get plenty of use).
Steam bursts through hardened on messes for pots and pans, yet is gentle enough to use with those wineglasses.
Perhaps best of all, the fully integrated finish tucks away the control panel on top of the door and the stainless interior means Carrie and Robert can enjoy the looks for a long time.
How gorgeous is that? Robert and Carrie like this model because:
An automatic ice maker means Robert can retire that title from his own name 🙂
The freezer on the bottom configuration and wide, two-door refrigerator allows for plenty of eye-level fresh storage within easy reach
The shallow, counter top-depth maximizes the space in their 10′-12′ kitchen
I’m so excited for Carrie and Robert to get delivery on the appliances they picked out. I’ll post pictures afterward in a couple weeks, but unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until the episode airs in September for the big reveal of their custom kitchen remodel.
Editor Heidi Raschke and Art Director Ellen Thomson will give designers three minutes to present a project or two, which will hopefully lead to a future feature! To help you best prepare for the review, I asked Heidi and Ellen to offer some advice, which follows below. For more information on the event and to RSVP, visit our events calendar. Good luck!
1. We’re looking for a variety of projects, and we’re looking for good stories. Sometimes a project itself is so innovative or grand or dazzling that it’s strong enough for a story. Sometimes the story behind the project makes it interesting. Sometimes it’s a combination of both. If you’re excited about it, we probably will be interested, too.
2. You only have three minutes to meet us and tell us about your work, so come prepared with a focused presentation. Show us one or two projects that you’re really proud of or that is indicative of your style rather than a smattering. Leave us printouts or discs with photos as well as your contact information and any other information you’d like to share about the project or projects.
3. If you have projects that have already been professionally photographed, that’s a huge plus. Not a requirement, but a plus.
4. If you know the homeowner will talk to us, that also is a plus. We prefer to have homeowners on the record.
5. Don’t be intimidated. The time limits are necessary, but try to relax. You’re helping us get smarter and do our jobs better, and we appreciate the help. Portfolio reviews are fun for us. We really enjoy getting out of the office, putting faces with names and seeing your work.
The following is a guest post from president of Minnesota home remodeling firm New Spaces, Shawn Nelson. Shawn is a passionate advocate of professional remodeling who is actively involved in the industry, including frequent speaking engagements and education of other remodelers. E-mail email@example.com or find Shawn on Twitter @shawnanelson.
Kitchens are the heart of the home. They are where your family gathers, where you entertain friends — and — of course, where you prepare meals. A well-designed kitchen supports these essential functions of your lifestyle.
A poorly designed kitchen…well, we hear the complaints:
“I don’t enough room on the counters.”
“I don’t have places to put away the containers and small appliances.”
“Everyone walks right through the kitchen.”
“When we have friends over everyone is crowded into the kitchen.”
“We don’t have enough room for larger family gatherings.”
“We only use our formal spaces a couple times a year.”
Remodeling your kitchen provides you with a great opportunity to create a kitchen designed for your family. By using principles like the work triangle (see illustration), remodelers can create cooking areas with the necessary counter space and convenient storage.
By figuring out the traffic flow patterns, the cooking area can be protected from other people getting in the way. For example, some families have two or more people involved in cooking. So, design can create separate work zones.
Form follows function! Great design creates spaces that support your lifestyle and look beautiful. Kitchens offer great flexibility in combining finishes to create a particular style. How the design coordinates cabinets, countertops, flooring, lights, backsplashes — and, of course — appliances will make it “traditional,” “contemporary,” “country” or customized to your unique preference.
Learn about kitchen remodeling solutions for your kitchen. Join us for a Kitchen Workshop:
This is an interactive workshop. After you draw your kitchen, we will look at how design principles can be applied specifically to your home. Space planning and design trend examples and solutions will be covered, with examples from a variety of budgets.
Don’t worry. This workshop is not an infomercial or sales presentation, but rather a fun lesson in kitchen remodeling from a team that has been doing it for 30 years.
Fall in love with your home! Remodel your home based on your personality and style with the help of our team of talented designers and skilled lead carpenters. Find out more about us by e-mail, Twitter (@new_spaces) or Facebook.