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Smart Solutions: What's cooking in kitchen styles today

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

When it comes to lifestyle trends, cooking has become a hot topic for the home during recent quarantines when online searches for kitchen upgrades have been focused on appliances. As many continue to explore the art of meal prep and all it entails, Italian kitchen appliance manufacturer Bertazzoni has launched more than 100 new products to improve the process.

Built-in features have become increasingly popular, from refrigerators and freezers to cooking appliances. Specialty ovens are also on the rise, suggesting homeowners are not only preparing their own meals more often, but they are becoming more discerning about appliances.

Details go the distance in a kitchen, such as a wine cabinet with separate temperature controls for red and white varieties, storage for bigger bottles like champagne, and a UV-protected glass door to safely showcase a collection. Comprehensive products like these support the latest stay-at-home social pursuits like Zoom happy hours.

Clean architectural lines are among the desired features for today’s kitchen appliances.

Clean architectural lines are more prevalent in components like built-in ovens, whether stacked horizontally or vertically. Induction cooking products are also in demand with convenient features like quick heat, precise control and easy cleanup that make them a welcome addition to the kitchen.

For 2020, Bertazzoni has seen more requests for auxiliary products that complement the traditional range, like a steam oven that provides steam-assisted convection cooking and a warming drawer that lets you serve food at your preferred temperature.  

In addition to kitchens with more open floor plans, Michael Rockstroh, who oversees U.S. operations for Bertazzoni, says people want a certain timelessness to define this part of the home so it doesn’t become dated anytime soon.   

As he explains, homeowners also want a more cohesive feel for their appliances like the styles from Bertazzoni that speak the same design language, from a refrigerator to a dishwasher. This supports the desire to visually declutter the kitchen for a calmer space.

Personalization has become more important, too. “That doesn’t mean you have to hire a custom cabinetmaker,” says Rockstroh. The impact can come from a variety of appliance colors and finishes that offer an alternative to stainless steel. “When you exclude stainless steel, the most popular colors are black, red and white,” he adds.

Rockstroh compares the evolution of appliances to autonomous driving with many levels of automation and ease of use. From today’s sensor technology to automated cooking, the latest features help to streamline the process.

As he explains, before COVID-19, people wanted to remodel the kitchen or buy a new house. Now that many have discovered cooking, they’re paying more attention to existing appliances that have seen better days like “that stove we had for 15 years and the muffins are always burned in the back right corner,” he says. As some opt not to remodel with enough complexity in their lives right now, they are considering other upgrades.

The hub of the home is looking brighter in more ways than one. “There’s been a shift in priorities and people want to make the cooking process nicer,” says Rockstroh. “Now they can add a beautiful color with an appliance that’s a bit of a protagonist in the kitchen to elevate the feel and the ambiance.”

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at jeaninematlow@earthlink.net.