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Kitchen appliances trend toward sleek, concealed

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Real Estate,Merlisa Lawrence Corbett

Kitchen designers and manufacturers forecast sleeker, faster and more efficient appliances for 2013, with technological advances and increasingly busy consumers fueling the trend.

Steam ovens and induction cooktops will continue to gain ground over traditional stoves and ranges. Electric coil range tops could become relics within the next five years.

"It's all about time, I think," said April Case Underwood, senior kitchen and bath designer with Case Design/Remodeling. "People are trying to make the most of their time, and the steam oven can cook a lot of things quicker."

Resources
Case Design/Remodeling casedesign.com
Aidan Design aidandesign.com
Miel mieleusa.com
Liebherr liebherr-appliances.com
Poggenpohl washingtondc.poggenpohl.com

Faster than a conventional oven yet slower than a microwave, steam ovens allow users to cook healthy meals without concerns about radiation. "You can cook a turkey faster, keep moisture and not get the dried-out, rubbery effect you get from microwaves," Underwood said. "It's a good in-between, and the food tastes great."

After a flawed introduction to the market 20 years ago, induction cooking is poised to replace electric cooking as the primary alternative to gas. With induction cooking, magnetic fields generate heat directly to the cooking vessel, wasting little energy.

"People are afraid it won't work. It's science, so it works," said Underwood. "I think that having an electric option when induction is out there, it's sort of repetitive and counterintuitive and doesn't make sense. "

Another trend gaining steam is the seamless integration of appliances into cabinetry. This marriage of kitchen cabinetry and appliance design originated in Europe and has made its way to the United States. This seamless look minimizes or totally conceals kitchen appliances.

Italian kitchen design Boffi of Georgetown offers the Duemilaotto system, which includes rotating and side recessing doors that can hide large appliances and modules that can house small appliances.

The $3,999 Futura ProfiLine Dishwasher from Miele can clean a full load of dishes from start to dry in 23 minutes. Its FlexiCare Deluxe Basket system adjusts to accommodate large pieces such as serving platters, chargers or terrines. Available as a fully integrated model, the ProfiLine can stay concealed behind kitchen cabinetry or be showcased with a touchpad panel.

Miele teamed up celebrity chef Eric Ripert and Poggenpohl kitchen designs to launch a restaurant-style kitchen line. Their concept kitchen, which will be unveiled in 2013, uses a suite of eco-friendly kitchen appliances from Miele, including an induction cooktop set in a Caesarstone countertop designed to be flush with the cooktop. This allows the cook to seamlessly transfer pots from the cooktop to the counter surface.

A broader range of affordable high-end and customizable appliances is making it easier to integrate them within cabinetry, said Megan Padilla, a kitchen designer with Aidan Design.

"Used to be Sub-Zero and high-end appliances were such a high price point that you only considered them if you had a certain kind of budget. Now you can find substitutes that have similar styling and counter depth," Padilla said.

One such alternative to the Sub-Zero is the German-built Liebherr refrigerator. Padilla said she has noticed less demand for the traditional and more interest in this transitional and even sleeker built-in contemporary design. "This built-in look, with your microwave, your wall oven, in a piece of furniture with a nice trim package ... everybody kind of wants that look," she said.

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