Innovations for the Post-COVID Kitchen
As we’ve seen over the past year, the pandemic has propelled consumer interest in home renovation projects to new heights. From innovative designs in the laundry room to reimagining outdoor living spaces, consumers are demanding more from their homes than ever before. Nowhere is this more evident than in kitchen, where interest in multi-functional appliances has also skyrocketed.
As builders and designers are creating new projects, it’s paramount that the kitchens of tomorrow are outfitted with products that are designed around the way people live.
Kitchen-Turned-Restaurant: With the pandemic craze of taking on artisanal cooking like baking, winemaking, and even the art of dinner party hosting, consumers are investing in pro-style appliances and specialized gadgets like pasta makers, sous vides and bread makers. The intensity of time spent at home in the past 15 months has encouraged home owners to seek appliances that better suit their lifestyle needs — and see them as much more than just a functional, utilitarian product. In fact, recent research shows more than 40% of consumers expect to continue to spend more time cooking post-COVID.
One product that addresses the evolving needs of the new wave of at-home chefs is Signature Kitchen Suite’s 36-inch dual-fuel pro range, which packs the punch of multiple modalities such as built-in sous vide, induction and gas — all on the cooktop — along with a steam oven below. Home owners will appreciate the power and flexibility of the range, while builders will appreciate the low level of ambient heat to help avoid the installation of an expensive make-up air system.
The first-of-its-kind innovation captured two 2021 Best of IBS Awards in the Home Technology and Indoor Product categories.
"With clients continuing to seek more flexibility and balance to their busy daily schedules, their new focus is on discovered or lost culinary skill sets and the satisfaction of sharing these new skills with gatherings of family and friends," notes Alan Zielinski, past NKBA national president and owner/president of Better Kitchens.
This summer, Signature Kitchen Suite is launching another industry-first innovation to offer home owners more flexibility both in and out of the kitchen: an undercounter dual drawer refrigerator/freezer with multiple temperature zones that can convert to either a refrigerator or freezer space, depending on the need. This functionality makes it ideal for placements in various areas of the home — from the kitchen or the wine room/bar, to the home office or game room. Need extra fridge space for Friday night’s dinner party and the ability to switch to freezer mode in prep for an ice cream party with the kids? It can easily do both.
Kitchen designer Nadia Subaran of Aidan Design adds that her firm has seen a growing trend, even stemming pre-pandemic, of multi-functional "breakfast" bars, where this undercounter refrigerator would add value. "Homeowners are really looking for their spaces to support everyday activities — it’s all about the function and designing these areas with the products to support the way people want to live," she notes. "From juicing to smoothies and a coffee station in the morning, then seamlessly transitioning to a wine and cocktail bar for evening entertainment, these areas are complete with appliances, a separate sink and storage. We can expect the demand for designs that creatively use every space of the home to continue."
Stay Smart: The pre-COVID trend of smart appliances is now becoming the norm, both with new home cooks in need of a digital sous chef and a new cadre of tech-forward consumers who want their digital lifestyles to follow them into the kitchen. Think wine column refrigerators that manage your personal collection with photos of labels, notes on shelf placement and learning your preferences in order to make pairing recommendations, like the those with the Signature Sommelier app from Signature Kitchen Suite.
Even as people tire of staying indoors, recent Harvard research found that 81 percent of individuals want to work remotely or have a hybrid schedule. And although many won’t be spending quite as much time at home, they will demand much more from their homes now and will be much more intentional about how they use their space to live full lives. This presents an opportunity for builders to create spaces that work harder and smarter throughout the home, especially in the kitchen.
To learn more about how Signature Kitchen Suite is respectfully disrupting the luxury appliance industry, visit Signature Kitchen Suite.