Retail Observer

March 2019

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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MARCH 2019 RETAILOBSERVER.COM 31 busy. I'm seeing more appliance panels, particularly refrigerator panels, that have a highly personalized design – unique materials, colors and patterns. It's a very exciting trend." In very high-end kitchens, Ahearn's clients tend to opt for fully integrated refrigerators, she says. "It will be paneled, flush with the cabinetry. You won't see hinges, because they use articulating hinges. It's a fully custom look." –Susan Serra, Susan Serra Associates, Huntington, NY Zoned refrigeration: Who has time to dig through the refriger- ator for that special snack or drink? Zoned refrigeration (smaller refrigerators reserved for certain types of food or drinks) has been a trend for several years and will continue to be popular. "There is definitely a preference for zoned refrigeration in larger kitchens," Sollecito says. "That is not new. What is new is that manufacturers are catering to that need more than ever with refrigerator drawers, columns, etc. in a variety of sizes." The trend is breaking out of the kitchen, where many homeowners prefer it to store fresh produce as well as beverages, Serra says. Some are putting refrigerators into master bedrooms and family rooms, rental suites, or spa areas. "I see baby boomers being a market for adding this convenience in their home and the high-end consumer in general," Serra says. "The middle-to-upper-end segment is also thinking of zoned refrigeration." –Gloria Graham Sollecito, Artful Kitchens, West Palm Beach, FL Beverage stations: Various types of beverages are getting the royal treatment during kitchen remodels. "People are incorporating coffee stations, and they are very serious about it," Ahearn says. How they go about it depends on their budget. Higher-end designs might be plumbed or built-in with restaurant-grade espresso machines. The trend goes beyond coffee. "Smoothie stations are the new thing in beverage centers," Sollecito says. "They incorporate under-counter refrigeration, prep sinks and perhaps a lift-up door to conceal the juicer." And don't forget wine. "Wine storage is huge," Ahearn says. "In the high-end kitchens, they want to show off their wine collections. The beverage trend isn't limited to high-end remodels. Ahearn reports dedicated beverage refrigerators being incorporated into mid-priced remodels as well. Connected features are slowly showing up: The designers we spoke with reported mixed levels of interest in connected kitchens. Ahearn sees some interest among her younger clients. "They want to be able to control their appliances from their smart phone," Ahearn says. "Their refrigerator tells them what to buy. They want to be able to turn on the oven and set it to a certain temperature and time, or tell when the oven is on and they're not home so they can turn it off." Sollecito sees the most interest among Millennial homeowners, particularly in voice control and touch-free options. Portable storage: You'll want to incorporate into your new kitchen easy access to the portable appliances you use regularly, and the popularity of portable appliances like Instant Pot, Vitamix and air fryers makes portable-friendly design elements a must. "A shallow pantry that sits on the countertop may be 'home' to several small appliances," Serra says. "A separate tall cabinet just for small appliances and equipment in lower drawers can be a featured furniture design." Sollecito always designates a cabinet for small appliances, or storage near the kitchen. "The mixer lift accessory is great for those heavy portable appliances," Sollecito says. RO Chris Doscher, Content Development Manager Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers Susan Serra, Susan Serra Associates, Huntington, NY Gloria Graham Sollecito, Artful Kitchens, West Palm Beach, FL

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