Retail Observer

July 2021

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

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JULY 2021 RETAILOBSERVER.COM 57 appliances, motion-activated faucets and cameras in refrigerators (that can be accessed by phone). SR: I think that the NKBA's "Living Impacts Design" study did such an excellent job of identifying some of these key elements, that I can't resist repeating them here. I know they were identified as trends in the study, but I do see them as aspirational goals for the luxury kitchen as well: 1) Connectedness to family and the outdoors 2) Multigenerational living flexibility 3) Minimized clutter (home as a retreat and respite from the outside world) 4) Entertaining-friendly NKBA: What are must-haves of the luxury kitchen? NB: First of all, it's presentation. You have to be able to walk into a home, see the kitchen and be immediately taken by it. It has to have the "wow factor." As far as components, having separated refrigeration, wine coolers, freezers that are designed to be under-counter. Back to understanding the client, when you diversify the space (for example, add two refrigerators, one on either side of the room), it changes the culture of the kitchen. You can cook, clean, and entertain together, all at the same time. SR: I always think that optimizing your use of space is the ultimate luxury in the kitchen. Going big isn't necessarily luxury; it's about maximizing the utility of what you have, with a really well-planned layout and optimizing all the storage in the kitchen. Another must-have for me is a connection to the outdoors: I love big, high-quality windows in the kitchen and will almost always sacrifice wall storage for a bigger window, maximizing views and light in the kitchen. Lastly, quality appliances are critical to achieve that luxury experience in the kitchen. NKBA: How have health / wellness / sustainability / corporate responsibility been taken into consideration from a design perspective within the luxury kitchen? PS: The incorporation of combination steam/convection ovens has been at the forefront of healthy cooking and safety. In many cases, this has taken the place of a microwave. Also, water systems in the kitchen have saved our environment from plastic bottles and have encouraged drinking more water. NB: The most important thing these days is to create a space that allows people to be happy. To design a kitchen where people can gather and celebrate – this is necessary for one's mental health, and to me that's luxurious. NKBA: How does this customer live differently today from 10 years ago, and how does that impact the design? SR: The meaning of "home" has changed so dramatically since the pandemic, with a focus on greater functionality, flexibility for multigenerational households, and the home really serving as a "retreat" from growing chaos in our world. The way I see it, our homes – and our kitchens, specifically – need to be able to work harder and more efficiently than ever before, and make it look effortless. The kitchen is expected to be the hardest-working room in the house and to look beautiful while doing it. The expectation and demands for function, durability and aesthetics within the kitchen are by far the most critical of any space in the home. Its role as a primary workspace, primary entertaining space and primary family space all rolled into one make kitchen planning a complex, multifaceted process. NB: Design is always an evolution of where we are in life. Back in the day, kitchens were purely utilitarian and weren't supposed to be pretty. Today, the space has evolved: now it's where the kids cook, and friends cook and people want to gather. What's changed is that the expectation went from only one person cooking to everyone contributing pretty much equally. Additional details and a complete report of the NKBA Luxury Kitchen Research are available in the NKBA store under "Market Research Reports." RO Sarah Robertson of Studio Dearborn; Photo by Adam Kane Macchia Photography Nar Bustamante of Design Group; Photo by Fred Donham of PhotographerLink

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