Reinventing the hood
One of the most striking visual changes we’re seeing in next-generation kitchens is that ventilation hoods are turning into works of art. That’s not a crystal chandelier in the photo above – it’s a stove hood! Now, I wouldn’t want to be in charge of keeping that puppy clean… but you must admit the concept is very cool! More artistic hood ideas here.
Digital Recipe Access
More and more of us are storing our recipe ideas digitally, but certain things about this can be awkward. Placing a laptop on a kitchen countertop squanders valuable prep space, a touchscreen is not optimal with sticky fingers, and printing a recipe every time you need it is a little wasteful. Designers have responded to these challenges with a wide range of creative solutions – including an iPad stylus especially for chefs (shown right) and a mounting kit for affixing an iPad to a refrigerator or the front of a cabinet door. Don’t have an ipad? Check out this compact recipe tablet instead. Coming soon: LCD screens with full access to the cloud, seamlessly integrated into cabinets and countertops.
Most urban kitchens were not originally designed to handle compost, and it shows. In cities that have introduced municipal composting, like San Francisco, it’s common to see little plastic bins placed awkwardly next to the sink (often attracting fruit flies), or underneath the sink (edging out the cleaning supplies). Luckily, there’s a better solution available now, and it’s simple and affordable to implement if you’re embarking on a remodel anyway: simply install the compost bin right into the surface of the countertop, as shown in the image to the left. This useful feature is well on its way to becoming standard issue for new kitchens and renovations in the Bay Area.
Multiple cabinet and countertop materials
We Americans do love our big open kitchens… Many two-career couples like to cook together, it can be lovely to socialize with guests across an island, and it’s comforting to keep an eye on your children in the next room while you’re engaged in kitchen tasks. The downside of these big, open spaces is that sometimes they can be visually overwhelming. This is especially true when a kitchen expansion has claimed extra square footage from the original dining room or living room, creating a space that looms out of scale with the house as a whole. Designers are tackling this problem to great effect by mixing and matching materials to ease the visual impact of a large kitchen while maintaining its desired functionality. Check out this ideabook for some more inspiration images.
LED recessed cans
In California, energy-efficient fixtures are required by code in kitchens and bathroom. A well-intentioned law indeed, but reality is this: most people don’t like fluorescent lights. Thus, it has become a common practice for homeowners to install the required fixtures, wait for the inspector to leave, and then promptly switch out the dreaded fluorescents for the incandescent cans they desire. Happily, this wasteful practice is about to go by the wayside, because LED recessed cans are starting to edge out both fluorescents and incandescents with their nice quality of light, amazing efficiency, dimmability and ever-lower prices. I recommend these cans from Juno.
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