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The Latest Trends in Kitchen Appliances


hether you are replacing a worn-out appliance or planning a full-scale renovation, appliances that combine technology, ergonomics, and improved design continue to top the must-have list. Bisque, white, or black appliances are still popular, but a commercial-styled kitchen full of stainless steel still leads the charge. Space-saving and energy efficiency remain top concerns for homeowners everywhere, especially with the anticipated price hikes in gas and electricity.


The average kitchen generates a gallon of grease per year. When you replace the range, be sure to change the ventilation. Cabinets and work surfaces will stay cleaner, and won’t accumulate that sticky film that is a hallmark of an inefficient system.

Ventilation units fall into two categories: Downdraft and updraft.

Downdraft units are meant for use with residential-type, gas or electric cook tops. They are not for use with high BTU cook tops. Downdraft units should be 30” to 36” wide.

“While downdrafts are perfect visually for island and peninsula cook stations, they work better if the area for steam and cooking particles is limited to a full backsplash and wall cabinets on both sides,” says Diane Plesset, Certified Master Kitchen and Bath Designer. “That’s because, without the backsplash, steam and particulates can escape into the room.”

Updraft units are more efficient for islands and peninsula cook stations because the hood can collect and exhaust a high percentage of steam and particulates as hot air rises. These are rated for high BTU cook tops. As for size, updraft hoods should always be 6” wider than the cook top, to “provide a wider collection area and minimize potential damage to adjacent wall cabinets,” Plesset advises.

Whichever style you choose, the bottom of the hood should be at least 30″ above the cook top. Prices vary depending on the unit, but a basic ventilator starts at $200. Custom finishes, like stainless steel, wood or stone, start at $3,500.

Do Your Homework when Replacing Your Appliances
The average life of an appliance is 12 years, which means buyers fall into 2 categories: Those who are remodeling and looking for the best product to fit their needs, and those replacing a failed unit.

Don’t let urgency force you into making a hasty decision, cautions Larry Snider, co-owner of Hamilton’s Appliance, located at 19790 SE McLoughlin, Gladstone, OR 97027 who can be reached at 503-656-0866 Although most openings are standard, the existence of overhead cabinets can impact choice. Sometimes “customers have to shrink their desires to fit the existing opening.”

Consider these factors before the ice cubes melt: Size of the old unit, opening size, and clearance of overhead cabinets. This ensures that you choose the right-sized product.

Built-in stoves can also be limiting, Snider adds. Each manufacturer has its own specs, so it’s generally not possible to drop a Jenn-Air in the space where a GE used to be. Equally disappointing: The replacement stove is nearly identical to the old model, which can make the kitchen appear dated.

The only solution here is to alter cabinet dimensions and surfaces. Instead of whittling away at the problem, go with the short-term, inexpensive fix and plan for your dream kitchen.

And do your homework, Snider says. “You should be buying appliances, not sold one. My suggestion is to shop where you can see a broad selection of appliances and get a good explanation of what is out there.”


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