Post-COVID Kitchen of the Future

Post-COVID Kitchen of the Future

Imagine Tessa walking into her kitchen. She pulls her favorite coffee cup out and puts it on top of the induction counter. “Good Morning Tessa, it will be sunny and 85 degrees today.” She taps the counter and proceeds to sip her coffee while looking out onto the projection of one of her favorite spots in the world, the Colorado Rockies. She is mindful of time, in one hour the back wall kitchen cabinetry will transform and open up into her workspace.  A pre-set zoom conference appears on the smart glass wall and Tessa begins her workday.

Hailed a visionary designer, American Standard asked Michele Alfano to start thinking about the Post Covid kitchen of the future. Today, the kitchen is known as the heart of the home. The Kitchen of the Future will be known to nourish the mind, heart, body and planet, marrying technology and nature to create a self-sustainable space for healthy living. Through Michele Alfano Design’s (MAD) signature lens Poetic Modernism®, new forms of human engagement within the kitchen will affect our brain, our multiple senses, and impact our well-being.

In today’s post we will talk about how it impacts the MIND:

Michele Alfano Design Kitchen of the Future for American Standard

For sure we see the Kitchen of the Future to include smart technology to make our lives easier, convenient and promote healthy living:

  • Gesture and voice recognition:  technology that recognizes it is you and controls appliances to your liking which will ultimately improve your cooking experience.
  • Smart surfaces: The smart counter is designed to respond to our real time needs. The smart induction surface will have sensor technology that can learn our likes and our routines and assist us with it all.
  • Smart glass wall: (projected mountain landscape) The smart glass wall is either connected by voice recognition or connected back to our counters and/or appliances and information will be projected onto the glass backsplash. The glass wall recognizes who you are and will have the ability to show video chats, recipes, your schedule for the day, your email, the weather, the time, and different inspiring landscapes.
  • Workspace in the kitchen:  during the pandemic we all experienced working from home. The perimeter cabinetry along the glass wall is designed to hide a desk area. For zoom conferences, the perimeter cabinetry slides open and transforms into a comfortable workspace. The Smart glass wall serves as a large computer screen for zoom chats.
  • Video chats, and zooms can be displayed on the Smart glass wall providing flexibility to work.
  • Smart appliances: appliances will learn about you, your habits, your behaviors and help you to cook more efficiently.
    • Wall oven of the future: Combined sous vide and steam wall oven to suit all needs. A smart cooking oven that learns actions, and makes recommendations on the smart wall. Sous vide / Steam professional cooking techniques will be the new cooking staple. Convenience food at home will no longer mean unhealthy or poor quality. Smart cooking solutions will balance time, taste and health.
    • Induction cooktop of the future: connected to the smart wall and smart counter, smart cooking cooktop that learns actions, and makes recommendations on the smart wall.
    • Sink of the future: trough used for herb prepping, and entertaining. A far off futuristic idea is the trough can turn into a dishwasher.
    • Refrigerator and Freezer: bacteria sensors to tell you when your food is not fresh.
    • Wine refrigerator: recognizes your wine habits and pairs wine with your meals.
    • American Standard’s Saybrook Filtered kitchen faucet: A filtered faucet in the kitchen is essential to every health conscious home. American Standard’s Saybrook Filtered Kitchen Faucet is engineered to provide easy access to safe, clean drinking water at the push of a button. The faucet delivers fresh filtered water and regular tap water from a single, easy-to-install faucet. This environmentally friendly solution eliminates reliance on plastic water bottles with a sleek design that serves as a work of art in the space.

Stay tuned for the next article where we will talk about how the Kitchen of the Future influences the heart, body, and earth.

KITCHEN MEMOIRS DURING THE QUARANTINE

KITCHEN MEMOIRS DURING THE QUARANTINE

One of my clients renovated their kitchen about three years ago. I asked her how her family is holding up during the Quarantine and if the kitchen/family room has helped them thru it?

I LOVE what she said:

“Turning our outdated Colonial into a more modern, open floor plan was the best decision we made. We have loved the space that Michele designed since the moment we saw her initial drawings. Her philosophy of Poetic Modernism created a space that is modern, but not stark or cold. The cool colors bring a sense of tranquility, and the amount of natural light that fills the space makes it feel warm and inviting. The space has influenced everyone’s well- being during this time being locked up. Our favorite part of the space is the island in the center of the kitchen. It is our family gathering space and has increased our productivity and creativity. It provides ample space to spread out and do work, gather for meals, or even play games together. We are grateful for our updated space and would not change a single detail.”

“Ample counter space to make my own pasta too!”

My heart sings when I read something like this knowing that design can impact and shape lives, especially this wonderful family!

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Is there fear of the Smart Home?

Is there fear of the Smart Home?

What is a Smart Home? By definition it is a home equipped with lighting, heating, and electronic devices that can be controlled remotely by phone or computer. At the recent Kitchen and Bath Industry show (KBIS), Kitchen and bath appliances for the home were featured showing connectivity to communication centers like Home Connect and Alexa. Designers like myself were very excited about these new steps in technology for the home and see the potential of not only making our clients lives easier but also saving time so family and friends can be the priority.

For example, Thermador’s Connected Experience is your gateway to “exceptional culinary experiences.” With the Home Connect app you can control your dishwasher, refrigerator, wine refrigerator or coffee machine, and access a world of culinary inspiration with recipes and product tutorials.  At the show, I asked Alexa to make me a cappuccino. Can you imagine doing that at home? This also would be great for aging hands. Samsung’s family hub incorporates cameras inside your refrigerator to capture images and transmit the images to your smartphone. You then know what to order if you are at the store. Or order directly from your refrigerator panel.  This saves you a trip to the market since your food will be shipped right to your home….Talk about saving time and helping people who are not feeling well. Signature Kitchen Suites True Sommelier App makes wine recommendations, including food and wine pairings based on the wines stored in your collections. Become a real wine expert!

Unlimited personalization possibilities heighten entertaining and cooking at home. But will our clients embrace this technology? There are always budget concerns since these appliances are more expensive than your typical appliances. However, I think budget concerns may be a cloaking devise for a true technology fear.  These systems rely on the Internet connection, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Questions have come up like, “what if something will happen with the Internet or if your Bluetooth isn’t working?  What if the system fails in the middle of a dishwashing cycle? What if my grocery information gets lost in the hub? These are true fears that our clients, especially the baby boomers are thinking about and maybe they may feel more secure with the typical home versus the smart home.  

Unless there are clear answers to these fears, what is supposed to amplify our lives for the better may turn into a headache that needs constant user attention. We live in a connected world and I think each company should calm the nerves of homeowners with product assistance. I know Thermador offers remote diagnostics within their app when product assistance is needed. However, knowing that there will be a human being on the other end to help may calm the nerves of folks who are on the fence about buying smart home technology. As a designer who believes in innovation, I will not only be speaking to the kitchen and bath brands about human assistance but also educating my clients the benefits of technology in the home outweigh the fears.

DESIGNHOUNDSKBIS 2019 DESIGN TRENDS

DESIGNHOUNDSKBIS 2019 DESIGN TRENDS

I recently went to the KBIS  (Kitchen and Bath Industry Show) as an invited MODENUS #DesignhoundsKBIS Influencer. KBIS has gotten bigger and bigger each year….it featured 600 vendors at the Las Vegas Convention Center this past February.  KBIS is THE kitchen and Bath show in partnership with the NKBA  (National Kitchen and Bath Association). This year proved that kitchen and baths are ever evolving….. 

As a Design Influencer on the KBIS floor, I was in a pack of #Designhounds scouting out the latest cool finds, design trends and inspiration for my own design projects. I really appreciated the opportunity to learn more about our generous sponsors and happily endorse and share some of my fave finds/design trends from KBIS, Caesarstone, LampsPlus, Mr. Steam, Thermador, Thompson Traders, Wellborn Cabinet and more….

And the drumroll for the Design Trends of 2019:

SMART HOME

Smart home technology is entering more and more areas of the home with an ease of integration. This ease is being seen in our appliances. Our fridges, ovens, coffee machines, wine columns are starting to connect to Alexa and to our tablets or phones. Ultimately making our busy lives easier and a great way for the aging boomer market to live better.

Thermador’s Home Connect is your gateway to “exceptional culinary experiences.” With the Home Connect app you can control your home appliances when you are out and about or from your own bed. Wouldn’t a cappuccino all ready for you in the morning sound appealing?

The Qanto lift from Wellborn Cabinets proved that smart technology for interior kitchen cabinetry is now here. The lift solves storage solutions for the modern home. The Qanto can store anything like appliances so they can be hidden when you are not using them and provides more space for cooking on your countertops.

Samsungs refrigerator Family hub is the new way to manage your groceries, entertain your family and connect like never before. Send notes to your kids, write notes on your calendar, post images from facebook all on the face of your refrigerator door!

INTEGRATED LIGHTING:

Lighting is now more than ever being integrated into  fixtures, appliances, mirrors and steam showers all thru LED lighting technology.

Lamps Plus, a leader in the lighting industry showcased a variety of light and mirror  styles from traditional to contemporary but mainly highlighted their LED lighting for indoor and outdoor.

Experience Mr. Steams ChromaTherapy systems…it allows you to transform your steam shower environment with different colored lights.  Different colors like blue, red, green can affect your mood in different ways. Color can be healing and Mr. Steam has paved the way for the bathroom shower experience.

Thermador’s Star sapphire offers real dish care solutions with cool vibes of light for entertaining guests in your home!

HIDDEN APPLIANCES

Appliances are starting to be hidden and not be visible in our kitchens. Kitchen cabinetry is acting more like furniture. See how Thermador customizes their panels and the refrigerator is hidden behind.

Pelick refrigeration hides their refrigeration drawer in a makeup table and cloning their cabinetry in veneer leather.

MIXING METALS

From door hardware to lighting, the combination of black with chrome, nickel or brass was HOT.

Schuab INC  were showing  combo black and brass door hardware:

Thompson Traders showcased this stunning copper hood in their new matte black finish with brass accents.

LIVING WELL

Over the years, I have learned a lot about Steam and its benefits for our bodies and mind.  It helps with respiratory health, skin care, holistic health,  physical wellness and so much more. Believing in the power of steam, I have incorporated one of Mr. Steam showers in one of my own bathroom design projects.

 

Did you know that copper is self healing and has healing powers for the skin…. Copper plays a key role in the synthesis and stabilization of skin proteins. So how about taking a soak in Thompson Traders copper tub? Or wash you face in their new black matte copper sink, beautiful!

IS IT REAL?

Is it concrete? Is it real stone? Is it real leather? Today’s technology has transformed the ability for natural materials to have look a-likes in more durable and maintenance free ways…ultimately to make our lives easier.

Caesar stone showed their new Metropolitan line which encapsulates the look and feel of fine concrete with the durability and ease of maintenance that Caesarstone quartz surfaces is known for. Composed of 93% of quartz, the counter looks like concrete and stone without the worries of real concrete and stone.

 

Formica was showing sustainable recycled leather veneer and Compact surfaces too has the look of stone but is laminate. I was amazed at the corners and how the technology of color core has removed the ugly laminate seams from countertop edges.

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All in all….Fun was had!

 #designhounds #designhoundsKBIS #KBIS2019

Design, Appliances and a Food Network Star

Design, Appliances and a Food Network Star

Design, Appliances and Food, oh my! I attended a Monogram Appliance event at the AJ Madison appliance center in Brooklyn NY.  Food Network Star Christian Petroni was there cooking up all different kinds of pizzas in the Monogram Pizza oven! 

Growing up with an Italian grandmother from Naples, Italy, I remember she would always call her sauce, “gravy.” . I asked him if he called it sauce or gravy and he said sauce! 

We tasted many different kinds of pizzas: Margarita, kale, and mushroom pizza. The veggies were first prepared with simple ingredients – garlic, olive oil, and salt and then baked in the Monogram pizza oven for 5 minutes. Add sauce and fresh mozzarella..You too can do this in your home, the pizza oven is ductless.

Besides the awesome Monogram pizza oven, Monogram has a convertible refrigerator….with a push of a button you can switch the bottom freezer into a one touch convertible fresh food refrigerator or beverage center. See the video clip below:

I really loved the Dacor line which I am specifying for one of my projects now. I really love the sleek lines of the Modernist line and the refrigerator is smart. If you connect to the app, you will know what you need to shop for when you are in the super market! The cameras inside the fridge spies on your own food!

I learned about a new line called the Cafe Series, which is a boutique series for GE. Customization is there for the client who wants a designed look without digging too deep into your pocketbook, The face and handles come in several different finishes. Thumbs up!

Oh! There is a button for HOT water in the Cage refrigerator! I haven’t see that before!