Fitting high-tech features and kitchen gadgets will undoubtedly save time and energy, whilst adding an element of fun to the most mundane of tasks. Yet not all of us wish for a kitchen that speaks obviously of its modern components. To maintain a classic feel, consider investing in one of the latest integrated solutions designed to be cleverly concealed within an elegant exterior.
Modern built-in ovens offer advanced cooking technology, such as steam injection, pre-set recipes and self-cleaning programmes, but range cookers are now also incorporating features that enable homeowners to have a traditional design with a high spec. “We have seen sales of our range cookers with induction grow,” says Joan Fraser, product development manager at Smeg. “This is down to both the controllability and benefits of induction, plus installation considerations in properties with no access to gas.” For those who can and prefer cooking with gas, consider hob accessories such as teppanyakis, griddles, hot plates and wok burners.
The once-humble larder has evolved from a simple dried food store to a high-tech haven for everything from housing breakfast essentials, such as a kettle and toaster, to concealing a handy home office. For a taste of what the future might hold, Poggenpohl recently unveiled a groundbreaking, high-spec concept kitchen called The Fourth Wall, which includes a humidity-controlled walk-in larder. Not available for retail, but currently on show in Poggenpohl’s Waterloo showroom, the larder features intelligent glass walls and interior lights that can be controlled from an iPad. Contents may be on display or hidden from view depending on the controlled opacity of the glass.
Home automation systems are big news in big-budget kitchens. Sub-Zero & Wolf are currently the only suppliers of luxury appliances that are compatible with home automation specialists Control4, Crestron and Savant. The Control4 Smart Appliance app, for instance, allows meals to be remotely controlled and monitored, whether the user is home or away. “Today’s mobile devices are aiding mainstream adoption of connected home technology,” explains Susan Cashen, senior vice president of marketing for Control4. “Consumers want to be able to monitor and control everything in their home anywhere, at any time.” Hoover, meanwhile, is about to launch Wizard, the UK’s first complete family of WiFi enabled appliances. “We expect that this collection will be hugely popular, as it offers consumers the opportunity to have a fully connected kitchen that they can control remotely. It includes an oven, hob, hood, fridge-freezer and a selection of washing machines and dishwashers.” Appliances that are compatible with a variety of home automation systems are increasingly popular.
Every kitchen needs powerful extraction to remove cooking odours and steam. The latest hoods include eye-catching statement styles to more discreet ceiling-mounted and downdraft models. Ideally suited to island cooking, a downdraft extractor sits behind the hob and rises at the touch of a button when needed, slotting down into the worktop after use. Ceiling hoods are flush-fit, offering an unobtrusive look, whilst feature hoods come in all manner of shapes and sizes to take centre stage. Statement extractor hood with an elliptical polished stainless steel design.
Lighting can be used in all sorts of clever ways: to add mood, provide task lighting for preparing and cooking food, or to create feature areas and illuminate the dining table, island or breakfast bar. One of the latest innovations is to offer a dual-function design, such as SensioSound from Sensio Lighting, an LED Bluetooth speaker light. This under-cabinet light is great fun when entertaining and prevents the worktop from being cluttered up with speakers and cables. Simply connect a mobile device wirelessly to the SensioSound by enabling Bluetooth, and it is ready to play music.
Kitchen gadgets and utensils are a vital component to the practical kitchen, and there are plenty of companies offering high tech equipment which can suit a traditional decor. Sub-Zero and Wolf offer may advanced kitchen features, from attractive wine storage to induction cooktops