By Tracy McGuinness, AKBD
Designer, Kitchen Encounters
Evolving technology is a fact of modern life. And no room in the house has been more impacted by technological change than the kitchen. Innovations only a few generations ago transformed the process of meal preparation from endless hours of physical drudgery to modern convenience. Appliances we now take for granted saved significant time and effort. Just imagine feeding a family without the benefit of a modern range, microwave, refrigerator or dishwasher! Today, our demand for information, connectivity and improved efficiency stakes a claim on our kitchens, resulting in creative technology solutions. Although high-ticket appliances—such as WiFi enabled smart refrigerators—have dominated the headlines, we will explore a few simpler, more immediate ways to include technology in your kitchen design.
The kitchen is the unofficial hub of the modern home, where family members gather; and where people hang out, there are sure to be wireless devices. In addition to the standard electrical outlets, consider adding a few USB outlets to an island seating area so kids doing homework or adults working from home can plug in. We often include a drop zone in our kitchen designs. This is a designated area to corral keys, mail, chargers and other bits and pieces that otherwise end up cluttering the kitchen counter. A great new innovation is a docking drawer outlet installed in the back of a drawer box. It allows chargers to remain plugged in and stored out of sight in the drawer. Docking drawers should be installed by a licensed electrician. Code compliant models include articulating arms to protect wiring and safety features to cut the power in case of fault.
Today’s cooks can access a universe of information from the internet. Consider integrating an iPad or tablet into your kitchen design to facilitate menu planning, shopping list creation and access to recipe sites such as allrecipes.com and epicurious.com. Specialty hardware mounts allow a tablet to hang under wall cabinets, keeping workspace clear. Or use a countertop tablet mount to hold the screen at an easy angle for viewing. Attach a magnetic holder to mount a tablet to the fridge. Insert your tablet into a protective sleeve to protect it from splatters and spills.
Many clients request that we include a flat screen television in their kitchen design. Ideally, the screen should be located within the sight line of the prep zone and people seated at an island. Consider a corner location or a niche built into cabinetry above the refrigerator or wall ovens. There are space saving flip-down screens that fit neatly under wall cabinets. Or, for the ultimate in hideaway convenience, install a television lift that rises out of base cabinets and lowers back down to store out of sight.
The trend toward wired kitchens will continue. But incorporating technology into your kitchen need not be overwhelming. The best way to make the most of your investment is to work with a professional. Certified Kitchen and Bath Designers (CKBD) have been tested by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) to ensure their clients get the benefit of their expertise in functional designs that adhere to established guidelines for safety and convenience. A skilled kitchen designer can help make your dreams a reality and provide the best outcome for your home.
Kitchen Encounters, kitchenencounters.biz,
Annapolis Home Magazine
Vol. 8, No. 6 2017