Author & Blogger

Christine Brun Portrait

Christine Brun is an expert in lifestyle trends, how to live smaller, and interior design topics.

She shares this broad knowledge with you as well as articles about women's issues in her blogs.

Fear of Unknown Appliances

Fear of Unknown Appliances

Apartment units under 500 square feet, also known as microunits, are gaining popularity in urban city centers. Builders are employing real analysis and cutting-edge design in order to squeeze more function out of every square foot of space. Affordable units in desirable locations and smart design for these units are in demand. Given this trend, you can count on one thing: Developers and designers will opt for smaller kitchen appliances as one way to maximize space. Therefore, the popularity and availability of more petite appliances will grow.

This has been a peculiar issue for the past decade or so, but the issue has received spotty attention from major U.S. appliance producers. The need for smaller appliances is there, yet manufacturers cannot decide if they are ready to make and market these appliances in a big way. For instance, Viking discontinued its professional 24-inch range, which had been billed as a professional cooking appliance with good performance in a space-saving size — excellent for high-rise apartments, condominiums, vacation homes or office kitchens.

The European market has long had the need for small kitchen appliances. AGA appliances are made in Britain, Smeg in Italy and the better-known Fisher & Paykel in New Zealand. Liebherr is a German refrigeration manufacturer that has built quality slim refrigerators, wine chillers and freezers for over 60 years, yet the American market is still skeptical of the brand. Whenever I've suggested a Liebherr appliance as an option, my clients have shied away, because it's a lesser-known brand. Fagor is another worldwide brand, known mostly in the U.S. for its pressure cookers, but it is an international, award-winning small-appliance manufacturer. The reason we don't know these trade names as well is because until very recently, the "bigger is better" philosophy has dominated American culture.

If you are considering revamping a studio apartment or tiny cottage, you are definitely familiar with the unique size-related challenges that arise. The fact is, it will take specialty appliances and fixtures to surmount those challenges. And yes, you can sometimes hear the cash register pinging in your ear when shopping for the perfect-sized appliance. But more than I hear of peoples' anxieties due to higher price tags for specialty appliances, I hear of peoples' anxieties when they are confronted with lesser-known manufacturers. Do your research and some of the anxiety will subside. Realize that you can break a few design rules and opt for a smaller size in order to add functionality to your tiny kitchen. There is no written rule that insists you have a 30-inch range. Even if you have the space, why not consider a 24-inch range, instead? Just know, it's not easy to find that size on the floor at retailer stores. You may need to visit your local Sears discount store. Or, go online and you will find the GE 24-inch gas range, a freestanding gas range with a roomy 3 cubic-foot oven. GE also offers a Hotpoint model.

Avanti is another company that has been in the consumer appliance industry for over 44 years, specializing in compact and apartment-sized refrigerators, upright and chest freezers, wine chillers, beverage coolers, microwave ovens, gas and electric ranges, laundry products, water dispensers and even mini-kitchens. So has Acme Kitchenette, which is well-known for full feature mini-kitchens that are popular in offices, senior facilities and apartments.

There is no reason to sacrifice style and glamour for a smaller appliance. This gas top oven with sealed burners and dual fan convection sells for just under $1,200. The European-style convection system features a third heating element that surrounds the fan at the back of the oven. The fan circulates heat evenly throughout the oven — which is what counts when it comes to shorter cooking times — and prevents intermingling of flavors. The best part is, the professional chef styling is as appealing as any of the major manufacturers' products.

Go outside of your comfort zone to find fun and functional compact kitchen appliances for your home.

Photo Credit: Fagoramerica.com

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