Kitchen Appliance Innovations — KBIS 2015

Kitchen Appliance Innovations — KBIS 2015

What I Learned at the 2015 KBIS Show in Las Vegas

I made it to the 2015 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (KBIS) and International Building Show (IBS) in Las Vegas last week together with my Class A Contractor husband, Guy.

The two shows, intentionally combined, offered three huge exhibition halls—North, Center, and South–at the Las Vegas Convention Center. There among many aisles was a plethora of design and building elements to explore, understand, and make your head spin. For three full days, Guy and I walked each of the long aisles engaging our brains and legs, as this show’s participation required huge mental focus and lots of walking.

I arrived home greatly inspired with so much to share, I decided to do this blog in three parts. This PART ONE blog will cover appliances only.

The 2015 Look–Sleek and Seamless

Almost all appliance manufacturers, with a few exceptions such as La Cornue and Bertazzoni, embraced the integrated European style: a sleek look with seamless installations into the cabinetry and countertops. Here is an example from Bosch:


Note the overall horizontal aesthetic with nothing “protruding” and functional drawer storage below each oven.

The German manufacturer Gaggenau also offered similar aesthetics. Click the image below to view Gaggenau’s online showroom:

Gaggenau Online Kitchen Showroom

Perhaps after watching the Gaggenau online showroom (above) you concluded, as I did, that the geographic location can change, but the contemporary look can stay the same.

I think due to our “global” economy and world, this is most definitely a long term trend, the message being that contemporary design has a place everywhere.

Induction Cooking

Again, if you are still questioning the validity of my blog article about induction cooking last year, a visit to the 2015 KBIS show might have swayed you. Induction cooktops were displayed front and center at every appliance booth.

In fact, at the Gaggenau display, I had a nice chat with the executive chef who was cooking at their booth. He said he would cook with nothing but induction. While we were chatting, he explained the beauty of what he was cooking on: Gaggenau’s CX491 induction cooktop where the induction zone is continuous. The cooking zone recognizes your pan or pot no matter where you move it on the surface (see picture below):

Gaggenau Induction Cooktop

In addition, the CX491 Induction Cooktop can be installed so it is flush with the countertop.

New or Improved Ventilation

A flush ceiling mounted ventilation hood? Somehow I missed this product’s release three years ago, but thankfully I discovered it on this visit to Best by Broan’s booth. Their Cirrus built in ventilation hood is unlike any other I have ever seen. It offers a flush installation into the ceiling, and the ultimate plus is it can be mounted in ceilings as high as 9 feet. This eliminates any bulk above the cooktop regardless of location, wall or island.

Best by Broan also offers a new downdraft: Cattura™ (click picture below for details).

Cattura™ downdraft

Quieter but taller (18” versus 14”) than other downdrafts when fully engaged, its big bonus is that it can be installed with any other appliance manufacturer’s cooking unit.

Integrated/Specialized Food and Beverage Storage

Two dominant themes at the show were:
1. flexibility in design/ unit location, and
2. integrated installation.

With a large section of the population “aging in place”, improved undercounter refrigeration options were offered by both U-Line and Perlick.

Most notable was Perlick’s Signature Series Sottile Collection

Perlick™ Kitchen IslandPerlick’s “Sottile” display demonstrated how food storage needs can be addressed below the counter at 18” deep — easy access for all.

Throughout the appliance booths, a strong theme included the specificity of each appliance. The thinking is: you do need a separate icemaker, beverage center, wine captain, independent freezer and refrigerator because the more specific you are regarding these functions, the more efficiently you can design your space and work flow.

As for integrated refrigeration: we know that Sub Zero put integrated refrigerator and freezer installation on the map years ago. Now, more consumers recognize the benefits of integrated appliances that offer specific and superior storage with a clean design aesthetic.

Presently, if you are considering integrated refrigeration installation for your kitchen, you have a broader range of manufacturers to choose from:

  • Liebherr
  • Gaggenau
  • Thermador
  • GE Monogram
  • Jenn Air
  • Bosch

Compact Appliances for Small Spaces

If your kitchen space is extremely limited, which is typically the case in a metropolitan city such as New York or Washington, DC, Bosch is an appliance manufacturer you should seriously consider. Their 18” wide integrated dishwasher has been a mainstay for several years. Now, they have a 24” refrigerator and a 24” wall oven. Soon to be released is their 24” gas cooktop.

Bosch 24" RefrigeratorBosch 24" wall oven

Sandra Brannock, Owner, Expert Kitchen Designs

Sandra Brannock, Owner, Expert Kitchen Designs, Virginia

Sandra Brannock has designed beautiful and functional custom kitchens for clients throughout Northern Virginia and the metropolitan Washington, DC region. For more information about Expert Kitchen Designs services, call Sandra direct at (703) 801-6402 or email

Induction Cooking: Time to Reconsider?

Induction Cooking: Time to Reconsider?

Typically, when I ask my client what type of cooktop or range they will be using, the response is either electric or gas. Few clients realize that there is a third option that is worth considering: induction.

History of Induction Cooking

Induction cooking has come a long ways since 1933, when it was first introduced in the “Kitchen of the Future” at the Chicago “Century of Progress” World’s Fair. Fairgoers witnessed the miracle of “cool heating” using electrical power that required much less energy than standard electrical cooking appliances. For years thereafter, attempts to perfect induction cooking units continued in the U.S., but alas, the induction cooking units were plagued with problems and U.S. manufacturer units went off the market in 1999.

Regardless, Europeans and Asians pursued induction cooking research and development (R&D) due to their concern with energy conservation. Ultimately, their efforts paid off and led to a breakthrough in U.S. commercial applications in restaurant kitchens. As a result, chefs began to recognize the benefits of induction cooking. Through word of mouth and experience, early adopter home cooks began to embrace induction cooking as well.

Benefits of Induction Cooking

Induction cooking offers many benefits, including:

  1. Instant and precise cooking as with gas
  2. No wasted heat
  3. Cooler kitchen because of #2 above
  4. Safety — the cooktop is cool to the touch immediately after use.
  5. Universal design compliant — induction cooktops are thin and can be inserted so that knee space is available underneath without any interference.
  6. Ubiquitous installation -— runs only on electricity
  7. Easy to clean

Induction Cooking Drawbacks

Induction cooking may pose some possible drawbacks, but these are easily overcome as described below:

  1. Cooking vessel has to be made of magnetic material. So if a magnet sticks well, not loosely, to the bottom of the vessel, that vessel works with an induction cooktop.
  2. Noise. Sometimes the actual cooking process produces noise through the cookware because it is not top quality —- the interior pieces of the cookware can rattle. Easily remedied by investing in quality cookware.

For more specific information about induction cooking not addressed in this blog, check out this article:

induction cooking explained

Additional information about the pros and cons of induction cooking can be found at:

Sandra Brannock has designed beautiful and functional custom kitchens for clients throughout Northern Virginia and the metropolitan Washington, DC region. For more information, call Sandra direct at (703) 801-6402 or email