Do smart appliances judge us?

It’s a battle to set personal insecurities aside while perusing new items for the kitchen and bath

TRD New York /
May.May 11, 2017 10:30 AM

Will Amazon’s Alexa judge our cooking skills? Do skinny refrigerators make us look fat? Can a copper bathtub make our aches and pains go away?

These were just some of the questions swirling around our heads at the recent Architectural Digest Design Show. LLNYC toured the show at Piers 92 and 94 in Manhattan on the hunt for products for the kitchen and bath.

We found that connectivity, perhaps unsurprisingly, is the name of the game in kitchen appliances. We also warmed to bronze and copper finishes for kitchen and bath, which imbue a sense of calm and comfort (more on our issues later). Here’s a taste of what we found at the show.

Just connect

Not to sound paranoid, but we think our dream oven is listening to us. At least that’s the case with the Jenn-Air connected wall oven, which has a voice command feature that works with Amazon’s Alexa. So picture it — our hands could be busy cooking and chopping. To start the oven, we simply say, “Alexa, tell Jenn-Air to preheat the oven to 400 degrees.” Or maybe we’re not even home and want to start a meal. Yes, there’s an app for that.

And if that’s not helpful enough, with other kitchen appliances, you can get a reminder when to go shopping. New Bosch Home Connect dishwashers prompt you to reorder detergent when supplies run low. The Home Connect app works with the Amazon Dash replenishment service. And the new Bosch Built-in Coffee Machine with Home Connect brews up a cup with a touch of a button — on the app, that is. Sounds idiot-, oops, fool-proof.

Thin is in

Coco Chanel famously said, “Elegance is refusal.” She was talking about couture, but the comment popped into our heads when confronted with the slimmest Sub-Zero refrigerator/freezer ever — just 24” wide — so it fits into the tightest kitchen. It appears too chic to hold leftovers, and its sleek columnar design has just one solid door, no horizontal lines. Because horizontal lines are not slimming.

Another sleek option is the new Liebherr CBS 1360, a cabinet-depth refrigerator. The 24” stainless tower adds flair without taking up unnecessary space. Coco would approve.

Warm metals

We know that copper bracelets really don’t cure anything, but we couldn’t help but wonder what aches and pains a copper bathtub might chase away. It certain looks grand. And no wonder — we learned from Native Trails that copper tubs were the choice of mid-18th-century French monarchs, who had them rolled into their rooms on casters and filled by servants with water that had been heated over an open flame. Native Trails has artisan-made tubs forged from high-quality recycled copper in antique copper, polished copper and brushed nickel finishes.

Copper also dresses up a kitchen when paired with a black finish in a fridge from True Refrigeration — the look is très chic. It’s part of the company’s new custom line, which includes a choice of colors (antique white, matte black and gloss black), as well as hardware, which also includes brass and chrome options. We were impressed with True’s fridges — some have sturdy stainless steel bins, and others have glass fronts with LED lighting that put contents on display. (Please note: One doesn’t keep sloppy General Tso’s chicken leftovers in glass-front fridges.)

We also warmed to three new finishes from Fantini for faucets — a burnished dark grey, warm copper bronze and British gold. The finishes use a treatment borrowed from the biomedical field that eliminates impurities.

3D patterns

But we cannot subsist on food (or fridges) alone. Our eyes need to feast as well, and at the show they were drawn to the Escher-like patterns for wall and floor in Waterworks’ new MasterPiece Collection. Most interestingly, the 12 patterns are available in two scales, grand or petite, and highlight the natural stone’s veining and shading. It’s a bold look for the bath, part of a trend in luxury interiors to “incorporate layers of texture and pattern to give a space added depth and personality,” said Peter Sallick, CEO and creative director of Waterworks.

A wall done in Porcelanosa’s Prisma wall tile would undoubtedly have plenty of personality. These tiles use light and shadow to create patterns and come in four shades: bronze, silver, white gloss and white matte in a 13-by-40-inch size.


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