As I sat in the small audience of contractors, builders, and developers listening to Jason Tippetts, Kitchen Brand Manager with Whirlpool Corp, he asked, “What have been the overarching trends we’ve seen in the kitchen in recent years?”
A few answers floated around the group, but then one, like ringing a bell, created a chorus of buzz. “Yep”, “Definitely” and me nodding. Funny thing is it felt pretty, idk, ancillary, a side effect almost of another strong trend. One of the gentlemen in the back pointed out that since we (general) have moved very dramatically towards designs featuring open floor plans, homeowners (and I’m paraphrasing) have become much more concerned with the “looks” of their kitchens.
It’s All about the Looks
Ha! Now, I know the looks of the kitchen have always mattered. But maybe they are right. With an open floor plan, the kitchen now can be viewed from, well, many other places in the house. Looks in the kitchen (Read: design and/or even decorating) seem to matter … more. Not only is the kitchen now the center of the home, but it has been “exposed.” And with Jason steering the discussion a little perhaps, consumers want the kitchen, and especially its “integrated tech” (his words) i.e. their appliances, to look, well, clean.
Crediting HGTV, Pinterest and bloggers (like me), Jason notes that homeowners are simply more educated. They are often equipped with the tools to articulate, down to brand, what they want.
… And for years of course the trend with kitchen appliances has been “stainless.” Maybe I’d propose that stainless has become something of a building standard – a given, something that makes designing around it … easier. Others might say that it is stainless’s luxe commercial feel or that it is simply what most home buyers (still) want.
In a quick exercise, Jason asked us to close our eyes and envision a Dewault drill, then a KitchenAid mixer. What colors did you come up with? Honey bee yellow, and Kitchen Aid red … did you? Well I did, and that was the perfect spring board for rest of his presentation.
With Whirlpool, and maybe you might, idk, think white already. Then Jason asked pretty squarely – “Why can’t White be Wow?” And there, that is the spirit the company is trying to capture with their White Ice line (released in May). And just as stainless was a sorta beginning, a turn towards higher detail and quality in the kitchen, they hope too that White Ice will front-line an already quietly growing trend into the transitional.
The glassy white – an obvious nod to a European invasion and the growing encounters with sleek European design in US homes.
What do you think? Can White be the New Stainless?
More on the Whirlpool White Ice + Black Ice
According to the company’s release on the Collection:
“White Ice is a transformation of the classic white style to a striking, more contemporary signature design. Black Ice is a sleek, sophisticated black finish with contemporary metallic details that energize the kitchen. Both finishes are accented with stainless steel, including new elegantly designed, user-friendly handles. …
In addition to White Ice and Black Ice color introductions, the new Whirlpool brand kitchen collection includes an inspirational Stainless Collection, featuring a stainless steel finish. For more information about the Ice Collection, visit www.insideadvantage.com.”
Parts, Supplies and Appliances – Whirlpool’s shop on Amazon, here.
The event was held at Ferguson‘s impressive showroom in Annapolis. The night was co-sponsored by friends Brizo – A Vuelo in White (and not quite released) greeted attendees at the door and helped bracket the conversation.