Real Estate

Ask the Designer: New trends in appliance integration

Posted January 15, 2013

By Robbie Watson, appliance specialist
For New Homes & Ideas, Jodi Sauerbier, Publisher

New Homes & Ideas

Framed, overlay, inset, integrated; these are words that until recently, only applied to the types of cabinet doors in your kitchen. Today, these words also describe finishes for appliances. Applying decorative wood panels to appliances adds another color option. In an industry where the word custom is used frequently, the addition of panels to your appliances will truly “customize” your kitchen.

The traditional way to apply panels to an appliance is with a ¼” framed panel that slides into a frame on the front of the unit. In most cases, a ¾” panel is applied to the center of the ¼” panel and the frame is visible. The current trend for the application of panels is an overlay treatment which covers and hides the frame and allows the homeowner to choose hardware that matches their kitchen cabinetry. The newest generation of appliances can be either flush inset or integrated. In most cases only the ¾” panel is applied directly to the front of the appliance and when installed correctly, these appliances can virtually disappear into the surrounding cabinetry. Usually flush inset or integrated appliances will require deeper cabinets than the standard 24” depth. They can still protrude about ¾” beyond the doors of the cabinets but it is a very nice alternative to stainless, black or white appliances.

Appliances that can have panels applied to them include counter-depth and built-in refrigeration, dishwashers, warming drawers, and under-counter refrigeration, including icemakers and wine storage. Counter-depth free standing refrigerators can have either overlay or framed panels but will never be as flush to cabinetry as the built-in models because of the depth of the boxes and the way the doors are hinged on the units. Built -in refrigerators can be framed, overlay, flush inset or integrated depending on the model. It is important that your kitchen designer and your appliance specialist coordinate on specifying panel dimensions for these units.

Come in to a Kitchen & Bath Galleries location today and let us show you the different ways appliances can contribute to a truly custom kitchen.

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  • admyank Jan 16, 10:29 a.m.

    How much of design is based on Human factors such as the ability of a human to actually use the item designed versus the design just being cosmetic?