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Haute couture in the kitchen

Today's appliances are more than just basic necessities

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KITCHEN appliances have come a long way. Once considered basic necessities, these items have become important investments that require research about design, function, colour and placement.

It is difficult to pinpoint the exact moment when kitchen appliances became en vogue. And with TV cooks like Christine Cushing and Emeril Lagasse showcasing high-tech cooking gadgets in their famous kitchens, it was only a matter of time before the general public wanted professional kitchen appliances, too.

When you couple the popularity of The Food Network with other home-based lifestyle trends, the house has become a hip place in which to spend time.

"Kitchens used to be all about function and now they are about décor," explains Don Schell of Sears Home Store. "White used to be the dominant colour, but now black and stainless steel are increasingly important."

"Homes are now entertainment centres," adds Derek Faraci of Midland Appliance World. "People are buying nicer things, including more furnishings and luxury appliances, making their home a destination place."

Victor Cordeiro of Furniture Villa agrees that Winnipeggers are loosening up their notoriously tight budgets. "If I explain the differences between brands, most people are willing to spend more money on quality appliances," says Cordeiro. He adds the current boom in new housing construction has lead to growth in the appliance market.

Convenience also plays a major role in appliance purchase decisions. For example, bottom mount refrigerators (with freezers located at the bottom) have become really popular, in addition to built-in appliances. In fact, almost any kitchen appliance can be retrofitted because of the availability of customized cabinetry finishes.

"The kitchen is the most used and sometimes, most visible room," says Harold Kriewald of Stalwart Appliances By Design. "Because people are cooking a much broader, multicultural menu than our parents did, it's nice to offer so many new appliances that make cooking fun and easy."

In addition to the sheer convenience of today's kitchen technology, the social aspect of the kitchen is once again in the spotlight -- especially in homes with an open concept design. And if the party does indeed always end up in the kitchen, then there's no reason that its appliances shouldn't be both functional and fashionable.

The following is a helpful list of some of the most innovative kitchen appliances available in Winnipeg.

1. Whirlpool Polara Refrigerated Range

In a world full of multi-tasking, it's not surprising that an oven and refrigerator combo has been invented. The Polara Refrigerated Range combines state-of-the-art cooking performance with the convenience of refrigeration. The Polara can keep food cold until needed and then begin the cooking process at a preprogrammed time, enabling busy people to come home to a safely cooked meal.

Price: $2,799*

Available at: Dufresne Furniture and Appliances, Emile's TV & Appliance, Furniture Villa, Midland Appliance World, Schwartz Sales, Sears Home Store

2. LG Microwave/Toaster Oven

The LG Microwave/Toaster Oven was designed with space savings in mind. Microwave and toasting functions have been combined into a unit the same size as a regular microwave. Featuring a 900-watt microwave and 800- watt toaster, this small wonder includes 10 power levels, auto and rapid defrost, reheat, six auto-cook options, a popcorn pad, and nine toaster browning levels.

Price: $200*

Available at: Dufresne Furniture and Appliances, Sears Home Store, Stalwart Appliances by Design

3. Maytag Jetclean II Three-Rack Dishwasher

This dishwasher may have the same outer dimensions as regular models, but the inside has been reconfigured to accommodate three levels of dirty dishes. The bottom rack is great for pots, pans and casserole dishes, while the top two racks can house plates, bowls, glassware and cutlery. Because this gem can hold items that usually don't fit in a dishwasher, kitchen cleanup becomes a breeze.

Price: $750*

Available at: Dufresne Furniture and Appliances, Midland Appliance World, Sears Home Store

4. KitchenAid Bottom Mount Refrigerator

Bottom mount refrigerators (with freezers on the bottom) are becoming more popular. And it's easy to understand why. We open the refrigerator many times a day, whereas the freezer is something we use much less frequently. Having refrigerated food and beverages at eye level is great for your posture and convenient for finding what you want.

Price: $1,600*

Available at: Dufresne Furniture & Appliances, Emile's TV & Appliance, Furniture Villa, Sears Home Store, Midland Appliance World, Stalwart Appliances by Design, Schwartz Sales

5. Fisher & Paykel DishDrawer

Fisher & Paykel's DishDrawer allows you to wash delicate crystal and heavily soiled baking dishes at the same time, in separate areas. Fragile glassware can be cleaned using the delicate cycle in one drawer, while pots and pans requiring a heavy-duty wash can be put in a separate drawer. Available in a variety of customized finishes, these drawers can be seamlessly integrated into your kitchen.

Price: $1,100* (single drawer); $1,900* (double drawer)

Available at: Schwartz Sales, Stalwart Appliances by Design, Midland Appliance World, Sears Home Store

6. Zephyr Torino Fan Hood

A fan hood has always been a practical part of any kitchen, reducing humidity and protecting cabinetry finishes. But fan hoods have never been known for their design and décor possibilities. Until now. The Zephyr Torino fan hood looks more like a martini glass than a ventilation system. This sleek fan hood is available in red, green, yellow or blue frosted glass.

Price: $3,500

Available at: Stalwart Appliances By Design

7. Gaggenau Combination Steam Oven

The new Gaggenau combination steam oven brings professional kitchen technology into your home. The oven combines the advantage of a steamer and an oven, enabling meat, fish and vegetables to retain the utmost in flavour, colour and vitamins. The oven browns and crisps poultry skin without drying and cooks vegetables to your desired consistency.

Price: $6,550*

Available at: Midland Appliance World

8. Miele Coffee System

The Miele Coffee System is a java lover's dream. This built-in coffee house is fully automatic, making it easy to turn every cup of coffee into an individual taste experience. The system can make you a latte, cappuccino, hot chocolate or even an old-fashioned regular cup of coffee, on demand.

Price: $3,000*

Available at: Schwartz Sales, Stalwart Appliances by Design

9. Sub-Zero Wine Storage Unit

Sub-Zero Wine Storage Units are perfect for people who like to entertain. The cooling system maintains a constant temperature and ideal humidity in two digitally controlled zones. The smallest unit stores 46 bottles and the largest stores 147. Available in freestanding and under-counter designs, they come in a variety of finishes to compliment your cabinetry.

Price: $800* & up

Available at: Schwartz Sales, Stalwart Appliances by Design

10. Quick & Hot Instant Hot Water

For those in need of instant gratification, you may want to buy a Quick & Hot Instant Hot Water System. Instantly providing 190 F (88 C) water through a dedicated tap, this handy gizmo makes heating or reheating a snap. You can use it to make coffee, tea, soups, cereals, sauces and noodles.

Price: $249*

Available at: Midland Appliance World

* Prices may vary, depending on manufacturer, store and customized options.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 17, 2003 $sourceSection$sourcePage

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