Automation technology has moved from the factory and taken up permanent residence in the home, and more specifically, in the heart of the house—the kitchen. General Electric, for instance, has debuted a phone app for a new wall oven that enables homeowners to preheat the oven, change the temperature and set a timer, all from a remote location. About the only thing the GE app doesn’t tell you is whether family members and friends will like what you’ve cooked. The question of, course, is do we really want kitchens that are smarter than we are, or appliances that require us to attend webinars in order to operate them.
“Most clients aren’t opting for the really high-tech appliances,” says Terry Scarborough, showroom manager at Deane, Inc., in New Canaan. “Our customers hear about refrigerators with built-in TV screens and they say, ‘Why would I want that?’” What customers seem to prefer are mainstream Sub-Zero refrigerators with LED lights and built-in water filtration, Wolf convection ovens and speed ovens from brands like GE, Sharp, Miele and Jenn-Air. Combination steam-and-convection ovens top must-have lists, too. “People are busy,” Scarborough says. “They’re interested in features that keep food fresher, help them cook healthier and save them time. And they’re interested in easy function.” More popular than smart appliances in the kitchen are smart home operating systems like Apple’s Savant software, programmable from a single iPad built into a kitchen’s walls. Says Scarborough, “Homeowners can control energy-use and, if they’re entertaining, everything from lighting to sound without having to run around the house.” kitchensbydeane.com