21
Sep

Age-Appropriate Appliances: Choices often depend on where one is in life

Odd choice for a title, isn’t it? What exactly is an “age-appropriate appliance”? Perhaps “stage-appropriate” is a more accurate description, as in stage of life, when describing what our clients are looking for when choosing appliances.

south shore kitchen designer

Designer Lisa Lally.

Does a millennial living in a condo in Boston want, or need, a six-burner chef’s range? Probably not. Or does an empty nester nearing retirement age want smart appliances they’re able to control from their iPhone or MacBook Pro? Maybe; it depends on how technologically savvy they are.

We checked in with Lisa Lally, a designer at our South Shore kitchen and bath showroom, for her take on what are considered “must-haves” when it comes to appliances.

Millennials & First-Time Home Buyers

“For millennials living in the city, in an apartment or condo, larger appliances just don’t make sense, especially if they dine out often or tend to rely on to-go food or delivery. Large, luxury appliances may not fit into their home, or lifestyle, so they opt for compact refrigerators and narrow dishwashers,” Lisa explains.

With appliance companies from Sub-Zero and Wolf* and Bosch to Whirlpool and Frigidaire offering smaller appliances, millennial homeowners have a range of choices at a variety of price points.

Sub-Zero’s built-in 24” refrigerator, to the right of the wine chiller, is a great option for space-challenged kitchens. Photo: Keith Barry for Reviewed.com.

Sub-Zero’s built-in 24” refrigerator, to the right of the wine chiller, is a great option for space-challenged kitchens. Photo: Keith Barry for Reviewed.com.

One thing that younger homeowners often consider important in an appliance is “smart” technology.

“Millennials want to be ‘connected’ to everything. Many of the new appliances offer WiFi connectivity that allow you to preheat the oven before you get home, or start the dishwasher remotely. Newer refrigerators also have integrated TVs or display screens,” says Lisa.

Married with Children

When it comes to couples with children, ample amounts of refrigeration and streamlined clean-up are the primary considerations when choosing appliances.

“For a growing family, or large family, I would say practicality is the deciding factor,” says Lisa. “Many will choose larger refrigerators, 48 inches or even 60 inches wide. The ability to keep plenty of fresh food on hand, and make fewer trips to the grocery store, is key for busy families.”

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This oversized double refrigerator, from one of projects, has the look of cabinetry.

If a family includes young children, refrigerated drawers are an increasingly popular choice, as they allow tykes to practice a little independence – and save Mom and Dad time – when they want a juice box or piece of fruit.

sub zero refrigerated drawers

Refrigerated, or “beverage,” drawers, as shown in one of our Hingham, MA kitchen designs, are perfect for families with young children.

As children get a little older, a built-in microwave, set in an island or below the countertop, can be another timesaver for parents. Not having to reheat chicken fingers and mac and cheese several times a day can prove priceless for an on-the-go family.

kitchen design

In this kitchen, our designer added a built-in microwave to the center island.

Another game-changer, especially for large families, is dual dishwashers, often on either side of the sink, which can drastically cut clean-up time.

Empty Nesters

 The children have been raised and are thriving on their own. The 50-hour workweeks are in the rearview mirror. The years of saving have created a healthy nest egg. It’s party time.

kitchen with center island

With appliances geared toward entertaining, including a built-in Wolf steam oven set into the oversized island, everything about this spacious kitchen is party perfect!

“Most empty nesters have reached a point in life where they can splurge on high-end appliances,” says Lisa about the buying patterns of Boomers and Gen X-ers. “They have the luxury of choosing what they really want,” she adds.

With six burners and dual ovens, this Wolf chef’s range is the definition of splurge-worthy! From one of our projects.

With six burners and dual ovens, this Wolf chef’s range is the definition of splurge-worthy! From one of our projects.

With their newfound free time, many people in this group will make entertaining at home the centerpiece of their social lives. In addition to a six-burner chef’s range, and dual ovens, and perhaps dual dishwashers, all of which facilitate cooking for a group, some will opt to include extra appliances that are designed just for parties.

Here, our designer went with a row of appliances – a drop-down microwave oven and steam oven flanking double ovens – set at waist height; so convenient when cooking for a gathering.

Here, our designer went with a row of appliances – a drop-down microwave oven and steam oven flanking double ovens – set at waist height; so convenient when cooking for a gathering.

“For homeowners who frequently entertain, incorporating a beverage center or wine refrigerator can be a priority,” says Lisa.

With aging in place a concern for retirees, appliance companies have begun offering options such as larger fonts and easy-to-read control panels, and electric cooktops with clearly outlined surface areas.

Slightly raised and in a color that contrasts with the countertop, this cooktop, in a kitchen we designed, is clearly defined. The hood fan is an island-mounted, “downdraft” from Best Cattura.

Slightly raised and in a color that contrasts with the countertop, this cooktop, in a kitchen we designed, is clearly defined. The hood fan is an island-mounted, “downdraft” from Best Cattura.

Whether one is just entering the workforce, in the midst of building a career and raising a family, or transitioning into their golden years, our design process ensures that the appliances chosen will fulfill the utilitarian needs of a kitchen while complementing its overall aesthetic.

*Roomscapes Cabinetry & Design Center is a factory-certified Sub-Zero and Wolf installer. When you source these brands through us, and we install the appliances, we extend the warranty for one additional year.