Five appliances that will make your kitchen easier to live in
Sort it: Choosing the right appliances from the outset will improve home life
From noise to clutter not to mention steam and odours from cooking, a tranquil living space can become uncomfortable pretty quickly. Photograph: iStock
Kitchens nowadays are so often part of an open plan living area. This means they need to function in a way that integrates with the space rather than dominates it. From noise to clutter, not to mention steam and odours from cooking, a tranquil living space can become uncomfortable pretty quickly.
Appliances such as extractor fans, kettles, and dishwashers are some of the main culprits for this disruption. Choosing the right appliances from the outset will minimise noise, smells and even mess. Kitchen appliance specialist Cyril Mangan of KAL has good advice to offer when choosing new appliances that will ensure your kitchen runs with as little disruption as possible.
Extractor fans “When choosing an extractor you should look for a model that will shift the air as quickly and quietly as possible,” says Mangan. “A lot of people tend to go for design over function with extractors. It’s important to calculate the airflow of the room and let this inform your choice of appliance.” A kitchen supplier or designer should be able to help with this calculation.
Downdraft extractors, which are built into the hob, are the newest innovation for extraction. Not only do they do away with the need for anything overhead but they are also extremely effective. With conventional overhead extractors, any kind of draught from an open door or window can interrupt the flow of steam, making the extraction less effective.
“With a downdraft model built into the hob the extractor is right beside the source of steam, which is why it works so well,” he says. Prices start at €1,800 from one of the leading brands Elica.
Dishwasher The dishwasher is another major noise polluter in an open plan space. This is a hard-working appliance and in most homes runs once if not twice a day. So it’s worth choosing a model that is as quiet as possible.
When shopping, ask about the decibel, or DB rating, for the appliance. A DB rating of 42 is virtually silent. “You will hear a slight humming in the background when it’s running,” says Mangan. Make sure to ask whether there is any variance in noise across the different program settings. “We tend to use the same one or two programs all the time, so be sure to ask if the dishwasher is silent across all settings,” he recommends.
Hot water tap One of the noisiest appliances in any kitchen is the kettle. The average household boils the kettle at least four times a day and a full kettle takes about 10 minutes to boil. That’s 40 minutes of disruption every day.
Hot water taps are the ideal solution to this. Not only are they quieter than a kettle but they are cheaper to run too. The newer versions are very compact and don’t take up much space, so no need to worry about losing storage space under the sink. You can also get combined models that work as the main sink tap while offering boiling water and filtered drinking water too.
The Omni 4-in-1 tap from Franke costs €1,399 and is a combined water filter and boiling water. You can also adjust the tap to suit left- or right-handed operation.
Induction Hob One of the most common questions I get asked about kitchens is what to put on the island – the sink or the hob. My answer is the hob and ideally an induction hob, as its sleek design will allow you to achieve a really clean look.
“Induction is the next evolution of the ceramic hob,” says Mangan. To boil a pint of water on a normal hob takes about six minutes whereas if you boil the same amount of water on an induction hob it takes one minute, he explains.
There are two main advantages of cooking with induction: speed and the ability to control the temperature. Essentially induction will give you the same benefits as gas. “Gas was always the favourite with TV chefs, but now the chefs on modern cooking programmes use induction,” says Mangan.
Induction hobs work by magnetic coil making them really safe. If there is no pot on the hob it doesn’t generate heat. They only work with stainless steel bottomed pots and pans. Whirlpool is currently offering a free set of pots when you purchase selected hobs with prices starting at €399.
Waste disposal Another issue with kitchens in open plan settings is unwanted odours from food waste. One way to avoid this is to go for a waste disposal unit. “I’m the proud owner of a waste disposal unit,” says Mangan. “I can’t imagine living without it.”
Waste disposal units are common in the US and continental Europe, less common here. But they are a great addition to any busy kitchen and easy to install. They range in price from about €240 to €700 for a top of the range model. The essential difference being, as you go up in price you can dispose of tougher material.
“I have a mid-range model and it does everything we need,” says Mangan. “We can dispose of wet foodstuff and more solid items like small chicken bones. There is no food waste sitting in the kitchen, which eliminates bad smells from bins.”
Denise O’Connor is an architect and design consultant, @optimisedesign