Is a Jetsons Kitchen In Your Future?

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This live Thermador kitchen in the Capital Distributing showroom is one of the multiple areas that you can “try before you buy.” (Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography)

You never know where the research for an article idea will take you. When the editorial team started talking about doing some myth busting on how long your appliances should last and the difference in longevity between American and European appliances, it sounded right up my alley. What I didn’t expect was to be talking about technology that looked like science fiction.

When I watched The Jetsons on Saturday mornings, no one dreamed we could actually have cooking in our home be so automated, but a connected kitchen is probably in a home near you. After seeing these new trends, you will never look at kitchen design the same way again, and you’ll be wishing it was time to change out all of your appliances!

Learning from the masters at the Thermador BSH Experience & Design Center (Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography)

As a Lifestylist who attends most of the big conferences including Design and Construction Week, The International Builders Show, and the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show, I get to see a lot of new products even before they are available in stores. Getting to visit innovation centers like the BSH Design and Experience Center and the World of Whirlpool is another great perk — spending a few days with some of the best designers and chefs in the country while cooking on appliances that are life changing is a dream come true.

Chef Ann Nolan, Training Chef at the World of Whirlpool, teaches us about cooking gourmet meals on Jenn-Air Appliances (Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography)

It also gives me the opportunity to ask lots of questions, and to learn what makes each of them unique. What is the most invaluable thing to come out of these trips though is the relationships. Being able to reach out to any of these and get a response from the top in a few hours is a great privilege.

Here’s a myth-buster for you: Did you know that most of the appliances that are sold all over the world are made by about four manufacturers?

They build them to the specifications that each appliance company specifies, but there is more overlap than you would think. As a result of this, the construction is similar in the U.S. or abroad — the differences are in the lifestyles and needs for each country.

The new Signature Kitchen Suite by LG at Capital Distributing (Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography)

The appliance community is rapidly changing. China’s Qingdao Haier has acquired GE Appliances, Samsung has purchased the luxury brand Dacor, and LG is making a huge investment in their LG Studio and Signature Kitchen Suites. Sears just announced that it would be selling Alexa-enabled appliances on Amazon. The good news is that all of these acquisitions and the investments involved are fueling tremendous advances into what our appliances can do, and I’m predicting that as a result we’ll be spending even more time in our kitchens, and have the tools to prepare healthier and faster meals than ever before. Cooking is going from a hobby to a lifestyle, and consumers are showing that it’s an investment in time and money they are ready to make.

Appliances that just heat, cool, turn on, or turn off are so… 1980s. Today we have steam convection, induction, convection, food preservation systems, Sous Vide, even choices to what style of ice you would prefer. Refrigeration has “Knock Knock” technology with cameras inside so you can know exactly what you need to restock, and a digital screen on the door that will let you place an order for those items and have them delivered to your door. We all knew these were coming to the luxury market, but I was surprised to see how many affordable appliances are now embracing a lot of this technology. So what does this mean to you? Everything.

Thermador Appliances and Capital Distributing team up to support local non-profits like Chefs For Farmers and Les Dames D’Escoffier Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography

Locally owned Capital Distributing has seen this trend evolve, and they are embracing it by making their showroom more interactive than ever. Advertising manager and family member Jennifer Tyrell has grown up in the business and is excited to have new opportunities to empower their customers. After discovering the perfect products for their customers lifestyles, they offer hands-on education on how to use them. Jennifer says “it’s about more than price, it’s about the entire experience. Our dedicated installation teams not only make sure that your new appliances are installed properly, but they also make it possible for the warranty to be extended because the manufacturers know that it was installed correctly and checked out from day one.”

Unlike many of the “big box” stores, your relationship with them doesn’t end the day you purchase your appliances — that’s just the beginning. The Capital team coordinates delivery, installation, and warranty issues. The process is so personal that each invoice has a note on it from owner Michael Davis that asks how they did and includes his personal email. When consumers respond, he is the one that follows up with them.


One of the many cooking classes and product demonstrations in the Thermador kitchen at Capital Distributing Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography

Don’t know for sure what you want, or which of the new features is right for your lifestyle? They will have one of their professionals walk through with you and help you make the right decisions. They also hold cooking classes and demos almost every week that consumers are encouraged to take part in at no charge. These are usually given by top chefs from the various manufacturers, and it’s the perfect way to understand your new investment.

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Lifestylist® Suzanne Felber

Lifestylist® Suzanne Felber is one of those lucky people who truly loves what she does. By helping consumers discover their “inner-stylist”, Felber has helped thousands of homeowners design their own spaces to reflect their personalities and their lifestyles. Felber lives in her own Home Idea Factory - a circa 1942 factory that previously housed a printing company in Oak Cliff. She and her brood of rescue cats and dogs have been busy using the building as the perfect place to try out different ideas and products that she is excited to share here.

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