When you consider appliances, you probably think of stainless steel and integrated kitchens. That understanding is about to shift. Take a peek at these 2012 trends and you’ll see inspirations much beyond the bulky, pro-style ranges of the previous dozen years.

Ferguson, a significant high-end appliance, fixtures and lighting retailer, was an beneficial resource in producing this Ideabook, sharing their national predictions for 2012. The IMM LivingKitchen series in Cologne, Germany in 2011 was quite beneficial. Many of the products and tendencies I saw there (as a guest of Blanco, a German sink and faucet manufacturer) can make their way to American shores this year.

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Paul Anater

Higher integration will be coming to a kitchen near you. No longer are paneled dishwashers and refrigerators sufficient for the kitchen that is open.

Ovens, microwaves and other wall-mounted appliances are becoming sleeker, more modular and hug their cabinetry more tightly than ever before. This is strikingly evident in this kitchen which Paul Anater, my buddy and fellow traveler to IMM’s LivingKitchen series, shared in their own coverage of this event.

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High-tech design is just another appliance trend for the new year. Not only are manufacturers bringing the functionality of high-tech gadgets , they also are borrowing their streamlined designs.

This Horizon port hood by Zephyr exemplifies this trend. In reality, Apple Computer designer Robert Brunner designed it.

Logan’s Hammer Building & Renovation

Intuitive touchscreen interfaces will be a significant trend in 2012, according to Ferguson. They have been available in fundamental kind for awhile, but the tablet and smartphone has spread like wildfire to the blower class.

New versions will provide a lot more functionality than just presets, cooking time and mode. Ferguson points to the new Jenn-Air Pro Style Range with recipe memory and recall as one example of this”smart cooker” offerings.

Glenvale Kitchens

Induction cooking has been popular in Europe for quite awhile, but its reintroduction into the U.S. many decades back was slow to catch on. This is likely to be the year it really takes away. There are several reasons why:

• It can decrease your electrical bill and cash-strapped homeowners are taking notice
• Improvements are providing pro-chef level temperature controller
• Their speed is increasingly appealing to time-stressed homeowners
• There is an ever-broadening selection of offerings, such as 30″ and 36″ cooktops, slide-in and free-standing ranges which are easier than ever to operate

Later this year, Gaggenau and Thermador will be releasing brighter cooktops with full surface cooking and placing memory as you proceed your pot and pan from 1 location to another.

Architect Andrew Morrall

Steam cooking, something I fell in love with a few decades ago, will be another significant trend in 2012. Steam ovens have long been popular in big upscale kitchens whose owners value its healthy cooking advantages.

New offerings bring warmth to microwaves, double ovens and even ranges. This dramatically improves the opportunity to design steam cooking into the typical kitchen.

Fisher & Paykel

Fisher & Paykel CoolDrawer

More multi-tasking appliance offerings, similar to this refrigerator/freezer/wine ruler combo, will continue to spike in 2012.

Recent multi-taskers released in 2011 have comprised a built-in fridge with a semi automatic fridge/freezer drawerplus a countertop microwave/steam oven/grill and pro-style range with steam oven. Expect to see more unique and useful combos in 2012.

This is due in part to some value consciousness from homeowners. Interestingly, it’s also due to two contradictory trends: Certainly, the average home is diminishing in size in comparison with the boom-time McMansions and two, the larger, more wealthy homes have a tendency to have big, open”show” kitchens and smaller rear”prep” or”swimmer’s” kitchens. Multi-taskers come in handy for both.

Element Design Group

New venting pretenders will probably cross the Atlantic to American shores this year. Elica, an Italian manufacturer known for whimsical range hoods, is one of the leaders in making these appliances seem like ribbons or sculpture. Neff is a German manufacturer that also generates hoods. The reason hoods such as theirs, and such as Zephyr’s Horizon, are likely to trend next year is that they are ideal for minimalist, open plan kitchens.

Most are slim enough to hide behind the very same panels as the cooktop below. Others just look like something other than a hood reinforcing the room feel to the kitchen.

White will be arriving in sleek modular glass-front appliances later in the new year.

This photograph in last year’s IMM LivingKitchen series in Cologne was part of Miele’s European line. Many of the appliance manufacturers there were showing comparable glossy, glass-fronted whites.

Expect to see these fashions cross the pond after this year. American manufacturers are taking note; based on Ferguson, Whirlpool already has an iPhone-inspired White De-icing services New Haven collection intended for the US market.

Special Report: Kitchen Information out of Cologne
Home Tech: Create a Place for the Internet in the Kitchen
Reader’s Choice: The Top Kitchens of 2011

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