Kirsty Mcluckie: monster kitchen appliances set to multiply
As well as the air fryers, coffee machines, stylised stand mixers, and cutting-edge gadgets that take pride of place on our counter spaces, we also seem to be doubling up on the larger appliance.
Take dishwashers, for instance. The percentage of households in the UK owning one was just 18 per cent in 1995. Now well over half of British homes have a dishwasher – and that number keeps on rising.
Not least because – for those with sufficient space – it seems that having just one machine to wash dishes is simply not enough.
A kitchen company reported this week that about one-third of its customers undergoing a kitchen refit request two dishwashers, often on either side of the sink, and some even want three.
Estate agents have also noticed the trend for double dishwashers filtering down from the upper end of the market to the middle.
Households with the budget and the space to fit two dishwashers in the kitchen increasingly view it as a valuable tech addition.
The demands of large families means it is useful to be able to stack a second machine while the first is already mid-cycle, and it helps to declutter the kitchen – especially in open-plan designed homes where dirty dishes are difficult to hide.
Certainly at this time of year, when many of us will be anticipating an influx of guests and family over the next few weeks, having two or even three receptacles to plonk the pots in after a big meal seems very appealing.
My idea would be to go a step further and do away with cupboards altogether, using multiple dishwashers instead to store all plates, cutlery, pans and cups – and ridding me of the hated job of emptying the blasted thing.
But a paucity of dishwashers isn’t the only area where those of us with normal kitchens may start to feel inadequate. Double ovens are already found in many kitchens, and it is certainly useful to be able to bake or roast at two different temperatures at the same time.
But the number of hob rings on the stove top have become something of an arms race of late too.
Going back 20 years, anything more than the standard four rings was impressive. Now, you can hardly call yourself a proper foodie unless you have eight of varying sizes and uses.
At the pinnacle of the Gagganau cooktop range is a futuristic bespoke contraption that combines gas rings – including one specifically designed for a wok, an induction zone, a teppanyaki hot plate, and an electric barbecue.
It is described as space-enhancing, which may be true, but it is certainly not space saving, being the size of a quite spacious family car.
A double sink is definitely a useful innovation. You can use one side for washing raw produce, and the other for non-edibles, reducing the risk of cross-contamination. Plus, having a designated sink for food prep can help keep your kitchen organised and streamlined.
A double sink is the norm in the US, where you’ll also see high-spray nozzles for rinsing, and integrated waste disposal units.
Built-in colanders, taps that provide boiling, ice-cold water or fizzy, as well as specialist filters for purification are increasingly popular here too.
There is also enough sage advice online on how to connect two washing machines to the same drain to make me think that some households must be doing an awful lot of laundry. It’s true that very large families can require more than one machine on a daily basis.
Fridges are the most noticeably expanding appliances, with modest under-counter models giving way to vast double-doored edifices which do everything from making ice to keeping digital grocery tallies, and ordering in when you are running low.
But for true luxury, you should look for a Wilf. A Walk In Larder Fridge – as the name suggests – it is more like a room that you step into than a refrigerator, and comes complete with floor-to-ceiling shelves kept at a chilled temperature. The largest can be the size of a galley kitchen in a more basic home.
But then the real luxury of these monster appliances is having the space to house them in the first place.
- Kirsty McLuckie is property editor at The Scotsman