Riding a wave of conspicuous home spending, majap makers provided merchants with plenty of ammunition for trade-up sales at this month's Kitchen/Bath Industry Show (K/BIS).
From fingerprint-free metallic finishes to faster, hotter and more powerful cooking and laundry products, buyers found an embarrassment of up-market riches on the show floor, and responded in kind by crowding exhibit booths to near capacity. Here's an alphabetical sampling of what they saw:
AM Appliance Group: The company formerly known as Asko highlighted its Eurotech line of energy efficient front-loading laundry products, including the extra-large capacity EWF172 washer. The compact unit employs tumble action in lieu of an agitator for improved cleaning and gentler handling of clothes, and features a 1,200 rpm spin cycle and built-in water heater. Suggested retail is $799.
The company is also offering a front-loading steel tub washer and matching dryer combo that's priced to hit a $1,199 price point.
DCS: Dynamic Cooking Systems added a 24-inch, 49-decibal dishwasher to its Professional cooking equipment line, and showed its five-burner, 30-inch residential gas range which won the Kitchen and Bath Business Product Innovator award in November. The latter features a 17,500 btu center burner and four surrounding burners that range from a 140-degree simmer to 16,000 btus.
Dacor: New for the company is the Epicure 36-inch single electric/convection wall oven. The commercial-style unit features 4.34 cubic feet of cooking capacity, a 3,500-watt ceramic glass broiler with rapid response ribbon elements and reverse air flow, which keeps the exterior of the oven door cool to the touch. Available in stainless steel with chrome, black, brass or copper trim, the Epicure is slated to begin shipping this June and will carry a suggested retail range of $2,700 to $2, 800.
Also new is a 24-inch integrated indoor/outdoor warming oven that's designed for use in bathrooms, kitchens, dining rooms, outdoor built-in kitchens and Dacor's own freestanding 52-inch grill cart. The unit is 19 1/2-inches deeps and features a four-hour timer and temperature settings ranging from 100 to 200 degrees.
Equator: The company added an oval glass window to the door of its compact, counter-top dishwasher, which it described as a "safety feature that allows for viewing the cycle in progress" and which can serve as a reminder to empty clean dishes. The unit measures 19-1/2 inches high and 19-3/4 inches wide and deep, and carries a suggested retail of $399. It's full-size dishwasher, which stands 32-1/4 inches high on adjustable legs and offers a top-rack-only wash, retails for between $599 and $649, depending on finish and control panel option.
GE Appliances: After emphasizing its luxury Monogram line at the Builders Show in February, the company turned its attention back to its high-end Profile platform for K/BIS. New for the show was a 30-inch, freestanding duel-fuel range that featured a 12,000-btu gas cooktop and an electric convection oven replete with warming draw. The unit, offered in stainless, white, bisque and black, will be available in August 2002, with retails ranging from $1,349 to $1,649.
GE also showed new 27-inch and 30-inch Profile built-in wall ovens in single and double configurations. The convection units feature a new soft-curve design that's complimented by revamped handles, glass touch controls, halogen lighting and oversized viewing window. Retails will range from $529 to $2299.
Kuppersbusch: The 125-year-old kitchen resource made its U.S. debut with a range of built-in ovens, gas and electric cooktops and hoods. The convection ovens offer nine cooking modes, slide-out rack or telescopic shelving and electronic sensor-touch timers, while the hoods boast high extraction rates, fully electronic controls and halogen lighting.
Maytag: The company bowed the industry's first three-full rack dishwasher, dubbed Jetclean II. Despite its standard exterior size, the unit boasts four wash arms, a 14-place-setting capacity and a unique FlexLoad bottom third rack that can accommodate broiler pans, cookie sheets and large or odd-shaped dishes. Available this fall in two- and three-rack models in black, white, bisque and stainless, the line will range from $450 to $699.
Maytag also introduced the first gas-powered addition to the Gemini line of 30-inch double-oven ranges.
Meanwhile, Amana added a built-in filtered water dispenser to its bottom mount Easy Reach platform, while Maytag's top-of-the-line Jenn-Air division debuted its first line of built-in refrigerators. The Luxury series of 42- and 48-inch side-by-sides are offered in stainless and custom front panel exteriors, while interior options include two modular packages and mix-and-match drawers, baskets and shelves. Retails will begin at about $5,500.
Marvel: The undercounter refrigeration resource showed its high-end Luxury series of wine and beverage storage units with high gloss black interior, microprocessor-based thermostat, and easy-to-clean refrigeration-grade plastic. One model, the 3BAR beverage refrigerator, also features separate temperature zones for wine and beverages. Also new is a glass door designer option that accepts a custom overlay frame.
Sharp: The company unveiled its high-speed R-90GC oven that combines microwave technology with a 2,900-watt hot-air circulation system that cooks meals as much as five times faster than conventional ovens. Pre-programmed to automatically cook 200 foods and recipes, the 240-volt unit features a stainless steel front, silver painted cabinet and easy-to-clean interior finish. Shipping begins during the second half of 2002 at a suggested retail of $1,199.95.
Sub-Zero: The company continued to highlight its glass door refrigerator and freestanding, 46-bottle wine unit, leaving the high-profile product launches to its Wolf cooking division, which unveiled its first major line under its new corporate parentage. Highlights there included a dual convection double wall oven with hidden and revolving control panel and dampened door, a dual-stacked burner gas cooktop and a 36-inch, 2,700-watt electric cooktop with a 12-inch, three-ring burner.
Viking: New for the show was a dual-fuel 30-inch-wide sealed burner range, which features a full cooking range of simmer to 15,000 btus on each burner. The unit will be available this summer in stainless, black, white, almond, biscuit, stone gray, graphite, burgundy, lemonade, mint julep, forest green, Viking blue, cobalt and eggplant. The company also expanded its Designer series line of cooktops, ovens, hoods, dishwashers and refrigerators, and added its first microwave oven — a 2.0-cubic foot, 1,200-watt unit with 16-inch turntable — to both its Designer and Professional programs.
Whirlpool: The company added a finishing touch to its Conquest refrigeration platform by offering a new Satina stainless-look surface option, which has the aesthetic advantage of steel plus the added benefits of smudge resistance and the ability to hold magnets.
Meanwhile, Whirlpool's upscale sister brand KitchenAid unveiled the industry's first in-sink dishwasher, the Briva. The top-loading unit is actually a stainless steel double sink, with one side housing the dishwasher. Removing the rack and spray arm transforms the dishwasher side into a fully functional sink, while an included cutting board fits over the lid to create an instant workspace.
The product will have a limited launch in July with a full rollout during the first quarter of 2003, and will carry a suggested retail of about $2,000.
Zephyr: The ventilation resource offered new additions to its core Torino, Europa and Power series range hoods. Joining the latter is the self-cleaning, filter-free Typhoon, which features a pair of powerful but quiet centrifugal blowers, six variable speeds and dimmable halogen lights in a contemporary rounded design.
U-Line Corp.: Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the family-run business introduced an upscale Echelon series of six stainless steel undercounter appliances for use outside the home, including two icemakers, a Combo ice maker/refrigerator, two refrigerators and one refrigerator/freezer. Their full-wrap stainless steel bodies and doors are built to withstand the elements, while the interiors feature adjustable door shelves and contoured glass refrigerator shelving.