It’s well established that the kitchen is the new heart of the home. Less clear are consumer preferences when it comes to remodeling the cookery, picking appliances and choosing a finish for them.
Houzz, an online platform for home remodeling and design, decided to find out in a series of user surveys, and shared its findings with Samsung to mark the retail launch of an updated Chef Collection line of premium built-in kitchen appliances.
According to Houzz marketing VP Liza Hausman, 60 percent of Americans spend more than three hours a day in their kitchens, and cooking is only part of the story. Fully 92 percent of respondents said they entertain and socialize in the room, while 25 percent do work there and 33 percent watch TV and read.
Little wonder then that kitchens are one of the most popular interior renovations on Houzz, carried out by 1 in 6 users, Hausman said. Their reasons: 43 percent couldn’t stand their old kitchens; 40 percent could finally afford it; and 28 percent recently purchased their home and wanted to make the kitchen their own.
Unfortunately for majap makers and dealers, appliance upgrades are low on the priority list, coming in seventh behind lighting fixtures and just ahead of cabinets. (Countertops and backsplashes were the two most important features for respondents.)
But for those who opted for new appliances, the No. 1 item on their wish list was dishwashers, cited by 79 percent. Refrigerator/freezer came in second at 77 percent, followed in rank by microwave oven; range; range hood; garbage disposal; cootktop; ice maker; and, at 31 percent, wall oven.
As to choice of finish, stainless steel was far and away the favorite, cited by 72 percent of respondents. Nine percent favored white, 7 percent prefer black or black stainless steel, and 1 percent chose gray.
Interestingly, of those who picked black stainless, 9 percent were millennials, 7 percent were Gen Xers, and 6 percent were baby boomers, making it the finish for those who think young.
Houzz also found that kitchen remodels can actually be healthful. Forty-one percent of respondents reported doing more home cooking post renovation; 34 percent ordered less takeout; and 26 percent professed to eating more fruits and vegetables.
But the recently remodeled are not only eating smart, they’re living smart. Fully 45 percent said they either installed or plan to install smart devices in their new kitchens, and 28 percent said integrating smart technology was a priority. This is especially true for first-time homebuyers, 35 percent of whom cited smart technology as “very important” to their home renovation decisions.
Still, roadblocks to “The Jetsons”-style kitchens remain. Finding the right smart products and technologies were a challenge for 37 percent of respondents, while staying on budget vexed another 27 percent. Most (38 percent) said educating themselves about available options was the biggest hurdle, while finding the right installers was the smallest.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway: Homeowners are spending more than ever on home renovations, especially first-time buyers, who shelled out $33,800 on average last year, up 22 percent from 2015.
Samsung followed up Hausman’s presentation at its Samsung 837 showroom facility in New York with a cooking demo by chef, author and TV personality Candice Kumai, who employed the new Chef Collection.
The line, co-developed with recently acquired subsidiary Dacor and introduced at the Pacific Coast Builders Conference (PCBC) last June, features two new fully integrated, built-in refrigerators — including the first built-in, four-door Flex Zone model, which provides a convertible refrigerator-to-freezer compartment (suggested retail: $4,299)
The series also includes:
- 30-inch wall ovens with steam cooking and a divisible (Flex) bottom oven cavity;
- 30- and 36-inch induction and gas cooktops – the former with virtual flame technology, the latter with a 22,000 Btu dual power brass burner;
- Bluetooth-enabled range hoods;
- Samsung’s acclaimed WaterWall technology dishwasher, which provides corner-to-corner cleaning; and
- refrigerator compartment cameras that allow consumers to check the contents remotely.
The Wi-Fi-enabled collection, available now at retail, also offers owners and installers time-saving value-adds like pre-drilled holes, easy leveling, web-based diagnostic tests, and less cumbersome packaging, Samsung said.