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Tech Home #2 - Kitchen

Kitchens are a major part of most homes since it's where we prepare food, keep food, grab a glass of water, etc. Here's how we're goin to proceed: Smart Appliances, Kitchen Sink, Food Growth Systems, Other, and Design Concept Basics.


Smart Appliances

The big appliances in the kitchen are the refrigerator, ranges, dishwasher, and microwave.  If you step into any location that sells these appliances, you are going to run into smart appliances.  Refrigerators have wifi features, multi-zone temperature settings, energy star ratings, and a variety of layouts.  Refrigerators have grown to be 35” or more wide.  Ranges come in 4 types - gas, electric, dual, and induction.  These may have wifi features, air frying options, double ovens, convection options, energy star rated, and improved self-cleaning.  Dishwashers are often wifi enabled, extremely quiet operation, energy star rated, and feature a leak protection system.  Smart microwaves will be energy star rated, feature a variety of cook settings, may feature wifi controls, may feature voice controls, may have an air fryer setting, and easy to clean features.


Brands: LG, GE, Samsung, Whirlpool, Bosch, Cafe



Kitchen Sink

Sinks themselves haven’t really changed too much.  What we’re looking at here are the sink options such as faucets and garbage disposals.  Instant hot water units can be installed on the kitchen sink.  These units are set at a certain temperature and require a special under-the-sink tank.  Sometimes they even come with an instant cold water option as well.  Another great addition to the kitchen sink is a garbage disposal and I really only recommend Insinkerator for this.  You shouldn’t put garbage down the drain, but when it inevitably occurs, you can prevent clogs with a garbage disposal.  They’re very handy and quick to install.


Faucets are getting really interesting, if you’re into that sort of thing.  Wouldn’t it be nice to ask for one cup of cold water and to have that come out of your faucet without needing a measuring cup?  Voice activation is a recent faucet development that can accommodate amounts and temperatures.  You can opt for touchless faucets as well.  If you’re into colored faucets, you may want to check out Vola, Rubinet (customizable), and the Grohe Essence faucet.


Brands: Insinkerator, American Standard, Westinghouse, Moen, Grohe, Vola, Rubinet



Food Growth Systems

Food growth systems can be countertop or freestanding.  There are also mushroom grow kits that should be considered here as well. Before we dive into this, let me get to the bottom of this odd subsection, a food growth system can help mitigate your grocery bill.  Mushroom grow kits are a one time use only, but they can last for a while.  If you can’t use them as fast as you anticipated, you can always dehydrate the mushrooms for later use - if you have a dehydrator.


Grow systems can handle microgreens, leafy greens, some vine varieties (tomato, cucumber, beans), herbs, and some other vegetable varieties. Smart systems, like MyGardyn, feature wifi connection through phone app to help track water, visually monitor plant growth, and when to add plant food. It can accommodate up to 30 grow pods at a time. The Lettuce Grow Farmstand Nook, the indoor model, can accommodate up to 20 grow pods at a time. Countertop models, like Aerogarden, are smaller and take up counter or shelf space. Aerogarden can accommodate up to 9 pods at a time. The big question is do you have floor space or counter space?


Mushroom Brands: North Spore, Back To The Roots, Myco Labs

Food Growth System Brands: MyGardyn, Lettuce Grow, Aerogarden




Other

These other systems create a unique and interesting high-tech kitchen space. I'm not a huge fan of collecting a ton of small kitchen appliances, so I'm not going to list a ton of them. There's just a lot of waste with single-use items when you can opt for something inclusive. I'll give you the example of the air fryer. You can purchase one, but why not opt for a microwave with an air fryer option or a range with an air fryer option? Eliminate the wasteful single-use item.

  • Composters - Even if you live in cold climates, you can have an indoor, odorless kitchen composter.  You can add the composted material directly to your garden, or store it and add it after the winter months. This will also reduce waste. I have one and I went from taking out the trash once a week to taking out the trash once every two weeks.  Recommended brands: Pela Lomi, Reencle, Vitamix FoodCycler, BeyondGreen Composter.

  • Smart Coffee Maker - When it comes to coffee, we have to figure out what we like to drink and how to consistently make it. Smart coffee makers tend to have connectivity and/or ease of use. If you like drip coffee, you can check with Hamilton Beach or Keurig (k-cup). If you prefer espresso, you should check out Seattle Coffee Gear. They go through each product and you can watch the videos. Espresso drinkers are usually a bit more picky with their brews.

  • Smart Lighting - You can install smart under-counter lighting that you can connect to Alexa or Google. With a single voice command, you can light up your kitchen or turn off the lights. You might also want to reconsider your overhead lighting as well. It doesn't have to be connected like the under-cabinet lighting, but you can save money by using LED lighting. Brands: Black+Decker, WiZ, Phillips, GE

  • Cleanable Surfaces - Cleanable surfaces refer to walls and countertops mostly. You can revamp your walls with paint (washable, stain resistant, and/or antibacterial and antiviral properties), tiles, or wood. Counters can be revitalized with new laminate, composites, stone, stainless steel, or even a section of butcher block (paired with one of the other options). Wallpaper and rough surfaces are not great for cleaning. Old counter surfaces can end up being porous, holding onto bacteria.



Design Concept Basics

When designing an ultramodern kitchen space, be aware of the design elements. Before you start, you might want to put together a design board of things you like. Grab images from magazines, films, comics, designers, paint chips, and other sources until you have something tangible. OR, you could spend money to hire an interior designer who may or may not understand what you want.

  • Colors Schemes - While bright colors are not typically used, they are often utilized as accent colors. Most people opt for one of the following: 1) a light, clean, sleek look, white, neutrals, light wood; 2) stainless, clinical, clean, glass, minimal color; 3) dark, sleek, shiny, dark wood, accent with metal or bright colors, Vader's helmet. If you need assistance with color, ask artists for assistance. Aside from this, you also have to realize that you can use whatever fucking color scheme you want. Below is a good example with a yellow kitchen. It's bright and ultramodern.

  • Material Use - You may want to limit the amount of texture in a space or it will appear cluttered and incohesive, overall a huge mess. If you decide on white oak flooring, make sure your butcher block and other wood matches. Make sure it doesn't conflict with color choices of walls and cabinets. Make sure your countertops don't conflict.

  • Ultramodern Future Basics - The principles behind "ultramodern futuristic" design is sleek, sustainable, and how you may envision what the future would look like in 50-100 years from now. Is it more Jetsons with a retrofuturistic vibe? Maybe it's more of an industrial space vibe from Alien or a light sci-fi scheme like from 2001: A Space Odyssey. You may want more of a compact space like in The Fifth Element. Perhaps it has more cyberpunk vibes - typically dark and bright.

  • Geometry - When you envision your space, what sort of shapes do you see? Some people prefer rounded corners, rounded features, and even anamorphous blobs. Some really like tight right angles and feature rectangular and square shapes. Others lean more towards triangles or hexagons. You can accent these shapes with LED lighting, tiles, furniture shapes, and accent pieces like knobs.

  • Take Your Time - You need to take your time when designing your spaces. The better you can plan, the easier it will be to finish your space. You may also want to have a long-term plan if you have a tight budget. Focus on one room at a time, what you plan on changing, and make yourself a cost sheet so you have an easier time planning.


Here are some cool design elements to consider.


Readers: I hope you're liking this tech home series so far. Next up is going to be "Bedroom". Please email me if you have something you'd like to add.


Second note: If you are interested in writing a segment, please email me. Let me know. I've been looking for some assistance and additional perspectives. In your email please tell me why you would be a good fit for this site, what topics you are interested in, etc.

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