Home: Rebirth of the Cool
The contents of your refrigerator, whether they comprise a wasteland of condiments and week-old takeout containers or a microcosmic farmer’s market, can reveal a great deal about you. But the latest offerings from Thermador, Bosch, and Gaggenau—all brands belonging to BSH Home Appliances Corp. of Huntington Beach, Calif.—could help to hide your gastronomic proclivities, or just conceal the ingredients of your culinary wizardry.
Guests in your home would have difficulty determining whether you stash ketchup or caviar in one of the Thermador Freedom Collection refrigerators, because they would be hard-pressed to find the appliance in your kitchen: The refrigeration columns, as Thermador calls them, can be customized to match your cabinetry perfectly. Introduced in July, the counter-depth, modular units include 24- and 30-inch-wide fresh food columns; 18-, 24-, and 30-inch-wide freezer columns (the former two will become available in October); and a 36-inch-wide freezer with either two or three doors. (Wine preservation columns are forthcoming in December.) Each unit can be placed individually, anywhere in your kitchen. “It gives you more design options,” says Thermador refrigeration product manager Chuck Bryant. “No longer do you have to design a kitchen around a 48-inch fridge.” The fresh food columns and the 36-inch freezer each have a Liberty Shelf, which, while holding as much as 22 pounds of groceries, can be raised or lowered at the touch of a button. Each Thermador unit also features a digital panel for adjusting temperature and a halogen lighting system. Prices range from about $2,900 to $7,000.
The Evolution line from Bosch—the brand’s first-ever fridges and freezers—also are counter-depth appliances, and while they cannot be positioned separately throughout a kitchen, they do provide similar design opportunities. They come in stainless steel, black, or white, and the hinges in the doors are hidden to enhance the appearance that the units were built into the cabinetry. Each is priced from $1,950 to $2,450 and has an exterior temperature control panel, automatic defrost cycle, and sensors that ensure consistent cooling.
The latest refrigerators from Gaggenau, which debuted in September, operate quietly—so much that they likely would go unnoticed were it not for their striking looks. The sleek units are available in stainless steel or aluminum or in panels colored to match your cabinetry. Each has its own compressor, which minimizes noise, conserves energy, and prevents odors from transferring between the fridge and freezer. Distinctive touches include stainless steel interiors. “Open up a Gaggenau,” says the brand’s general manager, Marc-Oliver Schneider-Herzfeld, “and you’ll see it matches your sink or oven.” The metal insides, he adds, distribute cold more effectively and are easily cleaned. The fridge/freezer combination is priced from $6,500 to $8,500.
Each brand’s offerings may be considered a response to the problems that design professionals, and by extension their clients, face when attempting to create the ideal kitchen. “Architects and designers complain that the refrigerator dominates the kitchen,” says Schneider-Herzfeld. “With today’s models, everything is sleeker, and you can fully integrate the kitchen into one big room.”
Freedom Collection refrigeration columns from Thermador can be placed individually throughout the kitchen and made to match cabinetry.