July 31, 2014

New Refrigerator Design Reflects Consumers’ Attitudes

As stated in Twice, consumers are starting to emerge from their economic doldrums, and the renewed optimism is beginning to be reflected in more colorful and eclectic kitchen designs.

According to Thom Filicia, award-winning interior designer and host of Style Network’s “Dress My Nest,” who put his observations into practice with a recently rolled-out refrigerator line for Amana, “People are feeling more confident, and they want color that’s fresh and optimistic but still grounded and earthy.”

What’s more, the mixing and matching of favorite colors and patterns, which is a given in apparel and other rooms of the home, has finally migrated to America’s kitchens. “Consumers are no longer necessarily buying their kitchen appliances in matching suites,” Filicia observed. “People like eclecticism, and they’re mixing it up by bringing more personality and an emotional connection into the kitchen.”

“Appliances don’t have to match,” he said. “They just need to coordinate and look good.”

Filicia, who gained national celebrity as a member of the personal makeover squad in TV’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” said examples of this new kitchen eclecticism can be found in appliances from Viking, Jenn-Air and Amana, which employ a host of finishes and colors.

His own refrigerator collection for Amana includes such designs as Green Tea, a leaf pattern inspired by room color; Mojo, a striped design with bold colors; Inked, an etched pattern suggestive of body art; and Corduroy, which was inspired by classic fashion and textured like fabric.

“The refrigerator has become part of the fashion of the home,” Filicia said.

The kitchen connection was underscored by a recent Amana survey of 1,000 consumers, who identified it as the No. 1 room they would most like to see get a design facelift. The majority of respondents also identified the kitchen as the hub of their home, and while nearly a third chose the room as the best for entertaining, only 17 percent believe their kitchen best represents their sense of style, suggesting new opportunities for appliance manufacturers.

Recall: Viking Range Corporation Built-In Refrigerators Due to Injury Hazard; Doors Can Detach

Name of Product: Viking Built-In Side-by-Side Refrigerator/Freezers and Refrigerators with Bottom Freezers

Units: About 45,000

Manufacturer: Viking Range Corporation, of Greenwood, Miss.

Hazard: The refrigerator’s doors can detach, posing an injury hazard to consumers.

Incidents/Injuries: Viking has received about 57 reports of doors detaching, including four reports of injuries involving bruises, broken toes/fingers, and strains. Also, several incidents of minor damage to floors and counters have been reported.

Description: This recall involves Viking built-in 48-inch wide side-by-side refrigerator/freezers and the built-in 36-inch wide refrigerators with bottom freezers with model and serial numbers with date codes listed below. The refrigerators come in stainless steel and various colors and wood finishes and are built into the kitchen cabinetry. “Viking” is written on the front of the refrigerator. The model and serial numbers are located either behind the produce drawer or on the ceiling of the interior of the refrigerators. The 42-inch wide or freestanding refrigerators are not included in this recall.

Model Numbers Starting With Date Codes
VCSB481, VCSB482, DDSB482, DFSB482
DTSB482, DDBB362, VCBB360, VCBB362
DFBB362, DTBB362, DTBB363 All units
VCSB483, DDSB483, DFSB483, DTSB483 Date codes before 030104
VCSB483D, DDSB483D, DFSB483D Date codes before 030105
VCBB363 Date codes before 102005
DDBB363 Date codes before 112305
DFBB363 Date codes before 041006

The first six numbers in the serial number are the manufacture date of the unit in [mm][dd][yy] format, e.g., serial number 051903G0000000375 was manufactured on May 19, 2003 and serial number F01250210170 was manufactured on January 25, 2002.

Sold by: Appliance and specialty retailers nationwide from July 1999 through April 2006 for between $4,725 and $6,400.

Manufactured in: United States

Remedy: Consumers with recalled refrigerators should contact Viking immediately to schedule a free in-home repair. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled refrigerator if the door isn’t sealing properly, is sagging, or fails to open and close properly. If the door is functioning properly, consumers may continue to use the refrigerator until it has been repaired.

Consumer Contact: For more information, contact Viking toll-free at (888) 345-2650 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or visit Viking’s Web site at www.vikingrange.com

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Pro-Style Ranges, Who, What and Why

We’ve all seen them, those big, shiny ranges that are often the centerpiece of a new kitchen or remodel.  The question is do you need one?

You might be interested in one for the style it adds to your home even if the added power that comes with the equipment is not something you’ll use.  Professional style ranges, like restaurant stoves,  generate more heat than a standard range – the ovens and the gas burners on top have a higher BTU (British Thermal Unit) output than conventional kitchen ranges, but unlike restaurant stoves, they’re specially insulated.  And, unlike conventional kitchen stoves, you will need a hood for ventilation, just as in a restaurant kitchen.

An advantage of a professional-series range is that the top gas burners burn hotter, allowing you to boil, saute or steam faster, but “you can also actually simmer on a low flame without burning the bottom of your pot,” says James Kita, sales manager for Metro Builders Supply in North Little Rock, Arkansas.

Most of the ranges have convection ovens, which use fans to spread heat throughout the oven cavity to provide an even temperature throughout.   You’ll probably use more gas for a pro-style stove than a conventional one, Kita says. But as far as energy-efficiency is concerned, unlike refrigerators, dishwashers or washing machines, “they don’t rate these ranges because it’s not a machine that’s running all the time.”

There are also additional points to consider:  they weigh more conventional ovens, so installation will likkely cost more;they might require additional insulation in the kitchen, and there is the additional expenditure for a hood.

Professional style ranges are available from multiple manufacturers such as Viking, Thermador and even Kenmore and GE.  These companies identify them generally as “Professional Series”.  Prices range from $2,000 to $12,000, depending on the brand and the size of the stove – they vary in width from 30 to 60 inches.