How technology is helping the great room live up to its name

Kitchens were once seen as the place where food was prepared, and not much more. Contrast that with a home’s dining and living rooms, which have long been a hub of family activities and socializing. These “great rooms” had television sets and fireplaces, and were meticulously thought out and tweaked as tastes changed and new trends emerged.

Now, in the era of open floor plans, the great room can encompass dining room, living room, and the kitchen, creating a place where family and friends gather to cook, eat, catch up on the latest TV show, and relax.

As part of the 21st century great room, fresh design means advanced technology – touch controls, LED lighting in the fridge, connected devices, and glass-ceramic cooktops – that not only adds top-performing, eye-catching appliances, but build a great room that truly lives up to its name.

The modern kitchen: a part of the greatest room

Featuring bright, open floor plans and high-performance appliances, the kitchen is a worthy extension of the great room where hungry friends and family come together to cook, eat, drink, and spend time together.

The all-white kitchen of the 1920s has evolved into a space with more varied colors and materials, and where more appliances are visible and complement each other. Important in the value of a kitchen, appliances have become a major driver in the style of the kitchen, and are as important as the furniture to the kitchen’s design. Today, appliances need to have a uniform look and similar operator guidance – we call it family design. Design doesn’t just mean visible appearance – its function is important as well: Semiprofessional cooks need cooking features that are close to professional appliances, and other conveniences are very important, such as simple cleaning and ease to operation.

Intuitive operation with just one touch

Modern kitchens feature clean lines and unassuming but powerful appliances. To match this look, appliance designers are replacing the knobs and buttons that control stoves or extractor hoods with intuitive touch controls that allow for an experience similar to using tablets and smartphones.

Instead of assembling knobs and buttons of previous-generation stoves, manufacturers today build touch switches into control panels behind smooth glass, allowing designers to create eye-catching effects that are easy to use. Indents, symbols, ridges, and grooves in glass panels require just a simple touch to turn a device on or off, and control the settings on the stove, steam cooker, or coffee maker, for example.

These switches feature haptic, acoustic, or visible responses, so cooks know for sure that they turned the stove on or off, or adjusted the temperature on their stove.

Touch switches integrated in smooth glass surfaces open the door for special designs and effects in the kitchen, as well. Dead fronting with LEDs illuminates specific keys or symbols when turned on at the touch of a finger, and buttons are no longer visible when not in use. These glass panels can be manufactured in almost endless color combinations, including metallic finishes that simulate sought-after designs, like stainless steel. They can be customized to different shapes, sizes, colors and aesthetics, lending a unique face to any appliance.

Designing for the modern great room

Simple design choices can have profound effects. Modern interior designers and architects view the great room as the centerpiece of the home, and the trends that have driven design now live up to that name as technology stimulates both form and function to make the kitchen truly great. In today’s great room, function, comfort, power, and beauty are all working in unison in this grand and modern space.

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Hello, Grant Mason here, the Director of Sales for SCHOTT Gemtron Corporation in Midland, Canada. I’ve been a sales and marketing professional for over 25 years, with global business development experience in a mixture of OEM product channels. Throughout my career, my focus has been expanding flat glass in the interior design, store fixture, and architectural markets. On more of a personal note, I love the outdoors and spending time with my family enjoying the activities all four seasons have to offer, from hiking the trails to downhill skiing.

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