Ask the Architect: What are Custom Panel Appliances

Photo Credit: Brandon Shigeta

Think about the last time you stepped into your kitchen. One of the first things you may have noticed was the appliances. But, what if you didn’t notice them? What if you and your appliances engaged in a game of hide and seek and you could not find them?

Custom panel appliances are a growing kitchen design that can make a big difference in the overall style of the space. I personally love how custom panel appliances add some mystery! It’s exciting to open the refrigerator for a guest who thinks it’s a cabinet and get that surprised look when they see the glowing interior light of a refrigerator.

The unique custom panel design has become my go-to recommendation for clients. My friends at Bosch home appliances offer panel-ready dishwashers and panel-ready refrigerators to help make this design dream a design reality. I recently sat down with my friends at Bosch to talk a little bit more about this kitchen design trend and we can’t wait to share our thoughts with you. Enjoy!

Question #1: What are custom panel appliances?

Custom panel appliances are essentially the same appliances that consumers see with a traditional stainless or black stainless steel fronts, but with a clever twist. Much as the name suggests, custom panel appliances are finished with a custom panel that matches kitchen cabinets. The end result is a seamless, integrated and harmonious look. It’s a kitchen design trend that’s both sleek and exciting.

Question #2: What are the benefits and challenges with custom panel appliances?

What I really love about custom panel appliances is the way they integrate into a space and enhance the overall kitchen design. As an architect, I like to include custom panel appliances because this option makes the kitchen feel warmer, more inviting and less like a laboratory with equipment. The true challenge when installing custom panel appliances is to ensure that the cabinet maker or manufacturer coordinates every detail with the appliance specifications so that the install is impeccable. A completely flush installation ensures your kitchen will have clean lines and a timeless style.

Question #3: How often do you include custom panel appliances in your projects? How has this changed over the last few years?

My focus on creating a kitchen that homeowners will love for years to come has led me to include custom panel appliances in all of the kitchens that I design. In previous years, custom panel appliances were less common, and integrating a custom panel to a panel-ready dishwasher or refrigerator was extremely difficult because it was never fully integrated, or flush, with the rest of the cabinetry. Thanks to great brands like Bosch taking the research, time and effort to thoughtfully design their products, and thanks to more education amongst installers, installing custom panels to panel-ready dishwashers and refrigerators is much easier nowadays.

Question #4: Are more of your clients asking for custom panel appliances in their projects? If so, why?

Yes, we are seeing more and more homeowners ask for custom panel appliances—and this is especially true after potential clients see our portfolio of projects. I think that has a lot to do with how custom panel appliances create a warmth in the space. One thing that I always assure clients is that the appliances are designed to function seamlessly and look beautiful while doing so.

Question #6: What materials are best to use for this cabinetry and why?

To me, the quality of the materials used in a project is just as important as the overall look of the finished project. The great thing about Bosch is that they let you match your refrigerator or dishwasher with custom cabinetry for a kitchen designed to fit your personal style. When my team first started including custom panel appliances in our projects, we were only working with matte painted lacquered cabinets. But recently, we made a strong switch to natural veneers and the biggest reason is because contrast is key. With design, you want materials, colors and textures to offset each other, because it provides depth. Your kitchen is a tactile space, and I want all my clients to be able to seamlessly move from one place to another based on their style. It essentially creates a warmer environment for the heart of the home.

Question #7: We understand that your kitchen in the Bridge House features custom panel appliances. Why did you choose to include this finish option in your kitchen?

The Bridge House is all about connecting with nature, and the kitchen is no exception. When designing the kitchen, which is one of my favorite places in the house, we wanted to make sure that the space was something solid, like an anchor in the house. Custom panel appliances are key to creating the uninterrupted design that could make this feel like an anchor, or hub. Plus, the natural oak of the cabinets perfectly complements the real cedar siding on the exterior of the house to create a feeling that you’re very much rooted in the nature around you.

Dan Brunn is a brand partner for Bosch home appliances. For more information on award-winning architect, visit Bosch currently offers custom panel-ready refrigerators and both 18” and 24” dishwashers .

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