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Kitchen design will surely incorporate greater food storage because we’re all cooking more, observes Jessica Petrino, an appliance educator at AJ Madison Home & Kitchen Appliances in Tysons. Chest freezers were on back order for months after the shutdown began—sales were up 269% from the same time in 2019, according to the company’s internal reporting, and refrigerator sales were up 95%. People don’t want to shop for groceries as frequently, Petrino says, because each trip out means potential exposure.
Jonas Carnemark, who designed the ASPIRE showhouse kitchen, included smart appliances such as a fridge with ingredient-tracking cameras that make grocery shopping more efficient. His concept also features a large, flat-panel TV in the wall, which can display online recipes and allow for Zoom happy hours with friends. These features were planned before the pandemic, Carnemark says, “but [quarantine] put a big exclamation point on them.”
Exposure risk has also translated into a heightened demand for a clean, sanitary environment. “As a society, we’re more mindful of how we’re cleaning our houses and disinfecting spaces,” Petrino says, adding that she’s seen an uptick in requests for dishwashers and washing machines with sanitizing functions.
At NV Kitchen & Bath in Falls Church, clients have been asking for touchless technology such as hands-free faucets, motion-sensor lighting and voice-controlled TV, owner Mike Akpinar says. They also want kitchens with antimicrobial counter surfaces such as nonporous quartz and solid-surface products like Corian.
The pandemic has prompted an intense focus on outdoor spaces, which offer the only safe place for homeowners to entertain. “It’s been a running joke in the office that everyone who’s calling wants a screened porch,” says Wilma Bowers of Bowers Design Build in McLean. “Now that they’re stuck in the house, they want an outdoor space built in conjunction with the kitchen. Everyone wants an extension of their home.”
Her firm is outfitting open-air spaces with fireplaces, TV and speaker systems, high-end finishes and power sources for lighting and laptops.
At AJ Madison, sales of outdoor-kitchen appliances are up, Petrino reports, as are wine fridges.