If you watch almost any home buying, flipping or design show on HGTV, it’s no secret that having “stainless steel appliances (and granite countertops)” in a kitchen is considered paramount. This is painfully obvious thanks to show to show/episode to episode repetition of giddy exclamations from a wide cast of “real” characters over properties well equipped with appliances in the shiny metal finish or their collective gasps of deal breaking, horror when a kitchen is void of stainless steel (hint: you can buy new appliances people). Well, HGTV show participants be advised… Whirlpool, the world’s leading manufacturer of major home appliances, is attempting to dull the alluring luster of your beloved stainless steel with its new White Ice Collection.
The new collection’s sophisticated and stylish looking refrigerators, wall ovens, ranges, microwaves and dishwashers feature white, mirrored-glass and silver accents with clean lines and simplified controls for ease of use. Looks pretty slick. In regard to the white/silver combo, we certainly prefer it to a possible modern resurrection of the avocado colored appliances we grew up with in the 70′s.
So why is a new kitchen appliance collection so intriguing to WYSK? For several reasons that we’ll get to shortly, but let’s hear from the experts first. OvenInfo.com writer Liam McCabe pointed out in his July 26 review of Whirlpool’s Ice Collection, “… for the first time in at least a decade, the exterior of a major-brand, top-end appliance line isn’t strictly stainless steel.” Hhmmm. Another OvenInfo.com writer noted in an earlier White Ice review, “The combination of a white finish, stainless handles and mirrored glass appear to have a lot in common with Apple’s popular design language.” Ah hah!
We find these observational factoids really interesting from both a consumer and cultural anthropology perspective, which is why we’re talking about it. But, moreover, smart and savvy women should know about the latest trends in kitchen appliances for two reasons: 1) women control 80-90% of every consumer purchase decision being made right now 2) for the first time in history, single women are buying homes at more than twice the rate of single men – buying one out of every five properties sold in the U.S. making women responsible for 25% of all home purchases, which we posted about in January.
So does the debut of White Ice truly signify a shift in the culture of home appliances as the Whirlpool press release declares? Not necessarily, according to OvenInfo.com, “Almost all of the upcoming major-brand premium kitchen lines will still be stainless. Stainless is cheap to make, relatively easy to clean, and has become the standard for kitchen design-sensibilities don’t change overnight.”
Whether Whirlpool’s bold move is the start of an aesthetic tipping point for home appliance design or not, we long for the day when someone on House Hunters walks into a kitchen and refreshingly turns to the realtor and says, “Ummmm… no White Ice appliances. That’s going to be a problem.”