- Dateline: Beverly Hills
- The $250,000 Kitchen
- Programming the Integrated House: Code Versus Volts
The $250,000 Kitchen
So I called Didier Michot of Didier Michot Design Group, one of Beverly Hills' leading kitchen designers, and asked him the following question: "If I spent a quarter-million bucks on a state-of-the-art kitchen, what sort of cutting-edge technology would I be buying?"
Didier's reply was surprising. What he told me was that once you get to the point where you can spend megabucks on a kitchen, it's not about technologyit's about quality. According to Didier, his clients, the elite of the Los Angeles entertainment industry, want "good stuff," and this means professional-quality appliances. Your average kitchen might have a stove with oven, maybe a microwave, refrigerator, and dishwasher. A Michot kitchen will have the sameonly the stove will have eight burners and use gas or halogen coils as a heating source. (A pan needs to be heated by at least 35K BTU in order to make a decent flambé, you know.) This kitchen will have a quality salamander grill for top broiling and melting, and at least two, maybe three ovens: perhaps one wood-burning brick oven, and one oven with a plate-warmer attachment. The microwave might be a hybrid model that allows convection cooking as well as bread-proofing capabilities. Of course, the refrigerator will be huge and climate-controlled, and there will be an industrial-quality food processor and mixer. It goes without saying that all cutlery and cookware will be first-rate.
But, as Michot points out, even when you add it all up, you'll probably have no more than $30,000 of appliance cost. The real expense, he points out, is in the design of the kitchen and the quality of materials. The kitchen will be designed to accommodate the work and lifestyle of the client. Every part of the kitchen fits into a unified theme. The lighting will be custom-designed to enhance and accentuate the natural layout of the kitchen. The floor plan is ergonomically fitted to the client, optimized to make working in the kitchen easy and without strain.
Didier did mention that some wired gadgets and appliances are available, such as the HomePad Refrigerator by Samsung. The HomePad Refrigerator has a tablet PC with touch screen; the tablet PC is housed in the door to the unit and is removable. You can use it to surf the web, watch TV, and program the refrigerator itself. The tablet also has a calendar as well as a notepad for leaving notes to family members. But, as Michot points out, the people who seem to be attracted to such things are folks who like to buy toys, such as the newly rich. A "serious" rich person would never buy such a thing.
If the upscale kitchen really isn't that much about wired technology, where will I find the cutting-edge stuff? Where will I find the wired kitchen?
"Look at home integration," Didier said.
So I did.