Test Kitchens

Two D Home “experts” try out new kitchen prototypes from Expo Design Center.

LEFT TO RIGHT: Janet Rosell, Kimberly Brooks.

Test Kitchens

Two “experts” try out a pair of new kitchen prototypes from Expo Design. Do they make the grade?

This summer, Expo Design Center, an affiliate of Home Depot, introduced four intelligently designed kitchens in Dallas. Their analysis showed that the growing interest in personal chefs, wine, and baking—along with a population more attuned to its ergonomic needs—required a whole new way of thinking about kitchen design. Two kitchens in particular piqued our interest: one devoted to baking, another to ergonomic design. Rather than take the press releases at face value, we decided to send two real-world “experts” to evaluate the kitchens on site. Read on for the fascinating results.

Baking is Science
Overall Rating: A+

Kimberly Brooks, a doctorate candidate at UT Southwestern Medical Center, is the wife of D Home’s managing editor and an amateur baker who inherited a passion for baking at an early age from her grandmother. “I was curious what Expo Design would think was important to a baker,” she says. “It seems like they put a lot of thought into it.”

A great way to organize cake icing equipment and cookie cutters.”
“I love this shelf! KitchenAid mixers are indispensable, but they’re very heavy. This shelf locks into place, so you never have to lift the mixer.”
“This rack for spices and flour is huge, and I like the double access to it.”

You can never have enough storage for cookie sheets—never.
Brooks particularly liked the six different rack settings in the oven, allowing multiple sheets to bake at once. Fully extended, they lock into place and are sturdy enough to support a heavy pan.
Oh, no! “These metal trivets are not high enough to be cooling racks, and they’re permanent, so they waste valuable counter space.
Ditch ’em.”

Ergonomics 101

Overall Rating: B

Our photo stylist Janet RoselL tops out at 5 feet, making her ideal for testing this ergonomically designed kitchen. “Most kitchens are hard for me to work in because I’m so petite; lower counters are a must,” she says. But you don’t have to be a munchkin to appreciate efficient design. Baby boomers and anyone with physical challenges benefit.

Low, easy access for pans on this Lazy Susan makes finding pans a breeze.
Bad idea! To reach the spice rack, Rosell had to stand on a stool and stretch. We’d move the rack down a lot lower.
The stainless sponge holder is a nice touch, but Rosell wishes it had drain holes to get rid of water. Two levels in this stainless sink keep dishes or vegetables out of the way.
“This is smart!” Why lower heavy plates from overhead when you can pick them up safely from below?

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