Its luster resembles dark chocolate, so is it any wonder bronze would find its way into kitchen decor? For the past decade, stainless steel has dominated kitchen surfaces — major appliances and backsplashes have reflected in this silvery hue. But designers predict kitchens will soon take a turn for the darker — starting with bronze appliances set to hit stores next year.
“Everybody’s trying to find the next stainless,” says Bill Parks at Arizona Wholesale Supply of the Valley in Scottsdale, who says his company will carry Jenn-Air’s oil-rubbed bronze appliances.
Bronze can be traced back to 3000 B.C., when the metal was first used in statues, coins and decorative art in Egypt, India and what is now Europe. It was also a prominent metal for Buddhist sculptures in China during the Sun period (A.D. 960 to 1279).
“People like bold design statements,” says David Hlavac of Jenn-Air. He says the company previewed its bronze line in January to suppliers “in response to the stainless steel fatigue. Everything from plumbing accessories, faucets, cabinet hardware, wall switch plates — you name it, we’re seeing a lot of bronze out there. People want to do something different with their kitchen.”
Homeowners also want less maintenance, says Parks. While the aesthetics of stainless steel are appealing, the shiny surface is easily fingerprinted and scratched, a problem Parks says bronze, with its darker, matte finish, doesn’t have.
Most new trends come with a higher price to start. Parks expects the bronze appliances to be priced between 5 percent and 10 percent higher than their stainless steel counterparts.
Yet Jenn-Air spokesman David Kargas says the appeal to have the latest product will appeal to people ready for a new look in their kitchens.
“The response we’ve seen when we’ve showed it to designers is, ‘What took you so long?’ Jenn-Air sells a ton of stainless steel, so the new ‘high end’ has become the new ‘middle end.’ As soon as that happens, people say, ‘Well, I want something different.’ ”
To jump on the bronze bandwagon, however, you don’t have to replace all your appliances, says Kargas.
“You might want to have an oilrubbed bronze fridge to balance out your other stainless steel appliances,” he says. “The handles (on the bronze appliances) are stainless steel, so the two would coordinate.”
Arizona Wholesale Supply Co.
15125 N. Hayden Road, Suite 117 Scottsdale (480) 596-0092
75 W. Baseline Road, Suite A11 Gilbert (480) 892-3984