No one likes doing the dishes, nor do they particularly enjoy hoovering or making the bed but it's got to be done. Most will be content with the usual greys and whites of domestic technology but we like to do things differently. It's Style Week over at châteaux Pocket-lint and we're flexing our design muscles and rolling out the best looking tech we can possibly find. Next up to get the style treatment is gadgets for the home and kitchen.
Not normally the most exciting of categories, with the phrase 'white goods' sounding bland or minimal at the best, these gadgets can be, in fact, anything but. We've discovered a few stylish must haves for your bathroom, kitchen and living spaces, so here are the top ten best looking home and kitchen gadgets that you'll find anywhere.
Seca 760 Colorata Scales
It's largely a case of brushes, pastes and medicines in the bathroom but one device which is a gadget through and through are the scales. Sure, they might normally be a source of depression but how about making them a thing of beauty by opting for a set like the Seca 760 Colorata scales in bright red? As it goes, there are a few different colours available but it's this one that's as bold as brass.
By going analogue you're making a classic statement and there's also a rather attractive rubber grooved finish to the top surface which feels nice on your feet as well as meaning that you're less likely to slip off. Yours for £75 but, if you'd rather something more reasonable, then the John Lewis Stardust scales, John Lewis Glass Digital scales and the Salter 9003 Ceramic are all half the price and just as nice.
Buying a proper coffee machine is already a major step in the right direction style-wise. The problem is that towards the cheaper end of things they tend to be great, noisy, clunky, plastic blobs. Not what you want if you plan on entertaining a rather sophisticated 'laydee' in the morning with a coffee.
Dualit fixes all this with the Espressivo, the white iPhone of coffee machines. It's simple, stylish and features a rather shiny cast aluminium body. A 40 second warm up time ensures you aren't waiting long for a fresh coffee and the easy froth nozzle helps you out when it comes to making capuccinos.
Big coffee fans also get extra cup clearance for mugs and a special drip tray full indicator for those who like to make a mess. The last thing the Espressivo manages is ESE coffee pod compatibility, which speeds up the whole process with pre-made pods of the black stuff.
Apart from the actual name itself, everything about Smeg oozes class. Its 50s design ethic combined with cutting edge technology and ultra energy savings makes it a must have company for style fanatics. Picking a fave fridge from the Smeg range isn't exactly straightforward, firstly because there's an absolute tonne to choose from and also because every single one has us drooling.
The £1,200 Smeg FAB32QNE stands out however as a fave for several reasons. First of all is the split door approach to design, coupled with all that black offset by two stainless steel handles. Next up is the inclusion of a chrome wine rack stuck inside and finally the most obvious thing of them all - the words Smeg written on the front. What could be more stylish than a word which makes you snigger whilst still looking good?
The radiator is something so mind numbingly boring that even the most intrepid of designers would run a mile before they considered taking that one on. It took a piece of British class like Dyson to finally conquer the great white heater and transform it into something beautiful in the form of the Dyson Hot.
Looking like a giant portal into the unknown, this giver of heat is more suited to a trendy warehouse flat in the centre of the city than warming the knees of your nan. Not cheap exactly at £270, but then there is something stylish even about saying you paid that much for a heater.
The device itself works by usurping some of Dyson's clever hoover tech, turning it backwards, blasting air through a tiny hole and then heating it. It's virtually silent and will switch off the second it gets the room up to the desired heat.
A custom made remote control which is magnetised and sticks to the top of the Hot completes the entire design package, as does the awesome set of LEDs at the front displaying temperature. All in all, a damn sweet looking device for the winter.
Matstone 6-in-1 Juicer
Retro is basically another word for cool nowadays with everyone loving a bit of high tech fused with vintage fun. The £159 Matstone 6-in-1 is no exception, coming in either ivory of burgundy, it is straight out of a 70s diner. It also happens to be a juicer - a kitchen gadget that no batchelor pad or trend flat is complete without. Sure you might only use it once a year and then realise it's easier to just eat the fruit, but the point is that it's there if you (or any friends you are showing your flat off to) need it.
6-in-1 means you can produce all sorts of interesting juice based treats. Fill the thing with nuts and you get peanut butter, or stick a load of frozen fruit in and it will knock out a sorbet. This is thanks mainly to the Matstone's low rpm and powerful masticating action, which we're told is key to any juicers prowess. There is even a set of pasta nozzles for those who feel like going a bit Jamie Oliver and making absolutely everything fresh.
Another knock on effect of owning a juicer is not only a raised amount of money spent on fruit, but a general increase in health. This in turn can lead to an increased sense of style as you don't look permanently pale and tired, due to all those vitamins. No matter how nicely cut a suit you're wearing, its no good if your face looks as pale as a ghost. Smash a few Kiwis into your Matstone before venturing out to the cocktail bar and you'll feel all the better for it.
KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer
You have your juicer but no means to create elaborate cakes or pastries. This will cause problems when you plan weekend dinner clubs or cocktail parties. KitchenAid however has the answer with a mixer so stylish you'll want to be baking in front of friends just to show it off.
Crucially, the KitchenAid is available in raspberry pink, meaning it will immediately draw attention to itself. This is important if you have just splashed a whopping £420 on a mixer. The 4.8L stainless steel bowl is a particularly nice touch and appears to be shinier than anything else we have seen in the kitchen before. The other element of the mixer we really like is the simple approach to the way it works. Ten speeds and that's it. Nothing overly complex, just a massively powerful motor that will blast through anything.
The KitchenAid Artisan represents the pinnacle of mixers and is a culinary classic that you'll likely see in many of the trendiest kitchens. It also usually makes an appearance in Nigella's gaff every so often which, for us, makes the purchase worth it alone.
Strauss T6 Water Dispenser
Wet Wet Wet. Not only a famous band from the 90s, but also a point worth remembering if you're planning on staying alive. Water must be consumed in order to function. Remember this. We aren't sure if Marti Pellow deliberately chose this name to remind us but it's definitely a handy hint when you're catching his syrupy tones on Angel Eyes. It ensures when we get up in the morning, a glass of water is always drunk. But what's this? My water tastes disgusting? Must be because I live in the big city, where water is full of nasty chemicals and all sorts of other gunk.
Strauss has the answer with its T6 Water Dispenser which is as stylish as it is useful. First thing to note is that is passes the stainless steel test nicely. Next up is the pastille colours exam, which it grabs an A+ for. All that remains in the trendy home and kitchen gadget category is some sort of unnecessary LED display. Oops, it appears it has this as well. Oh yeah, and it's quite expensive. So all the boxes are ticked for are true trendy experience. The water purification will also help massively with digestion and your all round health, which is a bonus.
The £350 Strauss T6 comes in 12 different colours, meaning you can match it to whatever sort of design approach you have taken to your kitchen. On top of that it also turns out hot water, so you can do away with a kettle and get instant cups of purified tea. How's that for stylish yet useful tech?
Vax EV Cardboard Vacuum Cleaner
Hoovering has to be about number one on our list of things we least like doing around the house. It's about as glamorous as driving a Morris Minor dressed as a bin man. There are, however, a select few who attempt to do away with hoovering woes and create objects so beautiful that even Mrs Doubtfire would look chic.
The Vax EV Cardboard Vacuum Cleaner is most definitely one of them. First up, it's so eco-friendly that it's practically growing its own spinach patch. Eco equals cool and this one has bucket loads of it. It's made nearly entirely from corrugated cardboard, except for select rapid process nylon plastics used in parts which is just as kind to the environment anyway.
The box the product comes in becomes the vacuum housing itself which is a design statement few can ignore. Shame really that the motor inside isn't cardboard but then we doubt it would work particularly well. Oh, and because it's made from card, you can draw all over it with felt tips. We tried to resist the temptation of turning ours into an eco friendly cousin of Henry called Stephan...but it didn't last long.
Lego Minifigure Kitchen set
Lego is cool, we all know that. Whether it be the legendary, super rare AT-AT walker or the excitement of opening a fresh minifigure pack to see what is inside, it's most definitely a trendy brand. These Minifigure heads come as part of a whole set of kitchen items that Lego released, including cutlery, salt and pepper shakers and even kitchen scales as well. They have, unfortunately, become incredibly rare, which is a shame but means those who grab one from eBay get that extra bit of style brownie points for originality.
The scales work like you would expect them to. You plonk whatever needs weighing onto the Lego man's head and then read the measurement on the side. Simple yet effective. Salt and pepper shakers need well salt and pepper, cutlery you use to eat food with and the cookie cutters and cake mould do exactly what you would expect.
It's probably the salt and pepper shakers that standout as our favourites. There are still some hanging about now on eBay and a few lucky purchasers might even manage to grab them for under £15. Happy bidding.
Flymo Turbo 400
It's hard to say what the most stylish thing about the Flymo Turbo 400 is. For a start, there's the name. Second, you can imagine it's the kind of mower that Alan Partridge talks about upgrading to a tractor-style one from. Third, there's the burnt orange colour you'd expect to see on some piece of classic Le Creuset cast iron kitchenware but what probably does it for us is that it's basically like swinging a mini UFO around on your lawn.
Dirt cheap for a mower at around £80 for the 1500W version, it has a 40cm blade, five different cutting heights from 15-41mm and only weighs 20kg with the box and all the cabling that comes with it. The idea, of course, is that you don't feel any of that, though, because it'll blast out a cushion of air to give it that floating feeling. Retro, modern, futuristic; the Flymo has it all.
Ultra Responsive. Ultra Sleek. Ultrabook ™ - www.intel.co.uk/ultrabook