My interview with Dr. Marcus Miele 
IMM Cologne 2013 |The LivingKitchen 2013

As part of our #BlogTourCGN intineary at IMM Cologne and the LivingKitchen our team was invited to attend Miele’s press conference.  It was during this press conference at Miele’s LivingKitchen stage where we were given a front row seat to the unveiling of a completely new generation of built-in appliances – from wall ovens, steam cookers, coffee machines and microwave ovens to cook hoods (Generation 6000). Innovative user interfaces make the use of these machines simpler than ever.  Miele’s kitchen appliances are now more convenient, faster and much more efficient.  And they continue to provide a product that is built for life! 
During the press conference we had the pleasure of hearing fourth generation owners of Miele, Dr. Marcus Miele and Dr. Reinhard Zinkann share with us their thoughts and insights about the launch of their new Generation 6000 appliances.   
Dr. Marcus Miele (L) and Dr. Reinhard Zinkann (R)
The highlight for me was having the honor of sitting down with Dr. Marcus Miele over a cup of cappuccino for a face to face conversation with him.  A gracious and very personable man, I felt an immediate sense of honor from him as he spoke of the strength, ingenuity, research, development and integrity that has built this company.  More than 110 years old, Marcus is fourth generation in this family owned business.  And it was evident that like his ancestors he is passionate about their company and what they stand for. 

Dr. Miele started off by sharing that as a company, Miele is always working on new innovation to make their products function to the peak of their ability.  They do a lot of market research by way of in house research and development but they also look at current trends in many areas such as fashion, automotive, technology and the kitchen industry.   From cabinets, to smart phones to furniture – these are all things that influence them as they develop and enhance their products.   He said “We don’t have to look like fashion, but we have to look in a modern way, a contemporary way, and it has to look good after 10 years or even 15 years”.   They look to where innovation is happening – as in cars and how user interface is changing, and smart phones and touch technology.  Dr. Miele spoke of his small children and that is they walk up to an oven with knobs that are positioned left and right of a display that they they immediately walk up to a glass surface and touch it – this smart phone interaction is what they are used to and the knobs are almost foreign to them.  Though Dr. Miele did say they do still keep in mind that there are still some who prefer the knobs and they have that as an option, the trend is to have more touch control interaction.   I personally think maybe one day soon there will be an interactive element to our appliances much like Apples SIRI.  
When asked what he thought was on trend for appliances Dr. Miele stated that furniture and kitchen colors, still 75% will be stainless steel but they have seen a trend for white appliances and also a trend of more wood cabinets in darker colors.   With that they have introduced new front colors alongside familiar Miele colors and surfaces such as Brilliant White and CleanSteel stainless steel, newcomers like Obsidian Black and Havana Brown offer increased choice. ( I LOVE THE OBSIDIAN BLACK)

They also look at what the customers are saying –

They did a small competition that they gave out 100-200 included cameras with the purchase of a dishwasher, they ask people to take pictures of their loaded dishwasher, and then send the camera back.  They developed the film, and when they looked at the in Dr. Miele’s words – “you just never think what people put into a dishwasher” they received 100’s of photos of loaded dishwashers and they were able to gain great insight from.  For example they discovered that the Chinese rice bowl is very similar in size and shape to the Muesli bowl they have in Switzerland, and once they find the right spot for the Chinese rice bowl you automatically have the right spot for the muesli bowl.  It is with these small insights that have helped allow them to enhance their dishwasher –Dr. Miele chuckled as he shared with us “you would be surprised what people put in their dishwasher, people put toys, tools and whatever and a lot of things they shouldn’t put into a dishwasher”

Miele is built to last, it is meant to be your 20 year appliance.  Dr. Miele told of receiving a letter from an older woman who wrote him to explain that her Miele washer and dryer of 38 years needed to be replaced, she explained to him that at the time she purchased them she was weary of her investment.  In hindsight she realizes now that she knows now after 38 years that she is not so rich that she can buy any other brand.   That calculating the 38 years and usage for her it was really a bargain buying a Miele machine.   
Though 38 years is not the expected longevity, from Miele’s point of view, with a large family and daily use Miele strives to maintain the 20 year appliance life.  Though this is an exception it speaks volumes as to the quality craftsmanship that is put into the Miele Brand and gives great foundation to their commitment to excellence.   Dr. Miele said – “People buy one appliance that will last really long, look at the enviorment, but they also look at their wallets, if it really last for 20 years it might have been even a bargain.  If you look at other brands that you have to replace after 5 even 7 years.

As a side note - Dr. Miele shared that he has two washing machines and two dryers at home.  One of them is mostly a proto-type and if it breaks down he still has a washing machine.  This is something he learned from his father, because his father said to him, you know I once had one proto-type washing machine and one dryer and the washing machine broke down and he said you can’t image your mum when we had a broken washing machine.  His father very quickly explained to his mother he would replace it on Monday, though she was quick to point out it was Friday. (chuckle) So from then on they always had two of each and Dr. Miele has carried on this tradition in his own home.  
We do not all have the luxury of having a proto-type in our home but we can all try before we buy.  There are Miele galleries throughout the country where you can have a hands-on Miele experience.  And as Dr. Miele said “You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it”, I have to agree.   You can even bring your laundry with you to a Miele Gallery near you and run a load thru to see what you think.  When making an investment in your own home, in your kitchen or even your laundry room you should take the opportunity to test out and experience the appliances before you buy.  What you think you might want and what you end up with may be a bit different after you learn all the possibilities available.  For example one might not even consider steam cooking or a steam oven as a way of cooking on a daily basis.  But after you taste the food that can be prepared in Miele’s steam oven and the quality and variety of food that can be cooked in Miele’s steam oven you may think differently.  And the same can be true for the way you wash your dishes, vacume your floors or even wash your clothes.  

I also asked Dr. Miele what he thought was going to be the next big thing in appliances –I jokingly asked will the refrigerator cook your meal, warm it and wash your dishes?  With a chuckle and a smile Dr. Miele said that would be his dream that though we are a little bit away from that, is is difficult to say what is the next big thing, though he did say that user interface and sensors is what is happening now and constantly improving. He went on to say that innovation to be able to judge what is inside, what is the state of the food - so we can help the user even more and then present that to the user in a very easy way so that the user is not confronted with too much complexity this is something they are always working on.  Many of these they have already perfected with the introduction of the Generation 6000 appliances.
Miele has been perfecting their master chef technology for many years and each year it gets better, more integrated and in a sense Smarter.  The Miele Generation 6000 line of appliances has technology integrated and perfected to make this series of appliances function into today’s home for many years to come.   This user interface and technology was evident as I saw and experience during my time with Miele at the LivingKitchen during IMM Cologne 2013.
With the new Generation 6000 from Miele, interfacing with built-in appliances has never been simpler. Customers can select from various user interfaces to best suit their personal preferences. A new highlight is represented by M Touch controls. M Touch stands for a high-resolution TFT display (thin-film transistor) on flagship models, reminiscent of smart phones and tablet PCs. The menu is browsed by swiping or scrolling with the tip of a finger. Functions and menu options appear in brilliantly clear black letters on a white background
The M Touch operation in flagship models makes using the built-in appliances from Miele easier than ever. Reminiscent of a smart phone, nearly all settings are carried out on a high-resolution TFT display.

Exclusive to Miele: MultiSteam, CupSensor, FlexiLight

With the Generation 6000, Miele has refined numerous technical details and put in much work on the concept as a whole. Outstanding examples of this are MultiSteam technology on steam cookers, the CupSensor on built-in coffee machines and FlexiLight on refrigeration appliances.

MultiSteam is the highlight on the new Miele steam cookers. This technology is predestined for use on models with a large-volume cabinet: Water from the tank is pumped into a powerful steam generator located behind the inner cabinet. The steam is admitted through 8 inlet ports (6 on combination steam ovens). Benefit: Heat-up times are short and the fast, uniform distribution of steam paves the way for perfect results. MultiSteam technology is a Miele USP and, as such, immediately recognizable. Steam ports are integrated into a module on the rear panel. The MultiSteam symbol and the Miele logo are discreetly illuminated by LEDs (depending on the model). 

The fascinating CupSensor feature is the highlight of the new flagship built-in coffee machines. This feature automatically adjusts the height of the spout to the size of cup or glass. No matter whether tall latte macchiato glass or delicate espresso cup – with the CupSensor rim detection, delivery is always from the ideal position. This virtually eliminates the problem of spluttering and milk and coffee splashes. Furthermore, the crema is perfect and coffee does not cool down as fast. The CupSensor even reacts precisely to beverages made with milk froth by raising the spout by 1 cm after delivering milk froth, to ensure that the spout itself stays clean.
The Generation 6000 product family also comprises new built-in refrigerators. These models (K 30.000 series) are set to produce a wow effect when the door is opened, thanks to the exclusive FlexiLight glass-edge lighting. LED light sources, affixed to the front edge of glass shelves, immerse the cabinet in a pleasant and uniform light. Each individual shelf has electrical contacts, allowing FlexiLight shelves to be repositioned effortlessly within the unit. This is practical in particular when space has to be created for, say, a large cake.

Near the end of our time together I was sure to let Dr. Miele know that if there was ever a time they needed to have a "TEST" kitchen, I would be happy to help them out.  In conclusion I made a statement that Miele is often considered a luxury appliance, and I asked is there any movement towards making the Miele appliance available to the price conscious consumer? (I kind of knew what the answer was going to be but I had to ask, right?) So Dr. Miele very graciously and humbly replied saying that the question for them is “Do we compromise on the 20 years? And we said no to that”  “Every appliance is manufactured to live those twenty years” And because they have the 20 years there are obvious restrictions concerning the quality of the materials …An analogy he used was when you look at cars – “if you have a better motor, you need better breaks”  that in and of itself states to me the obvious that you do get what you pay for and we as consumers need to look at our appliances and the products we purchase and give greater importance to its longevity and stop the mentality that has been created in that we live in a disposable society.  We should expect more, demand more and make wiser more informed decisions about the products we are purchasing.  This to me is the philosophy that has given Miele a clear advantage in that they are built for life!   

Generation 6000 from Miele will be available in Germany from May 2013
Photo credit - MieleUSA.com

Tartan Style Countertops

Check out these crazy cool Tartan pattern countertops, by Lechner, that I saw while at IMM Cologne during #BlogTourCGN.  

Check out my pick and other great Design Blogger's Top Picks from IMM Cologne 2013 over on Freshome (click here)

My World | My Time2Design | My #BlogTourCGN

I feel like I have expanded My World, my design world, my Time2Design World.  I just returned from my #BlogTourCGN  adventure, (That's short for Blog Tour Cologne Germany & Netherlands), and I am sorting thru the thousands of photo's I took, the business cards I collected and in general just trying to wrap my head around where to even begin.  I am searching for a way that will help express to you everything that I saw, learned and experienced on my #BlogTour.  I know there will be multiple posts over the next few days, weeks and even months, filled with fabulous friends, new and old, spectacular history and design inspiration at every turn.  I would like to start by first saying thank you to Modenus for your coordination and masterminding this event and thank you to our sponsors for making it possible.

I have so much to share but before I go on I thought I would start off with sharing with you what I felt/saw/experienced -  a sort of recurring impression I had throughout my time spent in Cologne Germany at the IMM Cologne International Furniture Fair and the whirlwind day we spent in Amsterdam.  With that I give you these words and pictures as a visual glimpse into My #BlogTourCGN, My Time2Design, My World...



Super shout out to our #BlogTourCGN Sponsors and more to follow about them and all they do!


Steam Luxury at Home & Abroad

To have a steam room in your home is the ultimate luxury and Mr. Steam makes it possible to do just that ~ a Luxury Spa in the privacy and comfort of your own home.

As part of the Blog Tour Cologne Itinerary we will be treated to a Spa Night at Claudius Therme compliments of Mr. Steam.
I am confident after a few days of non-stop walking at the IMM International Furniture Fair it will be greatly appreciated.  Also if will give us an opportunity to experience first hand the benefits of steam therapy and how it can be a luxurious addition to any home.

Thank you in advance Mr. Steam,
my feet thank you and
my traveling body thanks you!

Living with Sculpture

Gone are the days of just the same ole same ole bathroom fixtures.  We spend a good portion of time in our bathroom and more and more the bathroom is becoming a space that represents and reflects the essence and style of a homeowner.  Less utilitarian, a more sophisticated and stylish environment that welcomes you as you begin your day and greets you as you walk thru life in your home.  So what if your bathroom fixtures were more like works of art? Sculptures even?  Well Hansgrohe has done exactly that and their Axor Starck Organic Collection truly is like living with sculpture!

A new, sensual water experience combined with a powerful, sculptural design: Axor Starck Organic is stripped of anything unnecessary and completely harmonious in its design concept. The intelligent operating concept revolutionises the use of water and is also economical to use. The organic minimalist collection integrates quite naturally into a variety of bathroom environments.

As an official BlogTour Cologne Sponsor I will have an opportunity to see and learn first hand, during my visit to IMM Cologne Furniture Fair, how this collection was created.
Photo credit ~ Hansgrohe US

Steam Cooking the "IT" Appliance!

An appliance that is becoming a standard "IT" appliance when making appliance selections in kitchen design is quickly becoming the Steam Oven - taking on as much importance as a standard oven.  Over a decade ago Miele lead the way in designing and manufacturing a built-in steam oven for residential use, giving consumers a smarter, healthier way to prepare, cook or reheat food.   Pairing the Miele steam oven with Miele's wall oven is the prefect solution for a "double oven" configuration in any new kitchen design.  The triple crown combination for me would consist of Miele's Steam Oven, Wall Oven and Coffee System ~ it doesn't get much better than that...and the Steam Oven really is the "IT" appliance!
Miele is one of the #BlogTourCGN sponsors and I will have the pleasure of meeting with Miele executives during my trip to IMM Cologne International Furniture Fair as a member of the #BlogTourCGN Team.  I look forward to learning as much as I can about the Miele Steam Oven and all of their other amazing products that I have grown to love over the last 20 plus years I have spent in the Kitchen and Bath industry as a Kitchen Specialist.

I digress, lets get back to Miele's crowning glory ~ 
The Miele Steam Oven!

Unlike conventional ovens, which use hot air to cook, the Miele Steam Oven uses "fresh steam" to cook, displacing the oxygen responsible for chemical reactions which dissipates nutrients in food.  In the Miele Steam Oven, steam is generated in water outside the oven.   Steaming with an external steam generator not only provides gentle cooking, but will not dehydrate the outer layers of food. Steam ovens which generate steam inside the oven can cause overheating within the oven atmosphere. Additionally a dry, aggressive heat often emerges during the preheating phase. The Miele Steam Oven features a powerful steam generator which delivers a superior balance of heat and
moisture. This combination delivers evenness and consistent results on all shelf levels.
The Miele exact temperature control system measures and controls the temperature in the oven assuring the right combination of time and temperature, regardless of the amount of food being prepared. For instance the required steam setting for peas is 212°F for five minutes – whether fresh, frozen or a mix of both, in 2 or 10 ounces. This electronically controlled steaming process virtually eliminates the possibility of overcooking.
The Miele Steam Oven is ideal for cooking more than just vegetables. “Steaming is a fabulous way to retain vital nutrients,” explained Christine Avanti, nutritionist and author.  “The benefit of steaming is the ability to gently cook food at a low heat thus retaining nutrients and palatability, whether cooking meats, poultry, fish – even desserts.”

Featuring four shelves that fit a variety of stainless steel trays, the Miele Steam Oven allows users to easily prepare an entire meal – from appetizers to desserts in one oven.  Flavor transfer is eliminated as pressurized convection steam creates a protective layer around the food, ensuring your salmon tastes like salmon and desserts stay sweet and delicious, all while cooking simultaneously.
No matter what your cooking style, if you are cooking for a crowd or cooking for yourself the Miele Steam Oven is a wonderful way to cook and also has amazing nutritional benefits.  If you have to select one appliance that will be your "IT" appliance it is worth learning more about how the Miele Steam Oven and how it can fit into your Kitchen.
~photo credit Miele