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San Diego by Design

So Cool, They're Hot


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Consumers of big-ticket home appliances are being wooed this season with old-fashioned creativity. Manufacturers are banking on a host of innovative, pizazz products—like ovens that turn into refrigerators, and hot tubs with built-in wide-screen TVs—to woo back wary shoppers, who’ve been on the spending wagon.

At the recent Pacific Coast Builders Show in San Francisco, residential designers, builders and product manufacturers left viewers wide-eyed over splashy new products and flow patterns for the home. Here are some of the highlights:

So Long, Walls

The next generation of custom dream houses and/or far simpler remodels are being built to cocoon the family. It’s a big, bad world out there. As more families turn from suburbia to the urban core, they’re demanding open spaces. Influenced by popular loft conversions, formal rooms and unnecessary interior walls are gone.

Kitchens and the family/media room have become command centers. Big kitchens show off the latest high-tech gadgets and appliances; family rooms house pool tables, video games, home theaters and mind-bending sound systems.

Watch bathrooms become human car washes, with multi-nozzle jets in the shower. Say good-bye to seldom-used living and dining rooms, going the way of the parlor. Wine cellars, breakfast nooks, home theaters, walk-in pantries, his-and-hers offices are standard equipment for more and more new homes and remodels.

Savvy Californians know investing in the home is a safer bet than most for these uncertain financial times. And you can soak away the stress of how to pay for it all in your new Jacuzzi—equipped with the 42-inch plasma TV screen.

Polara rangeSo Hot It’s Cool

The task-blending Polara Refrigerated Range combines cooking with the convenience of refrigeration. It’s a Whirlpool range that keeps homemade meals cool all day while you’re out. Then, duly programmed, it begins cooking. When done, your food is kept warm so dinner’s ready when you return. And if you’re delayed, the Polara automatically turns itself into a refrigerator after an hour to keep your meal from spoiling.
Price: $1,799.
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