Top housewares trends

January 30, 2000|By Lisbeth Levine

Here's a look at some major trends from the 2000 International Housewares Show: Meet the Jetsons: High-tech microwaves can download recipes and walk you through them. Thalia's smart appliances talk to each other -- but do you really want the bathroom scale to tell the kitchen console that you're carrying an extra 5 pounds so it can suggest low-cal recipes?

Color-crazed: Glowing colors inspired by iMac computers add luster to vacuum cleaners, microwaves and storage crates. Silver, the unofficial color of the Millennium, is still strong.

Remembrance of Things Past: There's a flip side to all the 21st-century technology, and it's styling that screams retro. Toastess took an electric turnover toaster from 1949 -- chrome with pull-down sides -- updated the mechanics and rechristened it the Millennium Retro.

Tablescapes: Besides the Asian influence, which is resulting in square plates, look for dishes in ocher and deep olive that owe their roots to Provence. Also popular were reactive glazes that produce an artisan-style speckled finish.

Be Well: The home continues to be treated as a sanctuary, but it's also a spa, diet clinic and medical center. HoMedics filled an entire room with "relaxation fountains," $20-$100, which send water tumbling over rocks. Salter took orders for an $80 scale that computes body mass index.

Plugged-in Appliances: Rice cookers have become the bread makers of this decade. Pressure cookers are proliferating as people discover that they drastically cut cooking time. Convection microwaves are gaining ground as they allow browning.

Building a Better Mousetrap: Samsung's Junior Handvac, $49.99, makes a great style leap forward from other hand-held vacuums. It's also equipped with a crevice tool (terrific for cleaning computer keyboards). Ekco's Clip `N Stay Clothespin is a plastic one-piece clip that looks so great you'll invent ways to bring it out of the laundry room.

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