Diva Design Diary

By Holly Peterson

Diva Design Diary is about bringing the latest interior design trends and tips to our existing clients, as well as future clients...enjoy!

The Laundry List

By Holly Peterson

Cleaning clothes in a washer and dryer seems simple enough: Put them in, add some detergent, watch them tumble and spin, and voila! Fresh laundry. But while most machines get the basic job done, not all washers and dryers are created equal.
The agitator, for example-that protruding stem in the middle of of traditional washers-is a merciless stretcher of garments, while scratches on a dryer's metal interior wall can cruelly snag threads and tear delicate articles. It's better than toiling over a washboard and bucket, but the road to a machine-clean clothing is filled with danger.
Luckily, home appliances compare with computers and cars when it comes to technological and material innovation. From agitator-free washers to snag-proof dryer walls, the list of risks is shrinking.
In addition, to treating garments with greater care, new machines have also made significant strides in water and energy efficiency, saving operating costs throughout their life spans. Though dryers still run neck and neck with refrigerators-and hot on the tail of air conditioners and water heaters-in the competition for greatest domestic energy hog, they're leagues ahead of where they once were.
Today I've selected five of the newest models of front-loading washers and dryers to take for a spin. I've reviewed one expert's opinions, Eric Ryan of Method, to help separate the suds from the duds.

1. Epic by Maytag / $1,099-$1,199 each / maytag.com
Expert Opinion: "Epic's heroic name is fitting because it's the Clark Kent of machines. On the one hand you have a sturdily built, reliable washer. On the other you have a suave, nimble powerhouse. It's stackable and has optional storage drawers, which are huge space-savers. Speaking of saving, it's super energy-and water-efficient, too. So the superhero analogy definitely applies. But maybe it's more like the Maytag man just found his cape."
What I think: Maytag's commercials have long solicited the fact that their machines function so well they make the repairman obsolete. With the Epic, they practically make the owner obsolete, too, with a series of sensors that regulate water level, temperature, and soap suds (all sold as additional features). The automatic adjustors all keep the use of water to just what's needed, so none is wasted.

2. Affinity by Frigidaire / $749-$999 each / frigidaire.com
Expert Opinion: "Smart is the name of the game with the Affinity, and it's intelligent iCare system puts the "care" in fabric care. It gently cleans clothes without an agitator, a good thing if you're interested in thread longevity and looking to extend the life of your clothes (yes, I mean those $300 jeans). Granted, it won't play the latest Coldplay CD, but since it has a lot of the features the more expensive guys have, this is a great value."
What I think: Frigidaire integrates classic style with the newest technology, even down to the retro logo design. Like oven ranges, domestic washers and dryers are leaning toward professional grade, which in this case means larger capacities. Still, the side-by-side Affinity washer and dryer keep their overall profile to a minimum, and with a short dry cycle, the process takes less time and uses less energy than it does with older models.

3. Duet Steam Washer WFW9600T by Whirlpool / $1,399-$1699 each / whirlpool.com
Expert Opinion: "Meet the Brad and Angelina of the laundry world. This steamy affair (pun intended) is made up of smart, strong, and downright sexy forces. Thanks to the power of steam, you don't need to pretreat stains, and you can even sanitize your clothes without nasty bleach. It will revolutionize your laundry routine with less ironing and fewer trips to the dry cleaner-a bonus for both the environment and your wallet. And it's the biggest water-and energy-saver of the bunch too."
What I think: In the Whirlpool's laundry list of features, one that stands out is the "Add-a-Garment" function, which offers the forgetful among us a chance to slip in late items for up to eight minutes after the wash cycle begins. When the light goes out, time's up. This machine also indulges the meticulous categorizer who likes to do laundry by type: Bulky, silk, wool, and varying degrees of grime each have their own special setting.

4. W 3035 and T 8005 by Miele / $1,749-$2,349 each / miele.com
Expert Opinion: "Think I've run out of similes for washing machines? Think again. The W 3035 and the T 8005 are like a Porsche reincarnated as washer and dryer-911s to be exact. There's a reason for that. Their features read like a sports car's; there's even a turbo button on the washer! They're high-performance, but the controls are simple enough so you don't need racing gloves or anything like that. Although, if the price tag doesn't make you shy away, then you might be in a position to have someone else sort and fold for you."
What I think: We agree that this is the most utilitarian-sleek of the lot. Miele's stainless-steel exterior gives it a no-nonsense appearance. As functions go, it keeps things simple, and the interior light allows you to see the cycle in action. I'd like to think this eliminates the mystery of the disappearing sock.

5. Nexxt 800 Series by Bosch / $1,449 for washer, $1,299 for dryer / boschappliances.com
Expert Opinion: "Bosch is known for cool design and superior quality, and it doesn't disappoint here. This is one hot-looking model, and it boasts some really unique features, too. It's the quietest washer in the U.S., with cycle settings that go beyond the usual delicate, regular, and permanent press options. They've taken into consideration everything from washing jeans and comforters to taking tough stains out of kids' clothing. With all that versatility, this is a great choice for families."
What I think: These machines have so many special features that Bosch has come up with a new vocabulary to describe it's superpowers: XXtrasanitary, KIDScare, SENSOtronic, ARCHIE Paddles-the list of trademark terms promises targeted cleaning for every kind of dirt as well as a "nearly silent" cycle. Though the array is a bit overwhelming, it's nice to be able to select based on load type and presumably get a better wash out of it. You just have to be willing to sort.

As an interior designer with close industry relationships, my clients enjoy the highly discounted prices that are extended to them through working with me as their designer.

No Comment

Post a Comment