Culinary Vision: Kitchen of the Future

If we could have the kitchen of our dreams, it would be beautiful, sleek, and ultra- energy-efficient (with plenty of counter space, of course). We enlisted up-and-coming designer James Leng to transform our wish list into one amazing master plan.

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Our dream kitchen features a countertop touchscreen (for recipes), an uplighted plant trough, and an ­induction cooktop.

Smart Moves: Innovative products and appliances hand-selected by the energy-efficiency experts at Next Step Living served as the jumping-off point for Leng’s design.

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LED Cove Lights: Philips
This low-wattage, dimmable lighting alternative features a patented power-processing system for superior energy efficiency.

Cabinets: Purekitchen
Because it wasn’t easy to find environmentally low-impact cabinets, RISD grad Sergei Hasegawa set up shop to make them himself. His Brooklyn-based company refuses to use tropical or endangered wood species, avoids products with VOCs, and even offers a line made entirely of plants (bamboo, grass board, and wheat board).

Oven: Jenn-Air 
With a combination oven, you can use both convective heat and microwave energy to heat food quickly. Jenn-Air’s Culinary Center controls allow you to select the pan type and doneness level for even-more-efficient cooking.

Recessed Lights: Lightolier
AirSeal lights use low-wattage LEDs and are superinsulated to restrict air leakage. In other words, they don’t heat up the house when on.

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Countertops: Richlite 

Made from paper-based fiber composites, these countertops don’t need to be quarried or shipped around the world for finishing. Strong and durable, a single slab can be molded into a countertop, sink, and backsplash — meaning there are no weak seams. Best of all, up to 80 percent of the manufacturing waste is reused to create new product.

Flooring: Globus Cork 
Unlike conventional wood, cork is harvested from living trees with regenerating bark, so no cutting and replanting is required. What’s more: Globus Cork’s pigments, varnishes, and adhesives are water-based, solvent-free, and have no VOCs, and the company’s entire manufacturing process is powered by wind energy.

Faucet: Dornbracht 
While conventional single-lever taps provide a mix of cold and warm water in the neutral lever position, Dornbracht’s Eno faucet supplies only cold water when in that position, reducing hot-water consumption.

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Cooktop: GE
Why heat up the whole kitchen when you can just heat the pan? That’s exactly what an induction stove does (via an electric current), keeping the rest of the area cool to the touch. These cooktops boil water faster than regular cooktops, and because they’re flat, they clean up quickly, too. Cooks also love the instant heat control.

Dishwasher Drawers: KitchenAid 
The dishwasher-in-a-drawer is the trend for 2011, and a double-drawer model gives you the ability to wash smaller loads, saving both water and electricity. KitchenAid’s Sensor Wash option, meanwhile, automatically adjusts temperature and cycle time according to soil level.

Refrigerator Drawers: Sub-Zero
We’re not fans of the enormous refrigerator; every time someone swings that big door open, all the cold air escapes. Refrigerator drawers are a much smarter option. Stowed below the counter, they help compartmentalize your condiments, veggies, and frozen foods, so you open only the drawer you need.