Would you buy a smartphone case — for your refrigerator and dishwasher? GE Artistry series explores this option

Breaking News + VOTE: GE considers colorful, replaceable panels for its newest appliance series

GE-colorful-appliance-skinsWould you buy colorful, replaceable steel panels — a “smartphone case” — for your GE Artistry Series refrigerator and dishwasher? Well, more Breaking News here on this recently-introduced appliance line: We have now learned that GE is exploring offering iPhone-style skins to fit over the fridge and dishwasher — and the company has mocked up five potential colorways to elicit marketplace feedback.  Read more below — then take our vote — would you go for appliances with with color panels like this, and if so, what color would you want?

Click the photo for our original story about GE Artistry series appliances.

As you may recall, we were first on the web with news about GE’s retro styled Artistry appliances early last summer — and since then we’ve heard from many readers who have purchased appliances from the line for their vintage kitchen remodels. The colors currently offered are a classic white — our favorite, and black.

Now,  Lou Lenzi, Director of Industrial Design for GE Appliances has quietly (it seems) published a tumblr post indicating that GE has “been kicking around the idea of adding color to Artistry’s current glossy black and white finishes.” They also mocked up possible colors and finishes to gauge for market reaction.

We quickly asked some additional questions:

How serious is GE about this, really?

GE: We’re serious. We have had so many expressions of interest in colors that we need to quantify if this makes sense, and that’s the purpose of this outreach.

How much would such a skin cost?

GE: Our goal is a $100 adder over white or black.

Can you further share: What would the material would be made of? Obviously, some dishwashers and fridges (e.g. Sub-Zero) already are designed to take panels. … ?

GE: We are considering high-gloss, powder-coated paint on cold rolled steel with anti-corrosion protection.

We love this idea. But then we are color lovers here.


From the blog of Lou Lenzi, Director of Industrial Design for GE Appliances:

Artistry Color Exploration

The Design team here at GE Appliances is constantly looking at trends – “from culture to cooking” as we say, generating insights about the world we live in. These insights inform and guide us towards designs that make lives easier, more enjoyable and maybe a little more entertaining too.

yellow-retro-style-refrigeratorIt’s a pretty dynamic activity. Every new generation of homeowner drives new trends, demanding change, just as the newest generation, dubbed “Millennials,” were the catalyst for our new Artistry line of kitchen appliances.

eggplant-kitchen-appliancesWhile Artistry only entered the market last fall, we’ve been kicking around the idea of adding color to Artistry’s current glossy black and white finishes.

lime-green-retro-colorful-kitchen-appliancesBefore we fall into the trap of creating (and being blamed for) the next Harvest Gold, we thought we’d start with colors that might already be present in your kitchen – ginger, lime, cinnamon, aubergine (aka eggplant for the uninitiated), and lemon. Next, we considered a variety of finish scenarios. We started by bathing the entire appliance suite in color, then tried selected appliances as accent pieces within the suite, and finally landed on colored “skins” that could attach to the front of the refrigerator and/or dishwasher, which could be changed or swapped out for new colors, much like a smartphone case.

Scroll through our images to experience color in context. Notice how a light or dark surrounding environment can transform the feel and mood of a color or kitchen. What do you think?

jonathan adler colors targetOur take on the proposed GE Colors

Some of the colors GE is considering for their appliance skins seem to be channeling the Jonathan Adler line of kitchen and bath sinks from Kohler — bright and cheery, retro-mod.

red-vintage-style-refridgeratorMy personal favorite among the proposed GE colors is their Cinnamon, above. This shade of orange-red might work in a variety of vintage kitchen styles from the 40s to the 60s.

Yellow-kitchen-appliancesThe lemon color GE is considering is not quite right for a 40s or 50s vintage kitchen, but would look totally groovy in a retro mod, flower power late 60s or 70s kitchen, don’t you think?

lime-green-vintage-style-refrigeratorThe same can be said about the lime offering — though it doesn’t seem to be quite as acidic as a true retro lime, it would still blend nicely into a colorful mod kitchen.

cinamon-colorful-refridgeratorWe are amused that GE’s blog post dismisses Harvest Gold (Retro Renovation 2014 Color of the Year — because their “Ginger” reminds us oh-so-much of that same lovely shade. We like this one a lot! This would be a nice choice for anyone trying to recreate a 1960s through 1980s kitchen.

vintage-styled-purple-appliancesOf all of the proposed colors, GE’s Aubergine, above, may be the most problematic — because when it comes to purple, many people either love it or h*** it.  Even so — at $100 per panel, it doesn’t sound like too big a risk.

Inspiration from 1968: Wacky-awesome!:

Go, GE, Go!

If GE moves ahead with this idea, we’d sure love to see them give a nod to the retro with several of their color offerings, of course! No matter what, though, we are super excited that color is returning to the appliance market once again. RESIST THE GREIGE NATION, America!

Readers — What do you think about the new GE Artistry appliance skins? Which colors would you like to see offered?

  1. Just saw this after looking at the new bronzy-colored line of appliances, which unfortunately don’t look right for my ’50s kitchen. Wow, this color “skin” invention is fabulous! And the fridge has very pretty lines. This is exactly what I would want, in their color akin to Harvest Gold. What has happened with this idea?

  2. jeff says:

    And now they’ve punted the entire line, I just don’t understand this, it was a great looking group of appliances priced extremely well.

    I don’t understand GE, they didn’t even market the Artistry series, I heard about it by accident, installed it in two homes before they abandoned ship.


  3. Carolyn says:

    I bought one of these refridgerators when they came out…would so love the green or blue. What is the status on this?

      1. Joe Felice says:

        GE no longer makes appliances, as of Jan. 1, 2015. The appliance division was sold to Electrolux last year.

        1. pam kueber says:

          Are you sure about this, Joe? I know the company was sold. But the Artistry series still is shown as made and for sale on the GE Appliances website. Usually what happens with corporate purchases like this, is that the new owner retains the brand name of the acquired company — continuing to run it as a separate division.

          1. Anastasia says:

            I checked the website, it’s down to only 4 colors you can play with. Such a pity if they decide not to go through with it.

          2. Joe Felice says:

            Oh, that could very well be. But sold, it was. I remember feeling so sorry for the folks in Appliance Park, Kentucky, just as I felt sorry for the folks in Kenosha, Wisconsin when AMC went out of business.

            1. pam kueber says:

              Is GE Appliances out of business? It’s website is still up, it’s still introducing new products, and its press room is live. I have not read anything that indicates it as dissolved — sounds to me like Electrolux will run it as a separate brand. That said, I need to go read the Courier-Journal for the full details. Update: Looks like the acquisition has not been completed yet; the two companies remain separate; GE Appliance investing in Louisville operations, according to CJ.

              These kinds of mergers and acquisitions are not always a bad thing. It can be better for your unit if you are owned by a larger company that is in your core business (vs a conglomerate full of competing interests) and is willing to invest in growing yours, too. Global GE simply has changed its focus dramatically since these 1950s affiliates were started. I think it’s likely better for GE Appliances to be owned by Electroluxe. That said, yes, there can be significant disruption at the acquired business unit, if streamlining occurs — that is, layoffs. Longterm, though, it can be a better thing for the acquired company.

          3. Ecfinn says:

            I managed to track down a white GE Artistry refrigerator. We just got it and, to my dismay, it sticks out too much into our kitchen….I had thought we could live with it when I did the measuring. My hubs has talked me into returning it, BUT I thought I’d check on here first to see if any of my Retro Renovation friends in Southern California have any interest in buying it from me. After all, it was a bear to track down and is out of production. It is gorgeous, still all wrapped up and never even plugged in. I’d sell it for exactly what I paid: $1200.

    1. Jamie D says:

      I got the same email back in August or September and ordered mine in Cupcake Blue. It arrived in October and I’m thrilled with it.

      I’m sad to see that there are only 4 color options on their website now, though. I love my blue fridge, but yellow or lime green would have also looked fantastic in my kitchen. I’m assuming they had to just stick with the most popular options.

      1. pam kueber says:

        Note, Jamie, I don’t think there really are color options for the mass market to BUY yet. The email you received was part of continuing test of the market. I will ask again for an update.

        1. Jamie D says:

          Ah, true. It’s odd that the colors show up on the website if they’re not available to the mass market, though. I really wish they would introduce the matching dishwasher panels as shown above. I do need a new dishwasher, too!

  4. rodney says:

    I got an email from GE last week that they are taking orders for colored artistry. Email did not state colors, however image showed Red, Gold(yellow?), light green, light blue.

  5. elizabeth says:

    I remember my parents buying built in dishwasher in the 70s that came with 4 color panels for the front–I think it was Sears definitely not top of the line. My first one in 1980 also had 3 fronts. I would love any of the pastels but only on a good quality product.
    You can paint metal with electrostatic paint services and without disassembling or uninstalling –they do it for businesses all the time so files, desks etc match. I don’t know on an oven because of the temp but the others you can have painted. The question is resale.. If I make my 1965 kitchen turquoise will that make it hard to sell?

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