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. Jamie D. says:

    I’ve read through all the comments and I don’t think I saw the answer – does GE have a preliminary time frame on when this could be introduced? I want to know how long to hold out for a new fridge.

    Also, I really wish this idea would be carried over to mid-range appliances. I think this is truly wonderful to offer customization to an affordable entry-level product, but being a Gen Xer rather than a millenial, I’m ready to invest a bit more money in something higher quality. The Artistry fridge seems great, but I’d pass on the stove and dishwasher. But springing for Big Chill, Elmira Stove Works, or BlueStar is still way out of my price range. Custom color for say, the GE Profile or Cafe lines, that would be brilliant. There really aren’t any retro-friendly options for the in-between budget.

  2. Debra Leissner says:

    Like Pam, I was also disappointed in the quality of the GE Artistry product. I waited until last fall to buy them and I was ready to replace my all of my major kitchen appliances with them. Then I walked into the showroom and saw how plastic-y and poorly they were made. Poor use of space, too. Let us know when GE decides to put out these awesome designs in better products, and I’m there.

  3. Wendy W says:

    I own the GE artistry fridge and dishwasher they are cheap. The ice maker is horrible and the logos started falling off the very next day (its just a sticker) the fridge also sits weird (all leaned back at a slope even though adjusted with their feet) the fridge looks like there is condensation on the door panel even thought there isnt any (its just splotchy looking for some reason) Everything is plastic except the handles. Even though the fronts are plastic magnets still stick to it. They get the job done though.

  4. Domenica Clark says:

    Our 1970’s kitchen includes four all original GE
    Appliances In harvest gold. I would love to include color when we some day remodel the kitchen! The GE refrigerator model number is. 62051,
    I would love to know what it sold for back in its day!

  5. Teri says:

    I was so excited to hear that GE was considering colors for it’s Artistry line, then so disappointed to see in the above comments that the Artistry appliances are cheaply made. I (wrongly I guess) thought they were a nice, upper mid-priced line with some style. Sigh.

    1. pam kueber says:

      I don’t know about the quality comments — I saw these in the store and I thought they looked pretty nice….

  6. Jennifer Tippens says:

    I think the disappointment comments are coming from the fact that this line of appliances have few modern features such as the oven is manual clean and there is no ice maker in the fridge. Most folks would think of a “nice” appliance as having those two things as mandatory. If one is to trade her antique appliance (with all the “cool retro points”) and go for a modern appliance instead, one expects to be gaining something in the bargain besides just basic functionality.

  7. Georgia says:

    Wonderful idea!! Just seeing this in August & wondering if GE will be going ahead with the color panels?? Looking at an Artistry fridge today!

  8. Vick says:

    I painted my new artistry refrigerator as soon as it was delivered. It is now green and so many people ask where I got the old refrigerator. I like the idea of the color panels for those that have already purchased refrigerators but why not begin manufacturing colored refrigerators for those that have not purchased yet. I’m planning on purchasing a new stove and I will paint it also.

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