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From your living room to your kitchen, here are the gadgets and appliances that truly combine style and substance

When it comes to modern technology, most already go beyond simple functionality. Gone are the days of gadgets looking dull or like an eyesore; be they ovens, speakers or gadgets, these sleek home devices combine form and function. 

With a plethora of options on the market, it could be hard to select the best home tech pieces for your space—especially if you’re planning to achieve a minimalist look. The Tatler Homes editorial team picks out their favourite gadgets and appliances that are beautifully crafted and boast excellent features, too.

See also: 5 Gadgets & Apps To Help Mums Multitask Like A Pro

1. Apple iMac

While I’m partial to neutral hues be it in fashion or interiors, I can’t deny the power of colour especially when it comes in such a well-considered spectrum as Apple’s latest iMac. I'm personally drawn to the green one—the rear looks similar to the Original “Bondi Blue” iMac G3 I had when I was a teenager—but the other colours namely yellow, orange, pink, purple, blue, and silver are equally appealing. 

Truth be told, the coloured shell is probably the last thing that makes this computer truly remarkable. It is the embodiment of many groundbreaking aspects: it’s powered by the new M1 chip, it has a 24-inch 4.5K Retina display with 11.3 million pixels and over a billion colours, it features a Touch ID function (a first!), plus has a 1080p FaceTime HD camera, studio-quality mics, and a six-speaker sound system (basically the best camera and audio ever in a Mac).

All of this is packed in a computer with an ultra-thin side profile at 11.5 millimetres, ensuring it will be an unobtrusive addition to your home. But this design-led piece of tech isn’t meant to blend in, it steals the show. In fact, I’ve heard of plenty of people who match their home office colour scheme to their new iMac ... why not? 

Kissa Castañeda, Editorial Director, Homes, Travel and Lists, Asia

2. Balmuda Toaster Oven

The founding of this Japanese design company is the stuff of entrepreneurial dreams. After travelling along the Mediterranean coast and Spain with just the bare necessities, Balmuda CEO and self-taught designer Terao Gen became convinced that “the best tools are needed to do the minimum”. And during a rainy barbecue session in May 2014, when his team managed to achieve perfectly toasted bread due to the humidity—crisp on the outside and moist on the inside—they were set on recreating that ideal texture with a specialty toaster oven of their own.

The toaster does what it needs to do well: just add 5ml of water with the miniature cup provided before turning the dials to set the time duration (typically around three minutes) and type of bread you’re toasting, be it white bread or pastries. I admit I was feeling a tad skeptical when it arrived in my kitchen last year as one of my family’s surprise pandemic purchases. But after some 300 toasts later, I’m sold. Even a day-old sourdough can feel like it’s hot and right out of the oven and I’ve probably never eaten as many loaves of bread in my life!

It doesn’t hurt that its sleek exterior is as thoughtfully designed, with a removable tray at its base to remove breadcrumbs and a window design inspired by wood-fired ovens. The dials are delightfully tactile, and the toaster oven emits gentle beeps and soft ticking sounds to indicate the start, duration, and end of the toasting process. It also functions as a regular oven; it’s able to bake a small batch of cookies or even cook a petite casserole dish.

Hong Xinying, Managing Editor, Tatler Homes Singapore

3. Smeg Bean to Cup coffee machines

I love a good cup of coffee but am also quite lazy when it comes to getting my daily fix. The new SMEG Bean to Cup coffee machines are ideal because they make the perfect cup with minimum fuss–and look good while doing it.

Known rather clinically as the BCC01 and BCC02, you only need to fill the container with your favourite coffee beans and select your beverage of choice from the intuitive one-touch menu before the Thermoblock heating system gets it ready. The BCC01 is perfect for those who enjoy black coffee while the BCC02 features a milk frothing function for those, who like me, like their lattes. Maintenance is a breeze courtesy of the removable brewing unit and tank while the direct grinding of the coffee eliminates having to use capsules.

Its sleek lines are my favourite part and I particularly like how it manages to look modern without appearing cold. Available in four colour combinations, the brushed aluminum panel pairs best with taupe; Kelly Hoppen would approve.

Jennifer Choo, Editor-in-Chief, Tatler Homes Malaysia

4. LG Wallpaper TV

I’m one of those people who don’t prefer to have a TV in the living room. I truly believe it should remain a space where conversation should be encouraged. However, I do recognise that in many cases it is unavoidable, and it is often the one area in the home where everyone can comfortably gather to enjoy it.

I love LG’s ultra-sleek Signature W9 Wallpaper OLED TV which lays flush against the wall and blends in seamlessly with the furniture. With 4k ultra-HD and LG’s Smart AI ThinQ, this powerhouse does not sacrifice tech for style. I particularly like that you can program it to showcase any image of your choice or from their bank of masterpieces so that instead of simply being a dark, black screen, it now accentuates your decor.

Stephanie Zubiri, Editor, Tatler Homes Philippines

5. V-Zug RefreshButler

I, for one, am not a huge fan of household chores; which is why I’ve been eyeing V-Zug’s RefreshButler. The innovative fabric care system from the Swiss manufacturer helps to clean garments thoroughly by gently removing moisture with a closed air loop and a heat pump. This process evaporates any drops of water from the garments, ensuring that the clothes are dry and fresh before activating a photocatalysis function that steams the clothing pieces placed within.

The gentle steaming process—perfect for delicate laundry as well—helps to eliminate 99.99 percent of germs and bacteria. Warm air and UV light released during this process also help to neutralise and remove odour molecules, which helps freshen your garments as well. The clincher for me is the machine’s anti-crease function; this helps to significantly reduce creases and wrinkles on a range of fabrics such as cotton, polyester, and even silk and wool. The time-saving appliance completely eliminates the mundane humdrum of doing laundry.

The best part about the novel appliance is its sleekness. Marrying the best of form and function, the RefreshButler is stylishly designed to take after a compact closet. Available with outer doors that come in black or chrome, you can opt for a free-standing or built-in unit; it can also be seamlessly integrated into your current cabinetry without standing out awkwardly. 

Cheryl Lai-Lim, Digital Writer, Tatler Homes Singapore

See also: Dream Closets: 5 Stylish Wardrobe Ideas

6. Bang & Olufsen Beolab 28

If like me, you adore lighting by Lee Broom and glasses by Kinto, you’re probably also a fan of Bang & Olufsen. I’ve always been impressed by how it creates pieces that straddle sound system and modern sculpture. Their designs hold their own in an unadorned corner, but can also seamlessly fit amongst objets d’art atop a console. The Danish brand just has a knack for combining timely and timeless in one sleek package. 

Case in point: the new Beolab 28, which is their most advanced adaptive, wireless speaker to date. Available exclusively at Bang & Olufsen’s Grand Hyatt flagship store in Singapore in natural silver, black anthracite and bronze-tone aluminum finishes, the ultra-slim profile and rounded edges make the speaker inconspicuous; although it's pretty hard to ignore the elegant design. The brand encourages users to place the speakers literally anywhere—even mounted on the wall—and its Active Room Compensation adapts the bass response to ensure amazing audio every time you stream Spotify.

My favourite part is that the speaker is held together by a backbone that conceals cable wires, making it appear like it’s floating on air. How’s that for magic? 

Kissa Castañeda, Editorial Director, Homes, Travel and Lists, Asia

7. Samsung Bespoke Refrigerator

The days of appliances in shiny metal are numbered, especially if Samsung has a say about it. With their Samsung Bespoke range, the Korean electronics giant are reimagining kitchen appliances as furniture where you may match said appliances with your room colour scheme.

The refrigerators are the first rollout in this range and are boxes with flat fronts. Available in four or two-door versions, the doors can be mixed and matched from a whole palette of colours only limited by the country you’re in; Samsung stores in South Korea have 360 colours to choose from and some countries allow you to add limited edition art prints. I’m partial to the Piet Mondrian-style where a primary colour is selected to add a dash of pop art flair to a kitchen.

Like the name implies, the Samsung Bespoke fridges are not just customisable in appearance, they can be personalised in function as well. Components are modular so you can add on more components in a stack, or fit smaller fridges and freezers if required.

Jennifer Choo, Editor-in-Chief, Tatler Homes Malaysia

8. Modern Sprout Growhouse

There’s nothing I love more than being able to harvest fresh herbs on the spot! Rather than filling a fridge and stocking it up with herbs that wilt, I prefer to grow them in my kitchen. It’s not always an easy task, especially for spaces that don’t have a lot of natural light. Thankfully there are many smart planter systems available equipped with full spectrum grow lights however, most are made of utilitarian plastic.

Embrace the cottage core lifestyle with this gorgeous brass rendition from Modern Sprout that would look beautiful on any kitchen counter. Watertight and equipped with eco-friendly, low-heat full spectrum LED lights, that allows the plants to flourish even in areas with little to no natural light. It’s also smart app enabled, and connects to the Modern Sprout App which provides customizable programming and pairing recommendations for partial shade, partial sun, and full sun plants. Lit with museum-quality lights, I love that the herbs can also become a decorative focal point as well.

Stephanie Zubiri, Editor, Tatler Homes Philippines

9. Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge wireless speaker

Gadgets may not always be the most visually appealing additions to a home—so it’s great to see that the Bowers & Wilkins Formation Wedge speaker boasts a beautifully compact shape while producing pitch-perfect tones, and is conveniently wireless.

Available in black or silver, the sculptural shape of this device combines form and function. The faceted design angles the drivers to produce true stereo sound even with just one speaker while resulting in an aesthetically pleasing form whether it’s placed on a TV console or at a nook of your room. The Bluetooth enabled device can be controlled remotely via the Bowers & Wilkins music app, so you can stream your favourite tunes or podcast series while enjoying your cup of coffee; its AirPlay function is also a handy feature for Apple users.

Hong Xinying, Managing Editor, Tatler Homes Singapore

10. Gaggenau 400 series fully automatic espresso machine

Coffee plays a huge role in my ability to function in the morning, so Gaggenau’s state-of-the-art coffee machine is a no-brainer pick for me. The fully automatic coffee machine allows you to play as a home barista with its ability to effortlessly create a wide range of coffees and hot milk drinks. If you, like me, love trying different coffee bean varieties, you’d love the empty grinding function. The innovative feature allows you to switch seamlessly between different bean types without mixing them together. For the everyday drinker who seriously loves their coffee, the machine’s double grinding and brewing cycle translates to an extra intense cup of top-notch joe.

If you’re making a brew for two, the machine comes equipped with a double dispenser that has the ability to prepare two beverages at a time. My favourite part of the machine? Convenience is readily at my fingertips. The smart machine can save up to eight personalised configurations within its system, which means that there’s no need to fiddle between different settings every morning. Another time-saving function I appreciate is the machine’s continuous flow heater, which provides a constant brewing temperature and eliminates any waiting time. Plus, the appliance's sleek design will fit sleekly into the design aesthetic of any kitchen. 

Cheryl Lai-Lim, Digital Writer, Tatler Homes Singapore

See also: Why You Should Try Nespresso's First Organic Coffee From The Reviving Origins Programme

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