A Passion for Appliances

Kim Zimmer, Store Manager at AUTCOhome, was raised in the appliance business and has been working with high-quality products for over 33 years.

Edited by Moe Godat 

Photography by Colin Miller/Strauss Peyton


SLHL: What’s your role in the design and decision-making process?

Kim: Clients come to see me for help with finding the perfect products for their kitchen. My role is to guide them based on function and style. Design is a very personal decision, and it is important to find out what they need the most out of the space. It means we need to take the time to know the clients: how they cook or if they cook. So my role in the design process is get to know my clients and find out what will work best for them.


SLHL: What’s your background?

Kim: I was basically raised in this industry. My father had his own company, and I started working for him and helped to run it until he passed away. I have been doing this for over 33 years, and I have a passion and love for appliances. I was trained from the ground up learning about how products work and what will give the clients the longest life span.


SLHL: What’s hot right now in terms of appliances?

Kim: The hottest product at this time is steam convection oven cooking. Gaggenau makes a combi steam oven that is amazing and has a great design. Sous vide cooking has become extremely popular, so you are able to do Sous vide in the Gaggenau combi steam oven, which makes them ahead of the game.


SLHL: In your opinion, what will be the next big thing? Do you have a prediction?

Kim: In this industry that is always on the cutting edge, anything is possible. I predict we will have products that have the technology to be completely integrated into our lives by disappearing into the kitchen and making the design seamless.


SLHL: What advice do you have for a homeowner remodeling their kitchen in terms of appliances?

Kim: My advice to a consumer remodeling is to look at how you cook on an everyday basis. Figure out what appliances are the most important. Do I need the biggest range or would it be better to have a cooktop and wall ovens? Do I need a microwave or am I cooking fresh foods and would a steam oven be a better fit? Do I spend a large amount on fresh produce? If so, would a built-in refrigerator be a better fit or a standard refrigerator? So always look at how you cook and how you would like the space to function.


SLHL: When is the right time for someone to switch or update their appliances? Is there a rule of thumb?

Kim: The best time to replace appliances is when they start to break. So if your refrigerator goes, then look at replacing all the appliances; that way everything will match. Basically, we want to replace if things are starting to break down after about 10 to 15 years.


SLHL: What’s the most efficient cooking method right now as far as you’re concerned?

Kim: The most efficient method of cooking depends on what kind of cooking you are doing. So for me it would be a steam combi oven, induction cooktop and convection wall oven. I could do my entire Thanksgiving dinner, still be on time and have a great time with my family. Steam Combi could do my turkeys and the convection oven would be doing dressing and other casserole items. Induction cooking has the ability to provide and maintain the perfect temperature needed for extended periods of time and is also easy to clean.


SLHL: What new appliance can you not live without?

Kim: The hottest item right now is the vacuum drawer. This is a drawer you can build in and use to seal your foods so that they stay fresh. You are able to seal at different levels based on what it is you are sealing. You can also reseal wine with these.