Two years after the introduction of GE Appliance’s alternative-to-stainless steel finish, Slate, the company is embarking on a second expansion of the line to better meet the needs of new-home builders. “It’s a commitment, not a trend,” says brand manager Steve Hopmann, who notes the expansion represents a significant monetary investment based on the success of the line so far.

GE Appliance reports that 97 percent of consumers who purchased Slate were either “extremely” or “very” satisfied with the appearance of the finish in their kitchen. Resistant to fingerprints and able to hold magnets, the finish answers stainless steel’s two greatest shortfalls. Slate gray also complements transitional style, the most popular design trend in 2013, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association.

The stonelike appearance of Slate appeals to designers looking to blend appliances in with open floor plans, where a fridge or wall-oven may be visible from many rooms of the house. “Slate’s neutral, matte qualities make it visually interesting without causing a distraction,” says Lou Lenzi, director of GE’s Industrial Design Operation.

So, does the success of Slate mean the end of stainless? Not quite. Hopmann says both stainless and slate are on an upward trend.

The new GE Profile Series built-in appliances will debut in Slate throughout fall 2014. The counter-depth French door bottom-freezer refrigerator (shown) will be available in October.

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