November 13, 2010

I Have a Crush…on a Range!

Posted in Decorating tagged , , , , , , , , , at 10:41 am by dotcomdecorator

I love to cook, bake, chop, puree, blend, experiment, concoct, serve…I simply enjoy being in the kitchen!  In fact, I have often considered pursuing a career as a restaurateur, baker, or caterer.   However, for now, I am interested in learning professional kitchen skills for self-gratifying reasons: I believe learning would be fun; better skills may reduce the number of self-inflicted kitchen injuries; having them would add to my enjoyment of the culinary craft; and, most truthfully, because then I would have more leverage for my need of a gourmet kitchen!

Omega Cabinetry kitchen

Omega Cabinetry kitchen

Over the past several years, upscale kitchens have become the norm in American homes. The average homeowner is aware of the basics:  granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, prep and/or cook-top islands, task lighting, double ovens and built-in microwaves. For a little more style, a wine cooler, ability for guests to belly up to a bar/island area, and custom back splashes comprise the typical upscale kitchen, similar to the Omega Cabinetry kitchen pictured above.

Beyond the basic, and the moderately upscaled, we get into the elegant kitchen, such as this beautiful Wm Ohs kitchen pictured below.

Elegant Wm Ohs kitchen

Elegant Wm Ohs kitchen

Furniture-style cabinetry with custom finishes, hand scraped wood or Travertine tile floors, farmhouse sinks, 6-burner ranges with pot-filler, cabinets boasting pull out storage, elegant lighting for ambiance, at least one warming drawer, and walk-in pantry. These kitchens are stunning and I would love one of my own, but for me it still falls short of my dream kitchen!

For me, the central figure in my dream kitchen, the workhorse, the reason for all that is, is the range…and I have an obsession with ranges!  You know how a car-guy lights up at the sight of a classic car with a Hemi? I’m like that with ranges! I have a serious crush on a range, but before I introduce you to the object of my desire, I would like to explain where this all began.

From a self-analytical standpoint, this obsession can be directly traced to two incidents the year I went away to school. The first incident took place in my tiny galley kitchen with an outdated gas range, similar to this one.

Old gas stove

Old gas stove

Let’s just say the incident involved an inept roommate, a gas oven, a match and the smell of burning hair as I realized my eyebrows, eyelashes, and bangs were missing! The second incident was when I went home for Thanksgiving. As a student, I subsisted on a diet of canned green beans and McDonald’s, the thought of a home-cooked meal with roasted turkey and all the fixin’s was highly anticipated! Thanksgiving Day I woke up to sounds of my mom in the kitchen and I knew it was only a matter of time before the smells of “food day” began wafting into my room. Oh, it wasn’t so. What wafted in was the annoyed voice of my mother as she realized we had run out of propane–a major requirement for cooking with our gas-fueled appliances! What!? Are you kidding? Who runs out of propane on Thanksgiving? I was incredulous that we had not one, but two ovens, and would be eating Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant!  I think it was at that moment I began to fantasize about my dream kitchen and how I would have great appliances and never be without the ability to cook…especially on Thanksgiving Day!

As time marched on, reality set in. Our first home had a standard free-standing electric range…that was the extent of builder options. Our second, self-designed home, ended up with a single built-in cooktop/oven, so we could maximize the view, but also because we blew the bank on the build! Our third, and current home, does have two built-in ovens and a cook-top in the island. While it’s nice, I still have major “range envy”.

Many of my friends have 6-8 burner Viking or AGA ranges with either attached or built-in double ovens. Comparing my appliances to their’s is like parking a VW van next to a Corvette. Even worse, many of them confess to never cooking, or using their ovens to heat pizza–that’s like driving a Corvette 30mph everywhere you go. I am not in a position to make changes to my kitchen at this time, but it doesn’t stop me from being envious and dreaming of my “one day” kitchen!

To fit my design and cooking styles, a range with at least six burners and double ovens makes the most sense. However, that configuration limits the manufacturer and price-point options. Once I realized there is an option to have gas and electric burners and ovens in the same range, I cannot imagine anything less. Besides, talk about the ultimate in emotional soothing–there’s no way I would ever be without a means to prepare meals! Of course, with this options the brand selection again decreases and the price increases.  I also want a retro look–a solid, heavy, workhorse of a range, but something timeless and stylish, and not stainless! The options become fewer and fewer…and the price increases incrementally. These La Cornue ranges were my first flutter:

La Cornue chateau

While there are other amazing ranges on the market–Viking, Wolf, AGA, Falcon, Lacanche, Delaubrac, Molteni–and in reality I would relish the opportunity to own any of them, this is my dream date:

Wanders Piano 105

Wanders Piano 105

I love, love, love this vintage-style range by Wanders! I imagine owning this in the beautiful, deep Bordeaux color and know it would be the focal point of my dream kitchen. There are many other elements necessary to create this ideal kitchen, but today this is all about my crush–isn’t it simply fabulous!?

For now, I appreciate the hard-working appliances I have and enjoy preparing meals in my kitchen, even though it isn’t my ideal setup. However, sometimes living with the less-than-ideal allows us to identify what we consider to be ideal. I have definitely made some adjustments to my thinking over the years, and now I’m clear about what I want, and why I want it. Of course, to desire is no guarantee of having.  As with most crushes, I have to wonder if this one has staying-power or will a new model one day set my heart a’flutter? A girl can always dream!

Until next time,

Viva Con Gioia!

The DotComDecorator


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