Last chance to change my mind: Aga Legacy 36 or Ilve?

marcoloFebruary 22, 2013

I know there are only a few owners of these appliances on this forum, but I'm hoping to tempt them out of hiding.

I was all set for an Aga Legacy 36", but now, months after making my "final" decision (long story), I'm considering an Ilve instead.

Anybody want to weigh in?

For me, the Aga has:
+ The right look
+ Multiple ovens. They seem fun to work with
+ Good reviews of their cooking performance
- Tiny ovens. That's fine most of the time with a two-person household but I dread the holiday when I suddenly realize the goose/turkey/pizza doesn't fit
- Slow service. I think they send parts over on the Queen Mary 2. Aga is famous for this.
- Some parts are flimsy-looking, like the backsplash
- No rolling racks

+ Fun cooktop--Lots of gizmos including a fry top, iron steak plate, steam and bain marie bins, etc.
+ Cool look, perhaps a tad too Euro for my '20s kitchen although the legs and metal trim do echo an old '20s stove
+ Nice big oven, no worries there
+ Rolling racks
+ Rotisserie
+ Big remp range in teh ovens
+ Nice fit and finish
- One oven. I have no space to just pop in a wall oven elsewhere. My backup would be a countertop Breville, probably
- Stainless steel cooktop is more modern than the black Aga
- Some bad reviews in Australia (but newer and more local reviews are positive)
- Oven is a lot to heat up for 2 people on a weekday

So really, how do I nudge myself in one direction or another? Any personal experiences?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You've got more pluses in the Ilve column than in the Aga.

I have never seen an Ilve in person (must be the only brand under the sun we haven't seen).

Personal experience. This is from someone who was also sorely, sorely tempted by the Aga from the point of view of the unique looks and features, and I also have a kitchen I am trying to keep a kind of period look that somewhat reflects the age of my 1916 house (and I'd found a good price on a floor model). We must have looked at that baby (and other Legacys) a half a dozen times. I agree that the backsplash is cheap and flimsy, especially if you are looking at the white one. That is the one color I would not buy in an Aga despite the fact my appliances are white. The rubber oven door gaskets on the main oven also seemed flimsy to us. The aluminum burners clearly aren't as high quality as the brass on other brands. And, I was still concerned that it had sealed burners on top. I liked the idea of the multiple small ovens, especially for a household of two like ours (but, I also have a 27" wall oven). We wanted a good broiler, so the fact that food is jammed right up under the broiler was a concern for us. And, this was one of the tipping points for us against the Aga.

We were really trying to justify this purchase but eventually decided against it. We decided the floor model color was bad, and we couldn't justify paying the high regular price. A smaller concern was that we would have to do some reconfiguring of one cabinet if we went to the 36" rather than just putting in another 30".

Then, I decided that if I wasn't going to get the Aga I'd at least get something interesting in a color because I did not want a stainless steel box sitting in my kitchen. I figured a period-appropriate color would soften the looks of a modern range. We looked and looked and compared and compared.

What did we end up with when we purchased a few weeks ago? A stainless Wolf of the now-discontinued, open burner variety. As far as appearance, it seems okay to me with the 10" riser we have on the back. While certainly not a vintage look, it seems somewhat, at least to me, to have a bit of the character of an older cookstove. (Or, maybe I am just rationalizing my purchase).

Here is a link (I am asking for countertop advice now that the range is in place) with a couple photos of the Wolf in my kitchen.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 10:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, remember the Aga has two broilers. The bigger oven also has one.

One thought about the flimsiness factor is that I've never seen anybody complain about the flimsy items actually breaking or malfunctioning.

I think the Aga fits better with the all-American vintage look I'm going for. The Ilve is more Euro, more French / Italian in style, and has a stainless cooktop. The real killer for me is the loss of a second oven. I'm not at a place where I'm willing to reconfigure my plan to stick in another oven.

What I'd love to hear from a Legacy owner is, "I tried to cook ____ and I couldn't!" That will help me decide.

I already have a small oven that I hate. However, both of the aspects I hate would be cured by the Aga. The oven has bad airflow, and the Aga has convection. Second, my oven is so small I can't cook side dishes along with, say, a turkey, and obviously the Aga avoids that problem.

The Ilve offers a good amount of room for side dishes but obviously not the ability to cook at different temperatures.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 12:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi there! Having cooked with a Legacy, I found its major advantages areâ¦
⢠The multiple ovens you mentioned. Benefit of this is that you have cooking flexibility and can select variable temperatures and wonâÂÂt have any cross-over smells or flavors.
⢠A larger overall cooking capacity. You can fit a giant 20-lb turkey and still have room for the rest of a Thanksgiving meal by using the other ovens. I suspect IlveâÂÂs one oven might make the other racks useless once you accommodate to fit the size of the turkey.
⢠Easy access to food via the Handyrack. This one is quite, well, handy. You just open the door and your food is sitting right there on the rack attached to the door. ItâÂÂs removable, just in case you want to use the full oven. The broiler has an easy glide feature too.
⢠I particular love all the color and design options, especially the cathedral doors. And they have stainless steel models. You can see the options on their web site:

The company has come a long way since the days of the Queen Mary. They now have parts for all their products stocked in the United States. Hope this helps!

Here is a link that might be useful: Legacy

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 3:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

A-hem. You just registered today to endorse the Aga??

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 4:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I still think you should get the Aga. It probably is the right choice for the look you want. I did extensive research on them before we decided not to buy, and the major complaints I saw were the fact that people had to buy all new smaller pans to make things like cookies and the dedicated broiler (not the upper element in the larger left oven) constraints.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 10:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

not an owner but you didn't say what has put you into rethink mode. It has been my experience that when a decision is made, it often gives you a chance to see if it fits. If you're having doubts, maybe it doesn't.

Have you considered a combo micro/convection as an alternative to the wall oven?

Good luck. Decisions are always impossible until they're done. I'm sure that whatever you decide will work for you

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 12:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm one of the few Ilve owners around here, so far as I know. My story is that I needed a new range when a mouse passed through the nasty 30" Hotpoint, perhaps mistaking it for a public restroom. It wasn't worth replacing the insulation (such as it was) in it. That stove was in a 40" space in the unrenovated kitchen.

I spent a few months looking for an actual vintage range within a plausible delivery distance. Otherwise my original preference was for open burners if a vintage range didn't turn up. (Had an old Norge once upon a time; have a late 90s DCS with open burners currently in the other house.) A reno project on the house turned up some problems that could be solved with more money. So the budget was down to $3000.

So I wound up as the owner of a vintage looking Ilve -- in blue! -- when the distributor was closing out and apparently sent a few the way of Markdown Madness.

Sure enough, a propane ready O'K-M, oven fixed to code, appeared on CL a week later. For less.

Anyway, it's a great looking stove. The oven is dead on. The power burner is fast, but it needs large diameter pots and pans. I've not used the roti. It doesn't feel all that heavy duty, and besides, it would probably add to my cleanup chores and I still live in fear of another mouse looking for a snack since we're not there in the winter. It does have the dreaded doughnut hole burners. Maybe Italians like to stir? The hold-in-for-a-spark system takes some getting used to. That and the oddball diagrams for the oven functions.

A plus here: it frustrates some houseguests, making it a one-cook kitchen, as I like it.

Bottom line: I've had none of the troubles described by the Aussie sites. It fits the vibe of the house and looks cool. I do have a Cadco 1/4 size oven (they may still come in colors) that I originally bought used for the temp kitchen but use still for anything that doesn't require the big oven. I still keep an induction hotplate in reach, something that I also picked up for the reno, for when I want an extra burner or want to keep something on super low for holding.

But they still are the doughnut burners -- not as nice as my old DCS (this was the model the engineer now at Capital designed -- it actually simmers) or vintage.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cadco

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 1:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think you've made a good, credible case for the Ilve. I'd be happy to own one, I think. It's the lack of a secondary oven--and no other place to put one--that's tilting me back toward the Aga.

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 2:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Such a tough decision and one I share as I am trying to do something of a period kitchen also.
Altho DH hates the look of the Aga, we were considering the 44" Legacy for the two larger ovens. The one problem with the ovens is that they are also shallow as well as narrow.
When I really get cookin'its usually for the holiday crowds and other shindigs so would hate to have to fart around with these tiny ovens when I'm trying to get company fed.
My solution will be a 36" range that has a decent oven This will be finished out in Black with Brass trim. The GE speed oven will live on a counter BEHIND cabinet doors to hide its inappropriate ugliness. This will hopefully deal with the must have microwave and the need for a second oven.
There is a wegdewood on ebay right now for $2500 40inches wide though...

    Bookmark   February 24, 2013 at 3:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Marcolo, this is just a comment about the use of space in ovens, since I have the AGA 6-4 which is a little different configuration than the Legacy which I also thought long and hard about. We remodeled at a time when we often had lots of people around and big piles of food. Because of that I over-ovened, and so have the four in the AGA, an advantium 240 (in a closet, not a cabinet), and a 30" dacor in the island.

I tend to use the AGA for most things, unless I need a quicker pre-heat. When I switch over to the big oven, it just seems gigantic and wasted (however, it does heat faster by about 15 minutes). Years ago I watched a cook far more clever than I cook a multi-item meal in her oven, and while it was a thing of beauty with no wasted space, it has somehow remained beyond my grasp. I continue to have a lot of wasted space whenever I use my large oven.

I realize your space is tight, and also understand the need to consider and reconsider what appliances will serve you best (the AGA decision took me months). Maybe it is time to make new lists for each: since you *feel* like you are swinging back to the AGA it might be worth looking at whether you really are.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2013 at 10:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Marcolo - the only feedback I have on live is from a friend's brother in Australia who is a chef. They did a major remodel centered on Ilve and he hates the range. I spoke to him in person when he was visiting his sis over the hols and his reasons are - it is very pretty but lousy at even heat distribution on the burners. Can't use small saucepans and the flames spread wide. The oven has uneven heating needing him to constantly monitor and rotate. He also said something about some part sticking.. I am not recalling what.. Maybe a tray? Anyways, the conversation got a bit TKO just then and we changed the topic to food.

I think I have iven you my feedback on Aga before. I have cooked on it and the multiple ovens are a joy. There is a learning curve for new users to learn to turn on the gas etc...but I don't see that as a challenge for you. My friend did rent this house and had to arrange for service in Seattle. Took a couple of days and got it done. I think with service, you really need to check on your local service guys. Are they any good? Do they work on enough Agas to stock common parts etc?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 6:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Oh..I just remembered that he also said that it was flames don't turn down low enough for simmer. Now mind you, this guy was really into sauces and reductions. Not sure if that is your style of cooking. He did say that he could do a good stir fry.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 7:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I find it so curious that almost all the negative reviews on the Ilve come from Australia. An appliance dealer told me that they're POd to start with because it takes so long for the ranges to get there. But I almost wonder if they're assembled at a secondary facility that does a worse job than the one that supplies North America.

GWlolo, how about a turkey or a goose? Think I'd be OK?

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 2:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Marcolo - I am vegetarian and so have never really cooked a bird. Does a large le creuset Dutch oven compare? We used it for making artisan bread and a biryani and it fit fine in my friend's Aga. Hope that helps.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 9:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

This has been bothering me a bit. I seem to recall that you nixed the idea of a vintage stove at the outset of this project. Why was that? I grew up with an O'Keefe and Merritt (white and lots of chrome) and had another in Berkeley and another in L.A. and I loved them all. Tied with commercial ranges for me, performance wise, and so very solid and cool. I think there's a company somewhere near you that rehabs them. There was nothing my mother couldn't cook or bake on that stove! Wondering why that's not in consideration.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 12:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Never wanted a vintage stove. I did want a vintage sink, but we couldn't fit one in.

First of all, a 1950s vintage stove would be no more period appropriate in my kitchen than a modern Aga. Stoves in the 1920s are much more dicey affairs. Poor insulation, small burners, minimal elbow room, small ovens-- the list goes on. There are some very good ranges of the era, but many of those were originally commercial or estate ranges, and are prohibitively expensive. I know the 1950s stoves can cook well. However, if you want modern BTU level burners, you really have to know which models to get-- and I could never find anywhere a listing of BTUs by model.

On top of which, a vintage stove will leave you with very odd sized cabinet cut out. It's just not a hobby that I wanted to pick up.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2013 at 8:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am sure you've looked at the Lacanche ranges. Just curious why you have taken them off your list. I know they are very pricey. Any other reasons? Too french? Too blingy? The knobs/handles are blingy in the brass finish, but Lacanche has quieter knob/handle options.

I came across a blog about people renovating their 1775 New England home. They chose a Lacanche for the kitchen.

Here is a link that might be useful: Blog about 1775 Home Reno

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 12:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Too French, too blingy, too expensive. A dark Lacanche can fit in an older house than mine because it's reminiscent of one of the more elaborate coal or wood stoves. For a '20s house, it's the American vernacular prosperous housewife-with-a-bob-and-cloche look that fits.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2013 at 1:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Looks-wise, of the two under consideration, I'm thinking the AGA. I know the O and M is later, but I think it's better to go later than earlier, if right on the date doesn't work. Houses do evolve. I never calibrated or worried about BTUs when I had the O and Ms. The people who refurbished them had them set up with 3/4" gas lines and they had POWER. None of this was my doing. Coincidentally, I believe all three were the same model and had the grill-a-vator (sp?) broiler. I've not felt anything as solid, except for a real La Cornue. However, I do understand your thinking about this. I have one question: How often do you think you would use a rotisserie? I regret not having thought of this in my own kitchen. Is a rotisserie worth giving up the look you want?

This post was edited by kitchendetective on Fri, Mar 1, 13 at 11:56

    Bookmark   March 1, 2013 at 9:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi I'm also looking at the ILVE 36 5 burner @kitchendetective which did finally decide on?If the ILVE any feedback,problems etc on the range? If anyone else can comment on it please let me know.
Thank you

    Bookmark   September 18, 2014 at 8:37AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We were gonna sell my aga 4 door for a wolf dual fuel...We kept the aga.I enjoy cooking on there.If you are having Thanksgiving I can get everything done stick it in different ovens,company gets there pull it all out dinner is ready.I saw the new one,we even considered it.But Im keeping my 4 door black.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2014 at 10:58AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Counter depth refrigerators - who actually stocks them?
I need to replace my current counter depth refrigerator,...
Lights on my Jenn-Air dishwasher
I have a two year-old Jenn-Air Trifecta dishwasher...
New Bertazzoni Induction Range?
I just saw a press release from Bertazzoni about a...
Anybody seen/used the new Bosch Benchmark appliances?
I think they are shipping these now. I have largely...
Any experience with a Miele or other plumbed-in coffee machine?
Heavily considering a plumbed in cva4066ss Miele coffee...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™