Lacanche vs. O'Keefe & Merritt
This may be an absurd comparison, but currently my top choices for a new range are either a 39" Lacanche Chagny or a 39" O'Keefe & Merritt double oven (preferably 6-burner, but it has been elusive). I currently have a 34.5" O'Keefe & Merritt with one oven and four burners. I have been fairly content with it, but for complex dinner party menus I have often wished for two ovens. Also the oven heat is uneven, noticeably hotter in the back.
With patience I believe I could get the OK&M for under $2000, though not fully restored (the headquarters were here in Los Angeles and so they are all over the place still). I'm not a huge fan of midcentury design (and my house was built in 1901), but I find these ranges attractive, reliable, and quite serviceable.
Obviously the Chagny would cost significantly more, requiring some sacrifice (happily undertaken, but worthy of consideration). I would be able to choose color and configuration, including the French top (though I've never used one, I thrive on learning new methods). I also like the idea of having both electric and gas ovens (experimental possibilities!). The look would be a little less era-specific, a plus in a home that came too late for Victorian and too early for Craftsman.
So I'm wondering, would my cooking experience be so radically different on the Lacanche? Am I romanticizing the possible benefits simply because they are unknown to me? My current OK&M is a solid workhorse - I just don't know if I'm unaware of a whole different world of high-end power and finesse, of having tools and techniques at my disposal that would actually make a difference.
If anyone has worked on two similar ranges, please let me know how you thought they compared, pros and cons. Paying more doesn't always get you as much more as it should, you know what I mean?