Kitchen remodel - higher end

DSK1967February 27, 2012

Hi All,

We're remodeling our kitchen, and are leaning towards higher end appliances. Nothing has been purchased, won't need to do so for 3-4 months

Would love the GW community opinion of the following:

1) FRIDGE - 48" - we're leaning towards subzero ....

2) Cooktop - 6 burner gas, leaning towards Wolf ....

3) Wall oven - this is tricky. Dont think we need a double but like the combo micro-convection/wall oven. But we might be convinced to get the drawer microwave and possibly the double oven. Don't think we need a warming drawer. Totally open on brands.

4) Dishwasher - ideally quiet, stain sensor, and big

I think that's it ..... would also like thoughts on where to buy, I'm in NJ, would love to get floor models if the quality is there, does anyone have experience with that?

Thanks all!!


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Do you want a cooktop like this ?

Or a rangetop like this ?

Dishwasher: Do you want a standard 24" dishwasher or a larger commercial type 30" plus dishwasher?

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 6:11PM
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Deeageaux has shown you pictures which differentiate a cooktop from a rangetop. This is an important distinction. Look at knob placement. Also with the rangetops you can get open burners which have flames beneath rather then around the perimeter of the pans. With both, depending on brand you can get a grill, griddle or french top. What appeals to you? Thermador makes a gorgeous induction top with a 13 inch hob.
I think Gaggenau makes beautiful and functional wall ovens - my friends have ranges and love them. However, if that is not an option, from reading posts and researching wall ovens, I think electrolux is the best brand, but I don't actually have one. (I am opting for a professional style open burner range.) Kitchen Aid and Bosch, which people seem to like for baking and roasting have had reliability problems. Dishwashers - miele, bosch and kitchen aid seem to be liked. I have Bosch and it works quite well. Newer model dishwashers are being made with filters that catch food; filters on older models grind up the food. I have read that stain sensors don't work well and end up using more water - so you should check that out.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 6:48PM
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I have a 48-inch SZ 632 built-in side-by-side. It has cabinet matching door panels. I love it. It maintains each side's temperature very closely. The cabinet depth makes it easy to see what is lurking at the back of the shelves. The 48-inch width makes up for the volume loss of the cabinet depth.

It has not had any refrigeration problems.

I found two deviations from the standard installation necessary. I had to tweak the mounting hardware of the upper panel (in front of the refrigeration equipment) so that the panel was truly in the same plane as the door panels when the refrigerator was aligned.

I constructed a more robust top attachment in place of the SZ-supplied anti-fallover scheme. It is helpful in keeping the refrigerator from moving when the doors are opened against the gasket force. Note that the freezer side pulls a partial vacuum when the door is closed, so opening the door shortly after closing it requires significant pulling force.

I think this model has been replaced by another model number.

I also recommend that at any wall space in which a refrigerator/freezer of this sort or wall ovens or both are installed that the cabinet depth be increased from 24 inches to 26 inches to allow room for electrical boxes, power cables, and air space, as well as adjustment depth to get all door panels to be the same depth from the wall.


    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 10:07AM
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If you are interested in flush installation of ref/freezer, you should be looking at integrated models.

Subzero makes a line of integrated ref/freezers. They are designed to be absolutely flush with the cabinets at 24 inch depth. They can actually be inset from the side panels if you chose.

If you get the Subzero built in models, there is a flush mount option but it is not quite as integrated looking as the Integrated series. (700 series) KDs working with high end appliances should know this stuff inside out.

Much of this has to do with the hinges and where the air vents are.

Miele and Thermador (Bosch/Siemes/Gaganeau) also make integrated ref/freezer.

You can do mostly integrated with Liebherr.

Kitchenaid/Jenair products are not quite as integrated as the productions mentioned above. There is a line that tries to get there for the most part.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2012 at 8:05PM
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You should also consider Wolf ovens - they are very well thought of.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 5:54PM
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I can give you my two cents on what we did. No appliances are installed yet so I can't give you a review on the performance.

I made my choices based on reviews on this site, comparison to my current cooking environment, budget and aesthetics. This is what I ended up with - we had a 30k budget for appliances and ended up closer to 25k with these choices. . . We have a family of 5, lots of fresh produce/milk/fridge requirements. Freezer in laundry built into cabinetry there which will take most of our freezer needs. In the kitchen:

SZ fully integrated all fridge 36"
Two dishwashers, fully integrated (KA - one lower and one higher end - panel ready but we extended the countertops so they can be flush panel ready)
Hoshizcahi ice machine
Wolf sealed burner rangetop
KA fridge freezer drawers
Electrolux Icon Professional Oven
Electrolux Icon Professional Speed Oven
Miele warming drawer (we wanted a panel and this was the only one we found that would work with the flush inset paneling - also open sides which we liked).

In hindsight, the Electrolux oven also offers a warming feature so a double oven and microwave drawer might have been an option. I have heard negatives from people with microwave drawers about breakage, and the larger drawer was not out when I began looking so it was too short for us (wouldn't fit my Good Seasons Cruet which I microwave for a few seconds each night). . .

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 6:39PM
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I know people on this site favor Bluestar and Culinarian. While they may, perhaps, cook "better" (although I doubt it - google Mark Bittman and see where he cooks!), I was concerned about the complaints also vocalized on this board. We are in a small town and service is an issue. Wolf service appears to be top shop. I have always cooked on electric coil and made due with that so this is a real step up. I didn't want to risk the open burner issue with the repair issues, etc. The Wolf is plenty fine for me. It also was so sturdy and seemed like a workhorse - not planning on replacing it for at least 20 years!

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 6:43PM
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I would beg to differ with athensmom regarding ranges. One of the most telling demonstrations of the difference between a professional chef and an amateur came when a friend of ours, a restaurant owner and head chef, cooked for us at his home. He make an incredible meal on a 30 year old gas range that must have put out maybe 5000 BTUs max. And topped that with a perfect souffle made in the oven which didn't even have a door that shut completely.

Just because Bittman can cook on junk doesn't mean that I can. I need all the help I can get, and a great range is a big part of it. No matter how hard you try, you just can't really sear right on an electric coil stove. You can't really stir fry on a feeble 5K BTU gas hob. So BS and Culinarian ranges really DO cook "better" than builder grade dreck. And even Bittman, in the article about his kitchen, says what he dreams of is "A functioning oven, the best possible stove." So just because he cooks on a tiny low end gas stove doesn't mean he wouldn't agree that a great stove makes you a better cook.

Now, I will agree, however, with athensmom, that when we're talking about bluestar vs wolf, that the differences are small, perhaps too small to really make a big difference in how well people cook. At that level, the differences are likely outweighed by other kitchen skills--I'd take a really sharp knife, a Unicorn pepper grinder, and All Clad pans any day over the extra 4K BTU's that a Blustar might put out over a Wolf. So your choice of a sealed burner Wolf is perfectly rational.

    Bookmark   February 29, 2012 at 7:53PM
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