Building a new home

GoagirlJune 4, 2012

Hi Everyone,

We're building a new home. I love to cook and entertain. After doing some research here and on chowhound, I'd like your help with some final decisions. We have to buy all the appliances and we live up in Vancouver, Canada.

1. Capital Culinarian - I'd like the 36" with 6 burners. I've chosen this because I like the open burner system with all the burners having such a high BTU potential. The gas oven also seems to be reviewed favorably.

2. A second wall oven (electric). Here is where I'm having trouble deciding. I currently have an electrolux icon wall oven and I have several issues with it. While it bakes and broils well,I find the racks not very sturdy. The top ones often slide out on their own when I have a lower rack pulled out. The lower ones don't take the weight of a heavy roasting tin when half pulled out. I've had the whole rack mechanism pop off once. As such, I'm reluctant to get another one even though the reviews here seem to be very good. I'm considering the Capital Maestro but there doesn't seem to be much feedback. I'm also considering the Wolfe steam oven as a potential second oven. Above the wall over would be either a plain microwave or a microwave/convection or another combi oven such as the GE Advantium.

3. Fridge - I leaning towards the Lieberr...a 24" all column fridge and a 24" all column freezer. There will be built in side by side.

4. Hood - this will be an island hood as the CC will be on an island. I do realize this is not the norm but right now we have an island cooktop with wall oven. This set up really works for the way we entertain. As we're now switching to a range on the island, the CC will require a powerful hood. I am leaning towards one with an external blower. I've heard mention of Modern Aire as a potential. Your recommendations would be most helpful here. I would like something with a fairly contemporary slimline look, if possible.

5. Dishwashers - we will be having two. I am debating between Miele, Bosch or Asco. I've looked at Bosch and it seems that the racks aren't set up so well for loading. And feedback on all this would be most appreciated?

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1 + 4) I have the CC self-clean with 6 burners. I have been using it on limited basis because my blower has not been installed yet but like it so far. Since you are putting it on an island you are losing some capture not having a wall behind it. "Contemporary and Slimline" does not equal good capture. It is up to you and how much smoke,grease, etc escaping the hood is acceptable but I would suggest deep and wide with good capture. Modern Aire is good so is Prestige and Prizer Hoods.

2) The Maestro looks compelling with moist assist feature but like you said very limited feedback. I would also take a look at Gaggenau steam and standard convection oven. Very contemporary and streamlined look. The Wolf E series ovens might work here too. I have the 24" Gaggenau oven. I don't find the need to ever pull out the racks due to side opening door.You can just reach right in and get your pan. I also use the eco function which turns off the oven 10 minutes before the baking time is done. The oven maintains temp and saves energy.

I also have a micrwave drawer set at countertop height just below my Gagg. I was using my old microwave on the countertop temporarily before my drawer MW became operational. I use a microwave cover to protect the inside of the microwave from splatters.When I remove it the cover would drip steam onto my dark laminate floors and make a mess. I could not turn the cover in the microwave. With the drawer this is not a problem. I keep the interior of the microwave clean as well as my floors. I guess if you have light-medium colored floors this is not an issue.

3) I have the 24" Liebherr All-Fridge and like it a lot. I got a Gaggenau 24" all freezer because the Liebherr does not have an ice dispenser and more importantly it makes very little ice. Maybe three standard glasses per day.

When I entertain there is going to be at least 6 glasses of ice needed. And that is usually every Sunday.So if I got the Liebherr I would need a seperate ice-maker or go to the store to buy ice on a regular basis and make room in the freezer to store it. Did not like either of those options but if you have low ice needs then maybe the Liebherr All-Freezer is a good option for you.

5) Dishwashers- I have moderately hard water but not a whole house water softner. I really wanted one in the dishwasher so Asko was out. Miele water softer system automatically adust to the hardness level of water it is being fed.It usually varies some in most locales. The Bosch you are supposed to measure the hardness level and set the softner.

I ended picking up the previous generation TOL Miele as a floor model clearance, the La Perla II. The quality is really top notch and love love it so far after a couple weeks use.If I had soft water I would still lean Miele but I would give Asko a good look if I could find a deal on one.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 3:25AM
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Thanks for the feedback. I will make sure to research hood options further. Right now, we have a Faber above our Bertazzoni cooktop on the island that seems to function fairly well but I imagine will need something more powerful for the CC. I'm guessing I should go with a 42" hood for the 36" range?
I was so taken up with the compartments on the Liebherr freezer that I forgot to think about the ice. Yes, this is very important to us when entertaining. Is ths price point of the Gaggenau freezer much more than the Liebherr? I was under the impression Gaggenau in general is significantly higher. Is there a water dispenser in the fridge?
I looked at the Gaggenau and Miele steam ovens but thought the capacity looked so much smaller than the Wolfe steam oven. I'm still undecided if having the steam oven would eliminate the need of the second electic/convection oven. I could see it being used as the primary oven on a daily basis as it heats up instantly. I'm going into the Wolfe distributor office for a cooking demonstration of the steam oven this week so hopefully it will answer some of my questions.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 5:14AM
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I'm in Vancouver as well. Just went through the same purchasing decisions as you are. We wanted a larger fridge so went with the Gaggenau 30 fridge will just a 36 freezer drawer. (We have a full sized freezer in the basement for big stuff). I found the smaller all fridge column too small. The price difference for the Liebherr vs Gaggenau was not too much but the Gaggenau has deeper door drawers so you can fit gallon milk jugs plus the interior is all SS, aluminum and glass - a really nice look.
I really hummed and ha'ed over the stove choice. I went with the coscto bluestar deal as it was just so much cheaper. We really wanted a colour range but could not justify the extra $4K over the Costco deal.

I also spent a long time with various local vendors but will not comment online. Feel free to ping me off line for more info if you wish.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2012 at 6:26PM
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I would look at island hoods that are aproximately 42" x 30+".

Gaggenau is a lot more expensive than the Liebherr. The Thermador 24" All-Freezer with water and ice in the door is ~$1300 more than the Liebherr All-freezer. Mechanically identical to the Gagg but without SS interior.

A good stand alone ice machine is $1500,takes up room in your run of base cabinets,and is an energy and water hog. Buying ice at the store is ~$2.50/week but is a PITA. A countertop ice maker is noisy,countertop clutter,and mostly unreliable. For me 12 oz of ice for a 12 oz can of soda is non-negoitiable :).

I eliminated the Wolf* steam oven because it has a water tank and is not plumbed. I purchased a floor model Gagg steam oven as my second oven then brought it home to realize that half the bottom was perforated with rust. Returned it and got 24" Gagg convection oven as my second oven.

*Wolf appliances is spelled like the animal not the famous writer Tom Wolfe:)

    Bookmark   June 6, 2012 at 2:50PM
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Thanks again...
Capsian101, I'll send you an email for more of your local thoughts. With regards to the Costco Bluestar deal...I looked at it, but it seemed there were 5 burners all at 15,000BTU and the 6th one was a simmer one. Is this the deal you were looking at?
Deeageaux, I went for a Wolf steam oven demo yesterday and it looked quite compelling. It appears that not having it plumbed means a larger interior capacity so maybe I could use it instead as a second oven? Not fully convinced though. Also, I've been able to contact the Canadian distributer for Modern Aire. They've recommended a 42" hood with a 1000CFM external blower for my island set-up that looks quite nice.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 5:49PM
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1) Yes the Costco Bluestar deal is for the RCS not RNB. That means 5 15K btu burners plus the simmer burner.

2) I was planning to use the Gagg as my second oven so I don't see why you can't use the larger Wolf as your secondary oven. Spending this kind of money on steam ovens and the entire kitchen remodeling project and then having to fill the water tank does not meet my standard for luxury kitchen experience.

3) I think 42" width is perfect. What about depth? The 1000cfm blower is $950 USD while the 1400 cfm external blower is $980. I don't see a downside to the 1400 cfm blower. At 400cfm or 1000cfm the bigger blower will be quieter. If you need MUA for the larger blower you will need one for the smaller blower as well.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2012 at 6:06PM
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The depth of the Moderne Aire comes standard at 27". This is the one they quoted me. I think you can also do a custom hood for more depth but I imagine it would be significantly more expensive. Do you think going 30+ is important? I could ask them to do a price quote with the larger blower also? I'm a bit afraid of the outcome though!
I went to another local store yesterday. There was a floor model Gagg standard wall oven for $2000 off the regular price. Are you really happy with this oven?
On the 24" column Liebherr freezer that I'm looking at, it looks like there is a dedicated compartment for making ice. Is the ice-making capacity not good?

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 11:41AM
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1)It does not cost anything to ask for a quote. See how big the premium is for the larger blower and a seperate quote for added depth.Then we can discuss if it is worth it.

2)I am really happy with my Gagg oven. What model number is it and what is the exact price on it?

3) Evidently Europeans don't use as much ice as us North Americans do. Yes, ice capacity is low. The way the ice maker works that compartment does not fill up.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 2:06PM
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I emailed the hood people this morning as they are based out in Ontario....for added depth (30")the premium would be $500 more. He also said they usually always do the 27" on an island and it hasn't been a problem. Also for the blower, I asked about the 1400 blower and he said even the 60" hoods they install rarely have blowers more than 1000CFM. I do think it would be very unlikely that I would ever have 6 burners going at full blast. He didn't tell me what the premium would be for the more powerful fan but I could ask him again depending on what you think? He also said there is a new MUA company that he is researching based out of Texas that seem very good and cost efficient. He is getting back to me next week for a price on that system.
The floor model Gagg oven is a 30" model B0280-61 selling for Can$3995. I'm assuming pricing here in Canada might be higher than the US.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 3:45PM
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I would skip the extra 3" depth.

They mostly do Wolfs,Vikings,and Monograms not Culinarians and Bluestars. Tell him to stop being lazy and give you a quote on the 1400 blower:)

$3995 CD is fair market value for a floor model 30" Gagg in SS.

Below on ebay is one in Aluminum finish,which goes for less, at $3599 USD plus freight. Your SS Gagg deal is not an outrageous bargain but a good solid value at that price. I don't just like mine I LOVE IT.

Here is a link that might be useful: LINK

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 4:57PM
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Goagirl, we'll be starting our new build in Vancouver soon too. Just trying to get as much information as we can prior to construction begins, so we can make decisions quicker later on.
Is MUA required for 1000cfm blower in Vancouver? Do you know whats the max. without MUA.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 6:08PM
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Thanks Deeageaux for being so helpful!!! I really appreciate it. Looks like the Gagg it is..:-).
I'll check on the 1400 CFM blower and wait to hear back next week from him about the company that does the MUA. I believe they are called CCB Innovations and I've seen a post here recently on Gardenweb about them.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 6:12PM
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I guess everyone goes through this...:-). I've thought of a possible alternates scenario and hoping to get your thoughts.

1. A CC 6 burner rangetop on the island instead.
2. A 30" standard/convection Gagg wall oven
3. A second oven would be the 24" Wolf steam oven.
4. A Sharp microwave drawer.

I'm imagining on a day to day basis we'd mainly use the Wolf oven. I'm wondering if the gas oven on the CC range offers is better than going with the 30" Gagg wall oven? Or is the moist cooking from the Wolf steam oven sufficient compensation for not getting the CC oven.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2012 at 11:21PM
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@Goagirl, I hope your build goes well. Make sure the builder and subs have good reputations for completing on time. We started planning our new kitchen in August of last year, but with creative financing (our home had no kitchen so we had to get a rehabilitation loan), escrow took until Thanksgiving, then our home designer (draftsman) took 6 months to get us submittable plans. (I have a hard time cutting my losses because I always think it'll take longer to start over; I underestimate people's willingness to screw you for their convenience). So with travel and family stuff, it's now June and we're just finalizing our cabinets.

We ordered a range, so I can't help you with a wall oven choice, but... I've done tons of research on everything else you mentioned.

Well done on the Culinarian choice... I lean toward all max BTU burners, so we ordered a 60" Culinarian range. The Canadian Costco Bluestar deal is a great price for a 48" range, but all 15K burners puts it a whole class or two below the big boys. Also, solid steel doors don't let you see what's going on inside until it's too late. As for the range top, excellent choice too. It makes the most sense to choose the best components, and Culinarian's burners are the best, whereas I've read from professional bread bakers that electric ovens give the best crusts. Also, the $6K premium for the range over the range top (at least for the 60") is ridiculous; you can get a great double oven for way less. Sadly, my wife loves the look of a range, so long story short, we ordered the range.

I applaud your willingness to make an unpopular choice on the island range top. It makes a lot of sense, since even though prep takes the most time, it happens before guests arrive, while the cooking usually happens with your back to your guests. My wife didn't want the range in the island, so... 'nuff said.

The upshot on the hood is, we're getting the Modernaire too, the PS16 (box hood), 72" wide, 27" deep, and the 1400 CFM Abbaka external blower. I think your island setup should have a stronger blower to maximize effluent capture, and you should mount it at 28-30" above the range top (rather than 33 or 36"), since the effluent spreads out as it rises. We're also getting a CCBI MUA solution; it's a little money for a lot of peace of mind. Maybe you could split the MUA duct into two registers on either side of the island to shepherd the effluent toward the hood? Kaseki might be the better person to answer this question.

As to refrigeration, consider Northland, a lot of refrigerator for the buck, all aluminum/glass interiors, voluminous capacity. Some have complained of noise, others say it's no big deal if enclosed in cabinets, as built-ins should be anyway. I'm 2-3 months away from being able to vouch for it personally, though.

@loafer80, I think whether the code requires MUA isn't as big a question as whether it's safe to risk the backdrafting of carbon monoxide into your home. There are many MUA discussions on the forum, and Kaseki, our resident ventilation expert, states that very small negative pressure numbers will create problems. With a sub-$500 MUA solution available, I don't think you should skimp on safety. (I don't know how much install will be, though.)


    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 4:59AM
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@loafer80....I'm not sure if Vancouver requires but my contractor feels it's necessary to put it in.
@davidanh....thanks for your confirmation of the CCBI system. It sounds like a great system. I'm just hoping the cost up here is about the same. They'll be getting back to me with a price next week.
I think I'm leaning toward the CC rangetop now as I won't have that little piece sticking up in the back which would make a cleaner look on the island. Deeageaux endorsement of the Gagg wall is also quite compelling. I'm also now leaning towards the Gagg steam/conv oven to go above it for a cleaner look (also a floor model that I've seen). We'd place the microwave someone else.
I haven't heard of Northland but will look into it.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2012 at 10:11PM
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I cant comment on most of your appliance choices, but I can tell you that we had a Miele in our old house and when we rebuild, we plan on putting in another Miele. The selling feature for me originally was the utensil rack. I didn't like that there wasn't lots of extra room for things like spatulas and larger utensils, but that has now been corrected with an adjustable rack (it can adjust p or down to create more room). The whole dishwasher was great.

My mom has a Bosch and it does clean the dishes but it doesn't load nice, which is something I've heard on here. She doesn't complain about it though, so it might just be once you've figured out your own system you will be fine.

THe asko I looked at and it just seems really flimsy (the racks), so I eliminated it from my choices

    Bookmark   June 23, 2012 at 3:49PM
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As noted above, cooking effluent expands as it rises. The higher the hood (a large island hood may need to be higher than normal to avoid head bumping) the larger its aperture has to be to collect (capture) the effluent. The larger the aperture, the more air flow rate (cfm) required to keep the captured effluent in the hood (containment). Get these right and you also gain ventilation contentment.

For every cubic foot of air removed from the kitchen, another is pulled into the kitchen. For high flow rates, this is best managed by a make-up air system, and not left to whatever leaks exist in the house. This is also a safety consideration in many cases.


    Bookmark   June 24, 2012 at 8:04AM
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Thanks again everyone....
Just to update:
1. We have bought floor model Gaggenau wall ovens...a 30" standard/convection with a 30" steam combi to go above. I'm am very happy with this purchase as they both get great reviews.
2. I'm going with the CC 36"rangetop on the island.
3. A 24" Panasonic convection microwave with a 27"trim kit to go on the island.
4. Two Miele dishwashers that will be panelled as I want something that is fully integrated and I do like the racking system of the Miele better than the Bosch. We're going with the base model.

This final two decisions have me perplexed.
1. I was going to go with the Modern Aire hood but my contractor told me about a local company here in Vancouver that makes kitchen hoods. This price quoted me for the Moderne Aire is $4628 without taxes (this does include an Abbaka external 1000CFM blower). This is the one I was inquiring about:
The model below is from the local company here. It's from their professional series line. As you can see it's considerably cheaper and I like the fact that they are local. I've seen some reviews of the Spagna Vetro line but not the professional series line. They could also do an external blower if I wanted for $900 more.
Does anyone have any experience with this company?

2. The fridge...originally I was thinking of getting the 24" fridge and 24" freezer fully integrated columns (with panels)by Liebherr...floor models for $6700. The cubic capacity though is very 18.4 (10.8 fridge and 7.6 freezer). Then I started looking at the Jenn-air fully integrated fridge...I am able to get a floor model 42" french door for $5900 compared to over $9000 regular price here in Canada. To add to the complexity, a floor model Subzero 736TCI fully integrated is also available for considerable savings...I think about $7600. The capacity of the 42" Jenn-air is 22.6(13.5 fridge, 6.9 freezer) and the subzero is 20.4(16.7 fridge, 5.9 freezer). I've read a few negative reviews of this model of the crisper drawer and ?more service issues. I'm a bit reluctant to get Northland as I can't find a display model anywhere here in Vancouver.
I haven't looked at Thermador or Miele as I haven't seen any floor models and the regular price is several thousand $'s above our budget.

Please help with my final two decisions on the hood and the fidge.
Thanks so much!!

    Bookmark   June 27, 2012 at 11:31PM
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