What should I change about my kitchen?

alphataruJuly 19, 2010

I'm buying a new apartment, and one of the things I've noticed is that the developer seems to have chosen the kitchen fixtures as an afterthought. The apartment is supposed to be in the high end, yet the kitchen uses items that are middle of the line.

A little background, I love cooking at home, and I often pan fry and stir fry meat and fish dishes. I'm wondering if you guys could tell me if any of these fixtures need upgrading.

Miele Excella dishwasher, SZ 700 series fridge, Miele 5 burner cooktop, SZ wine cooler, Hood that vents outside

Oven is not listen, but I'm guessing Miele as well, and hood is not listen as well. My biggest concerns are the vent, which I think might not be enough for the kind of food I cook. Additionally, I'm wondering if anyone can tell me if it's worth it to keep the Miele cooktop or upgrade to Wolf Rangetop.

One last thing, Miele washer/dryer, keep or upgrade?

Here's a picture of the kitchen, greatly appreciate any opinion.


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First thing? Those white outlets in the brown pillars. They make brown!

Beautiful kitchen! And spacious for New York.

You'd think if they were going to do SubZero/Wolf and Miele that they'd do the Wolf cooktop and Miele refrigeration, rather than vice versa. (That may be bias--I did that.) I'm sure they chose the Miele cooktop for looks. It blends into the white better, and is adequate. But it doesn't have the Wolf simmer. The power is about average, though you could also do better with Wolf. It doesn't look like the Miele hoods I've seen, but that doesn't mean anything. You might want more power, especially if it's a ways to the outlet, but that's a big equation between size and length of duct, power of cooktop, positioning of blowers, etc. Others can advise you better about that.

The SubZero coolers and Miele dishwasher and oven are high end choices. So are the washer and dryer, though I don't know specifically how people like them.

Is it worth keeping the Miele cooktop? How important are looks to you? The simmer plate is an extra, though available, but the low setting might be enough for you. The top burner power is half again greater as the old traditional household gas stove, though not as high as the Wolf rangetop. How much do you want/need it? When you say "upgrade" does that mean the developer will switch them out and do the cabinet alteration without charging you for the Miele? Or is it just a remodel you're paying full price for. If the latter is the case, and you're willing to put up with a little upset after you've moved in, you could try the Miele for a little while and if you don't like it, you can remodel and put in the Wolf.

It's a great kitchen. I hope you'll enjoy it, and your new place, in health and peace.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 8:29PM
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JC - Just wondering where you got NY out of that post?

alpha - I've got nothing to contribute one way or another than to say that your appliances blow away those of a NYC apt my friend bought for around $2MM a couple years ago. Don't know how that compares to your idea of high end, but I wasn't the least bit impressed with his appliances. I almost think these developers seek out some names commonly seen in kitchen mags and call it a day. Which ends up being fine, as their clients rarely cook.

Good luck and keep us posted!

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 9:37PM
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Oh!! Alphataru, I'm sorry!! I was doing too many things at once this afternoon, including looking at NY apartment kitchens. FOAS just pointed out that you never said New York! That was my brain being scrambled. Those would be high end appliances in a mansion in Beverly Hills too. Miele has a showroom in Beverly Hills (but in the design district not near the mansions). There is an ultra high end, which is basically custom, but that's another story...

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 11:34PM
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Hi plllog, thanks for for the reply. Though serendipitous, this apartment IS in New York!

As a comparison, here are two other apartments I'm considering that are within the same price range:

Viking range/oven, SZ fridge and wine cooler, Miele dishwasher, speed oven, built in espresso maker


Another apartment:
6 burner wolf range/oven/hood, glass door SZ fridge, Miele espresso maker


So basically, the first kitchen wasn't bad or even mediocre on absolute terms, but it seems to pale in comparison with the other two units.
As for plllog's question, I would have to pay fully for the renovation, the developer isn't that nice unfortunately. Which is why I was wondering if changing anything was necessary. I believe the Miele cooktop would be sufficient for my needs, as I'm just a casual home cook, though I would use it pretty extensively. Main concern is still the vent, which I wondering if I should change to a full hood rather than the mini hood (I apologize for the nomenclature) that's provided, I believe the developer made the reverse choice due to aesthetics rather than practicality.
By the way, out of the three kitchens, which one is the most well equipped?

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 2:53AM
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Alphataru, all the the appliances in the pictured kitchen are high end. Miele w/d is considered top of the line full stop, as is the dishwasher and hood.

Miele hoods are excellent and reasonably quiet. Whether or not it's an extractor or recirculating hood you would need to ask. In either event if it's the Miele brand it will be well matched to the cooktop. Many of the high end European kitchens install/use Miele quite routinely.

Design wise Wolf is more of an American approach. It's not often seen in minimalist kitchens. If you had critical distinctions from a cooking standpoint about why you wanted a Wolf rangetop/cooktop over Miele that's one issue. Otherwise, swapping out would be a waste of money IMO and would change the aesthetics of the kitchen.

If you are, as you say a "casual home cook" then what's there is more than sufficient for cooking and good in terms of real estate issues.

I would not personally purchase a NY apartment because of a range brand though I'm sure some people do.

You would gain a good deal of information and insight on this by heading over to Elgot on 69th and Lex and talking to them about the various appliances. Alternately, Drimmer's downtown.

NY real estate people, like real estate people everywhere, favor Wolf, SZ and Miele as high-end indicators. There are higher end choices but they wouldn't mean much in listings.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 8:32AM
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I know my opinion doesn't count, really, I know that. But I have to say, I love photo #2. (I have that hood, btw (1200cfm external motor, it's incredible) I can just imagine the stools around that island and the open space concept. Of course this is an opinion not based on location, or budget, or the rest of the apartment. All 3 are really good looking kitchens, best of luck to you in your decision, and make sure to keep us posted!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 2:37PM
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I think the three kitchens are pretty equivalent in equipment. I'm assuming that out of sight in the first one is a full sized (30") Miele oven? It depends on what you want. Which has a bigger fridge, or if you like the freezer drawers in kitchen #1, whether the grille bothers you in kitchen #3, whether you'd rather have a separate cooktop and wall oven or a range. Which has more storage. Whether you like an open kitchen or a galley, etc. (Galleys are great to cook in, but don't have the social element that open kitchens do.) Which color you like best.

Viking isn't in such good odor currently, but if it's there and it works it should be fine. The design is nice.

The third apartment looks older and lived in, and not so well designed. More homestyle than architectural.

I wouldn't throw over the third apartment just because it wasn't brand new, if the price, location, amenities and view were right, but the pot filler sitting like a navel in the middle of sheet stainless? Not pretty. Hm... Looking again, maybe it is a new kitchen. If so, it's a bit, um, yellow-beige. It might look a lot better in person.

Also, in my opinion, a built in espresso maker is an attractive toy. If you have continental breakfast with cappuccino every morning, it's useful. If you only make espresso for twee little dinner parties, not so much. But considering the sizes of these kitchens, it doesn't waste enough space to get really mad about it.

Keeping all the stainless in kitchen #2 spotless and smudge free, and the same for the gloss white in kitchen #1, might be a big problem if you don't have daily help. Especially in kitchen #2 if you allow people to sit at the island and their shoes hit the stainless. From that point of view, the bland kitchen #3 would be the easiest upkeep.

In terms of quality, I think they're all in the range you're looking for, so the thing I'd really really check out, like bring a ventilation expert with you when you go see, is the hoods. Make sure they really vent to the exterior. See how much they really draw, find out where the exhaust exits and what your responsibility, vs. the board/association/freeholder or whatever, is for keeping it clear of nests and other maintenance is, and find out if the hood isn't adequate for you what you are or are not allowed to do to improve it. For instance, are you allowed inline blowers? (Is that a stupid question for an NY apartment? I've only been in NY for four days in my life and was baffled the whole time.)

Oh. I guess that's an assumption, that you'll be able to see before buying? I know some people buy from abroad.

Consider we're talking apartment in New York with big kitchen, however, my guess is this really is the equivalent to a house in Beverly Hills. In BH, people tweak their new spaces to suit themselves. This is why I think the ventilation is the most important thing. You're not likely going to be able to change the ductwork or anything like that, and it's probably not worth the money and hassel even if you could. The rest can be altered slightly. For instance, I agree with Rococogurl that putting in a Wolf rangetop would compromise the design of kitchen #1, but it would still look fine, and might be just the thing to make it less clinical. (And the Miele should be fine to cook on and keep the architecture intact.)

As for the rest, I'd think those other things, like location, parking (if you have a car), amenities, rooms, bathrooms, location, storage, view, location, square footage, outdoor space/access and location, are more important than the specifics of the kitchen.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 2:44PM
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Not sure why a Wolf gas cooktop over the Miele is more suitable; the Miele has 2 higher output burners, both larger than the single offered by Wolf in their 36". Compare model KM 3474 G(Miele) to CT36G/S(Wolf)

It also looks as if there is a wok support on the Miele in the picture. I wouldn't be alarmed at getting any Miele appliance, personally. They make really solid gear, very high quality.

I can't make out much about the range hood other than it certainly fits the kitchen nicely. I would give it a chance to see how it performs in real life before junking it. Especially if the builder is going to charge you extra anyway.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 2:57PM
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Thanks for the inputs, you guys have been very helpful!

Just to clarify, I'm not picking the apartments based on the kitchen, it's just one of the components I'm comparing.

By the way, I feel like I did the third apartment a little injustice. All three of them are entirely new. The only difference is that the first two were shot by the developer, thus, I assume are touched up slightly, while the third was shot by yours truly, which.... apparently makes apartments look old!

Here are some additional photos with different angle shots:

The third apartment's photo is just a rendering, but at least you get an idea of what's going on. You can also see the layout of the second kitchen a bit better with the new photo.

Since a few of you are interested (this might be a little off topic), I've filtered my list down to pretty much just these three.

In terms of location, the first two hold pretty unique spots, though not for everyone. The third apartment's location is a little less convenient and unique, but it holds a very desirable address.

All three buildings are architecturally significant. The first and second are of modern design, while the third is a landmarked building with completely renovated interior.

Anyway, I think I would be happy living in any one of them, but all three of them have their deficiencies as well, which makes the decision pretty hard. Regardless, I apologize for going off topic, if anyone is actually interested, I'd gladly share more.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 3:33PM
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In many high end Manhattan kitchens, for various reasons, it is not possible to have an extractor hood. Recirculating hoods are not as desirable but quite acceptable. With the way most people live, it's not a deal breaker because we go out so much, can order in hot cooked food so easily and grocery shop (therefore cook from scratch) with far more difficulty.

Having a built-in espresso machine is great and would likely be for personal use. With every inch of counter space so precious, an in-wall coffee machine is a plus.

All three would be considered spacious kitchens, upscale, attractive -- pretty much what new buildings offer these days (but not ultra, ultra). My preferences are #2, 1, 3. Eat-in kitchens are a plus, as a large windows with city views.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 3:50PM
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I was mentioning the exterior exhaust for the hood because Alphataru did in the first message. According to my understanding of New York, that's a big time feature, and one that is very useful with stir fry, fish, and the other things mentioned. If the other places don't have that, it's a checkmark in favor of kitchen #1.

It looks like kitchen #1 has the most storage. The staghorn ferns don't really match well with the design, but they do make it homier. For cooking, I think I prefer this one, though none are bad.

The light in the new picture of #3 makes it look much better--less sickly yellow=old (something that happens wiht electric lights sometimes)-- and the style is appropriate for a historic building. Does that far glass door bang into the hood?

I'm sorry if it sounded like I thought you were choosing on the basis of the kitchens. I only meant that if there's something you don't like about one, if the basics are there, you can customize a little to suit yourself. And that they're all pretty equivalent in quality, and quite nice, so the possible ventilation differences are the biggest question.

I'll be very interested to hear which you decide upon!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2010 at 5:14PM
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This was a great discussion! And I'd enjoy knowing the outcome, too!

I should probably read more of the kitchen design threads. :)

Good stuff.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 3:08AM
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