Stainless on its way out and pro range, how to reconcile?

crl_October 30, 2012

I have seen a few places lately suggesting that stainless appliances may be on their way out. Now, if I loved them I wouldn't care. But I don't love them. So I'd rather not date my kitchen for something that I don't particularly care about.

On the other hand, we are considering a pro style range, primarily for our own use and secondarily because it is a nice enough house that if we go to sell it a pro style range would be good to have.

So, how would you reconcile this? Get the stainless steel pro style range and do the other appliances in a different finish (we will likely do white cabinets, so would do white appliances)?

Thanks for any thoughts!

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weissman

Stainless is timeless - been around for decades - these "fad" articles are just trying to get you to buy new stuff. On the other hand some of the pro-style ranges like Bluestar can be ordered in colors.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 1:29PM
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deeageaux

SS is on they way out articles have written for about 10 years now.

Bluestar RNB has about 180 colors plus actual copper.

American Range Performer Series offers about 24 colors plus other custom finishes including copper.

Capital Culinarian offers the Top 10 selling colors for pro-style ranges.

Viking,Bertazzoni,Ilive plus others also offer color but not upto the performance bar of the ranges above.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 2:26PM
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mike_73

I wouldn't worry about stainless going out if style I think its going to be like white and black. I am in the process of changing my old tired looking stuff out and I don't care if it goes out of style in a few years it will still look good and goes well with other colors, especially black.

Now if bronze tone, harvest gold, and avocado green come back as bets are off.

even if you get a blue star range in a color it will have some stainless on it and will mix with other stainless things.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 3:04PM
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Nunyabiz1

Stainless has been IN since the 50's, weird colors faded in and out through the decades but stainless will always be preferred.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 3:09PM
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PRO
Sophie Wheeler

"Stainless on its way out"

HA! BS alert! Ding! Ding! Ding!

That is only in the mind of marketers who are trying to influence the buying public with ridiculous stories with zero factual basis. 85% of all appliances purchased in whatever category are being purchased in stainless. The remaining 15% is probably 8% black, 6% white, and 1% "other", including those appliances that can have custom cabinet panels.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 3:15PM
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Mistman

To me white cabs s/b on their way out, everyone and their brother has them these days. 6 months ago I was all about white cabs but now I've switched to complimantary wood tones, just looked at waaay too many white kitchens lately I'm completely burned out on them. Met w/the cabinet guy last week to discuss for our new build (which is about 8 weeks from completion). I purchased a moss green Bluestar w/matching hood and am having my Wolf ovens color matched, they should look good w/soapstone, verde marble and copper sinks.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 3:15PM
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Fori is not pleased

Get something you like. Your kitchen will be outdated when you sell it anyway.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 4:02PM
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weedmeister

They told my mom that when she remodeled her kitchen the first time. In '65.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 4:37PM
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crl_

Okay, so no one accepts the premise that stainless is going out of style.

I am somewhat sympathetic to that perspective because I don't think white cabinets ever go out of style. If you look at old magazines and google kitchens of different eras, a white kitchen always, always pops up. I have seen them in every decade since the 1920s. (And white cabinets are not trending down in the number of jobs they are specified in by kitchen designers for whatever that is worth,)

On the other hand, I don't remember ever seeing stainless in a home kitchen before the late 1980s, early 1990s. So it seems more plausible to me that stainless could go out of style. Maybe I just ran with the wrong crowd.

Anyone willing to operate under the hypothetical that stainless is going out of style?

Thanks for your thoughts.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 5:05PM
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live_wire_oak

My mom's 1955 era kitchen had stainless appliances.

My home's 1972 kitchen had stainless appliances, which were replaced with stainless appliances circa 2010.

My sister's 1993 kitchen has stainless appliances.

Most of the kitchens I do are lower end to middle grade. 95% of those have stainless appliances. Even the under 10K for everything kitchens put in stainless.

The few upper end kitchens that I do, usually do paneled for the fridge and DW, but choose stainless for the range, and either a stainless chimney hood, or a cabinet hood with insert. I've only had one client in the past 5 years do a color for a range, and they were planning on staying in that home forever.

YMMV, but here in the South, stainless rules completely.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 5:56PM
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mike_73

Looking at homes about 6 years ago I looked at an older home in town that had probably had the kitchen redone in the 60's or 70's One thing that was surprising to me then is the cook top and wall oven was stainless and you could tell were not new in several decades. so yes stainless was around awhile but may not have been sold to the masses in most appliance stores.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 6:25PM
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jwvideo

>>>"On the other hand, I don't remember ever seeing stainless in a home kitchen before the late 1980s."I'm old enough to recall seeing some stainless stoves, cooktops and ovens in the 1950s. Hotpoint and Chambers are the only brands I can specifically recall seeing. (I was not very old then and was not paying attention to appliance brands.) Around 1972, when my aunt and uncle bought a 1950s house, the kitchen had a stainless cooktop and wall oven that (I think) might have been labeled as Kitchenaid products. (Seems to me that Kitchenaid bought the Chambers stove works in the mid-1950s.) Anyway, stainless has been around a long time.

So, is stainless now going out of style? Depends on what you mean by "out of style."

Do you mean that stainless will no longer be mandatory on HGTV and shelter mags? I certainly hope so. The bleeding-edge of trendy is moving elsewhere, as it always does.

Do you mean, stainless is going away like harvest gold, avocado green, turquoise and etc.? Nope. Stainless seems kind of neutral like black and white, neither of which have ever gone away. Market share may decrease but it will not go away.

Personally, I do not care for the industrial chic look (the so-called "pro style"). Never liked it and still don't. When I recently had to buy a stove, however, everything I liked was available only in stainless or with brushed metal cladding. Now that I've put up with it for a couple of months, I'm okay with it. I sometimes think about painting some panels, though, after the warranties run out.

Some people like the industrial chic look and they'll still like it after the big-thing makes its splash, and the next one after that, too. Not everybody who likes the stainless "pro-style" is a wannabe-celebrity-chef-restauranteur-poseur.

But, at least, the posers can now move on to something else.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 6:37PM
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crl_

Thanks for the thoughts everyone. I have decided that I am going to reconcile this by choosing the range I want for cooking purposes that is in the budget and then getting it in white if it comes in white and getting it in stainless if it doesn't. Function dictates form. :)

I appreciate the opportunity to "talk" this through!

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 7:56PM
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wekick

This same discussion has come up before and someone said stainless appliances are the "diamonds" of appliances. The house I grew up in, built in the 50s had a stainless rangetop and double oven and a white frig. I wouldn't have picked stainless and would have picked one of the French ranges in a pretty color but the function I wanted had to come first.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 10:13PM
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crl_

Hmm not a fan of diamonds, maybe that analogy explains why I have never particularly loved stainless. LOL

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 10:18PM
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PeterH2

Personally, I am waiting for the day a couple walks into a house on HGTV and says "oh dear - hardwood floors". There is some hope - I have seen a few folks rebelling against "open concept" (which I abhor even more than hardwood floors).

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 10:32PM
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crl_

Well, now, there's a line I won't cross. I love, love, love, love hardwood floors. (Mixed feelings about open concept).

Guess variety is a good thing!

Thanks again everyone.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2012 at 10:46PM
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gayl

In the mid '70's I bought a house that was vintage 1920, but had been remodeled in about the 50's. It had professional stainless wall ovens and cook top. We have since moved on, but those appliances are still going strong and look great.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 1:12AM
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oceangirl67

It's just not just stainless steel that is out of fashion, it's pro-style appliances in general. The days of 100 million BTU gross usage are over and we are moving toward green solutions.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 8:26AM
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fouramblues

I disagree with you, oceangirl67. The same number of joules is required to cook, say, a piece of meat, regardless of the BTUs of the range top. I prefer to cook a steak quickly, so a short burst of high BTUs is what I opt for. I fail to see how "stewing" a steak on a low BTU range top is the greener option.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 10:17AM
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wekick

Induction may well be the new pro. It is very efficient and has a full range of heat.

The same number of joules is required to cook, say, a piece of meat, regardless of the BTUs of the range top. I prefer to cook a steak quickly, so a short burst of high BTUs is what I opt for. I fail to see how "stewing" a steak on a low BTU range top is the greener option.

Wow! There are so many variables you are not taking into account here. Cookware is a huge one. I would read about the properties of different metals in regard to cookware, especially heat transfer. No need to "stew" when being energy efficient even on gas heat.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 12:03PM
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fouramblues

Yes, I agree about induction, wekick. I shouldn't have used the term "joules", which sounds like I'm trying to seem like I've done my homework. I have not. What I should have said is that, keeping all variables fixed except BTUs, I don't see how low BTU range top cooking is more efficient than high. My anecdotal evidence is this: with the same cast iron pans, my old range took way longer to achieve a high, even temp than my new range does.

My old range was white and my new is stainless, but I don't think that affects performance. ;)

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 12:17PM
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jwvideo

Interesting clash of views but maybe a bit off topic?

It may well be that numbers of the people in the "performance" crowd will find happiness with induction as wekick suggests. I certainly could. Although finding the right stove is another matter, altogether, current induction stoves have burners that can certainly can exceed to power of high-btu-hr gas burners for many applications.

But this all seems to me to be off point. "Pro-style" describes appearance as much or more than stove performance. Seems to me that stainless-steel design has been driven more by a "trophy-stove" culture than by actual performance.

You do not need stainless steel finishes to get the "pro-style" performance that some people want and use. A couple of decades ago, folks who wanted high-horsepower stoves figured out how to adapt their homes to handle them. A lot of those stoves, like Julia Child's old Garland, were flat black. Manufacturers, such as Garland, Wolf, Viking and others, started selling versions of those stoves which were adapted to home use and then became the premium priced luxury goods that can be trophy stoves for the celebrity-focused foodie subculture.

Most of the folks who wanted high-horsepower stoves would have (and likely will) just as readily buy things that look like the old porcelain-finished Wedgewoods, Chambers, and etc. Those who like the commercial stove look will still buy them. It is just that the market share will be smaller.

I think that oceangirl67 is correct that the popularity of mega-BTU-hr. stoves is passing for the trophy kitchen crowd. It is passing just as the fad for huge-McMansions has mostly passed. Some of this passage may be greener, some of it may be economic reality, and some of it may be the approach of whatever the next-big-thing will be.

But, just as there are still folks who will want and need large houses, there will still be folks who will want and use high-power stoves.

Stainless finishes will not disappear any more than white or black finishes have. The trendy will move on to something else, and this will be to the pleasure of some and disgust of others.

That brings me back to what I see as the central points emerging here. Having stainless appliances will no longer automatically confer a sense of high status and high resale value or high style, which are factors that have driven a large part of the current predominance of stainless steel finishes. Neither will they depress kitchen and house values. They just will not have automatic cachet.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 2:03PM
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PeterH2

> Having stainless appliances will no longer automatically confer a
> sense of high status and high resale value or high style

Hmm, but having typical white or black appliances will still look cheap, so stainless remains ahead of those, and I don't see any alternatives in the mid market. I'd say that stainless is now mainstream/expected and white/black are now considered low-end finishes?

    Bookmark   October 31, 2012 at 6:35PM
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