Range to go w/lower counter heights?

carinrNovember 27, 2012

Hi, everyone. 30 years ago, my parents remodeled my kitchen to suit my dad, who was in a wheelchair, with 30"-high counters and a gas range of the same height. Now, that range has finally given up the ghost and my mom needs to replace it without remodeling the kitchen. I want to help her figure out what her options are.

- Does anybody actually make a gas or dual-fuel range that's a lower height?

- If she were to use a cooktop + wall oven installed together in the current space where the range is, are there specific models of wall oven you'd recommend that would fit in/under a 30"-high cabinet + cooktop arrangement?

Other considerations: She doesn't need a lot of professional bells/whistles or terribly high power, but she MUST have a gas cooktop. She roasts occasionally but never bakes. The current range is 36" wide. The kitchen has dark cabinets and granite and has a stainless fridge and black dishwasher, so I'm sure she'd be happy with either a black or a stainless stove - not that she'll necessarily have much choice!


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There isn't a choice that fits your parameters. It's a massive reworking or a whole kitchen redo situation. You'd be doing a cooktop and separate wall oven elsewhere. Even the single wall ovens have gotten taller, and you won't fit one under only 30" of counter without sitting it directly on the ground. That's not doable from a couple of issues, first one being code. You can do the cooktop, but you will need to move the oven to an adjacent cabinet run that has at least 36" tall cabinets. That means re-arranging a lot of the existing 30 year old cabinets. Which means that it's gonna cost a lot in labor. It's much better to put that money into a complete modern re-design with Universal Design in mind. Look locally for a KD who understands accessible design.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 8:39AM
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Oh, shoot. I'm afraid reconfiguring the kitchen is not in the cards. It's a tiny galley kitchen. The stove wall contains, left to right: back door, about 18" of countertop (fully occupied with stuff), stove, 12" countertop, sink, dishwasher. The opposite wall has the fridge and a short run of counters/cabs, with less than standard depth lower cabs. It's not as if there are even any cabinets that could be sacrificed for a wall oven. I wish I could persuade mom to remodel from scratch, but I just can't see it happening.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 11:40AM
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In your situation, what about a cooktop and possibly a table top oven? There are some that are better quality than others so would be better at coking. I think they often have convection which would be great for roasting. You could store it underneath the cooktop and maybe have room for a few other things. There also might be something like a speed oven that would be shorter.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 12:53PM
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Maybe a rangetop with a Miele speed oven underneath? (GE Advantium cannot go undercounter acc'd to the website). We are considering one for our kitchen remodel so I haven't used it and I'm not sure if it is feasible to replace a full size oven (I think the speedovens bake, broil and roast). The model we are considering is 24" wide and 18" high, you would have to build a cabinet for it.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 1:07PM
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The one oven that might work in your situation is the Gaggenau EB388 (fits a 36" wide cabinet and is approx. 19" high). Unfortunately, it is not the cheapest oven out there, but they come up fairly frequently on eBay and it might still be cheaper than some of your other options.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 3:36PM
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Thanks, everybody. It does seem that the ovens that would fit underneath are ones that don't get great reviews. I spent some time staring at mom's kitchen last night, and I realized the simplest compromise solution would probably be to have the small bits of counter on either side of the range raised and get a standard-height range. (She doesn't actually need the lower height; that was for my dad.) To be continued...

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 11:13AM
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A couple of approaches that have not been mentioned that may work. One is have the current range refurbished. As it is thirty years old it may not be feasible but I would look into some of the vintage range sites they may have some links as to places that could do this for you. Another is to use a 'drop in' range with a shorter cabinet. Unfortunately checking AJ Madison they only have electric tops and most have 30" widths. Other places may have gas versions though. One other option may be to get a 'pro style' range with legs and then shorten them. This may get you close. I checked the Bertazoni's height. Removing the legs brought it down about 3.5 inches, not enough to get it even with the counter, but better than 36". Other ranges may have taller legs that would get you closer to the counter height.

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 8:14PM
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Ah! All good ideas. Mom's current range is actually a drop-in, and I was surprised not to find any drop-in gas ones when I googled around. It's almost as if there's some technological impediment, but I can't imagine why that would be.

She's talked to her fantastic appliance repair guy about refurbishment and he despairs, but we will keep investigating, and we'll also look at the leg-removal option. Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 28, 2012 at 8:23PM
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I'm unaware of any maker that does drop in gas ranges. If they did, there would be certain clearances needed for them, as there is with a standard range. Removing the legs or mounting a drop in lower than recommended by the manufacturer is a fire safety issue.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 9:19AM
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Drop in gas ranges were made in the past. Clearly if a unit has been in service for 30 years, there is minimal risk in putting it closer to the floor. Checking the installation instructions of current electric drop in some only require 27" from the top level. Remember heat rises so the floor is not likely the hottest area around the stove. The OP is asking for a non conventional solution to a problem, hence non-conventional approaches were suggested. If one put nonflammable materials on the floor (tile, or cement board) underneath a shortened range it would reduce the risk of fire. I would think some air gap would be needed but likely not the ~4" gap that most pro ranges have. It is also my understanding that some commercial ranges have casters on them. I doubt that the casters that are used are completely incombustible as metallic casters could damage floors. The double oven ranges that are currently available either with a drawer type oven or a small oven over a larger oven have minimal clearance over the floor.

Give someone realistic options rather than it can't be done. However, in all honesty refurbishing the original unit is likely the best approach. One other alternative would be to look at the used market depending on the OP's location if homes built in the 'drop in' craze are being remodeled some units may be available on Craigslist or ReStore or similar area.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 7:52PM
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Thanks, drrust. We're in Washington, DC, so there's a lively remodeling market and several salvage/ReStore-type places between here and Baltimore. I'll do some more investigating.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2012 at 8:18PM
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