Need creativity--figuring out how to finish side of Aga Legacy

needinfo1December 12, 2012

If you've read my earlier posts, I've been vacillating on what to do for a new range. I've found an Aga Legacy floor model that really calls to me and it is probably moving up to the top of my list. But, if I get this there is a problem. This range is not really intended to be free-standing and is intended to be between cabinets. While there is a side panel of sorts, it really isn't attractive and maybe even has a gap. I am looking for a solution as to how to cover the side or what to do.

Here is my situation. We currently have a 30" range that sits between cabinets. We'd leave all of the cabinetry on the right as is because there is no way to adjust that. On the left there is a built-in cabinet that is standard counter depth and about 12 or 13" wide. It is open shelving, and I use it for my cookbooks so the books are perpendicular to the side of the stove. The open shelving faces another bank of cabinets and is at the point of a semi-narrow passageway into the kitchen. When we have a group of people, this passageway can become a congested area.

We have space for the 36" Legacy if we take out the bookcase cabinet to the left of the range. We could probably have a carpenter alter our current cabinet so it would only be maybe 4" or 5" wide. Doing this, the range would be enclosed between counters, so that would take care of not needing to finish the side of the range. We'd have the same width passageway we currently have.

But, we are wondering about trying to widen the passageway a bit by having nothing to the left of the stove. But, if we do this, we need to figure out a way to attractively finish off the left side of this stove. A piece of wood to match the cabinets? A stove top height half wall? But, my guess is a wall would be as wide as just cutting down the current counter so it is 4" or 5" wide.

Does anyone have any creative ideas? My kitchen is period look 1920s or 1930s, and that is why the Legacy is appealing. Thanks.

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Do you have pics of your kitchen? Mostly, I just want to ogle your period looking kitchen :) but also so we can see this doorway/stove set up.

I would say just leave the doorway as is and put the small cabinet beside the AGA. I don't mind poky doorways and hallways in old houses, I think it's part of the charm...

    Bookmark   December 12, 2012 at 11:52PM
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Sorry for the blurry picture. This is what the Aga looks like from the side.

You can purchase prepainted sheet metal stock in white and have it affixed to the side of the stove. Don't know what that might do to the warranty but it's not affecting function. Or you can have metal painted or powdercoated.

That said, your whole setup doesn't sound very promising to me. A range with its side in a busy doorway is a recipe for disaster. Think pot handles and burn units.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 12:20AM
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Are there upper cabinets too? Do you have room for the wider vent that will be needed?

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 6:27AM
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Choose a 30" range. Don't go to the 36" range. It's a safety hazard as you propose it, unless you can reconfigure your kitchen to change the range's location. You need at least 9" of cabinets as a safety barrier for pot pans and handles and to set off a hot pot in an emergency. Not to mention the potential accidents of passers-by potentially bumping into hot stuff on the stove or knocking it off.

Take a look at the kitchen as a whole to see if the range can move to another location if you want a 36" range.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 7:21AM
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Thanks for the safety issue feedback; I'll admit it is something we hadn't thought of. I'd only thought about this is terms of sacrificing the countertop landing space I currently have on the left of the stove. My husband is the one who pointed out that this is a point where traffic tends to constrict when we have a group over; that is why he suggested eliminating all the space to the left of the range to open up the space a bit.

When I posted this I hadn't measured exactly and was guesstimating based on our thought of totally eliminating the adjacent left counter. Now I measured; the current left counter is 14" wide. If I would get the 36", and we just reduce the size of the current cabinet, I'd have 8" left for a left side cabinet. Do you think that is close enough to the 9" suggested by green? We are empty nesters, so there are normaly just the two of us. We've only noticed the congestion problem when we have a group of people over. And, we've lived with this size of passageway for all this time, so I could definitely live with it still.

The wall behind the range does not have any cabinetry on in and is available for a hood.

We did our kitchen nearly twenty years ago, with a combination of original era cabinetry and custom made. I am still extremely happy with the overall kitchen because it is timeless and am just looking for a new range and new soapstone (I think) countertops to replace aging (and a bit chipped) but still lovely tile countertips with the curved bullnose edge tiles just like you see in all of those vintage homes. Maybe if I get a chance after work today I can take some photos. I know with a new range, new countertops and freshly sanded floors, our kitchen can look like something that was freshly remodeled....

Oh, the snowballing effect of trying to make one small improvement. I originally just wanted to replace the countertops. Then, we realized it would make sense to get a new range prior to ordering countertops so the counters could be sized around the new range. Then, we realized that the Jennair downdraft is the only game in town for replacing our old JennAir, and we really don't want another one. So, we started looking for different ranges. It goes on and on and on....I think now we are probably down to the decision between the Legacy or a 30" Bluestar. I just want to truly consider the ramification of either range purchase.

I really do appreciate your taking the time to reply.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 8:53AM
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Sophie Wheeler

There is no contest in the capabilities between the Bluestar and a Legacy. Go with the 30" Bluestar. It's both safer for your setup, and you get a LOT more high heat capability for your cooking.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 11:27AM
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You say there is space above the range for a hood, but is there ductwork already installed there? If not, will you be able to install 8" ductwork that will vent easily to the outside?

For a high BTU range, you will need a high cfm hood and that means 8" ductwork.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 2:54PM
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I think that your range would be fine with an 8 inch cabinet beside it, not ideal but not the worst either. At one point I had a kitchen that had a slide in range with only a thin piece of wood on the side which was right beside the doorway to the dining room and even with kids we never had any issues.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 4:58PM
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Our situation is very similar to yours. We have a 36" cooktop centered on a 43" peninsula cabinet, leaving about 3-1/2" of useless counter at the end where you enter the kitchen. We raised two boys with that set up and never had an accidental hitting of a skillet or saucepan handle. For our upcoming kitchen re-do, and after lots of consideration and thought, I've decided on a 36" range. I'm going to be shifting the range 3-1/2' towards the walkway, so it will be at the same plane as the existing cabinet side. This will gain me a more usable 7" space for a narrow open cabinet for baking sheets, chopping blocks, etc. against the other cabinet face. It also adds some additional counter space on the right, as well as more clearance to the side of the oven door.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 7:04PM
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Thanks all. I am taking all of these points in to consideration and am still thinking. What has become fairly apparent to me is that what may be considered ideal can be fairly easy to implement in brand new construction or sometimes even in a remodeling that is gutted down to the studs. But, most of us have to improvise to work with the space we have and other existing conditions.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 7:09PM
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I still vote AGA. If Ina Garten can have a stove next to a doorway (in her original kitchen), so can you!

I agree so much about improvising. In fact, I wanted to start a separate post about the pursuit of perfection in kitchens.

My floor plan it is VERY far from perfect. In the end, almost everyone here has had to make sacrifices.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2012 at 7:25PM
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Let me ask something else. I believe you are the one with the thread about huge firepower and your friend's Bluestar. The Aga obviously doesn't have this. Would you stil vote for the Aga based on cooking ability? I am also still going through all of the tradeoffs in my mind about how much fire power I really need.

My kitchen, while good-sized, is certainly from the perfect layout. We put an addition on nearly twenty years ago, but due to the configuration of the house and the lot line restrictions our only option was a very long and narrow layout. It works for us in our nearly hundred year old house, but no one would choose this if building from the ground up. I so agree with you about some people here assuming everyone can do anything they want without having any constraints at all.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 8:37AM
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Just a question, but how much "high heat" do you need and what in the world are you cooking with it? Is it so you can bring water to boil in 2 minutes vs. 5 minutes? Following is a quote from an article addressing just that. "The hands-down winner was the Blue Star, which I might have expected, given its 18,000-BTU burner; it took only 17 minutes and 50 seconds to bring the water to a boil." My Aga boils water a heck of a lot faster than that, but it is not the Aga Legacy. I don't know how hot the Aga Legacy burners get, but I would be more concerned with how low of a heat you can get. For myself, I am more often cooking scrambled eggs, simmering meats and sauces that require a gentle low heat.
Also, can you post a layout of your kitchen? What would it take to move your stove over in the opposite direction of your doorway. Is that an idea you could entertain or would it be too costly in cabinetry etc.?

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 10:37AM
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some people here assuming everyone can do anything they want without having any constraints at all.

Right, exactly. So what people are saying is that you cannot have your 36" range given the constraints that you have. (Or, at least, that it would be unwise to do so.)

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 3:58PM
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needinfo1: my post about firepower was meant to be a little bit tongue-in-cheek. People here really tout having a high Btu stove, but I am wondering if they are truly using all that heat on a regular basis.

While the plusses of of these stoves are talked about a lot, I don't hear so much about the negatives. And there are negatives.

You sound to me like someone who lives in a nice neighborhood (you are thinking about resale), wants a kitchen that suits the style of your home, cooks well, but is not trying to turn out gourmet meals on a regular basis, and in your heart of hearts wants a pretty AGA Legacy.

The opinions here are strong. There are a lot of great cooks here and they are opinionated! Even if you were a pro chef, there is nothing wrong with wanting the Legacy!! I just looked up the specs and it has a 15,000 burner. That's nothing to sneeze at.

Aga recommends a 1200 cfm vent hood, so that's why I was asking earlier about the ductwork you currently have.

I don't think most people (and I'm not talking about the people here, they are a specific bunch!) need a high BTU stove. That's just my opinion.

I don't think you could go "wrong" with either choice. Of course, I don't think having the stove next to a doorway is a huge issue.

These kitchen decisions are so nerve wracking. What is your husband's opinion? My husband wasn't allowed to have one about ranges since I am the cook in the family. I am also a say at home mom, and I told him the kitchen is my "office", so I designed it for the way I use it all day. :)

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 6:17PM
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My husband's opinion is typically based on what is the best value for the money. I have finally convinced him that I am standing firm on wanting to do a color range, so he is okay with that even though he thinks it is silly to pay a lot more just to get a color rather than stainless range. He is actually the one who originally thought of the idea of just having the Legacy with no countertop to the left of it.

I am truly struggling with how much heat and power one needs. I know that there are many here who swear (actually I just made a typo and wrote "sweat" and wonder if this was a freudian slip) by their super-powered stoves. As someone who has managed to cook pretty well for years on a pretty ordinary gas range, I do wonder how much I need.

And, I also hear all of those who say it would be a bad idea to put in a 36" with only an 8" counter next to it when there is a traffic pattern there. (We have completely eliminated the possibility of just having one side of it free-standing.)

This started out with a desire/need for new countertops. Then, we decided we might as well replace an aging range prior to doing the countertops. There is a certain symmetry to the layout of our kitchen, and we don't want to move any other cabinetry around other than being willing to remove the counter to the left of the current range and get something smaller to replace it.

As far as venting, we have been told by several salespeople that even with a high-powered range like a 30" Bluestar a 600 cfm should be adequate.

Thanks again all.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2012 at 7:48PM
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