One of our favorite design projects is a kitchen remodel because of the essential role collaboration plays. Beauty and function/efficiency are of utmost importance, and there are some standard rules to consider (like the work triangle) but, how our clients like to work in their kitchens must be accounted for in the design. After all, the kitchen is the central hub of home life and should be planned to mirror lifestyle and taste.
We consider how our clients entertain, who they entertain, if they are avid chefs, bakers or holiday hosts, if they cater to four-legged friends, if they like islands or peninsulas, ranges or cooktops, accessories and storage solutions and of course, who they cook with. There is myriad of questions we review with our clients to ensure that the transformation is not only show-stopping but also a reflection of the things our clients love to do, the way they live and the people who are most important in their lives.
One of the first questions, and probably the most important one, is “what brand of appliances do you prefer?” Many of our clients have strong opinions about appliances and appliance brands while others provide pricing parameters and a preference for “must have” features.
We’ve compiled a list of five popular appliance brands, including price ranges, features and design styles with the hope of educating our clients. Universally, however, we do recommend splurging a little on appliances for three reasons:
Life Expectancy: High-end appliances are built to last. Chances are they will feature the latest technology and will be constructed with the highest quality materials.
Design: Luxury appliances are built with customization and aesthetics in mind. Most manufacturers of luxury appliances offer many colors, trims and knob choices so you can design the look of your appliances to meet your style.
Performance/Features: If you love to cook, you know the importance of ranges with even heating patterns or a well-insulated oven to keep the heat consistent. It makes all the difference in the meals you’re cooking.
1. Gaggenau (gaa-guh-nau)
Company Background: Gaggenau was founded in Germany in 1683 and is currently owned by Bosch. It was one of the first companies to create the convection steam oven and the first ceramic cooktop. Inspiration came from the requirements of leading professionals and top chefs and the goal was to bring professional culinary technology to the domestic kitchen.
Reputation: Gaggenau is known for its unique, handmade German styling. At every stage of production, a craftsperson examines the piece, seeking imperfections. This constant quality control protects an exceptional reputation, built by have for almost three hundred and forty years.
Design: Its appliances offer sleek, clean lines and flush inset installation. All Gaggenau products can be built right into your kitchen, which not only looks beautiful but optimizes space.
Products: Ovens, cooktops and extractors (ventilation), refrigerators, wine storage, dishwashers and coffee machines. NOT microwaves.
2. Miele (mee-lay)
Company Background: Miele is also a German company. It has been an independent family-owned company since its establishment in 1899 and is equally committed to its owners, employees, customers, suppliers, the environment and society. Its philosophy is “Immer Besser” meaning “Forever Better” (better than its competitors and to aspire to be better than it already is).
Reputation: Miele offers products to its customers that set the standards for durability, performance, ease of use, energy efficiency, design and service. Miele stands for long-term thinking and planning, continuity of values and goals, good relationships with customers and suppliers, as well as an employee-oriented corporate and leadership culture. Many of its products are still handmade, the appliance handles in particular, which are each milled from their own pieces of metal.
Design: Miele’s style offers clean lines and intuitive handling. In fact, it offers matching gap dimensions for all of its products to they look built-in and seamless. It is known for ease of operation.
Products: In addition to ranges, ovens, combi-steam ovens, microwaves, microwave drawers/warming drawers, cooktops, ventilation hoods, accessories, dishwashers, wine refrigerators and refrigerators and freezers, Miele also offers coffee machines, washers and dryers, ironing boards, vacuum cleaners and cleaning products.
3. Sub Zero, Wolf, Cove
Company Background: SubZero, which began as a refrigeration company in 1945, has incorporated Wolf appliances and Cove dishwashers into its umbrella, expanding its initial refrigeration offerings. It has pioneered the art and science of food preservation and is the leading American-based manufacturer in refrigeration, freezer and wine storage products. All products are made in Wisconsin and Arizona.
Reputation:_SubZero, Wolf, Cove is known as an icon of design and paragon of performance. There are many milestones over its 75-year history that make it a truly innovative company. For example, founder, Westye Bakke was hired by noted architect Frank Lloyd Wright to design custom refrigerators for his homes; SubZero pioneered dual refrigeration – separate sealed systems for refrigeration and freezing; SubZero designed energy-efficient products beginning in the 70’s and nailed temperature control to within one degree by the 80’s; it introduced the “disappearing” refrigerator design and created the first air purification system.
Design: SubZero, Wolf, Cove offers the largest selection of product configurations of the options we’ve reviewed thus far. This flexibility allows for creative kitchen design and maximum efficiency of space.
Products: SubZero offers a plethora of design options for refrigeration, freezers and wine storage. Through the Wolf brand, it offers ranges, ovens, cooktops, ventilation, microwaves, warming drawers, outdoor grills, coffee systems and even a vacuum-sealer drawer. Cove offers first class dishwashers.
Company Background: Viking is a private company that was started in 1987. It is headquartered in Greenwood, Mississippi. In spite of tremendous growth and success, Viking remains essentially the same entrepreneurial company it was at its inception. This small, close-knit company culture serves Viking and its customers well, and strongly contributes to the company’s on-going growth and success.
Reputation: Viking is one of the top kitchen appliance brands in the industry. Since Middleby Corporation acquired the company in 2012, it has made rapid improvements in both product quality and innovation.
Design: Viking has an industrial-esc look to most of its appliances, however it does carry a collection that falls more in-tune with the sleek, clean line look as well. The ranges come in a diverse handful of custom colors, as well as plain stainless steel which brings a nice color complement to the kitchen.
Products: Best known for its upscale ranges, Viking also offers ovens, refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, disposals, and ventilation products. In addition, Viking offers professional-grade countertop appliances such as a blender and stand mixer, a line of cookware and cutlery, and a complete set of outdoor cooking products, including gas grills with hoods, warming drawers, gas woks, outdoor refrigerated beverage centers, stainless steel cabinets, as well as professional barbecue tool sets and gloves.
They offer more storage space in their ranges than most brands do as well, and almost all ranges come with dual ovens. If you an at-home gourmet chef, you know how important that feature is.
5. Kitchen Aid
Company Background: Kitchen Aid is an American home appliance brand owned by Whirlpool. It started in 1919 specializing in stand mixers and expanded into dishwashers, cooking and beyond. During the 1980s the company underwent several changes. In an effort to broaden its product line, it acquired a major manufacturer of built-in cooking equipment, the Chambers Corporation of Oxford, Mississippi. KitchenAid subsequently introduced a line of ovens and stovetops. By 1985 the company was one of the most successful manufacturers of home appliances, while Hobart had become one of the foremost producers of appliances for use in commercial kitchens.
Reputation: KitchenAid has been a leader in kitchen appliances for decades. The company offers high-quality refrigerators and other appliances for consumers across the country and provides solid warranties and flexible installation options. KitchenAid appliances are a great option for shoppers looking to stretch a dollar with a reliable appliance that looks great, too.
Design: Known for their bright colored mixers, Kitchen Aid also allows you to bring that same color customization to some of their other appliances like your range.
Products: Kitchen Aid manufactures and markets a full line of premium-price home appliances, including microwave and conventional ovens, cooktops, refrigerators, dishwashers, in-sink garbage disposal units, and washers and dryers. The company also continues to manufacture the product on which its name was built, the popular KitchenAid electric stand mixer and other countertop appliances.
Kitchen Aid also offers “Kitchen Suites” which allows you to choose and customize a refrigerator, dishwasher, range and microwave for a great price. Something that is unique to the brand is the Chef-Touch 3-1 system which features a vacuum machine for preserving food with the souse-vide technique, a steam oven and a shock freezer for rapid chilling and freezing.
Article by Kimberly Moore & Talie Jane for Talie Jane Interiors.