Last Friday I shared some photos of my new kitchen. (Click here to check it out.) Today I’m going to show you the details of the goodies inside. And by goodies, I mean the stainless steel kind. Many of you, upon hearing that I was building a new house and kitchen, inquired about what type of appliances I was going to put in it. I’m going to share what I chose and what I like about them, in hopes that it will be helpful to others looking at similar things. Feel free to ask any questions you have in the comment section and I’ll do my best to answer everything!
As most of you know, I live in Boise, Idaho, but I actually zipped down to Salt Lake City, UT to start my appliance hunt. My husband and I are in Salt Lake a lot, both for personal reasons and on business so we immediately thought of our favorite culinary store when we started planning out our kitchen. Kate and I have done a lot of our cook book events at Orson Gygi, and I know, love, and trust the staff there, so it seemed like the perfect place to start what seemed like an exciting, but overwhelming project. One of the things that I think is most helpful when looking at appliances is to go somewhere (even if it’s just online) where you can see the pieces in an actual kitchen. It helps to visualize, and to get a feel for how everything functions in an actual space. If you’re in the SLC area and even thinking about a new kitchen, or appliances, Orson Gygi is a great place to look around. They have tons of beautiful display kitchens to browse, with different appliance brands in them, so it’s super fun to walk through and see where you can imagine yourself living!
(That’s my right-hand-appliance-man Dave, who I had on speed dial during our build. I called him countless times with frantic, “Quick! I need to know how wide that one appliance thingy is!” phone calls and he put up with all of my nonsense.) I loved walking through the many Gygi display kitchens and connecting with styes I liked. It was also great to confirm that both my husband and I liked the same things (whew!) For example, we found we really liked sleek, modern looking stainless steel, but combined with more traditional cabinetry and decor.
From the beginning, I looked into a number of appliance brands, including Bosche, Viking, Wolf, and Fisher and Paykel and I ended up deciding on Thermador. A couple of years ago Kate and I even visited the Thermador test kitchens and cooked along side their chefs and learned the ins and outs of their products. I decided back then that if I ever built my dream-kitchen, Thermador would be a top contender. I like the brand, I like the look of their products, and I felt confident that they’d last a long time and perform well for me and that’s what I ended up deciding on.
When we were building our home a few months ago, my husband and I each had different milestones that we got excited about. My husband’s happy day was the day the audio-visual guys showed up and put wires and buttons everywhere. I still don’t know what those do, but apparently they’re useful. My happy day was one cold, drizzly afternoon when I pulled up to check on the house and this was parked out front:
I tried to not get in the way as these shiny silver things carefully got unpacked from big brown boxes.
The Orson Gygi installers were fantastic and made quick work of a lot of appliances. (If anyone out there is reading this and now saying, “hey! That’s my man!” then just know I had an autographed cook book to send home for you, but those guys slipped out like ninjas in the night and I didn’t get a chance to pass out books. Boo.)
This might win the award for longest OBB post ever, so I’ll cut to the chase! Here’s a run-down of what went in my kitchen. I’ve linked all of the exact models in case that’s helpful for anyone.
Without fail, the first thing that 98% of visitors say when first entering our kitchen is, “Is that a….fridge??”
It’s a massive beast, measuring 5-feet across and almost 7 feet tall. With 32 cubic feet of storage space, we can fit enough food in there to last us through a zombie apocalypse. Or like, a Saturday. My children are darling little bottomless pits.
One of my favorite features is that it’s so big, my youngest toddler can’t open it himself (hallelujah) and my middle child has to get a good grip and use all of his might and a couple of good grunts, therefore giving me a few seconds of warning before it’s open to yell, “Dude, you just finished eating dinner 4 1/2 minutes ago- GET OUT OF THE FRIDGE.”
It’s so tall I actually have to stand on my tippy toes to reach the butter. And I suppose obstacles between me and butter are a good thing.
Other Fridge Loves:
– Nice deep, well-lit drawers for storage
– Bright LED lighting
– Units are modular, meaning the fridge and freezer are separate so when you’re designing your kitchen you can decide if you want them right next to each other, like mine, or placed in separate areas, which is sometimes useful.
– In case you need something bigger, there’s one that’s a foot wider than mine.
One of the big questions we get from readers is about what type of cook top we recommend. Honestly, it’s a matter of personal preference. I had a flat porcelain cook top at my last house and one of the things I loved was that (especially in a smaller kitchen) it kind of doubles as extra counter space. But when it comes to the actual cooking process, I love cooking with gas. It offers a lot of quick control over the heating.
So far I’ve loved having that griddle. I heat it up all the time while I’m cooking and warm up bread, cook quesadillas, grilled sandwiches, etc. It’s super heavy duty, and usually it just takes a quick wipe to clean it off.
One of my favorite features is that this range has an “extra low” setting. I can put delicate things, like chocolate for example, on that burner and completely forget about it, and come back to it perfectly melted. It automatically cycles the heat on and off at an extremely low temperature. It also comes in handy when you need a very low simmer for things like soups.
Right under the range is a sleek steel drawer. It wouldn’t be something I would have thought of before looking at appliances and seeing how helpful it would be to have one. I’m so often needing to keep things warm while waiting to serve dinner, or needing to keep a plate warm if my husband isn’t home, or my very favorite- warming up our dinnerware. Eating on hot plates makes me feel fancy. Even if I put chicken nuggets on them.
I love having two ovens, and I often use them simultaneously. One of my favorite features of these particular ovens are all of the cooking modes. I have the option of convection and tons of presets for different types of cooking like roasting, warming, and baking. I use the “proofing” mode all the time. It keeps it at an optimal temperature to proof yeast breads. I often proof in one oven, and preheat the other one so when it’s ready to cook I can just pop it in.
I also love the heavy-duty, smooth-rolling oven racks,
and an automatic soft-shut door. That means that instead of slamming shut, it automatically catches itself and slowly creeps to a close on its own.
I admit, this is kind of a fun splurge. Thermador makes a steam oven, that also functions as a regular confection oven. It has a smaller capacity than a standard wall oven, but you can still fit a 14-pound turkey in there.
Basically, you fill up a small pitcher with water and it inserts right in the side of the oven. The water is then injected into the oven in bursts of steam during the cooking process. A steam oven allows you to keep food super moist. Professional kitchens have fancy steam ovens to make artisan breads (the secret to chewy crusts with soft interiors), steam vegetables and meats, and it works especially well to reheat foods without drying them out.
This oven is pre-programmed with tons and tons of information, so you just have to push a few buttons and the oven does the rest. And because of the steam and the convection air circulation, you can cook multiple flavors (garlic chicken and cookies, at the same time!) and the flavors don’t transfer to each other. Kind of amazing.
I’ve been having fun experimenting with this oven and can’t wait to show you some of the fun things I’m making in it. I’ll tell you more about it sometime because honestly, I could fill up a whole post talking about it.
Thermador 24 inch Built-in MicroDrawer
When we were designing our kitchen, we had a really hard time figuring out where to put the darn microwave. I didn’t want another appliance on the wall (for aesthetic reasons, and because I wanted the cabinet space) and stacking it above the wall ovens like some people do, just made it too tall. So a microwave drawer solved our problems. It opens and closes with a push of a button, pretty cool.
Right after we moved into our new house, a friend of mine asked my 4 year old how he was liking his new house, and if it felt different than our old house. His response was, “Yeah, the dishwasher is much more quieter.” It’s true. We used to have to turn our dishwasher off when we turned on the tv because it made it too hard to hear. This one is so whisper-quiet, the only way to know it’s on is by the little blue light that shines on the floor.
One of my favorite things is an extra 3rd rack on the top. You know all of those little things that don’t really fit anywhere and end up falling to the bottom and melting? Or getting stuck in the rack openings? They all sit up on top in this handy-dandy upper tray.
If you have little ones at home, like I do, then a dishwasher with buttons and controls on the inside is a huge plus as well.
It’s taking me a while to get out of the habit of actually washing the dishes before we put them in the dishwasher. This thing is crazy good at cleaning dried up gunk off dishes. I’m in love.
Scotsman Ice Maker: Inventor of the original chewable ice.
EDIT: I have received tons of questions about my ice maker from people wanting the exact model number, specifications, etc. If you have any questions at all, click here. There’s a phone number there, just ask for Dave and he’ll get you all the info you need!
I hinted in my last post about an unassuming little cabinet that secretly housed my most favorite appliance in the history of appliances.
I have an obsession with ice. I’m an ice chewer. It’s especially bad when I’m pregnant; people tell me that means I’m iron deficient, I just think I really like ice. I will seriously fill up giant cups full of crushed ice and then let them sit for a very specific amount of time so the ice softens and I can chew it loudly and annoy my husband. But my whole life I’ve had a special obsession with a certain type of ice. You know what I’m talking about? I love hearing people’s reactions and noting what they call it. “Oh my gosh, you have Sonic Ice!” “You have hospital ice!” “You have pellet ice!” or wherever else they associate it with. (What do you guys call it?) During those pregnant days I would actually go through drive-throughs of places I knew served chewable ice in their drinks and order nothing but a giant cup of it (like, without the beverage!) Scotsman actually invented that soft, chewable ice.
“Scotsman Ice Systems invented The Original Chewable Ice® in 1981 and changed ice history forever. Named nugget ice for its soft, small, unique shape, this beloved form of ice is also known as pellet ice. Perfect for fountain beverages, smoothies, blended cocktails, salad bars and therapeutic use, Scotsman Nugget Ice® is a favorite the world over.”
When I first got to Orson Gygi to sit down and talk about appliances, someone offered me a drink of water, and as they kept talking I had no idea what they were even saying because my eyes were locked on the hands scooping beautiful little nuggets of ice into my glass. I stopped them mid-sentence and said, “Hold on. Do you SELL those machines???” They just laughed and nodded. “You mean I could buy one?? And like, have it in my HOUSE??” I just looked at my husband and he smiled and shook his head saying, “Better put that thing on our list.”
My obsession is complete now that I have a handy little freezer that cranks out a constant 20-pound supply of chewable nugget ice. My kids eat it like candy. I’ve actually said, “Finish your dinner and you each can have a cup of ice.” more than once. Feel free to do as some of my friends do, and fill up your own cooler at my house, any time.
Whew! I think that’s it. I hope you enjoyed that extra peek into my kitchen. My next project is getting my office all put together- wish me luck! And don’t stray far- we have some extra posts this week! Kate will be posting a killer new dinner recipe tomorrow, which coordinates with a dessert I’ve got for ya (along with a special surprise) on Friday. And just for fun, we’re throwing a giveaway in there as well. So come back every day this week so you don’t miss out!