Kitchen Tour {Part 2}: Appliances

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!

White Kitchen
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!

Orson Gygi Kitchens(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.

Model Kitchen 1From 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:
Orson Gygi Truck

I tried to not get in the way as these shiny silver things carefully got unpacked from big brown boxes.

Appliance Install

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.)

Installing Appliances

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.

Thermador 30 inch Built-In Fridge Column
Thermador 30 inch Built-In Freezer Column

Without fail, the first thing that 98% of visitors say when first entering our kitchen is, “Is that a….fridge??”

Thermador Fridge from Our Best Bites

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.

Giant Thermador Fridge

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.”

Really Big 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.

Tall fridge from Thermador

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.

Thermador 36 inch Professional Series Gas Cook Top

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.

Gas Range Knobs

 Thermador has their famous star-shaped burners, which are designed so that instead of a straight circle of heat, you get more even heat distribution on different  parts of your pan.  Also, stars are a happy shape.
Thermador Blue Star Burner
I decided to get a griddle top on my rangetop because honestly, I can’t think of any time when I needed more than four burners going at once and at my last house I used my flat griddle pan all the time.  Even then, I hoped I wouldn’t regret that choice.

Thermador Range Top
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.

Thermador Griddle Knob

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.

Thermador 36 inch Professional Series Convection Warming Drawer

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.

Thermador Warming Drawer

Thermador 30 inch Masterpiece Series Double Wall Ovens

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.

Thermador Wall Ovens Proof Mode

I also love the heavy-duty, smooth-rolling oven racks,

Thermador Wall Ovens Smooth Rolling 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.

Soft-Close Doors

Thermador Masterpiece Series Steam and Convection Oven

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.

Steam Oven

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.

Water Pitcher

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.

Thermador Steam

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 Steam Panel

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.

Drawer Microwave


Thermador Dishwasher

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.

Dishwasher Lights

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.

Thermador Third Rack

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.

Internal Dishwasher Controls

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.

Scotsman Ice Maker

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.”

Inside Ice Maker

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.

Scotsman Ice

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!



woman in denim shirt holding a salad bowl
Meet The Author

Sara Wells

Sara Wells co-founded Our Best Bites in 2008. She is the author of three Bestselling Cook Books, Best Bites: 150 Family Favorite RecipesSavoring the Seasons with Our Best Bites, and 400 Calories or Less from Our Best Bites. Sara’s work has been featured in many local and national news outlets and publications such as Parenting MagazineBetter Homes & GardensFine CookingThe Rachel Ray Show and the New York Times.

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Questions & Reviews

  1. I love chewable ice too! In high school I worked at Golden Swirl Frozen Yogurt and would eat the crushed ice like that by the quart-size cup =). That is so cool that I can add that appliance to my own wish list. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love everything about your kitchen, right down to the ice maker that I’ve always wanted to have someday. Now that I’m done having kids it wouldn’t come in quite as handy though–I’m like you and crave that good ice especially when I’m pregnant! You did such a beautiful job putting everything together!

  3. I want to build a new house just to have most of the stuff in your kitchen. I am oven jealous!! My dentist, however, would kill me if I got that ice machine. I have been told that my ice obsession is bad for my molars and am trying to wean myself by drinking room temp water only. HARD times.

  4. Yeah, that’s “theatre ice” to me–after the old Hale Centre Theatre where I ate it as a tween the summer I was in one of their plays.(Back before their shiny superstage days in West Valley. I don’t even know what kind of ice they have now.) Love that stuff.
    Did you mean to make all of us plan remodels? Sigh. I love the idea of a drawer microwave! I’d never even heard of one before.

  5. Crazy question………have you had problems with your icemaker? We put one in our home we built last year, and we are having issues. It worked great for the first 3 months and then it started “screaming”! We had the appliance repair guys come out and they replaced the motor. They told me I needed to clean it more often than just waiting for the cleaning light to come on. We are now cleaning it every 2 weeks and we still have “screaming”. I am frustrated that we are constantly fighting it.

    Is your icemaker hooked up to softwater or filtered water?

    1. That’s weird Stephanie, we haven’t had any problems with it. I have screaming children though…haha. Ours isn’t hooked up to soft water or anything. I hope you figure out what’s going on with yours; that’s frustrating!

    1. I worried about that Rachel, but it hasn’t been a problem at all. They like to push the button to open it when something is done (like their lunch) but they’re really good about only even doing that when they ask me. Other than that, they don’t have much interest in it.

  6. I want to come over and just look at your kitchen!!! I love it!! all of it!! I don’t think I would ever leave it. I might even pull up a cot and sleep in there. next to the ice maker.

  7. I love, love, LOVE that ice maker! I’ve been searching like crazy online to find one. Sadly, the closest places I can find to me are in either Dallas or Georgia! Dallas is only about 3 hrs., but traffic is a nightmare there. Maybe they deliver.

  8. I was doing such a good job not hating you for your beautiful kitchen and skinny waisteline while reaching for butter…but then i saw the ice machine and now i’m a raging monster of jealousy and envy. but totally in a nice, i’ll be back on friday kind of way 🙂 and i may have gotten a little teary-eyed cause that ice nachine has been on my list ever since i discovered chewable ice while delivering my first baby *sniff*

  9. Well, you asked….We call the ice “Snowman Poops” or, more politely, “Pebble Ice.”
    Beautiful kitchen.

  10. Thou shalt not covet thy favorite blogger’s kitchen. However, I will pin it and but the crud out of my husband to give me one when we build our house. Student loan payments aren’t that critical right? We can just spend that money on a kitchen…
    Beautifully done.

  11. I love everything! I would love to have a gas stove, but since there is no option for gas where I live (life is hard here, lol) at least I do have a nice flat top. However, what I’m really jealous of is your double oven. I bake a ton during the holidays, and that would make it so much easier. Maybe someday 🙂 Fabulous choices!

  12. I’m not gonna lie. I am head over heels in love with your kitchen. After seeing the pictures in the last post I asked my husband how he felt about building a house with just this kitchen and an indoor basketball court (we have four boys). What else do we need? My life would be complete with those two things. Okay and maybe a bathroom. But seriously you have the prettiest kitchen I’ve ever seen. I love it!

  13. Your ice machine cracks me up. I have never really thought about ice that hard. I think it is great that your kids will eat it for dessert! Thanks for sharing your lovely kitchen with us.

  14. SO… it’s totally ok if you wanted to invite me over to come bake someday. I’m in Kaysville, but it would totally be worth the drive. I am having serious kitchen envy! That fridge… the stove… the oven!!! SO my dream kitchen!

  15. everything is to die for!

    question- do you know what model# you ice maker is? My husband and i are looking at getting one. thanks.

    1. I was looking for it online and couldn’t find it (I only saw commercial machines.) I can go check the actual machine for you though. You could also call Orson Gygi and they could tell you quickly. Honestly, just say you read about it on Sara Well’s blog and they’ll know exactly what to look for (I think they only sell one Scotsman model.) (801) 268 3316, ask for Dave and he’ll have all of the info.

  16. Beautiful kitchen but I am so so so envious of that ice maker!!! IKA has pellet ice and I bring my own 32 oz cup with me just for the ice =)

    Question – My gas oven has a “convection” setting – what the heck is that?? Obvioulsy I never use it….

    1. Gina, convection is a setting that allows air to circulate around your oven during cooking. For example, my oven has a fan in the back and when the convection setting is on, that fan turns on and circulates all that hot air. Try it out sometime and you’ll see it cooks things a little differently (and usually faster!)

  17. We are getting ready to build so I have been pouring over every detail. I already knew I wanted an ice maker but didn’t know yet that crushed ice was an option at home. That has now been added to the “must have” list! Currently I have two dishwashers which has been so awesome, and I’m debating with myself about whether I go with two in the new house. Do you find you have more capacity with the third drawer?

    1. I thought briefly about 2 dishwashers, but decided I’d rather have that space used for other things (like more storage) and I know myself well enough that it would just cause me to go longer without washing dishes, haha! Plus, we actually have a smaller kitchen downstairs with a dishwasher so I figured if I was desperate I could truck things down there! The third rack does give you slightly more capacity. It’s very shallow though, so it just fits the small flat stuff like lids, knives, tongs, big spoons, measuring cups, etc. If you use and fill up both your dishwashers on a regular basis, you’ll probably want to stick with 2!

      1. I think that your next contest should be Pioneer Women style, and have the lucky winners be able to spend a few days cooking with you in your new kitchen. Oh, and eating all the ice they could possibly eat (with or without diet Coke). Your kitchen is dreamy, dreamy, dreamy. Thank you so much for posting. I do have one question, what is the total dimension of your kitchen? If we remodel one day, I would love to know how big your actual kitchen room is so I would have an idea of what size we would need to fit all those dreamy things :).

  18. Well, your kitchen is stunning.
    But I have to say I need that ice machine. Need, as in life and death!

    1. I am so fortunate that my job has that kind of ice but when I get my own trailer in the woods. You can bet I will that or something similar for myself. I just love it.

  19. So I think if I had all those appliances in my little kitchen, there wouldn’t be any room for, well, me – lol! I love your ice maker; here in Indiana we call that “the good ice”. :o)

  20. Wow! I love your choices in your kitchen. I also love pellet ice. Who knew that you could get it at home? That would make my day!

  21. Ummm…how has nobody said anything about the ice?!? Ahh that would be my fav too! And being pregnant and craving ice at the moment doesn’t help! 😉 beautiful kitchen!!’

  22. I poured over every word of this. Your appliances sound like a dream, the dishwashers 3rd drawer and inside buttons would probably be my favorite. Last week something plastic melted on the heating element and by the time I realized where the burnt smell was coming from my kitchen was in smoke. The rest of the day my 3 year old told every person we talked to that our house was on fire but mom stopped it. The flat top grill is so cool as well my husband said if we ever remodel he totally wants one.

    1. Oh my gosh, the same thing happened to us yesterday! We have a dishwasher downstairs as well and it literally took hours to figure out that’s what it was. We searched every corner of the house for some sort of electrical fire! lol

      1. okay, so not to be nosy, but just well…okay nosy…I’ve never heard of a dishwasher outside the kitchen. Story?

        1. Oh, haha. I actually have another entire kitchen, lol! Our house has the main floor on ground level, and then another full basement level with a family room, movie room, bedrooms, etc. So we have a full kitchen down there too, where we sometimes eat dinner, or I work on blog projects, or where we put out party food for movie nights. I can see how that would sound totally weird to think I just had a dishwasher in some random wall somewhere! haha

      2. I had a lid melt in my dishwasher a few years ago. I ended up calling the fire department because I couldn’t figure out where the burning smell was coming from. They showed up with lights, sirens, oxygen tanks, the full works! I was so embarrassed when they called my into the house to tell me what had caused the smell. But hey, at least my neighbors got some mid-morning entertainment out of it!

  23. OMG. I’m having serious kitchen envy right now. A steam oven??! It’s what I’ve never known I dreamed of having.

  24. WOW! I love love love and would be wildly content living on a mattress on the floor of your kitchen!!! The ice maker is simply superb! And just one question, with a fridge that big, where is all of your milk?!?!??!! hehe We would have at least 4 gallons- and there’s only four of us!

    1. Haha, I went to Costco just yesterday and came home and said, “Doh! Forgot the milk!” lol

      1. You’re lack of milk was the first thing I noticed too. I have 5 boys and a husband that LOVE milk. So my dream fridge would have to have plenty of room for about 6 gallons. Love your fridge and freezer. And the ice machine…wow! I might just have to get one for my husband someday. Thank you for sharing.

  25. Wow! Everything is just stunning!! And “that fridge” is nothing short of awesome. I’ve never heard of a steam oven so I can’t wait to read more posts on that. You are a very lucky girl with such a dream kitchen!