It has been a while since I added a new entry to my series about my kitchen renovation – but better late than never. There are a lot of topics to cover when it comes to a renovation, after all! After pulling out my old kitchen, I decided what types of appliances I was going to put into the new kitchen. While it is true that you an mix-and-match different appliance brands, not all appliances come in the same sizes and it is easier to plan your kitchen cabinets if you already know what is going to go where and how much space you’re going to have to work with.
Naturally, my oven is the most important to me. After all, this site is called Baking Bites! My pre-renovation kitchen included an early 1960s O’Keefe and Merrit cooktop and a gas double oven. The cooktop functioned more-or-less like a modern gas cooktop, but the oven wasn’t quite what I had in mind for the kitchen. It had a funky retro look and seemed to work reasonably well, but wasn’t what I was looking for in an oven. The biggest problem with the oven was its size: it was very small. None of my baking sheets would fit in that space and I do enough baking that it’s not practical for me to have to bake cookies 6 at a time!
My original plan was simple: upgrade the existing 50+ year old, 24-inch double oven to a more standard 30-inch wall oven. I planned the kitchen cabinets to accommodate a new, larger oven.
These days, the vast majority of wall ovens are electric. Even gas ranges typically have electric ovens. The first oven that I picked out was an electric oven. Unfortunately, the wiring in my older kitchen wasn’t prepared to accommodate an electric oven – and the expense for making the necessary electrical upgrades didn’t quite seem worth it to me. I decided to go out and look for a large gas oven instead.
Most gas ovens are only 24-inches wide, just like the gas oven that I removed from the original kitchen. They’re designed to replace older gas ovens, but don’t really offer a big upgrade. I learned that there are really only two manufacturers of 3o-inch gas ovens: Blue Star and American Range, both companies that make both high end and commercial restaurant equipment. The big gas ovens were more expensive than the “normal” electric oven I was originally considering, but seemed reasonable when I took into account that I was getting a top-of-the-line appliance for less than the cost of the cheaper oven plus upgraded electrical (electrical issues can be very expensive, especially in an older space).
I bought a 30-inch American Range gas oven with french doors. I liked the look and feel of the American Range oven from the moment I first saw it, and I also liked the fact that it is manufactured in Los Angeles, making it a local company for me. The oven heats up very quickly, bakes evenly and offers convection, broil and bake settings.
The light inside the oven is nothing short of fantastic and is bright enough to light up my kitchen, making it one of the only useful oven lights I’ve ever encountered. Since it is a wall oven and not part of a range, I installed it at counter height for easy access to the french doors.
It was a little bit of a splurge, but it was well worth it. I love my American Range oven, both for its looks and performance. Since it works like a commercial oven, this model doesn’t have a built-in timer or some of the unusual, high-tech extras (such as wifi capabilities- yes, I’m serious) that some high end brands offer, but it is absolutely perfect for my needs.
Pro Reno Tip: If you’re shopping for appliances, look for an appliance outlet store in your area. These stores oven carry “open box” or overstock appliances that they get straight from the manufacturer for a greatly reduced price. They still often come with a warranty, too. You’ll be able to get the absolute biggest bang for your buck because you can get a higher-end appliance for less than the cost of an inexpensive brand from a big box store. You can save hundreds or thousands of dollars. The same goes for refrigerators, ranges, dishwashers and cooktops, not just ovens.
Stay tuned to see how the kitchen continues to come together – and don’t forget to check out past renovation posts in case you’ve missed out on the story so far: