Big-ticket built-ins are kitchen luxuries that provide top style plus function
Christmas is coming and if there’s any time to put an ultimate kitchen item on your wish list, this would be the season. And while I know terms like ultimate and luxury tend to be relative, it wasn’t difficult to work up my short list of kitchen luxuries. You listening Santa?
#1 – Wood Burning Fireplace
One of the houses we rented in Italy had a wood-burning fireplace right in the kitchen – but not quite as large or grand as the one David Michael Miller designed for a Sonoran Desert farmhouse [top]. In Italy, cooking fireplaces generally are built waist-high and fitted with a moveable grate that permits food to be cooked over embers or near a fire in the back.
In a Minnesota lake house, the fireplace oven is set into a semi-circular stucco and stone chimney with a trap door (for removal of ashes), with wood storage below. Brackets on the side permit the grill to be raised and lowered for cooking tasks.
The Tuscan Dream Villa we rented years ago had a low open fireplace with seating on each side. Here I am tending to rosemary-marinated Tuscan t-bone veal steaks in the basket! Having lived with an indoor wood-burning bbq in this house, and in another we rented in Arezzo, I can confidently say this is the most luxurious kitchen feature possible and one of the most rewarding. If anyone has the space, the means and the desire, go for it!
#2 – Built-In Flamberge Rotisserie
I don’t have a rotisserie attachment on my Weber but some do. My oven does have a rotisserie which, in my opinion, produces the most delicious roast chicken on the planet. I have seen dedicated rotisseries in French restaurants and, at Eataly, the Italian food hall in New York City, there’s an entire counter where whole boneless pigs (porchetta) and sides of sirloin turn until they are ready to slice for sublime hot sandwiches. La Broche Flamberge is La Cornue’s built rotisserie which would be a dream come true. At a cost of around $10K, this is less than one of the big ranges and must be installed in a heatproof “cabinet” which requires both gas and electric hookups. This rotisserie is relatively new for the home market and I was unable to find a photo of one in an actual kitchen. But I can dream in Technicolor since the frame is available in more than a dozen different hues.
#3 – Glass Door Refrigerator
Pro style refrigerators with glass doors are the Scarlett Johanssons of the appliance world. Gorgeous and highly engineered, they are designed to be the focal point. A pair of Sub Zero BI-36UGs double the glamor quotient in this Chicago kitchen, albeit at a price north of $25K.
In addition to Sub Zero, large glass door refrigerators are made by Northland, True, Traulsen, and the little-known Italian company Fhiaba, which appears to be the source for the massive fridge/freezer duo in this contemporary kitchen by Gallery B designs in Orlando, Florida.
#4 – Built in Espresso Machine
Built-in espresso machines never need refilling. Their appeal is the plumbed-in cold water supply – a distinct convenience over portable machines. While I’ve seen them popped into the center of a wall, or installed over ovens (which always looks so wrong to me), the best spot to place one is in its own little bar area. This Miele is plunked into an aisle but saved by a clever pull-out shelf below it that provides the required “setting down” space nearby.
Gaggenau’s espresso machine comes with an integral drawer/shelf which appears to have a practical drainage grate in back to catch any spillovers. (Gagg cousin Bosch also makes a built in a small, integral drainage shelf).
#5 – Vent Hood in Disguise
Talk about kitchen jewelry. Elica, a UK brand, produces exceptionally designed ventilation pieces that combine functional extraction and lighting with super style. While they skew modern and cost in the range of $3K, the Star island hood has the same look as upscale mid-century modern lighting.
Looking across the living space of a Houston by Build-Content there doesn’t appear to be a vent hood in the kitchen at all. But there is!
The Elica Twin is right over the island cooktop, tailored enough for the masculine look, and it would easily be mistaken for lighting only – which is the very definition of luxurious in my book.
(Source: DavidMichaelMiller, tea2architects, Purcell Murray, La Cornue, kitchensbathsunlimited, galleryb, decorology, kentkitchenworks, uw-keuken)
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wow !! You had me at the fireplaces but then the amazing eye candy continued. Great post!! I so wanted the plumbed espresso machine and I have a perfect place for it by our coffee counter….I don’t think more reno is in my future though 🙂 c