ZEN AND THE CITY

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The best luxury stoves

As you may know, we’re (re)building our summer home from the ground up. I’m now at the stage where I need to choose appliances – and obviously the stove/range is a big one.

The kitchen is often said to be the heart of the home, and along with the counter-tops, the stove sets the “look.”

In my kitchens, I’ve traditionally had a stainless steel range. We went from GE Profile to Wolf to Viking, and now for this kitchen I’m leaning towards a European range. The five contenders are La Cornue, Lacanche, Aga, Gaggenau and Ilve.

I love cooking and I cook every single day, so obviously the performance of the range matters. However, I’d be lying if I said I’m going to pick my new range based on cooking specifications and performance. I’ve cooked successful dinners for a crowd on the smallest stoves! Even when we were in our early 20’s and lived in a tiny rental apartment with a 2-burner mini stove, I cooked great meals all the time – so I’m sure anything by La Cornue will meet my needs!

Looks-wise, I’m not crazy about the Aga (above). I know it’s a favorite of English country kitchens, but I just don’t love the paneled look. It reminds me a bit of old stoves from the 1950’s. They make sleeker options, but I’m just not in love with those either. I think I’ll rule Aga out.

I also don’t love the Gaggenau style. They’re all about super clean lines, and they do a lot of cook-tops without the oven underneath. (People usually do a wall oven when they order a cook-top like this.) I’m not a big fan of the sleek, ultra-modern look – it’s too cold for my taste. And I really like the traditional configuration of having the stove right on top of the oven. Therefore… I’m ruling out Gaggenau.

I’m totally partial to La Cornue!!! It reminds me of what you might find in a giant country kitchen in France – and the metal detailing is really cool. But I’m not sure I’m going for a country kitchen in my brand new home. I’m not ultra-modern… but I’m not rustic either!!! I’m somewhere in the middle! The more I look at La Cornue, the less I’m sure it would look good with the rest of my house. I’m not getting a wooden butcher block; I’m not doing the big copper pans hanging from the ceiling. Those details are what I associate with a La Cornue stove. The look I’m going for, which includes white marble counter-tops, would be too bare next to a La Cornue range. Ruling out La Cornue!

This leaves me with Ilve (above) and Lacanche (first picture in this post, as well as below). I’ll be honest, it’s a difficult decision. Ilve has just the right amount of tradition with a modern twist. Their products are just beautiful, and I know that an Ilve stove would fit beautifully with the type of kitchen we’re building.

And then there’s Lacanche. Clean lines, but not too modern; traditional, but not too rustic. Simply gorgeous! A lot of amazing chefs have Lacanche in their own homes. Think Ina Garten of the Barefoot Contessa, to name one. Aren’t these stoves just dreamy?

What are your thoughts, between Ilve and Lacanche? I would love any advice or comments to help me make my choice. And stay tuned… I’ll post an update once the decision’s been made, along with photos of the kitchen when the construction’s finished!

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