My Appliance Journey

Last fall, right after we purchased our home, I entered the appliance-shopping rabbit hole. Yes, I’ve attended (and spoken at) KBIS (the national kitchen and bath show), compiled multiple “kitchen specials” magazines and yet I didn’t have a guiding principle when it came to my own home.

So, how’d I land on the ones I chose? I started wth what was most important to me (ahem, looks) and then crowd-sourced my 25,000 most discriminating designer friends for their take. (See the original Instagram story here.)

Part I: Range & Hood

Induction: That’s how I began my entire kitchen design process—knowing I wanted to make the leap away from gas and into induction.
1) For health (zero gas emissions) and safety (no hot surfaces — only the cookware gets warm)
2) Performance — chefs love it (truly!); it boils water in mere minutes
3) Environmental reasons. Why use natural gas when there’s an alternative? 

Surprise: Europe went induction a while back. It’s sort of de rigueur there. But on the North American market, there are fewer choices. I considered duel fuel, but, that’s like the mullet of ranges. Either do it or don’t, I say. 

Funnily, it was the Fisher Paykel red colourway that first attracted me — and the classic knob styling. Clearly, I’m not a purist, but there’s something satisfying about turning a knob and, lo, now that I own it, I can say it delivers: there’s a gentle click, click, click as you move through Bake to High Broil, which is, for whatever reason, the setting I visit most. Once a New Yorker, always a New Yorker, they say.

Anyway, the enjoyability factor has been on par with owning a new car. Everyone wants a turn to drive and we all stand around admiring it when it’s parked. Who knew? 

Biggest (unfounded) fear: Since induction is powered by magnets, not all cookware is compatible with the cooktop. But guess what: out of my hodge podge array of Le Creuset (no single color, love ‘em all); Tfal nonstick (a bad habit I know), workhorse, college-era stainless steel, and flea-market cast iron, only the Tfal nonstick didn’t work. No loss there. GreenPan, All-Clad. and others ALL have sexy induction-friendly pans, so, maybe someone will bring one for a housewarming. 

Biggest joy: SPEED. Gawd it’s so fast. If you think you’ll set the pasta water to boil while you chop a few onions and sauté them in oil…. well, you won’t even have finished pouring the first half-glass of wine you need by the time the water is done. Honestly: 3 mins 40 seconds is our average for a full pot of pasta water. Compare that to 8-11 for gas ranges. It’s a game-changer.

New tricks: Using the Aero modes — the oven fan circulates hot air throughout, so, when you pack your the shelves, you don’t have crispy cookies on one and chewy on the other.

Short list of what we cooked in the first 2 weeks: 

  • Marian Burros’ famous plum torte
  • Homemade chicken soup (first time, weird but true)
  • Many, many broiled bread products
  • Croissants (the frozen ones are available at every corner store here) 
  • Braised tofu & veg
  • Bubble tea (I have a 9-year-old)
  • Hard boiled eggs

My picks:
Induction Range, 36″, 5 Zones with SmartZone, Self-cleaning — OR36SCI6B1
Product links: USA / Canada

36″ Insert Range Hood — HPB3611-4_N
Product links: USA / Canada

Next up: My refrigeration choices: Fridge, freezer, CoolDrawer

Strathcona: Furniture inventory

My lovely designer Celia Bryson asked me to assemble the list of furniture I’d be keeping for our move…. which frankly, is everything. Here’s a random sampling of the pieces I’ve acquired:

Custom Tuxedo-style queen-sleeper sofa in KravetSmart red fabric. Bench seat and two back cushions. Very comf! Two Rejuvenation rugs (7×10 each); vintage Scandinavian Falcon sling chair; Eames lounge; Visual Comfort cantilevered reading lamp; enormous plaster and canvas palm tree; champagne cork stool

Montauk green velvet sofa; pair of Karl Springer-style horn standing lamps; enormous wicker hinged basket; vintage bamboo hexagon cocktail table (paint matte black?); giant pencil.

Midecentury console (was Greg’s desk console. Can we give it back to him?); custom bent-wood and rawhide bench (an objet, not actually comfortable); some art, including 1970s silk screen of zebras. Lots. Of. Art. And book.

3 x pillows: denim & check w/ chocolate tape + 2 bolsters (check)

Giant bolster in Lisa Fine fabric.
2 vintage gilded switch-lamps

Ballard Designs bench in honeydew melon velvet. Custom rug, turquoise + lemon (from Studio Four by Carrier & Co)

Small secretary (meh provenance but nice storage/org for my personal desk) + low midcentury bureau (Greg’s clothes)

Sophie bureau + oversized gilt mirror

Nice late 19th c. console. Has held dining room stuff (linens, napkins, occasion pieces) and arts/crafts materials. The Masai shield needs a home; it was my father’s. (The Annie Selke metallic-weave rug LINK was one of my favorites. Feels great underfoot!)

< not me, but is my Ikea king bed. The cute tie-on linen cushions can be re-made with our own fabric (not critical, just a sweet idea.)

6 molded plastic dining chairs from Zone Maison (4 yellow, 1 nordic green, and 1 pink).

Vintage Parsons chair, just purchased at an estate sale.

Rattan glass console + apothecary standing lamp, also from an estate sale.

Vintage Italian bamboo-motif folding screen x 2. Because…. why not?

Ugh. Lives in basement for a reason.