Designing With (or Around) Stainless Steel
Want the kinds of ovens, ranges, microwaves and even vent hoods that the pros use? Get ready to love stainless steel, because most commercial-grade "prosumer" appliances feature it.
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"A stainless-steel range, wall oven or cooktop is no problem to incorporate into even the most conservative kitchens," says Karen, who designs mostly traditional kitchens for her Connecticut clients. "But a refrigerator is tough — even one that's just 36 inches wide is a big, jarring piece of metal and most people going for the pro-quality fridge are going to want one bigger than that." She steers her clients to wood front panels for large fridges, like Sub-Zero all-fridges or all-freezers.
Mark avoids stainless-steel dishwasher fronts as well.
"In a traditional kitchen design, they don't work because the dishwasher is virtually always under the counter and flanked by custom cabinetry," he says. "Visually, stainless steel on the dishwasher tends to break up what otherwise would be the smooth flow of a continuous line, so in most kitchens I prefer a cabinet facade over the dishwasher to reduce that negative impact."
Consider Clearance and Vents
The pro-quality cooking that powerful stainless ranges and cooktops offer creates a whole other level of design considerations, says Mark. "The pro-line appliances produce much higher BTUs, so you need sufficient clearance and counterspace on either side," he says. "The design must also provide for proper ventilation and a way to protect the back wall from getting scorched or catching fire, particularly when all six burners on that pro line cooktop are working away."
Given the demands placed on the ventilator for a high caliber stainless range, you may also need to provide a louvered vent to an adjacent space for "make up air" to replace the hot air circulated out, says Mark. "When you're dealing with pro equipment like that, you should consult an HVAC specialist to see if you need to do anything special with the air," he says.
Mark T. White, CKD
Karen Sciascia, designer
A Matter of Style
Walker Zanger, www.walkerzanger.com
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