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Mar 29, 2009 05:21 AM

pros and cons of a pro gas range in a kitchen island


We are planning a kitchen re-model;Am planning to replace a 20 yo electric cooktop with a gas range;I am contemplating a 36" bluestar with griddle vs.36"wolf.One of the kitchen designers is very AGAINST having the 36"range in the kitchen island, for concerns with heat,noise from vent-hood and safety.
At present our kitchen has the cooktop against a wall and I interact with my family/friends when I am at the sink or when preparing food.I feel that having the range in the island will make cooking a more social family event and hence would really LOVE the island range.
Would like to hear opinions from cooks who have an island gas range.

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  1. We have a gas cooktop in our island, with separate wall, electric 2x ovens elsewhere. The pros of the cooktop location are (a) the social advantages that you note, and (b) that there is lots of room on the island that is available for lining up ingredients, etc. as you cook. The main con is that we have a downdraft vent that really does not work well.

    I don't think that I'd want the full range their however -- i.e., not the ovens. Mainly has to do with the layout of our kitchen. The sink & DW is against the wall, right behind the island, so there is a lot of traffic, in that area. I like having the ovens in a lower traffic area.

    3 Replies
    1. re: masha

      I've got exactly the same arrangement -- gas cooktop in the island. I love it for all the reasons you do, and, like you, I'm totally unhappy with the downdraft vent. It's useless, really.

      1. re: CindyJ

        Update: With a recent kitchen renovation, we more-or-less kept the same "footprint" -- still have the gas cooktop in the island, but we replaced the downdraft exhaust with an overhead unit. (YAAAAY!!!) The counter that houses the cooktop is 44" x 102" , which allows for plenty of room for bar stools on the other side, facing the cooktop. It's a VERY social area and I have no problem at all when I'm cooking/stirring/prepping while my guests are gathered around.

    2. I am in the same boat exactly...knocking out a wall to make a small space more friendly and I want to prep and cook facing my friends. Some are against it...I've found several on other boards who swear how much they love their gas cooking island. I"m with Masha, however, on the range. I want a cooktop only and am putting in a 2X oven on an opposing wall, not quite immediately behind the island. I'm going for it.

      4 Replies
      1. re: redriverbluesman

        I truly believe having either sink or cooktop in the island facing company is a bad idea. You can never keep it clean enough and if the sink is there where will you put the soap and such that you do not want them to see. Now having an island or peninsula facing company, so you can do all your chopping and such there either because it is chopping board material or because you have a large chopping block that is easy to move is absolutely wonderful.. I have had all of those options and the "empty" island/peninsula that faces company is the absolute best.

        1. re: escondido123

          We do all our major chopping on the counter area immediately adjacent to the sink, so that we can quickly sweep all debris into the garbage disposal. I very rarely use the island for chopping because the sink is behind the island, on the wall. Now, if I lived in a municipality that forbade garbage disposals, that might be a different matter.

          As to keeping the island "clean enough" with our cook top on it, I think it depends on the size of your island. We have at least one foot of countertop on all 3 sides, except the front of the cooktop. So, there may be a bit of splatter, to either side, but rarely is the back of the island -- i.e., the side where guests are located -- dirty. We often have nibbles laid out on that side, while cooking on the front side.

          1. re: escondido123

            My objection to island cooking is the hood above. It gives a claustrophobic feel, IMO, to have something large looming over an otherwise nice open space. However, if your kitchen is large, and the island is truly an island out in a large space, that's a better situation.

            1. re: BangorDin

              No hood overhead. Rather a downdraft system that, as noted above, is the only real negative. It's not particularly effective. Island is only a step or 2 from the kitchen sink & DW immediately to the back, and the fridge to one side.

        2. We did it when we took out a wall. Works great.

          I don't know what your personal aesthetics are. Mine are funky country but I got this great Miele hood that's very modern, very minimal and it blends in and, over time, disappears.

          Here's a pic from the kitchen looking through to the family room:

          Here it is from the family room side:
 (Sorry, it's early morning and there isn't much light so I'm not sure how clear it is. LMK if you get the idea or want a better shot when there's more available light.)

          I love this hood. It's pretty quiet, draws great (tho if I were doing it again I'd still go one size larger, i.e the 48" one over my 36" range but you can hang yours lower and accomplish the same thing) and it's very convenient storage for the things I use most like salt and pepper.

          It has great light from 4 halogen bulbs but they're a b*tch to change. Only drawback I've experienced in this model.

          1 Reply
          1. Are you planning on working with the designer who doesn't like this idea? If so, you might want to sit down with him/her and have a longer conversation about this. Although my sister didn't always see eye to eye with her kitchen designer she would have long discussions about such issues. It can be tough so hopefully you will pick a designer that is honest and open when he/she sees potential problems....I think that's what they get paid for.

            1. Kitchen Designer here chimming in. #1 vent (hood) noise can be reduced by having an exterior blower installed (if possible), this will reduce the noise significantly. #2 In a well designed range the heat factor will be minimal from the ovens. The cooktop will put out a lot more BTU's and the heat will be noticable for the cook and anyone CLOSE by. That said, I have found that if you can have your prep sink on the island with the range behind you on the wall, this works wonderfully. It makes prep and cooking an easy dance. I am able to talk with my family or friends while prepping and cooking. I rarely put a range in an island, a cooktop yes, but not a full range. Not that it can't be done. A hood is a must, downdrafts just do not have enough power. I will do them but with a disclaimer. Trust in your designer, they have designed hundreds of kitchens and their experience is what you are paying them for.

              5 Replies
              1. re: JEN10

                But they don't always COOK.

                I interviewed a number of designers when I redid my kitchen. They all *told* me they cooked but it didn't take too much discussion to make obvious that their concept of cooking and mine were a world apart.

                In the end I designed my own kitchen (which involved taking out a wall and repurposing 4 rooms along with gutting the kitchen) laying the new plan out on my floors and counters with colored masking tape and walking through preparing meals for a couple weeks. The kitchen I got was precisely what I wanted, I didn't have someone distracting me and I didn't even make any expensive mistakes because absolute utility and a great contractor were always working for me.

                NOT suggesting for a moment that you don't know your business, JEN10. But a cook knows how they work and how they want their kitchen to work for them and each cook's experience and expectations are what count in the end so they shouldn't second guess themselves either.

                1. re: rainey

                  In a commercial range (adapted for consumer use), you are paying for the bigger eyes and conmensurate increase in BTUs, With all this power a full venting system is a must; if you are going to get full use of your investment, i.e super high wok stir fry, real searing,and sauteeing, etc.
                  We opted for a full hood with external fan and a make-up air system. You will need the make up air to avoid, depending on the season, all your A/C or heat from being sucked out of your kitchen/house.
                  I would suggest going to a commercial restaurant Mechanical Contractor to get the specs. and have him/her balance the system, or you will have a kitchen full of smoke and grease.A mechanical Contractor deals in the practicality and operation; where a homeowner oriented kitchen dsesigner deals in asthetics, finishes, colors and "newest appliance trends"

                  1. re: ospreycove

                    I do residential design and yes asthetics, finishes, colors, & appliances are a part of the design. First and foremost is function, and the rules that apply to a well designed space. I always take into consideration a homeowners cooking style (by conducting an indepth interview), family, entertaining needs, and budget, along with the above mentioned items. If you are not dealing with a professional designer and dealing with a decorator then you may end up with different results. Best of luck!

                    1. re: JEN10

                      JEN10, I have found in commercial kitchen design and our own home the CFM,(cubic feet per minute) issue is critical for a high powered cooking range, With too much air being discharged through the venting system, as I mentioned it pulls out all your ambient air (heated in winter or cooled air in hot weather). So the make-up air consideration is a point that is lost on most residential applications resulting in very unhappy cooks; being overcome by smoke and grease is not pleasant or conducive to entertaining.
                      Unless the homeowner just wants a nice expensive piece of high output "furniture"; why waste the unique capabilities of commercial equipment.
                      Just my opinion and personal experience.

                  2. re: rainey

                    I would love to see photos of your kitchen! I too am a serious cook and am remodeling my kitchen. Keeping my 8 burner Viking, Double Dacor ovens, and Miele dishwSher but trading out Italian tile for granite, and finally replacing birch cabinets with ? Replacing teak floor with ? Moving entire 23' wall of kitchen 3' with wall of glass, sort of a stylized bay window approach. Kitchen opens to 20' X 30' FR with two walls of glass. House is late 50's rancher.