Sponsored by ILVE
Much as I’d love to tell you renovations and interior design are all about aesthetics (and let’s face it, that’s the fun part!), there is a hell of a lot of practicality and functionality involved too. And the designs which combine the best of both worlds are always the most successful. Nowhere is practicality more important than in a kitchen. It can look as beautiful as a magazine spread but if it doesn’t work, well you’re soon going to get irritated with your expensive makeover!
When it came to appliances, I must admit, I was a bit overwhelmed, being my first kitchen reno. I’ve never been the one to choose the oven or cooktop, for example. So I had to get my practical head on. But I knew I needed these appliances to look great too, not just now but quite possibly in a decade’s time. I quickly settled on Italian brand ILVE (God bless those Europeans, they know a thing or two about good design!) as top of my wish list. Like all things handmade in Italy, these appliances are the best! One look around their Sydney showroom and I suddenly found myself more excited about kitchen appliances than I ever thought possible! Trust me, go and look!
If the kitchen is the heart of the home then the oven, surely, is the heart of the kitchen. This was the hardest decision for me, starting with gas or electric? I love a gas cooktop and we looked into getting our new home connected to mains gas but, to cut a long story short, this wasn’t possible. In some ways I was thankful as this cut down the plethora of choices!
I personally think of ILVE as being synonymous with beautiful free-standing ovens and for a long time, I decided this was the look I was going for. Their Majestic and Nostalgie models are beautifully traditional and a big part of me always leans towards a classic look. They’re also available in so many colours and with brass, chrome or bronze fittings. I had been lusting after a navy (blue) oven with brass hardware I’d seen in the showroom months before, but alas, I was not organised enough to give myself the waiting time required for many of the non-standard colours, so bear this in mind if you’re keen. Their Quadra series are more modern and industrial; they really remind me of serious chef’s ovens.
Ultimately though, the modern classic aesthetic I was going for in the new kitchen called for the oven to just blend in a little, rather than be the star of the show; I already had a lot going on with all the Caesarstone and the gold hardware, tap and sink. This eventually led me to the built-in 90cm oven with longevity in mind and the fact my family will (hopefully) one day be bigger than three. I chose knob controls over touch controls because I’m a bit old school like that (hello, paper diary!).
Once I’d made the very difficult oven decision (you just really feel like you need to get it right, and I was really grateful for the patience and knowledge of the lady I spoke to in the showroom), it was easy to choose the cooktop. As we couldn’t have gas, it had to be induction, and now I have induction I LOVE it! I’m kind of glad we were forced into this decision. It really had to be a 90cm cooktop to match the oven, which it sits above, and although I’ll rarely use all six burners, it sure doesn’t hurt to have options! As a mum, I find the safety of an induction system really appealing and comforting. There’s even a 90cm hybrid option which has induction plus a single gas wok burner. Best of both worlds!
If there are two things I didn’t want to make a feature of, they were the rangehood and the dishwasher. I really didn’t want my flight of overheard cabinets broken up by a big range hood so the quickest appliance decision I made was to go for the 90cm concealed rangehood. You just don’t know it’s there. I later decided not to put brass handles on those overhead cupboards either and I love the way they look so sleek and simple. You can choose to recirculate or duct and I opted to duct ours out through the roof as it just feels healthier to me. And it works a treat! We never have stale cooking smells in our house.
As for the dishwasher, it was always always going to be fully integrated. Luckily, ILVE keep it simple and only have one option, so that was an easy choice too! I love this dishwasher. It has a light inside, as well as a cutlery basket that pulls out above the one for cups and glasses (I’m embarrassed to admit it took me a while to realise it was there!). It’s really easy to program and I love that you can delay the start time by up to 24 hours. Another clever feature is the light which shines down onto the floor so you can see when it’s on (because everything is otherwise hidden by a cabinet front). It’s whisper quiet too, so this is quite necessary! It certainly beats our old, brown and beige museum-piece dishwasher which tripped the electrics most days!
Having actually lived with and used my new kitchen for a few months now, I am really happy with all my choices. The oven is a dream to use (and clean) and I love the size of it (it came into its own at Christmas!). It has nine modes including pizza, fan assisted and fan forced. And like the induction cooktop, the cool touch BIO-safe triple glazed glass door is another reassuring safety feature with a cheeky toddler around!
So, my top tips for picking appliances?
- Take your time and start early as there’s more to it than you think!
- Visit showrooms and speak to the experts. Don’t be afraid to ask the stupid questions!
- Consider the look of your appliances in the scheme of your kitchen design as well as the practical side, before you plan your cabinetry.
Photography by Jacqui Turk.