This kitchen is my pride and joy, mostly because it’s not only visually very lovely (I’m trying to be modest here, when really I just want to scream IT’S THE MOST BEAUTIFUL KITCHEN IN THE WORLD) but it also really works. There really aren’t very many restaurants up there and we have a lot of weekend guests so we cook A TON. But being new at kitchen designs (I’ve only really done a handful of them), I really didn’t want to mess this up. I didn’t want to have regrets later and wish that I had put the fridge somewhere else.
My team did some painstaking research to ensure that the set up we created would really work the best it could while keeping it open and making sure the reclaimed wood cabinets and island + natural light are the star. We intentionally designed a kitchen where the appliances take the back seat to the design, visually, which I know is controversial (but I honestly don’t know why). To have a kitchen that houses everything you need, but is visually streamlined and beautiful is the future. That’s not to say that appliances aren’t nice to look at because they certainly can be (I LOVE a beautiful range like the one we put in Portland project), but you can reduce your finishes/contrast and have them integrated into your cabinetry if you are into this look. And these days, it’s not that much more expensive than comparable non-panel-ready appliances.
We worked with Build.com who has such fantastic personalized customer service (whether you’re trade or consumer level) and a huge selection of some of the best products out there in terms of style and new tech. They are all excellent in every way. Here, we used almost all Viking appliances, which made me incredibly excited, never having had a luxury brand of appliances before. Let’s get into it:
The double oven—the Viking 5 Series 30″ Wide Double Electric Oven—is hidden behind our cabinetry which slides back into pockets while in use (and until the oven is completely cooled down). Although honestly, this oven is pretty enough to look at all the time. We went with this versus a range because I wanted a double oven and wanted a cleaner cooktop area. I roast a lot of chicken and we bake a lot of cookies (yes, at the same time) so it was time for a double oven and now I get it.
It has all the bells and whistles it should for anyone who’s serious about their ovens (plus it comes in seven great colors and finishes). Each of the ovens has 4.7 cubic feet of capacity and the knobs are super easy to use with lots of cooking modes, including convection and broil. Something that’s REALLY useful is the Rapid Ready pre-heat feature, which basically means the oven pre-heats much faster than your standard oven (12-15 minutes to 350, and no preheat on convection mode if using center rack).
The TruConvec convection mode—a much more efficient heating method in ovens compared to conduction—is great for cooking those chickens (or cookies, or brownies) much more evenly and quickly. These babies have the largest fans in the industry (8 1/2″ inches), which maximizing airflow and just makes whatever you’re baking or roasting better (more even cooking, less chance to dry out, etc.).
As I’ve said in the past (specifically, this post from almost a year ago), I wish we had gone integrated and panel-ready in our LA kitchen instead of having the large stainless-steel refrigerator steal the show from the pretty green cabinetry, so I knew when it came to mountain house, these would be panel ready FOR SURE. While we originally had planned for the refrigerator placement to me swapped with where the dry bar is right now, you guys talked us into flip-flopping them and I’m so glad you did (THANK YOU). Basically, there were 48 inches of clearance between the wall unit and the island, and opening up the fridge and freezer drawers would have been a pain with anyone sitting at the island. This makes SO much more sense.
Having it where it is works great because we pull out what we need, bring to the island or peninsula to prep (and having the sink right there is also super convenient for washing anything off like produce), then move on to the stove to cook. It’s a flow that works really well for us, even if it doesn’t follow your traditional work triangle (we thought about this ad nauseam, trust me).
We went with the Viking 7 Series 36″ Wide Bottom Mount Energy Star Rated Right Hinge Refrigerator, and its 13.6 cubic feet capacity (in the refrigeration portion) fits all my souping necessities (plus all the leftovers). The spill-proof shelves are easily adjustable in the case I need to store a big stock pot in here or something and it’s nice to have a continuous, big crisper drawer instead of two separate ones for larger greens like kale and long turnips and whatnot. The LED interior lighting also feels very schnazzy.
There’s a “feather touch” built-in internal water dispenser with filtered water, and let me tell you, having that inside the fridge as opposed to outside is so much more aesthetically pleasing. (It’s on the left wall of the fridge right above the first shelf if you’re looking for it). Yes, it’s a few more steps to open the freezer drawer for ice then open the refrigerator for water, but it doesn’t really bother you once you get used to it and it’s a small price to pay for full integration.
Oh! And for anyone who suffers from “stinky fridge syndrome” (it riddles approx. 88% of Americans…very serious), you’ll love Viking’s BlueZone Fresh Preservation Technology, which uses patented air cleaning that strips microbes, ethylene gas, hydrocarbons and odors from the air inside your fridge.
Having freezer drawers is so much better for us than a top-to-bottom freezer sliver typical to French door refrigerators (which we had in previous houses and once we made the switch to the wider format in my LA house, there’s no going back as long as you have the space for it). So much of that space is wasted because you have like…10 inches to fit in everything you need and it’s a game of Tetris. Things get lost in the back and fall prey to the dreaded freezer burn, only to be remembered during a big freezer purge.
We liked the double drawer (as opposed to the freezer drawer within a big freezer drawer compartment) because mentally it’s easier to organize that way. When it’s the drawer-inside-a-drawer situation, it’s easier to just open the freezer and just make things fit any way they can, while the two drawers make me compartmentalize what goes into each. For instance, the top drawer here is for easy to make frozen food and veggies as well as sweet treats, while the bottom drawer (which we forgot to shoot, whoops), could be used for frozen meal prep items, or meats. The clear divider is there to help keep things organized and can be moved around (or removed) however it works best for your storage needs.
Because we went with the double oven, we didn’t need a range, so we went with Viking’s Professional 5 Series 36″ Wide Built-In Gas Cooktop and paired it with the brand’s 36″ Built-In Downdraft Ventilation System. I knew I wanted to have the cooktop near that beautiful Marvin picture window and didn’t want a hood, so the pop-up downdraft is an unobtrusive solution I’m pretty obsessed with. It has an 18-inch rise, two-level lighting so you can create your own illumination adventure and four fan speeds. Do note that you’ll need to build in room in the below cabinet for the downdraft to be stored as well as its mechanism, so there is some storage loss there.
The six burners range from super high output (18,000 BTUs in the front left burner) to 6,000 BTUs in the front right burner, though all of the burners have variable simmer options (that allows for different pot sizes and liquid volumes) for all those delicate sauces I whip on the regular (or delicate broths, of course). The knobs are really intuitive, so there’s no futzing around, plus I like that they are off to one side instead of in the front which keeps them out of reach of little hands.
Viking is a high-end appliance brand, and this range feels like it. There’s no “click click click” to ignite the flame, plus it re-ignites automatically if the flame were to go out at any point during cooking (say, if I open up that sliding window and a gust of wind comes in), and the porcelain-coated cast iron grate is really easy to clean.
Because throwing dirty dishes out the window instead of cleaning them every day is not an acceptable way of living by any means, we need the luxuries of a dishwasher. This is the Viking 24″ Setting Energy Star-Rated Built-In Dishwasher from their 3 Series, which also has an adjustable upper rack that allows for taller items on either the top or bottom rack. Customization, folks. That’s a true luxury. It fits up to 12 place settings, though their new, even quieter model (the FDWU324, which isn’t online just yet but will be adding in a few days), has a 14-place setting capacity. It has six cycles—posts/pans heavy soiled, China/crystal, regular wash, hour wash, quick wash (35 min.) and rinse/hold—and five options (express drying, sanitize to NSF requirement, high-gloss drying, half load, and delayed start up to 24 hours).
At 50 decibels, that means you can have a normal conversation standing at the island while it runs and you’ll barely notice it (it’s actually one of the quietest washers on the market right now). For context, 50 decibels are equal to the hum of a refrigerator. It also has something called “turbidity monitors” which “senses” how clean your dishes are so everything always comes out squeaky clean.
Now that we’ve talked through your everyday appliances, it’s time to shift into the real fun (no kids allowed). How adult are you when you have a separate wine fridge? I’m pretty sure that means you’ve “made it,” right? This puppy (the EdgeStar 15″ Wide 26 Bottle Built-In Dual Zone Wine Cooler with Reversible Door) stores up to 26 standard size wine bottles on its slide-out shelving, has two temperature zones to chill reds and wines at their own particular temps (I feel so sophisticated saying that), a door that can swing either left or right, plus an integrated door lock.
The peninsula is “drinks central.” We put in these Marvel 24″ Wide Built-In Refrigerated Drawers for Brian’s beer, fizzy water, juices and kid snacks and we LOVE them. It leaves the fridge space for actual food and larger items instead of cluttering shelves with La Croix and Go Gurt. The temperature settings (which you adjust on the top drawer) range from 34°F to 42°F, which means drinks will always be so cold they’re nearing freezing point without actually freezing over. This is my happy place. As cold as possible without being a chunk of ice. THIS IS THE FUTURE.
We use the top drawer for bar carry over (citrus, tonic and seltzer, beer, etc.) and the bottom one is at the perfect level for Charlie and Birdie to be able to grab apple sauce, cheese sticks or whatever healthy snack is there on their own (by the way, both drawers have that nice soft close feature so nothing bangs shut). They wouldn’t be able to reach anything in the refrigerator really at their current age/height, so this is their little spot.
According to the specs, these offer something called “Dynamic Cooling Technology” which equates to cooling things down almost two times faster than competitors, which is great for parties when you make a drink run and want to get everything nice and cold ASAP.
But, in case that’s not fast enough for you, let me introduce you to maybe my favorite thing in this entire kitchen…
Oh man does this thing make me happy. As soon as I found out it was an option, I could accept nothing less. It’s a NUGGET ICE MACHINE.
Viking, let this be my wholehearted thank you for thinking to make this amazing machine. You know that soft, chewy, pillowy, DREAM-LIKE ice you get at Sonic or Tijuana Flats or wherever else they’re smart enough to make you a loyal customer via their ice selection? This is the stuff.
Just look at those beautiful pillows of crunchy ice up there. The things true ice-lover fantasies are made of. It produces 80 pounds of ice in a 24-hour period and holds up to 26 pounds of ice at any given moment. Is it a necessary addition to a kitchen appliance plan? Well, no, but if you’ve always dreamed of having this restaurant-style ice at your fingertips, know that it’s a possibility and will up the fun ante of your kitchen and cocktailing by about 255%.
Again, I just want to give an enormous thank you to Build.com for working with us on these amazing appliances. Everything feels like SUCH a luxury (mostly because it is) and makes me want to just spend all my time in here whipping up stew after soup after bone broth. If you’re going to be doing a kitchen remodel soon, or swapping out your appliances, absolutely consider Build.com. They are super knowledgeable and their project experts are so helpful in helping you to find exactly what you want and need for your home. They’re available to talk (phone, email, online chat) every day of the week (and advice is always free, whether you’re a customer yet or not). Plus, their prices are honestly hard to beat, and once you order, you get a dedicated account manager that helps to streamline ordering, delivery, quoting and coordination. You don’t have to be a trade professional to benefit either.
All available through Build.com: Viking Refrigerator | Viking Double Electric Wall Oven | Viking Dishwasher | Marvel Built-In Refrigerated Drawers | EdgeStar Built-In Wine Cooler | Viking Ice Maker | Viking Built-In Downdraft | Viking Gas Cooktop
This wraps up all the mountain house kitchen posts. Phew, there was so much to talk about (hope you’re not tired of us yet). In case you’ve missed anything so far, we’ve done the big overall reveal last week as well as all the inside organization of the drawers and pantry this past Monday. We’ve been answering your questions along the way, but let us know what else you’ve got for us (or if we didn’t answer something specifically in the posts or from your comments).
*Photography by Sara Tramp for EHD
**This post is in partnership with Build.com but all words, designs and selections are our own. Thanks for supporting the brands we love that support the blog.