Homeowners warm to double-oven’s practicality
Bob Kelly of Fox Chapel says he knew he was “tired of the juggling game” as soon as he had his first double oven.
It was no big decision for him to add another one when he and his wife, Gretchen, remodeled their kitchen earlier this year. He is one of the many homeowners who are moving to a double-oven kitchen for reasons that are more practical than extravagant.
Mark Uchida, owner of A ReMARKable Kitchen in Blawnox, says two-thirds of his kitchen-remodeling customers bring up double ovens when they start talking about their plans.
“It can be a status thing,” he says. “But a lot of these people are amateur chefs, and they are getting into it for practicality.”
Paul Bristow, product manager for Built-in Cooking at GE Appliances, agrees. He says double-oven users tend to be cooking “enthusiasts” who find the appliance helpful or “aspirers” who are growing into that role.
He says 35 percent of GE oven sales involve a double oven in one way or another. That number includes traditional double ovens, two smaller ovens in the space of one and appliances such as the GE Advantium.
The latter is equipped with a traditional oven and what he calls “four oven in one” that acts as a microwave, a speed cooker, a convection oven and a warming device.
Julie Ann Metz, a designer in the kitchen and bath center at Plumbers Equipment in Plum, agrees to the popularity.
“There’s a whole lot of Texas going on out there,” she says about customers who are happy to be dealing with kitchens that get bigger all the time.
While she jokes about their installation often being a matter of show, she says most of her customers are people 45 and older, who like to entertain or cook a great deal and are looking for more convenience.
Kelly says he and Gretchen lived in Wilkins and Plum before moving to Forest Hills, where they encountered their first double oven. They hadn’t considered the need for one before that, but suddenly the answer to a lot of entertainment needs were clear.
“We don’t have lots of parties or anything, but I do like to cook,” he says. “If we have someone over for Thanksgiving or Christmas, it makes things a lot easier.”
The double oven in their Fox Chapel home was a rather routine one below a 30-inch range. They stepped up their cooking equipment a good deal in the remodeling, moving to a wall-mounted double oven and a separate 36-inch cooktop.
Uchida says that type of installation provides a great deal more flexibility for only slightly more money than simpler, earlier ones. A wall-mounted unit with a 36-inch cooktop can cost a little more than $3,000 total, just slightly more than a double-oven-cooktop combination for about $2,800.
“Plus, you are getting more space on the cooktop,” he says.
Prices for double ovens seem to start around $1,500 and large professional units can go 10 times that amount. The GE Advantium double unit costs about $4,000, Bristow says.
Consumer Reports lauds double ovens for multitasking, an aspect with which Uchida agrees. But he also says to ensure such work, it is wise to have one oven be convection and the other not, so the latter can be used when lower heat is needed.
The difference between convection and standard ovens is part of the flexibility double ovens provide, he says. If a cook is sauteeing on the stovetop but is running out of space, that person could heat a convection oven to 500 degrees and continue the process inside.
Of course, double ovens do take up some space and can be an issue in smaller kitchens. They are frequently seen in new kitchens that are built as gathering spots, with more space and a possible spot for a double oven.
In smaller, older rooms, however, they can be added. With some space between the insulation of a stove and refrigerator, the two units can even be placed side-by-side, Uchida says.
Bristow says GE has double units ranging from 27 to 36 inches in width. The company feels so confident it can fit any renovation, it has a program called the GE Fits Guarantee which awards $300 if the company does not have an item for a job.
All of the planners agree loss of cabinet space is a possibility.
Kelly says his double oven was put in an area where a pantry was, but the design of the rest of the kitchen changed “so we ended up with more space” than before.
Metz agrees the idea for a double oven often emerges in a renovation or construction of a new home. Installation in small, older homes is not out of the ordinary though, she says.
“We have knocked out a wall any number of times,” she says.
She says her comment of age being a determining issue seems to come into play with kitchen issues in new homes, too.
She says older homeowners are more likely to add a double oven to a new kitchen, while younger ones often “have maxed themselves out” and are not so much interested to add another item.
“They can be used more often than Christmas and Thanksgiving,” Uchida says. “There’s a lot of functionality to them.”
Bob Karlovits is staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at [email protected] or 412-320-7852.