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Remodeling 101: The Ins and Outs of French-Door Wall Ovens

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified May 01, 2015 01:03 AM
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by Meredith Swinehart last modified Apr 30, 2015

Meet the latest development in the trend to bring the professional kitchen home. We predict the French-door wall oven is the next must-have design.  Above: In an LA kitchen, architect Jeff Troyer of JWT Associates installed the  American Range Legacy Series 30-Inch AROFFE230  double French-door oven; it's $7,999 at AJ Madison. Troyer tells us, "We chose the French door model because my client loves to cook but has a serious shoulder injury, which limits raising her arms. She wanted double ovens but thought it would be impossible for her to open the upper oven if it had a conventional door." The French door style also helped to maximize space: There's only 36 inches from oven wall to kitchen island, and the French doors allow room for users to stand in front of the oven with the doors open.  What is a French-door wall oven? Relatively rare in private homes but common in commercial kitchens, French-door wall ovens have two doors that open outward simultaneously: Pull on one handle and both doors open, which means your other hand is free to hold whatever's going inside.  Above: A  Viking VDOF730SS 30-Inch Double Oven  with French doors on top and conventional doors below is $6,849 from Amazon. What are the advantages of a French-door wall oven? A French-door oven can be safer to use than an oven with a conventional fold-down door since you don't have to reach over a hot oven door to get to the oven's interior. The opening action of the French doors helps people with back or shoulder problems avoid the awkward motion of opening a conventional pull-down door. As with all wall ovens, you never have to bend down into the oven to put in or take out something heavy. You can stand closer to the oven when the doors are open, making it easier to keep an eye on what you're cooking and test for doneness.  For kitchens in which every inch counts, the French-door style requires less space in front of the oven than the conventional pull-down door. For example, the American Range French-door oven is 39.5 inches deep when the doors are open, while the pull-down version is 45.25 inches deep. It's a modest savings, but don't forget that you also have to fit yourself in front of the oven.  Because most of these ovens are new to the market—the exception is the BlueStar range, which came out in 2008—they're likely to feature the latest oven technologies. The GE Monogram version, for example, can be controlled remotely from a smartphone. (We featured the BlueStar ranges when they arrived in 2008; see  Appliances: BlueStar Wall Ovens .)   Above: The 30-inch BlueStar Electric Wall Oven is available in 190 colors and is $4,099 from AJ Madison. How much do French-door wall ovens cost?  On the whole, ovens with French doors are more expensive than their conventional counterparts. The GE Monogram Professional French-door oven retails at $4,699, while its equal with a pull-down door is $3,799. The American Range Legacy Series French door oven is $3,899 at AJ Madison, while its standard-door counterpart is $3,499.  BlueStar's pricing is equal opportunity. Both the French door and pull-down versions of its Electric Wall Oven (above) are $4,099 at AJ Madison.  Viking's version isn't easy to compare because its French-door offering comes only as a double oven with French doors on top and a standard door on bottom. It starts at $6,849 on Amazon. Any drawbacks to be aware of (other than price)? The space-saving pros of French-door wall ovens need careful consideration based on your space. While the French doors may not require as much room in front of them, they do require room on both sides in order to open. For example, the Viking French doors require a minimum of 18 inches of clearance on both sides. If you're after a flush-mount European look to your kitchen appliances, you're out of luck: French door ovens can't be flush—again because the doors need room to open.  Though French-door wall ovens save users from having to reach over hot oven doors, we wonder if two hot oven doors open at waist or shoulder height is equally risky. Note that the Viking model doesn't offer the same space savings as the others, because its French-door oven is stacked on top of a conventional-door oven. When the top French doors are open, the unit's total depth is 39 5/8 inches. But when the bottom door is open, the total depth is 46 inches (and you'll also need room to stand in front of the open oven door). Above: The GE Monogram 30-Inch Professional French Door Convection Oven was released in February 2015 and is $4,699. The verdict?   Base your decision on your space and needs. Because of the room required to open the doors on both sides of the oven, French-door wall ovens aren't exactly small-space appliances, but they can offer real space savings in some layouts. And for people with physical restrictions, they can be a godsend. Keep in mind that many manufacturers, including Bosch, also make wall ovens with single side-opening doors : a development we reported on back in 2008. These swing-door ovens require more opening space in front than French-door models but only need room on one side for the door to open. And they offer the same one-handed ease of use as French doors.  Have experience with any of these ovens? Fill us in in the Comments section below. Designing a new kitchen or upgrading? See more of our Remodeling 101 appliance primers:  Remodeling 101: The Viking vs. Wolf Range Beyond the Microwave: Speed Ovens Remodeling 101: How to Choose Your Refrigerator Remodeling 101: How to Select a Dishwasher Considering classic French doors? See Remodeling 101: The Ins and Outs of French Doors . More Stories from Remodelista 6 Stylish Wood Knife Racks for the Kitchen Kitchen of the Week: A Scandi Design in Brooklyn A Kitchen Inspired by Seaside Living






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