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Gas or electric, one oven or two? Questions pondered when purchasing new stove

Tanya Shoenroth, Vancouver interior designer, says double ovens will become invaluable for homeowners looking for versatility in their kitchen. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Janis Nicolay

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Tanya Shoenroth, Vancouver interior designer, says double ovens will become invaluable for homeowners looking for versatility in their kitchen. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Janis Nicolay

VICTORIA - When a homeowner is building or renovating the kitchen, one of the most important decisions for the heart of the home revolves around the stovetop and oven.

Until recently professional cooking tools were the domain of chefs, but with more people desiring to cook restaurant-quality meals at home, high-end appliances are being purchased by homeowners.

"People are becoming better cooks because of the food networks," says John Jackson, co-owner and chef of Calgary's Charcut Roast House. "Cooking is fun and trendy. Homeowners are learning about different ingredients and are trying different things. The more homeowners expand their culinary interests, the more need they have for similar setups as a professional kitchen."

As a chef, picking a stovetop and oven for his home was as important as choosing one for work.

Jackson says because he was trained to cook with a gas cooktop, and is used to using it, he wanted to have a gas stove at home.

"I'm a chef so obviously I have a particular preference," he says. "Basically I have cooking with gas worked out to a science, and I didn't want to adapt to another form of cooking."

Jackson says the reason he prefers gas is that it provides instant heat, and the cook is able to see how high the heat is because of the flame.

Many homeowners are choosing to include a second oven in their kitchen to allow for more flexibility.

"I love the versatility of having two ovens," says Jackson. "I can be cooking in one and keeping something warm in the other. There is also the option to have two things going at the same time, whether it is roasting a whole chicken in one and having the dessert finishing in the other. For homeowners it is very convenient and I am seeing it more and more often now."

Even though including two ovens is becoming a common request, Vancouver interior designer Tanya Schoenroth says the biggest challenge in accommodating additional appliances is space.

"If they want two ovens, but also want microwave, a warming drawer and a built-in cappuccino maker, they will have an elevation in their cabinetry that will typically include the refrigerator, but will also hold the ovens so everything is full-height and full-depth. Everything is just more streamlined," says Schoenroth.

Prioritizing what appliances are most important also helps allocate space for cooktops and ovens, while appliances such as microwaves can be moved to a pantry. A range, which is a stove and oven, can also be used, allowing for a second wall oven.

Schoenroth says with so many brands and options available, one of the most important questions homeowners can ask a salesperson is whether the stove and oven can be easily serviced.

"It could be a great product they are getting a good deal on, but if it breaks down there may not be local people who are able to service it if something goes wrong, and that is a big issue," she says.

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