In my last VESTA Blog post, I outlined the process of how I chose the appliances for the townhomes at a heritage site renovation called the Willows.

The inspiration for the design of these units came from a trip I had taken to the EuroCucina show in Milan, Italy.

Using images I snapped at that show, I presented my design direction to the developers and received approval for the look and feel of the project’s interiors.

The next step was to develop the layout of the spaces, specifically the Kitchens.

With this accomplished, it was time to begin specifying the specific products for each unit.

The traditional approach to a multi unit project is to make each space identical, but we did not want to follow that formula.

When someone is investing in high end real estate, they deserve something unique and not a duplicate of their neighbors home.

As I showed in my first VESTA Blog post on the appliances at the Willows, I specified the same appliances for each of the townhouses, but each of the Kitchen layouts was different.

For the garden suite and the two coach houses I mixed it up even more.

The Coach Houses

The coach houses were two detached units at the back of the property, each with three floors of living space.

These larger homes included 3 and 4 bedrooms providing lots of space for families.

In both cases the Kitchen was part of a large open plan great room able to accommodate a crowd.

For unit #5, I envisioned a showstopper space for frequent entertainers and that vision place in the Western Canada Design Excellence Awards.

Unit #6 would take advantage of it’s top floor location and become a light filled space complete with multiped sky lights.

The appliances specified for these two Kitchens needed to complement the unique design of these rooms.

Cooktops & Hoods

Gas is a popular choice for cooking in this area so it was the logical choice for the cooktops in the coach houses.

Fisher & Paykel was the brand we had decided to work with and their 30″, 5 burner gas cooktop (CG305DNGX1) was specified.

The extra center burner looks great and adds additional function for the cook.

As with the townhomes, the hoods were clad to match the wall cabinets.

The 500 CFM Broan power pack in stainless steel was the perfect insert for this application.

To mix things up a bit, the hood in Unit 6 was designed to look like an upper wall cabinet.


These larger coach home Kitchens allowed me to include an oven stack to compliment the gas cooktops.

Based on product availability, black and stainless was specified for the finishes.

The Fisher & Paykel 30″ single oven in black glass with stainless accents (OB30SCEPX3) was the first piece specified.

It offered all the cooking functions a prospective buyer would want in an oven and provided a sleek looking install.

The Panasonic microwave (NNSE795S) in smoked glass was chosen to echo the black glass on the wall oven.

To line up the microwave with the wall oven, a 30″ wide Panasonic trim kit (NNTK732S) in stainless steel was installed.


The same paneled Fisher & Paykel integrated 36″ wide refrigerators (RS36A72J1 N) used in the townhomes were specified in the coach homes.

This refrigerator integrates beautifully with frameless cabinetry, providing an unbroken line between it and surrounding cabinets.

This was especially important in unit 5 where the refrigerator was placed in the “middle” of the Kitchen.

Normally I would design the Kitchen to have the refrigerator at the end of a run, but in this large space the refrigerator in the center allowed for two distinct work zones either side of it, and multiple functional work triangles within the space.

Again, the sleek design of this integrated refrigerator allowed the unit not to dominate the Kitchen the way a stainless steel model would have.


The dishwashers in the coach homes were Fisher & Paykel dish drawers.

I opted for one to be paneled and one to be stainless steel.

Unit 5’s dishwasher received panels to provide a continues line of grey cabinetry along the front of the island.

Unit 6’s dishwasher was specified as a stainless steel model (DD24DDFTX9 N) to “bookend” the stainless steel wine refrigerator at the other end of this island.

This configuration provides symmetrical balance to the island’s layout and was an important design detail in this Kitchen.

Wine Refrigerators

As mentioned above, the wine refrigerator in Unit 6 was placed on the island.

To provide enough cabinet storage, and particular a wider bank of drawers between the sink and the wine refrigerator, I specified a 15″ wide unit by Danby for this Kitchen.

Again, balancing function and aesthetics was the goal and directed this choice.

In the larger Unit 5 Kitchen, a dedicated entertaining area was designed into the space between the oven stack and refrigerator.

A 24″ wide stainless Danby Silhouette wine refrigerator (DWC031D1BSSPR) with black interior was centered under counter in this area.

This placement also provided ample storage in the form of drawers either side of the wine refrigerator.

The Garden Suite

The garden suite at the Willow project was a very special unit.

With the developers blessing, I was able to design a Living in Place unit that went on to win this category at the Western Canada Design Excellent Awards.

A big part of designing a living in place Kitchen is the appliance choices.

I leaned a lot on my appliance rep to deliver the appropriate appliances for this unique unit.

The result was well worth the hunt!

Cooktop & Hood

For the cooktop I wanted a smooth top induction model.

Induction is the safest heat source for cooking and the smooth service will allow a user to “drag” items across the cooktop surface rather than having to lift them.

The unit specify was a 30″ wide cooktop by Porter & Charles (C160V)

This unit was the smallest of them all, but it had 13′ high ceiling, so I decided to have fun with that and specified a custom hood that reached all the way up the wall.

The venting ran through the upper portion of the hood and into the ceiling joists to the outside.


Accessibility to the ovens in a living in place Kitchen is an important consideration.

For the garden suite my spec was side swing ovens.

Knowing that all standard microwaves hinge on the left, I place the oven stack unit to accommodate drop off counter space to the right of it.

This will allow easy transfer of items from the microwave to the adjacent countertop.

The oven needed a bit more research and we landed on the Haier 24″ convection wall oven (HCW225LAWS) with a left swing door.

The 24″ Panasonic microwave (NNSD786S) with the 24″ trim kit (NNTK714SS) paired beautifully with the oven for a functional, compact oven stack.

Fridge & Dishwasher

To keep the overall look of this small kitchen calm, I specified the refrigerator and dishwasher drawer paneled to match the surrounding cabinetry.

The 30″ wide Blomberg integrated refrigerator (BRFB1920FB) was paneled in the wood grain cabinetry and the single Fisher & Paykel dish drawer (DD24STI9 N) was paneled in the dark grey finish.

The refrigerator anchors the far end of the kitchen and is positioned for good access from a standing or sitting position.

The single dishwasher drawer is placed directly under the countertop again to provide access for a standing or sitting user.

The Willows project was a very rewarding project to be a part of. Working with a collaborative team produced great results and a profitable project all around.

I would love to hear about your process for choosing appliances. You can leave me a comment below.

Also, if you would like to join me at my FREE appliance workshop coming soon, register here:

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Founder Vestabul School of Design, Jan Rutgers

Jan Rutgers has been designing kitchens and products for over 25 years and is a recipient of Kitchen & Bath Design News’ Top Innovators in 2020 for the Kitchen & Bath Industry. She has designed more than 1000 kitchens learning valuable skills with each one! Her experience in Kitchen Design, Millwork Manufacturing and Product Development has led her to create VESTABUL SCHOOL OF DESIGN where she educates and mentors people passionate about the Kitchen Design Industry.

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