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What are your thoughts about a small kitchen without a range?

Mary Schwaba | Posted in Building Code Questions on

The kitchen in my condo is 82″ x 69″ so I planned to have a Wolf countertop oven instead of a range and a hood. The city building permit office approved the plan but a prospective buyer’s lender insists the kitchen needs a range. Any experience with small kitchens without ranges?

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    If this were your house, my usual answer would be that you should be allowed to build any kind of house you want, and that my personal thoughts on your kitchen design are irrelevant.

    However, you asked, "What are your thoughts?", so I'll dive right it. Here are my thoughts: I would hate to live in a house without a range. I associate that lifestyle with that of a homeless family forced to take shelter in a motel, or life in a prison. It's possible to live that way, but I wouldn't want to.

    But my thoughts are irrelevant. If your client is going to a lender to borrow money, then the lender is within his or her rights to point out that a house without a range is hard to sell if the borrower defaults. So the client needs to either make the lender happy or come up with another source of funding.

  2. Nate G | | #2

    That which is efficient or cost-effective often runs into a wall of distaste from people accustomed to the conventional. In such cases, it is futile to fight; you cannot change other people's emotional preferences--especially not while they are in the middle of expressing and being influenced by them. Get the range and move on with life so you can sell your condo. If you planned to stay forever, I'd say do whatever you want. I often fantasize about an ultra-efficient kitchen consisting of two portable induction burners and a countertop oven. This is because I prize efficiency over nearly all else; the gourmet chefs in my family hate cooking in my existing generally-pretty-conventional kitchen as-is due to the lack of what I see as a dizzying and wasteful profusion of mostly-unused single-purpose gadgets. People are just different. If you are trying to sell to someone with substantially different tastes and preferences from your own, you'll have to work to bridge that gap somehow--or be prepared to get less money.

  3. Stephen Sheehy | | #3

    You might find that separating the cooktop from the oven will give you more flexibility than putting in a range. You can either use a wall oven or mount it under the counter. Some manufacturers offer 24" wide ovens that take up less space. Alternatively, maybe a 24" wide range would work better than the typical 30" or 36"

    I just read the kitchen and bath issue of Fine Homebuilding that came yesterday and one of the articles, page 25, shows some 24" wide appliances.

  4. Expert Member
    Malcolm Taylor | | #4

    Your question is pretty interesting. Kitchens are what are usually used to designate whether an area of a house is a separate suite or not, so I expected to find some requirements for what constitutes one in our code - but I can't see anything. In fact I can't see anything that says you need a kitchen at all.

  5. Mary Schwaba | | #5

    Thanks for your responses!
    This is what the City of Boulder, CO approved -

  6. Expert Member
    Michael Maines | | #6

    I've designed lots of small kitchens without ranges, but not without a cooktop of some sort. Induction cooktops would be the most energy efficient and low-profile.

  7. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #7

    Like Michael, I think you need some type of cooktop. These units don't need to take up much room, as the photo below shows.


  8. Dan Burgoyne | | #8

    In our small kitchen for our guest house, we are putting in a small cooktop, coupled with a microwave/convection oven above with built in over the range exhaust. This freed up base cabinet space for much needed storage, although the smallest cooktops we are finding from reliable brands is 30", using up some counter space. Using ceramic cooktop, so hopefully we can use as additional counter space when not in use.

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