It’s not plated in gold or encrusted with diamonds. It won’t walk the dog for you or watch your children. La Cornue’s Grand Palais range, the industry term for a combined stovetop and oven, will however, provide your kitchen with six feet of handmade cooktop range, a lava rock grill, electric plates, natural convection gas oven and electric oven. Cast iron, steel, solid brass and porcelain enamel come standard. The base cost is $47,300.
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“Customers see their purchases as an investment—one that can span multiple generations,” says Anne Murray Puricelli, director of La Cornue North America for Purcell Murray, the U.S. distributor.
Investment sounds about right considering certain top-of-the-line appliances can cost the equivalent of the median household income in the United States. Kit Yarrow, Ph.D., a retail psychology specialist, attributes the lure of such expensive kitchen gear to control, passion and identity. Rich foodies and gourmands are apt to use their kitchens as showpieces, according to Yarrow. “Their passion justifies the expense.”
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Even the kitchen sink has evolved into a high-end utensil. Rachiele’s Evolution 60-inch copper sink, hand welded from 14-gauge cold rolled American copper, runs in the $8,000 ballpark. And yes, there’s a market for a sink that costs nearly as much as a used car. Business was up 55% this year, and 33% last year, according to Dino Rachiele, owner of Rachiele.com. Rachiele credits the improved sales of his custom-made sinks to the maintenance-free functionality of the product which accommodates food prep, clean up, serving and additional counter space.
Those with means also have the luxury of investing in ultra-convenience—functionality bordering on frivolity—such as with Wolf’s $1,925 warming drawer—an appliance that cradles plates while keeping food warm. The basic premise: Heap dinner on a plate and place it in the warming drawer or divide the courses into a six piece container set with lids. Moist foods stay moist and crisp foods stay crisp, effectively eliminating the need to reheat meals for latecomers. Who needs microwaves anyway?
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In the end, even if purchasing for show isn’t the goal, “people will spend for the absolute assurance of performance and truly quality service,” says Yarrow. Even if that assurance hovers in the tens of thousands.
Here are the most expensive kitchen appliances:
Hammacher Commercial Juicer
What’s a glass of really fresh orange juice worth? This restaurant-grade juicer squeezes up to 28 oranges per minute, extracting up to 84 oz. of fresh fruit juice. Place whole oranges, grapefruit, or pomegranates inside the chute. Watch through the transparent housing as a stainless steel micro serrated blade bisects the fruit and spinning reamers squeeze the exposed pulp, extracting its juice through a filter that removes the bitter pith and pulp before the liquid is channeled into a waiting cup.
La Cornue Grand Palais Stove Range
The crown jewel of luxury kitchen appliances, the nearly six-foot long La Cornue Grand Palais custom range is from the artisanal French manufacturer’s top-of-the-line Chateau series. Handmade in cast iron, steel, solid brass and porcelain enamel, it boasts one grand vaulted natural convection gas oven and one grand vaulted electric oven, set beneath six cooktop ranges including a lava rock grill and electric plates.
Meneghini Arredamenti Refrigerator
Think of it as kitchen furniture rather than a refrigerator, a “refined addition to any interior.” The Italian Meneghini Arredamenti refrigerator comes in solid oak or ash wood, can be lacquered in dozens of colors and masquerades as a freestanding armoire. The three door, two port hole model includes a pantry, fridge and ice chest.
Hammacher Double Espresso Machine
With an ornate copper dome topped with a brass eagle, the Italian Astoria Dual Espresso machine recalls the classic column espresso makers invented in 1901. Whether brewing one cup or 40, the internal brewing mechanism of this commercial-grade coffee maker has an advanced microprocessor that automatically calculates the water-to-grind ratio. Different brew strengths can be selected via touchpad. The 183-pound machine can also accommodate single-serving espresso pods.
Cucina Pro Pasta Machine
Besides the theatrical thrill of seeing homemade pasta spill out of the Cucina Pro Electric Pasta machine, there’s no doubt that fresh fettucine and tagliatelle taste better. It can be cut in six different thicknesses, and the non-stick coating facilitates clean up.
Margaritaville Frozen Smoothie Maker
Having a party? Pre-programmed with six automatic drink settings, the Margaritaville SM3000 Tahiti Frozen Concoction Maker, made of bamboo with brushed aluminum finishes, has a rotating ice chute with lighting effects that adds pizzazz. Three 24-ounce blending jars create 72-ounces of frozen drink per cycle.
Mugnaini Wood-Fired Pizza Oven
Price: $6,500 - $9,550
Forget pizza deliveries. A Mugnaini Prima wood fired oven turns your kitchen into a gourmet pizza parlor, combining the benefits of modern technology with the heart and soul of an old world oven. With a 48-inch firebrick cooking surface, the oven is also perfect for baking bread.
Wolf Warming Drawer
Wolf's stainless steel warming drawer is a blessing for busy households. Junior still at soccer when dinner is ready? Heap the food on his plate and place it in the warming drawer or divide the courses into its six-piece container set with lids. Moist foods stay moist and crisp foods stay crisp, and you don’t have to reheat meals for latecomers. It also works well for warming towels.
Dacor Discovery WineStation
Dacor's Discovery WineStation, introduced this spring, is designed to turn the heart of the home into the life of the party, dispensing a taste, a half glass or a full glass of your favorite red and white wines at the touch of a finger. The $5,299 temperature controlled stainless steel WineStation displays and dispenses fine wines, keeping the merlot or Chardonnay tasting just as the vintner intended for up to 60 days, even after opening. Built into cabinetry or freestanding on the counter, the four bottle WineStation has an LCD screen and touch control panels that display wine varieties, vintages, temperature settings and pouring volume.
Rachiele Ultimate Kitchen Sink
Custom made of American copper, Rachiele’s 60-inch “Evolution” apron sink is hand rolled, hand welded, maintenance free, and stays the color of an old penny. It’s the sink that can do it all, for all occasions, including food prep, clean up and serving while adding extra counter-height work space.
Sub-Zero Wolf Freezer Drawers
Just because you have a full height refrigerator-freezer embedded in the kitchen cabinetry, doesn’t mean you an extra set of Sub-Zero’s combination refrigerator and freezer drawers under the counter top wouldn’t come in handy. A refrigerated crisper drawer for salad ingredients might be expedient in the center island, just next to the sink.
Click here for the full list of the Most Expensive Kitchen Appliances
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