[Images by BUILD LLC]

With the Case Study House 2016 complete, we’ve had a couple of months to field test the latest and greatest BUILD appliance package. This appliance specification is the result of decades worth of designing and building modern homes as well as specifying residential appliances. Another important factor is that we love to cook and entertain — so this kitchen is being put through the full spectrum of tests from Thanksgiving dinner to ramen night with the kids. More than simply covering the brands and model of each appliance, today’s post reviews the initial performance of each appliance and the evolution of how we arrived at the particulars.

Jenn-Air JF42NXFXDE 42” built-in, French door refrigerator with drawer freezer.


Several years ago, we began specifying the Jenn-Air series built-in refrigerator for our custom residences and we’ve never looked back. We love this refrigerator for a variety of reasons and the new black interior with LED lighting brings the aesthetics up to speed with the performance. The storage capacity of this 24.2 cubic foot refrigerator/freezer fits a surprising amount of food and the cost is several thousand dollars less than the comparable Sub-Zero unit. Its shallow depth brings it flush with a standard kitchen cabinet package and the ability to install integral face panels blends it seamlessly with the surrounding materials. It’s also available with a stainless steel face if that happens to be the desired aesthetic of the kitchen environment.

Jenn-Air also offers a handsome handle upgrade that we take advantage of with each project. For a few hundred dollars more, we prefer the W10250636 bar pulls as they complement a modern kitchen very nicely and go with the Dekkor 1800 series wide pedestal D cabinet pulls we like to use on the cabinets.

Jenn-Air JIC4536XB 36” 5-burner cooktop with black glass finish.


We’ve been promoting induction cooking on many of our custom residences lately for several reasons. We like the cleanliness and accuracy of induction (some compare it to cooking on an iPad), the constant clicking of gas burners can be a bit of an annoyance, and the speed of induction is impressive. Don’t get us wrong, there are drawbacks to induction, like losing the primal sense of applying fire to food. We solved this in the CSH2016 by pairing the 5-burner induction cooktop with a robust outdoor grill just steps away (more on this below). There’s also the issue of cookware, which needs to be in the family of ferromagnetic metals, such as cast iron or some stainless steels.  Overall, the change to induction has been worth it, and the cleanup after a dinner party is quick and simple (rather than dismantling gas burners each time).

Wall Oven
Jenn-Air JJW3430DS 30” single electric oven with dual fan convection.


While ovens these days include more bells and whistles than we need for our cooking, the Jenn-Air 30” continues to impress us with its accuracy. Temperature settings are highly predictable, the interior of the oven is spacious, and the interface is easy to navigate. Jenn-Air has also done an excellent job within the last several years on sharpening up the face of their ovens. The minimal design and clean lines make a big difference when integrating these ovens into a modern kitchen.

Kitchen Hood
Vent-A-Hood BH234SLDSS 34” 600 cfm vent insert.


There’s a tricky balance when it comes to specifying kitchen exhaust hoods. The greater the exhausting power of the unit, the larger the hood and louder the fan. In search of a harmonious equilibrium of venting a sensible amount of air, keeping noise levels to a minimum, and looking good, the ultimate determination is how a homeowner likes to cook coupled with the overall kitchen design (e.g., island vs. wall-mounted hoods make a big difference). Exhaust hoods in the range of 350-600 cfm typically provide plenty of power for residential cooking, and there are a number of suitable models on the market that meet these specifications. We rely heavily on the advice and expertise of our preferred appliance showroom when it comes to the kitchen hood. The hood at CSH2016 leans more industrial as the kitchen will be used for spicier foods and a bit of smoke. Vent-A-Hood makes a powerful vent insert that performs well with a couple of caveats: the hum of the fan is a bit louder than some of the hoods with a more minimal design, and there are additional costs for the hood liner since this model is an unfinished insert. We used stainless steel here to tie into the nature of the mechanics and emphasize a vertical band of stainless alongside the oven below. The vent elbow above the liner (and above the cabinets) is wrapped in MDF and painted to match the walls.

It’s important to point out that this particular hood application is much costlier (about 2.5x) than typical residential hoods because the insert must be supplemented with a liner wrap and duct cover. The Case Study House series is an exploration of particular design items prior to employing them on client-based work and the kitchen hood was one of those areas.

Bosch SHV7PT53UC concealed control dishwasher.


We’ve been specifying and testing out this series of Bosch dishwashers for over a decade now and it continues to deliver. Occasionally, we’ll field test other brands and, while the competitors do fine, Bosch simply makes a better dishwasher. The concealed controls and the integral face makes this hardworking dishwasher disappear into the cabinets. The latest models in this series are so quiet that the remaining cycle time is projected onto the floor below. Newer units also include the 3rd rack for silverware or those kitchen utensils that don’t fit anywhere else. We upgraded to the Whirlpool W10701399 door pull to better match with the aesthetics of the surrounding kitchen (another clever trick of a good appliance supplier).

Wine Refrigerator
Jenn-Air JUW24FRERS under-counter wine storage unit.


While this appliance is a complete luxury item, it is nice to know that you’re not cooking that nice bottle of cabernet sauvignon when the kitchen heats up in the summertime. Conveniently tucking in under the countertop height, this Jenn-Air unit provides a sharp backdrop with its LED lights and interior wood slats. Our only complaint of the unit is that it sacrifices practicality of storage for amount of storage. Bottles come in a variety of shapes and sizes now (especially some of the nicer west coast labels) and the wine racks of this model fit snug to the specifications of a traditional wine bottle. The only option to fit larger bottles is removal of an entire rack.

Outdoor Grill
Lynx L36PSFR-2


An outdoor grill isn’t always thought of as part of the kitchen appliance package, but it is an important component of this kitchen. As mentioned earlier, the induction cooktop is balanced by a Lynx grill at CSH2016. So far, the outdoor grill has been used often and complements the induction cooktop and electric oven quite nicely. Slow cooked meats and vegetables can easily be transferred to the Lynx for charring, grilling and finishing while rotisserie grilled meats are within convenient proximity to the kitchen. Our primary request for this appliances was a grill that would last a lifetime and the Lynx brand came unequivocally recommended.

Rebates and Discounts
Many appliance brands now offer discounts and instant rebates on appliance packages if a certain combination of their appliances are purchased. Jenn-Air has offered a particularly generous discount with the purchase of a range (or cooktop + oven), and a built-in refrigerator, allowing the appliance showroom to apply a discount large enough to offset the cost of another appliance. On the CSH2016, we applied this discount to the wine refrigerator. It’s worth noting that these deals often occur in specific windows of time and are (no surprise) subject to change. That said, it’s always worth checking with an appliance showroom and locking in the specification to take advantage of these deals.

That covers our thoroughly vetted modern appliance specification. It offers a complete package to run with on any custom home, but also works well as a starting point where substitutions can be made here and there based on homeowner lifestyle and preferences. And while we’ve listed specific models for easy reference, it’s worth noting that appliance models change frequently (sometimes every year). The model numbers specified here will likely change, and these changes can often be as small as a single digit within the model number. We recommend working with a trusted, knowledgeable appliance supplier.

Cheers from Team BUILD