Stove lust: Is it finally time for an Aga?

The stove of my dreams. In ivory.

Thanks to all who’ve commented on this blog and also told Raymond and me in person that they’re enjoying reading about our Queensborough Manse project. I suspect a lot of you are interested mainly in the renovation project, so I thought I’d use that as today’s topic.

Not that any renovating is actually going on, you understand. We’ve got some serious ripping out to do before the fun stuff starts. But we’ve got measurements and floor plans, and we’re planning and dreaming. You need to dream about the fun stuff in order to get through the messy and un-fun stuff. And on the kitchen-stove front, I have a dream.

Let me back up a bit. A few years ago, a family member (my mother? my sister? I don’t remember now) gave me a totally perfect gift. It’s a sleek thin rectangular polished-steel block, possibly meant to be a paperweight (who ever actually needs a paperweight, anyway?), on the top of which are engraved some immortal words from the immortal Oscar Wilde. (At least they’re supposed to be from Oscar Wilde. They sound like him.) They say: “I have simple tastes. I am satisfied with the best.”

Words to live by. (Which is why I saved up for a decade for a set of All-Clad cookware, and made do with crap pots and pans in the interim: nothing else would do.)

So speaking of the best: Aga stoves, mmmmmmm. Made in England. Cast iron; weigh a ton. (Cost a ton too.) Come in an amazing array of colours. (Aubergine, anyone? Pistachio? British racing green?)

The Aga electric cooker. Gorgeous, n'est-ce pas?

Magic, in other words. And beautiful to boot. The one at the top, found by Raymond the Researcher, is probably the one for us: an electric (unfortunately Queensborough doesn’t have natural gas) range, with six (6!) burners. Then again, the company has just started making an electric version of its famous “cooker” – that’s the one in the photo at right. Get this (from Aga bumf): “The entire cooker is an outstandingly efficient energy store, steadily transferring the heat from its core into its ovens and hotplates. An Aga is always ready to cook instantly and there are no switches and dials because the Aga looks after itself. Thermostatic control maintains consistent temperatures while high levels of insulation within the outer casing and beneath the Hotplate covers ensure that every Aga uses fuel economically. The Aga releases a unique source of gentle, friendly warmth into your kitchen.” I am drooling.

Could the Manse be the place where I can finally have an Aga? Thoughts?

18 thoughts on “Stove lust: Is it finally time for an Aga?

  1. Most interesting.
    We (at least mum) owns a couple of old family houses in Metis which are gradually being updated so, although my knowledge of Aga ranges and the like is limited to the point of non-existent, I am interested in your dreams and progress.

  2. I really like the look of the Aga…it reminds me of the old Tappan I had in the Victorian in North Andover..with the warming drawers. I say go for it..dream big, and go for it!

  3. Hi Katherine,
    as I told Raymond on FB, check La Cornue stoves if you’re in the market for an upscale range – similar to Aga and like Aga, costs the same as a small car but supposedly wonderful to work with, especially with all the bells and whistles! ;o)

    • Ooooooh, La Cornue! Yes, I have ogled those stoves here in Montreal – there use to be (I don’t think it’s there any more) a store on Laurier that sold them. Both the price and the size of a small car! But gorgeous.

  4. OH, really…an Aga? One of our English cousins had one in her farmhouse kitchen, and even in my early 20s I thought it was one of the most desirable things I’d ever seen. I do hope you get one so that maybe I could visit one in person, sit beside it…could we warm our feet in one chamber the way we used to at the Gelert farmhouse?

    • I think one of the ovens would definitely have to be reserved for foot-warming! But I’ve decided I have to do some research on whether Agas are actually good for cooking. I have a vague recollection of once reading that they weren’t ideal, that while they may be beautiful, newer technology is better. But they are sooo beautiful …

  5. Hey I’m with John I’ve never blogged before but one hits pretty close to home. Yes that was intentional.Thanks for sending me the link. On the AGA front, just a couple of thoughts. Check out whether you can get propane versions (usually it’s a conversion from natural gas). You could easily hide a propane tank out back and it gives you another option for heating etc. Propane is also the cleanest burning of the fossil fuels. Another option is a Rayburn oven. This is a company now owned by Aga and is a similar product but scaled for a more normal space and budget.
    It seems to me that either stove is pretty much the perfect way to finish off those pails of maple syrup.

    • Ha! Thanks, Bruce. Brings back the lovely olfactory memory of the syrupy steam rising from the Manse’s old wood stove. It was critical to make sure it didn’t boil over!

      Raymond is quite interested in looking into the propane option too. We’ve discovered that insurance companies aren’t fond of oil tanks; I wonder how they feel about propane tanks.

      • Propane tanks must be outside the house and must be a certain distance away. There are rules about how much you can cover around them with plants and fences etc but the point is because they are kept outside, the insurance shouldn’t be a big deal. The propane company delivers the gas on a schedule and for all intents it’s like having natural gas piped in.

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