The Four Corners of the Kitchen.
The Stove.

There’s an old saying:




It’s quite an old saying so you maybe haven’t heard it before.  Maybe.

But there’s a lot of truth to it.  The stove (or range if you prefer) is the guts of your kitchen.  And unless, like reader Susie, you only have a kitchen because your house happened to come with one, your stove is probably pretty important to you.

I told you before that I would be getting a BlueStar range.  I got mine from Costco as opposed to from BlueStar because even though it doesn’t have the same interior finish or quite as many BTU’s it’s also thousands of dollars less at Costco.

I paired it with an astonishingly powerful G.E. Cafe range hood from Home Depot.

And here they are …





The BlueStar range (both the Costco and higher end version) have something that’s called an open burner system. Most ranges have a sealed burner.

Blue Star Open Burners



The open burner makes for easier cleaning of the stove because if a pot ever boils over it falls right through the burner system instead of staying on the surface of the stove and baking on there.

Blue Star Open Burner 2
To clean up spills, you just slide out the tray underneath the burners and wipe it out.   If I were to tell you this has made my life 14 million times easier you’d probably think I was exaggerating.  I am not.  14 MILLION TIMES.


Blue Star Range Pan


And the BlueStar open burner is designed so when you lift the centre grate out of the burner, you can fit your wok in there perfectly.  The outer grate cradles the wok, keeping it right next to the open flame and stopping the wok from sliding around your stove.

I believe we’re up to 28 million times easier now.
Cooking With Wok On Blue Star
The other thing that changed my life was getting an exhaust fan. Or a range hood in fancy talk. I have lived in this house, cooking every single night, for 15 years without any range hood. If I ever made anything greasier than boiled water I had to run around the house opening windows and doors in a complicated pattern in order to get the smoke to suction out.

If I opened one window too little or a door too much I’d get smoked out of my own house and quite often spent the evening enjoying a pleasant dinner of grubs from the lawn while shooing away the well intentioned fire department(s).
GE- Cafe Range Hood


This is a POWERFUL range hood. And that’s what I’m recommending you buy if you’re ever in the market. My mother for instance bought a cheap exhaust fan and it just doesn’t work. It couldn’t suck a meow out of a kitten.

Some things you can skimp on in the kitchen and other things you can’t.  Don’t skimp on the range hood.  I say that with all the confidence of someone who has owned one for almost an entire month.

What you *can* skimp on is the flue cover.  That’s the chimney looking part at the top of the hood.  G.E. Cafe makes a narrow flue cover that just covers the width of the vent.  I wanted something that ran the entire width of the range hood just for aesthetic purposes.

Buying one like that would have meant a cost of around $250-$300 and it wouldn’t have fit perfectly  (I have 9″ above my range hood and the smallest one for sale is 12″).  So I found a sheet metal worker to make me a flue cover for a grand total of $60.

I’ve been using the BlueStar range for a while now and I have to say I’m glad I didn’t get the higher end version with more BTUs. I’m barely woman enough to handle the BTUs the Costco version provides.  Definitely NOT in need of more BTUs.  HOWEVER, if you’re thinking of making the jump to a range like this don’t be an idiot.  Like I was.

I assumed that because I already had a gas range that I could just have this new range hooked up to my old gas lines.  But because this range has a gas oven (my old one had gas burners and an electric oven) and is so much more powerful than my previous gas stove I couldn’t just hook it up to my old gas line.

My old gas lines weren’t big enough to provide enough gas to my new range.  If I were to have all 4 burners going and the oven there wouldn’t be enough power to have everything bubbling away at full capacity.  So I had to have the gas line running from my basement to my range replaced at a cost of around $650 if I remember correctly.

A kitchen renovation is always full of surprises.  Life is full of surprises.  Some of them are bad.  And some of them that will make your life 72 million times better.


  1. Olga says:

    It looks like it would be very easy to clean your range. What a clever idea. I wonder if Blue Star makes similar cooktops…Your kitchen truly have Scandinavian feel now. I love it. Pat on a back Karen!

  2. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    They are awesome for you’m afraid of gas…..bad moose..bad bad TV for you..turn around..

  3. JebberJay says:

    This post is full of stainless steel, gas fired goodness. Niiiiiiice.

  4. Sheri says:

    Suck a meow out of a kitten….hilarious and exactly our hood fan, which we bought at Costco. Hate it, loud and doesn’t suck, well any steam, odors or smoke out of our kitchen, but it does SUCK in other ways. Looking at ripping it out, chalking it up to experience and investing in a good one. Will look at this one, my big complaint in all of them is the noise level, I love to have music on when I cook and what’s the point if it’s getting drowned out by the obnoxious hood fan.

  5. Leslie says:

    It looks gorgeous! If I ever get my dream kitchen I’ll go for that (presuming it’s available here). I have a 6 burner professional gas range, with gas oven, in my kitchen. I LOVE the star-shaped burners, and I can see how the open burner system would be great for a responsible person. However, it is way too much stove for me to manage responsibly. My potential new cleaning lady quit when she saw it.

  6. kate-v says:

    I am so relieved you didn’t buy that über-btu blue star stove – your earlier announcement had me worried. Also I like the drawer that slides out it can be cleaned. It all looks very nice!

  7. Gretchen Sexton says:

    Three observations and a question:
    1-open burner=new concept. Might even sell me on a gas range (I love the clean up of the electric ceramic top)

    2- “suck a meow out of a kitten” = Karen, you can turn a phrase like no other!

    3-The moose hiding behind the rolling pins! LOVE!

    Question: is the oven convection? I became a convection fan years ago after inheriting an oven that had that feature…

  8. Lynne says:

    I have some serious gas stove envy going on. I’m close to being in the market for a new one and that one is definitely in the running.

  9. Jennifer says:

    Love the pull out drip catching tray! Could have used that the other day when my lentils boiled over. What a damn mess that was! I had to pull the burner out and shove my towels down there to soak it all up. One time I even got a little jolt! Nice feature for sure! And the exhaust fan! I run around like you use to opening everything up, turning on fans etc. I love your setup there!

  10. Looks awesome Karen. Gorgeous stove. I love the look of all the corners. It appears that we have very similar taste. I love how clever and strategic your photos are as well. Now clean your damn camera lens girl!!!! It’s driving me batty.

  11. Feral Turtle says:

    I have stove envy and I don’t even like to cook!

  12. Robin says:

    most importantly, it’s pretty!

  13. Melissa in North Carolina says:

    Awesome stove, the gut of your kitchen…and an exhaust fan that is strong enough to suck a few meows from a kitten! How do you come up with this stuff? Guess this means your Martha Stewart cabinets will be next? I’m patiently waiting. The kettle is really cute BTW.

  14. Jennifer S says:

    Yikes, that is an expensive unexpected expense! But, that range does look real nice. I’ve always been used to cooking with electric, but I have to say, you’ve almost converted me to gas.

  15. Amy in Stl says:

    I know people hate electric cooktops, but I cooked on one until I bought this house two years ago so gas is new to me. My electric stoves had a top that lifted up so you could clean up the drips on the pan below. I hate cleaning my gas stove! I also hate that most exhaust fans vent back into the house after “filtering”. It’s just asinine. My house does have an old finger slicing fan in thekitchen over the back door. It’s not convenient but it gets the job done better than the range hood.

  16. Jane says:

    I am utterly intrigued by your tiny kettle. I had to go back and enlarge every picture to get a better look at it. Does it boil 1 cup of water at a time? Do you really use it? The stove is fabulous but that kettle??

  17. judy says:

    Your kitchen is beautiful! If you were feeling magnanimous one fine day and you extended an invitation to “we, your people” for tea and crumpets or a moose roast- I would immediately book my ticket. If you could post this suggestion on the Menu board as a reminder or if that doesn’t work we could all write a 500 word essay “Why I would love to have Crumpets and Roast Moose with my friend!.. Karen…” and could you invite my other best friend because she’s as witty and informative as you are.

  18. Meg says:

    This looks and sounds amazing! I actually just got the GE Cafe stove and have been trying like hell to convince my husband I NEED that hood as well. (there is just the microwave over the stove and it’s so loud I hate to use the exhaust on it.

  19. jainegayer says:

    I thought I was madly in love with your new fridge. But now I’ve tossed her for your sweet stove.
    And what’s behind the linen curtain under the counter? Looks like Tricia’s linen.
    ps- “it couldn’t suck a meow out of a kitten” LOL

  20. Erin says:

    When I scrolled down and saw the first pic of the new stove, I swear I heard angels singing….I swear. It’s an mad awesome stove!!

  21. Judy Miller says:

    Gorgeous kitchen and great info on stove/hood! Please tell me where your teapot is from!

  22. Dagmar says:

    ” It couldn’t suck a meow out of a kitten” That’s the funniest thing that I’ve ever heard. But we shouldn’t laugh at other’s misfortunes. I think we should start a support group, instead. “Hello, my name is Dagmar, I suffer from exhaust impotence. I knew I had a problem when I tried to boil a pot of water for pasta and the range hood wouldn’t suck up the steam.”
    …Oh and your kitchen is so stunning, that even *I* would cook there. And I don’t cook, I mostly assemble food. Are you putting in a backsplash, or are the bricks just easy enough to clean up after making a greasy mess?

  23. Darlene says:

    Peek-a-boo with a MOOSE!

  24. mayr says:

    Me too the horseymoose. Lerve, lerve lerve.

  25. Su says:

    72 million…. nice

  26. Tigersmom says:

    I was just scrolling back through the pics…what is in the wooden(?) box in front of the TV? It looks like it has two creepy antennae?

    Oh, and the brick looks so good white.

  27. Tigersmom says:

    There’s a moose on the loose!

    I love your little cast iron hobnail kettle, too.

    So glad that you have your dream kitchen finally. You’ve earned it, I’d say. Are you loving it as much as I hope you are?

  28. Jody says:

    I have stove envy not because I cook a lot but because of how easy it would be to clean up spills. What’s with the moose? Is he looking for Waldo?

  29. Farquist says:

    Favourite line:
    It couldn’t suck a meow out of a kitten.
    Trying to figure out how to work this into everyday conversation.

  30. Sally A says:

    I love the pull out tray! Thank you for all of the useful information regarding gas lines and range hood too! So I’m guessing you are 99% finished with your remodel? Was it worth all the anxiety? I’m guessing yes! I’m guessing a lot.

  31. Ev Wilcox says:

    Wow! And I thought I liked my stove! Now I am having stove envy. Rats….

  32. Auntiepatch says:

    Love the stove! And those burners! Genius!

  33. Ember says:

    Ok upon futher inspection, it looks like a wooden bowl…but I really thought it was a shoe at first!

  34. Ember says:

    Is that a wooden shoe on the plates? Love the stove and hood! I love cooking with gas so much better than electric.

  35. Amber says:

    aha! Karen has made good on hiding bizarre doo-dads in the photos to see what we respond to!
    it works too.

  36. Amie Mason says:

    Loving the open shelving! Jealous of your burner!!!

  37. SK Farm Girl says:

    OMG I love the moose hiding his head behind the crock full of pins!!! Brilliant little dash of quirkiness!!! PS: The gas burner unit looks delish too; yup gas burner envy going on here!

  38. Phyllis Kraemer says:

    Colour me green!

  39. Cynthia Jones says:

    Sorry, I only skimmed your post on the stove because looking at stoves and seeing you move things to show how to clean them, upsets me.

  40. Vicki says:

    beautiful. everything beautiful.
    i especially enjoyed the elk (?) peeking behind your pot of rolling pins. love.

  41. Cynthia Jones says:

    Is that a Fitbit on your left wrist or is it the new thingy from Macintosh that does even more fancy stuff than the Fitbit?

  42. Pam says:

    I spy with my little eye your kitchen tv. Wondered where you decided to put it. Now you can watch Orphan Black while cooking up a stir fry. Nice!

  43. Jamie Lynn says:

    Ella beat me to it, but just in case you didn’t know, there’s a mini horse creeping around on your counter.

    Love the range and the vent hood! Looks gorgeous! I can’t wait to see the whole kitchen together!!

  44. Monica says:

    Hey, you figured out where to put the kitchen TV! :)

    • Karen says:

      For now, lol. Not convinced it’ll be there forever, but it’s definitely there for now. :) ~ karen

  45. Susan Preston says:

    …..I want one! I covet your stove!

  46. Stephanie says:

    That wok-cradle feature looks utterly awesome (as does the rest of it).
    Got a serious case of kitchen-envy shaping up here.

    Is that a moose disappearing behind the rolling-pin cannister?
    What’s he looking for back there?

  47. Mindy says:

    I’m hating you a little bit right now. I’m now officially obsessed with your stove.

  48. Ella says:

    Beeeeeeee-auti-ful! I also like the horsey hiding a bit behind the crock of rolling pins!

  49. Gini says:

    We had a six-burner Bluestar in my old kitchen (which we completely remodeled and then moved from – silly us!) and we also bought a HUGE range hood exhaust fan – smart girl! Bluestars ROCK! How are you liking baking in the gas oven?

  50. Amanda says:

    Wow, I feel so satisfied for you..! And, I love the crock with all of your rolling pins!

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