AGA colorful ranges and a retro kitchen at KBIS

Colorful appliancesWhen we walked the show floor at KBIS 2016, Pam and I noticed right away that there were a lot of booths that were almost entirely white, grey and beige. So when we spotted the colorful AGA stoves booth, it was a breath of fresh air with big smiling lollipop sprinkles on top. Color, color and more color — plus, they even had a retro inspired kitchen setup. Oh happy day!

Colorful appliances Colorful appliancesAGA’s luxurious ranges are heavy duty cast iron and oh so cute…

Colorful appliancesThis little lemon yellow model was the first one of AGA’s stoves to catch our eye…

Colorful appliancesAnd look — they have pink and aqua too! Plus, how cute is that little metal tin on the right side of the photo that looks like a miniature AGA stove?

Colorful appliancesThis AGA City24 range is only 24 inches wide, made to fit in small apartment or home kitchens.

Where would we use these classic AGA cast-iron cooker styles?

  • Pam suggests: These would be very cool in a sweetheart prewar vintage style kitchen… but maybe not so much for a midcentury kitchen, at least in the USA; she gets design cognitive dissonance at the thought because these would not have been common in midcentury American kitchens. But continue on with this story — because AGA is introducing some new options that might be a better fit, aesthetically, for our post-World-War-II kitchens.

Colorful appliances

AGA has been around since 1922, and the company shares a lot of fascinating historical information on their website:

Most people associate the name AGA with good food and fine living. And although it’s often thought of as quintessentially British, the Aga actually began life in Sweden. The celebrated Cast Iron Range found in 750,000 households worldwide was invented by Dr Gustav Dalén, a blind Nobel Prize-winning physicist. Appalled that his wife and their maid had to constantly tend to their old-fashioned range, Dalén set out to design a modern range that would look after itself. It’s unlikely Dalén could have predicted that his invention would go on to be widely acclaimed as a design icon, but it has.

Colorful appliances

In the year 2000, the BBC published a retrospective of the 20th Century highlighting what it considered to be the top three design icons: first was the Coca-Cola® contour bottle, second was the VW™ Bug and third was the Aga Cast Iron Range.

Over the last 80 years Aga has built on that iconic design, creating new products for the day’s needs. Additions to the Aga family like dual fuel and electric cooking products, as well as refrigeration, have brought us a long way from Dalen’s first range in 1922, but close to our heritage.

AGA Elise and Falcon models — coming in 2017:

AGA Elise coming in 2017We turned the corner of the display, then saw these more contemporary-looking ranges set within a retro-modern kitchen display. This AGA range has a more appropriate look for many of our kitchens — and lookie the colors!

retro-kitchen-setup-aga AGA Falcon and Elise designs

When we returned home, we could not find these design on the AGA website. So, we reached out to the AGA PR department, which in a flash explained:

The center range pictured is the AGA Falcon, which is flanked on both sides by the AGA Elise (shown with gas and induction cooktops).  All three are new prototypes we unveiled at KBIS for feedback, and all are slated for release in 2017.

AGA Elise coming in 2017 retro island We also liked the combination island and seating area shown in the booth. It was made of a large slab of butcher block countertop, edged in aluminum edging with a checkerboard metal insert [same as used on the backsplash] in the center of the island to act as both decoration and a handy trivet.

retro island vintage cabinet pullAlso notice: The simple edge-beading of the slab coors — a nice touch, more fancy than simple radius edges but still simple. And, we liked the vintage style metal cabinet pulls with ribs that mimicked the ribbing in the countertop edge.

vintage cabinet pull vintage cabinet pullAGA Falcon

AGA stoves are not inexpensive, but having seen them for the first time in person, I can say they are a thing of beauty — and for sure, another great option for Retro Renovators to be able to consider.

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  1. cathie says

    They are lovely but completely unattainable for the average consumer because of the price. That little 24″ is over $8,000. Too bad they can’t make their product more affordable

  2. Dan says

    The original AGA was a gas stove designed to be “on” 24 hours a day. The temps on the burners and in the ovens were preset. Cooks did not adjust temperatures, but instead moved food from burner to burner or oven to oven as needed. That was the reason for the heavy cast iron construction, including those massive burner lids.
    Let’s hope AGA is leading the way out of the wilderness of stainless steel and greige.

  3. Carolyn says

    I’ve been reading romance novels for (ahem) years and those set in Great Britain never said they were cooking or getting warmed up at the stove but specifically at the AGA (coal or wood). Now I wonder if that term is similar to us saying the ‘fridge, maybe not so much a contraction of refrigerator but Frigidaire.
    I like the trivet in the counter – how handy!
    You’re right, not so much MCM but what one of your contributors called her cottage “Rural Electrification” or something like that.

    • Mary Elizabeth says

      I think you are right, Carolyn. But in a recent novel about the Welsh detective Evan Evans, he and his bride-to-be lament about the cost of the Aga that they want to install in their renovated shepherd’s cottage.

  4. Rick S says

    The cost of the AGA is more affordable if you add it to a refreshed kitchen vs a gut remodel. It does look like a stove to love.

  5. ineffablespace says

    At $5500 -8000 for the 24″ and $12,000-15,000 for a 39″, the two conventional AGAs that are closest to the typical American sizes, these ranges are a commitment on several levels.

    With a conventional AGA you have to relearn to cook and either be committed to a range that is always on (they use them as a heat source in UK) or have a conventional range for summer use, when the AGA is shut off.

    The Elise is channeling the looks of Lacanche, which is more expensive than the AGA .

    If you are selling your house, a conventional AGA would be a negative to many people because of the change in cooking style and you may need to be willing to take it out and replace it or take an essential loss on the range.

    Some people really like cooking on them, and apparently it’s a completely different experience. Generally though if you are buying something because it comes in great colors, it may make more financial sense to buy appliances you like and get someone to custom paint them.

    • says

      The total control operated like a regular range and can be turned on and off, made for warmer climates it does not have to run constantly like its original British counterpart. I have a. Total control three oven with a gas module and Love it, I also live in South Carolina

  6. E says

    Please, please tell me that AGA is bringing back some of those cast iron models with gas cooktops to the US market. I’m selling my house and have to leave my Aga 6/4 behind. I really would love to get another AGA, but won’t have room for the standard model plus a separate gas cooktop.

    • ineffablespace says

      The AGA 6/4 which seems to be 6-burners on top like Americans would be used to, with AGA type ovens–sort of a hybrid, used to be sold in US, because I’ve seen them, but they don’t show up on the current US website (?)

      But E, I would find out if the buyers want the AGA for sure, because it may be worth taking with you if you can’t get a new one.

      • E says

        The 6/4 was sold in the US until up to two years ago. It’s still sold in Britain as the Model S. It has the traditional AGA ovens, although they are temperature controlled and not on all the time, and the gas cooktop. It’s actually perfect for the American market and cooks far better than any Viking or Wolf range.
        Believe me, if the buyers didn’t want the AGA I would take it with me.

  7. says

    The cost of an AGA isn’t so great when one realizes they are the stand-in for central heating in many European homes.

    Except in rare circumstances, I don’t see many Americans being willing to “remodel” how they heat and cook for the sake of a beautifully colored solid fuel AGA.

  8. Joan says

    Owner of a 6/4 here–and love it. Also in regards to the MCM question, Fallingwater has the original white AGA in it’s kitchen. There’s a photo of it in the cookbook by the Kaufman’s chef

  9. Pat says

    I just don’t think I could get used to an oven door without a window, I would be opening the door way too much to check on stuff.

  10. lynda says

    The induction looks interesting. One fact about induction, you do not need the strong fan hood like the gas ranges need. Also, since the glass top does not heat up, they are much easier to clean up spills. I wonder if the range would still have the gas ovens, or be all electric? I remember seeing a large red gas AGA at one of the Home Expo Design stores before it closed. (the ones Home Depot owned)
    Gorgeous ranges, for sure. You might even have to shore up flooring in some kitchens with the weight of all that cast iron!

  11. says

    Great post. I first saw Agas when I read British books on kitchen decor. They seem to be very popular in the UK and Europe. My British friends tell me that many older homes in Britain don’t have central heating, which may be why the Agas were designed to be left on. Fun fact-Prince Charles has at least one of these that he uses to whip up gourmet meals sourced from his organic farm. Hmmm, must be chilly in those old estates. So if you have the scratch, you too can cook like the royals, lol.

    • Lizzy says

      Exactly – Here on the Gulf Coast we have only a few cold days most years. I have a 1200 square foot mid century modest. and cold days are when I fire up the oven and cook for the freezer. It heats the house perfectly! I have central heat but running the oven is more comfortable.

      I also have a big, drafty, 1805 plantation house out in the middle of nowhere. I completely understand why the British use an Aga for heat; retrofitting central into old houses like that is tricky at best, often impossible, costs a fortune! By geographical quirk, that house gets a winter, and we have to use fireplaces plus gas heaters. It is Not Romantic! It’s cold. And ones allergies go nuts from the smoke. I’m sure the British love a nice clean warm Aga instead of the hassle of fires, or underheating in general.

  12. Laura says

    I have been wishing for a 40″ range with an induction cooktop & the Aga Elise looks very much like the Rangemaster Elise available in the UK. I can’t wait for it to be introduced! Thank you for bringing this to our attention!

  13. Kathy says

    Been drooling over those since I saw them on “the Two Fat Ladies” BBC cooking shows on PBS. Great for cooking long and slow. Oh well, have to content myself with a crockpot.

    Or the 60’s style crockpot–an ovenproof dish cooking some “Stayabed Stew” all day in the oven. From the “I Hate to Cook” cookbook by Peg Bracken, a fun read (and decent recipes actually) if you can find it! (Just substitute frozen or fresh for some of the canned ingredients).

  14. magnarama says

    I’m a private chef whose primary client has the big 4-oven standard gas Aga with the lift-up burner plates, plus the mini-Aga companion 24-inch — just like in the very first photo above, but cherry red. I’d never seen an Aga til I walked into that kitchen — and lemme tell you, learning to cook on it was no small feat.

    Not only is it always-on, but you can’t regulate the ovens’ heat. They’re at four pre-set temps, and one upper plate is for boiling and one for simmer. And the ovens are incredibly poorly designed, very narrow and deep, with handles that have no grip openings so you have to pinch them with your wet/greasy fingers. Cleaning the interiors? Forget about it.

    I can see what a boon they’d be in damp, chilly Britain, where I understand they use them not just for cooking and home heating but for drying their clothes, linens and everything else. But we’re in hot, humid South Carolina, for crissakes!

    But today even in the U.K., given the modern options, the traditional AGA is just another aspirational luxury status object, for those whose kitchens are decorative rather than functional. Believe me, private chefs see lots of those kinds of kitchens.

    But having gotten that out of my system, I must say I simply adore the metal-edged butcherblock island and countertops shown above in their display booth. AGA should start selling those!

  15. says

    Oh man I never knew about the bottom freezer that’s so cool now I will be on the hunt! I own the wall mounted fridge with a GE wonder kitchen which my dad built in a booth space for me! I can tell you it is secured to the wall with a bracket piece it hooks on and also supported by sitting on the bottom piece. We actually supported it a third way for extra safety thou. It took three people to left it into place as its a few hundred pounds as you stated!

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