The Home Design Studio sets out to provide you with information on sleek modern design, at the same time as retaining the necessary ‘classic warmth’ within the home. So it is that Rayburns have caught our eye recently. Endorsed by Dick Strawbridge, the nostalgic foodie who has been seen on programmes such as ‘Celebrity Masterchef’ and ‘The Hungry Sailor’, Rayburn Cast Iron Ovens are making a come-back under a greener banner: they’re now fitted with thermostats that can turn the rangecooker off, so that the house isn’t incessantly heated even when the weather is sunny. Given their trademark enamelled finish (in a range of pleasant colours) and also given this more environmentally friendly option, it seemed pertinent to research further this modernisation of a classic kitchen cooker.
Rayburns have been produced in Shropshire for over 65 years, and to this day every component of the rangecookers are 100% British-made. They differ from their sister brand, AGA, in that they also heat water, in addition to cooking and centrally heating the home. The models range in size from the 200 Series (ideal for a minimally-sized kitchen; perfect for a city dwelling) to the 600 and 800 Series (more suitable for a generously-sized cooking area; apt for a country property). Some models even have a lower oven to the central one, so that succulent joints of meat – slow-cooked using the ‘indirect heat’ method which being made of cast iron allows – can sit and await carving, without getting cold. Further, the largest Rayburns can heat up to 30 radiators over different floors.
Indeed, a Rayburn is ideal for the multitasking necessary in a kitchen and a household as a whole. The hotplate, hidden beneath insulating lids, provides high heat at one end and low heat at the other, so that pots and even kettles can simply be slid from boiling point to simmering in one move. The oven itself is ventilated with a flue, so that a fish pie may comfortably cook simultaneously with a sweeter dish, without the latter being pungently perfumed. The flue also prevents the kitchen from becoming steamy and, given the high temperature of a cast iron oven, splashed fat and grease ‘carbonise to powder’, meaning a Rayburn is pretty much self-cleaning.
However, returning to the environmental impact that having a Rayburn fitted might have, these classic rangecookers can now be powered with a trio of fuel options: kerosene oil, gas, and solid. Given that natural gas omits less nitrogen oxides (chemicals which lead to smog production) it is the most popular choice in domestic households, and certainly a preferable option for already-polluted cities. Nevertheless, wood is the most economical option.
Finally, as simple as a Rayburn makes a domestic chef’s life, the path to having one fitted is just as easy. Pick your fuel, choose your model, have a site survey to see which flue you need, and then watch it be installed. Voilà ‘classic warmth’, with a greener, modern twist; hello, three course meal. Bon appétit!