Design & Finishes

Luxury or Gourmet? Captivating Kitchens in Costa Rica

Every day we hear from luxury property owners and buyers in Costa Rica about their home preferences, including a wide range of simple, odd and extravagant kitchen requests. One-of-a-kind appliances, elaborate kitchen islands, rare stone countertops, massive storage areas, and walk-in refrigerators are sought after as part of their luxury kitchen. But, these kitchens are becoming more about the gourmet experience and less about luxury detailing.

Today’s luxury kitchen in Costa Rica is organized with two balancing thoughts in mind: a fully staffed and equipped work area servicing the household needs and a practical yet indulging setup in which food preparation, cooking and sharing become captivating entertainment for the hosts, family and friends. With more integration and functional requirements, many of the built-in appliances and kitchen features now have a strong impact on perception and resale value for the property.

Contents of this article:

dolce-villa-kitchen

Enchanting gourmet kitchen at Dolce Villa in Escazú.

The Ultimate Investment

On the luxury market, a fully loaded kitchen with the latest and greatest appliances and gadgets is a strong selling point—even for wealthy buyers who rarely cook. A gourmet kitchen adds tremendous worth to a home whether it be a family home in San José or a vacation getaway in Guanacaste. Kitchens in luxury homes in Costa Rica range from an initial $30,000 for a whole kitchen to incredible gourmet setups with La Cornue ranges well over $250,000. Yet, even with this wide range, the kitchen is often a good indicator of perceived value. 

Clari Vega, an LX agent who has represented some of the Costa Rica’s most impressive estates in Escazú and Santa Ana, highlights the importance of understanding the emotional and practical needs the client will expect from the kitchen at home.

The kitchen is a major focal point for luxury home buyers. It’s not so much about luxury detailing or cost, it’s about how the space is used and enjoyed.

There are key trends in the luxury kitchens and appliances market that now heavily influence perceived value and thus investment return for luxury home owners, Clari explains.

The trend I see is that even when many of our clients entertain at home and hand over the kitchen to the staff, a hired chef or a caterer, it’s also a place for their foodie and gourmet cook instincts to take over. They enjoy their passion and share it with friends and family, regardless of home size.

lxcostarica.com_property_hillcrest-escazu

Open spaces, WOLF appliances, and a central kitchen island for service and entertainment at Hillcrest Estate in Escazú.

Renewed emphasis on the kitchen in luxury homes is a reversal from earlier days, when cooking was viewed among the wealthy as a necessity primarily for the staff. Older homes reflect that, with enclosed kitchens sidelined in the hacienda-style layouts common in Costa Rica, or relegated to an out-of-the-way part of the home. As a result, many beautiful, older and expensive homes on the market must upgrade or compensate for smaller kitchens that don’t fit with today’s lifestyle. For most properties, the kitchen is a strong selling point.

Gourmet vs. Luxury: Kitchen Design Preferences in Costa Rica

In terms of design, the smooth all-white kitchen remains popular among buyers, especially as part of the newer contemporary homes in Escazú and Santa Ana. But many of the design considerations associated with luxury don’t apply with many of today’s wealthy gourmet clients. They look to match not only the textures, tones, and design accents but also the practical elements of an industrial kitchen, with state-of-the-art stainless steel appliances, functional kitchen islands for preparation and sharing, and a large pantry big enough to hold everything a gourmet chef needs.

lxcostarica.com_property_modern-penthouse-amazing-views-escazu

Modern all-white penthouse kitchen in Escazú

A gourmet kitchen is specific to the owner’s need, it’s not just about the detailing but also about functional comfort for the passionate cook. Baking, grilling, steaming – they each have different functional requirements.

María José Barrios, an LX luxury specialist, explains that searching for the right home for a gourmet client can be more demanding than a typical search. A person who bakes all the time has different needs than a foodie who specializes in raw organic foods. A vegetarian will choose different appliances and accessories than a meat eater or grill lover who might focus on specialty indoor smokers or an outside kitchen.

One of our initial considerations when helping a client find their ideal home is to understand how each of the family and staff members plan to use the kitchen. This can be an important tipping point beyond the number of rooms or property location.

2015-17-villa-real-8_copy2

Luxury kitchen with WOLF Sub-zero appliances at Villa Sogno in Villa Real

VIDEO: Tour of Costa Rica’s finest kitchens

Appliances for Costa Rican Gourmet Kitchens

Unlike some locally crafted hardwood cabinets that sometimes make their way into top Costa Rican kitchens in the market, the technology and equipment going into these fine kitchens are all imported. Well-known US-based brands and European craft and design appliances are prevalent in both indoor and outdoor kitchens. They combine name recognition, performance and features that are common in luxury homes in Europe and throughout Latin America, with function and the latest in food and prep technology. These kitchens come with many of the tools and appliances that make techniques like deep frying and smoking next to impossible in an average kitchen. Restaurant-style warming tables, countertop steamers, salamander-style broilers, and indoor smokers can all be found in Costa Rican gourmet kitchens.

La Cuisine International, based in Miami and with a local presence in La Paco, Escazú, is perhaps the best-known distributor of high-end kitchen brands for Latin America and an important supplier for notable kitchens in Costa Rica. With brands like Electrolux, Jenn-Air, Bosch, Coyote, Gaggenau, Viking and Thermador as part of their portfolio, they are sought after for iconic home and kitchen appliances including cooking, refrigeration and ventilation products. They provide full post-sales support and are one of the LX favorites. Their mission: inspire good living.

Nouvell, in Escazú, is one of the few international level suppliers with an active distribution and service presence throughout Costa Rica. They represent several international luxury brands including WOLF Sub-zero, Miton, and Poggenpohl. The local presence has helped make WOLF sub-zero one of the brands most often in Costa Rican luxury and gourmet kitchens. And it’s no surprise, the WOLF sub-zero products have great name recognition and resale value. Quite simply, this family-operated brand outperforms many of the other luxury kitchen brands, just as they do for the hotel and restaurant kitchens.

La Cornue is an artisan manufacturer of exceptional luxury kitchen ranges. The French company specializes and focuses on cooking. They create original, individually crafted ranges, cookers, and now also kitchen furniture and other products. La Cornue is not a common find in Costa Rica luxury kitchens, but they are a distinctive mark of some of the most gourmet and passionate foodie homes in San José and some of the most impressive beach homes. Their exceptional ranges are available in Costa Rica only through the US or French offices, with international service as part of the headquarters and the Purcell Murray Company. PM Portfolio also represents Irinox, an impressive line of professional grade blast chillers and shock freezers available for high-end kitchens looking to ensure their food is kept fresh.

Euromobilia is perhaps the most widely known local brand for kitchen and home furniture and appliances. Notably, Euromobilia kitchens represent the high-end Viking range and appliances which are prevalent in larger homes in Costa Rica, though the Euromobilia brand is more closely associated with their mid- to high- end kitchen furniture including Snaidero, Arrital, and their locally produced Euromobilia brand.

lxcostarica.com_property_Whitehaven-Contemporary-Home

Gourmet appliances at the Whitehaven Home in Cerro Alto, Escazú

ambar-kitchen-costarica

Spacious and practical with gourmet storage, the pristine kitchen at Ambar Home in Cerro Alto on the western side of San José.

The kitchen is a major focal point for luxury home buyers. It’s not so much about luxury detailing or cost, it’s about how the space is used and enjoyed. This includes special attention to gourmet appliances, kitchen design, and the lifestyle possibilities.

Also available in: Español