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Made in America by Sub-Zero/Wolf


This explosion of colored glass is one of the hanging custom glass chandeliers at the entrance lobby of Sub-Zero/Wolf headquarters in Madison, WI. The perfect introduction to what lies beyond the lobby, beautiful designs from artwork to kitchens and more. As a designer, I was blown away by what I saw.


I had the pleasure of being one of thirty-eight Designers and Architects invited out to attend a training of their new products. I have specified Sub-Zero/ Wolf products for years on my projects and have immense respect for their quality and aesthetic designs and I was not disappointed when I heard about their latest offerings.

I think what makes Sub-Zero/ Wolf so successful is their ability to listen to the people that specify their products. A panel of executives from the company sat and listened to all of the professionals in attendance to learn what they could do to improve the product lines. I enjoyed three days of collaborating with other professionals and touring the two factories and I am so excited to share the pictures and my experience with my readers.


I enjoyed learning about the history of such a successful company. Sub-Zero was created by Westye F. Bakke in 1943 and is run by his Grandson Jim Bakke today. Jim took the time to stop by and meet everyone and thank us personally for selling his products, which I was impressed by.

This is a late 1940’s Sub-Zero that I found so fascinating. I love anything that’s retro and maybe thats because I’m heading in that direction myself.
The 1950’s model started to take on a more modern design.

The 1960’s really started to take on the look that revolutionized today’s built-in appearance.

Visiting this factory brought back nostalgia like a Norman Rockwell painting does. The fact that the company is still run by the family that started it in the 1940’s is remarkable. Throughout my twenty-five years in the industry, I have seen great companies sell out to larger conglomerates and disintegrate. Sub-Zero/Wolf has not and that is why they have kept their products at a high standard and as a professional designer I am comforted by this when I am specifying their products to my clients.

Next was a tour of the factories and I couldn’t resist taking a picture of the label on the back of a Sub-Zero refrigerator that was in production.

It gives me great pride as an American to know that successful companies like Sub-Zero are born in America and putting  Americans to work.

Americans hard at work in the Sub-Zero factory.

This is one of the many complex robotic computerized machines designed for precision in the factory. I was amazed by the complexity and design of these machines and wondered why no one has designed a robotic house keeper yet.

My favorite part of the trip was being wined and dined by Chef Justin Thorpe. The Wolf cooking products are used by some of the best chefs in the world and we were given the opportunity to prepare our own food using this great product line and I really loved that! Even my cooking turned out good with Wolf’s appliances.

Every day we gathered in what looks like a state of the art Imax theater to learn about product and the companies philosophies. We met with the engineers that design product and the specification sheets that we use to install the products. I loved the collaboration between the engineers and the designers.


The brushed stainless steel and wood staircase was amazing with it’s graceful curve elevating up to the second level.


The designer in me could not get enough of the architectural elements throughout the headquarters.

This Venetian plastered red wall was bangin loud and I loved it!!!!!

This is a dining room where we shared wonderful food and conversation. I love the barrel vault wood ceiling. Notice all the color, textures and shapes used in this design, WOW!!!!

This is the lounge where we gathered after the day for cocktails and chilling out. Designer me was mesmerized by the use of the materials and I just wanted to touch everything with my cocktail free hand.

The curved lit bar top is onyx. The graceful shape of the top is perfect for sitting next to someone while socializing over a cocktail.

Layered Lavastone by Pyrolave was a star in one of the kitchens. I use Lavastone a lot and find it a fun way to add a splash of color to any design.


I want to thank everyone at Sub-Zero/Wolf for the opportunity to tour your headquarters. I loved getting to meet the people that produce such a great product and now I know their secret, it’s a great product!

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