Please Tell Us About Your Kitchen Appliances!

It’s getting to be that time in our kitchen remodel where we’re starting to look hard at what appliances we want (the space is finally ready for them and prices are starting to look good with holiday sales*!). Although there have been many times when I wanted to punch someone in the face for offering unsolicited advice on our remodel, right now I want to hear what you love and hate about your kitchen appliances!

Before you start dispensing with your wisdom, here’s where we’re coming from.

First, They Must Be White!

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The stainless dishwasher at our office shows every smudge and water mark!

I don’t like the look of black appliances in general (I think for the same reason I don’t like black tvs prominently displayed), and stainless often shows far too many fingerprints and smudges (and seems to be headed out trend-wise, anyhow). White appliances will go well with our new bright, open kitchen, and will hopefully appear relatively timeless and easily matched in the future when one inevitably breaks while the others are still going strong. Bisque, Almond, and Avocado may come and go, but there will always be white appliances. Right? =)

The downside to white is that I will need to be diligent about keeping their handles and everything clean since that shows. But there are some places where I’d rather *know* it’s clean than assume it’s clean because I can’t see it… and areas of potential food contamination like a fridge handle seem like a good place to have that assurance of being able to have a visual confirmation of “clean”.

Second, We Need An Over-The-Range Microwave

Despite how much I really truly hate over-the-range microwaves, and after more back and forth with Mr PoP than I really care to admit to, we are committed to an over-the-range microwave (for now). This is a debate that took a while, but we settled between ourselves (though we debated putting it up as a He Said/She Said). We bought this one and installed it last month.  I’ll say it – I think microwaves are ugly. And putting one over the range in our kitchen places it right in the focal point of our lovely space. Wouldn’t a lovely architectural vent hood look so much better there?

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Not only that, but the air flow for vents built into over-the-range microwaves tend not to be that great. (The one we got has a higher than normal vent speed, which is one reason we chose it!)  But as much as we tried to reconfigure the cabinetry layout in our kitchen and dining room, we felt like we had three choices.

1. No microwave, which is what I’d really love. Virtually nothing tastes “best” when it’s cooked in a microwave, so I’d love to be rid of it forever. But for now, we need the fast option for cooking and reheating since we sell large chunks of our time to our employers. Hopefully someday our time will be at less of a premium and we can get rid of the microwave once and for all.

2. Microwave on counter, which is what we used to have. If we weren’t eliminating counter space (by removing the peninsula that used to separate the kitchen and the dining area), I’d be more open to this depending on the location. But I want to keep the counter space we will have as open as possible.

2.* A Drawer or other built-in microwave would also theoretically have been a possibility were they not insanely expensive and also too wide to fit in any of the available drawer space in our kitchen. So not really a true option for us.

3. Over-the-Range Microwave, which we deemed making the best of a non-ideal situation.

We’re Keeping Our Dishwasher

When we bought our rental duplex and it came with an empty hole where a dishwasher needed to go, we took that opportunity to buy a nice dishwasher for ourselves and put our old one (which was quite loud!) in the duplex. Nearly 5 years later, our Bosch dishwasher is still going strong, despite the abuse it has taken by not being ensconced in cabinetry for the last seven months or so. So we’re keeping this guy.

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Refrigerators

We’re getting a new refrigerator. While the old one still technically works (though the icemaker line leaks) and we’ve never had a light bulb that lasted more than a year in it, it’s just tiny (since the space we had before was smaller) and I’m looking forward to it being gone. Here’s what we’re thinking on a fridge.

1. I like the idea behind french door fridges with the freezer on the bottom, but haven’t lived with one for more than 2 days at a time (on an AirBnB visit). It seems like we’d be able to see our fresh foods much easier with the fridge on top and hopefully we’d lose fewer items to the back of the fridge, so in my mind:

French Door Fridge = eating healthier + less food waste

But maybe I’m idealizing them a little too much. The way the kitchen cabinetry will be laid out, we should have plenty of space (opening will be 37.5″ wide!) for doors on both sides to open fully and for the freezer drawer to be pulled out without interfering with any walkways. But it could also accommodate other door types as well.

2. We both recognize that automatic icemakers are huge luxuries (and one that we’ve been doing without since January), but we’d like to have such a fine luxury in our new fridge. That said…

3. I am not a fan of ice/water dispensers on the doors. Yes – I know – most people love them. But I am not most people and though Mr PoP is “most people” on this issue, he’s willing to cede to me here (after all, he did win the Battle of the Microwave).

Why do I dislike them? First, I don’t default to cold water. At work, I am the girl that fills her water glass with half cold, half hot from the water cooler because I only like drinking cool water if I’m hot and I’m cold indoors far more often than I’m hot. Plus, if I really want cold water, I’ll add ice to the room temperature filtered water dispenser we’ll have at the sink.  Second, I hate how unevenly they dispense – ice and water end up shooting out and spilling on the floor. And third, I also hate that they are yet another place that ends up as a breeding ground for bacteria. They seem like just another place for me to keep clean (and with nooks and crannies that make it hard to really do so). Not cool.

What do you love or hate about your fridge? Do you have a bottom freezer? Is it awkward to use? (Keeping in mind that we are healthy, nearly 33-year-olds that can bend over just fine.)

Range Top & Oven

The layout of our kitchen is such that it makes the most sense for our range top and oven to be one unit. Also, it’s got to be electric. Our neighborhood doesn’t have gas line hookups, and it’s just as well since I don’t like gas stoves after having one try and light itself in the middle of the night at an apartment I rented years ago.

But freestanding or slide in? While freestanding units are the default for that set-up, there are also slide-in models that seem pretty cool. The idea behind a slide-in is that it looks more like a built-in and is less visually crowded against the backsplash. With the microwave over our range top, that idea does have some appeal, but they are definitely several hundred dollars more expensive and would likely require us to custom-cut our counter. That’s not a big deal now since we’re custom building the whole counter ourselves, but would we be creating a headache in the future if it breaks and we can’t find another that matches the space exactly?

Coils or Glass Top? In the past we wanted coils because we were paranoid of breaking or scratching glass top ranges, but that seems to limit the other features available, like…

Convection? I’m pretty sure I want a convection oven, which uses air flow to regulate the temperature. They are more energy efficient and cook faster than standard ovens. But they are more expensive, and it’s one more feature that can break…

Induction? I’m less sold on cooktops that use magnetic induction instead of thermal conduction to bring pots and pans to temperature. While the technology seems really cool and exact (and safer since the level of heat on the surface is minimal), I’m just not sure that I’ll ever be a good enough cook that this level of exactness isn’t overkill. Also, they’re pretty darned expensive.

Double ovens? The truly fancy-pants ovens these days have two separate ovens – one big and one small. Again, I’m not sure they’re worth the ~$500 price premium we’d need to pay. I think I’d rather get a small convection toaster oven (like this one) to use atop the counter (and put away in the cupboard when not in use!) for heating small items small items separately from the big oven.

What features do you have on your oven that you love or hate?

So please, tell us what you love and hate about your appliances. Dish on brands, features, random quirks… everything! What did you think you’d love but never use?  We’re willing to spend money getting good appliances (after having cheaped out on them when we first moved in), but we want to get quality (we’ll check with Consumer Reports before pulling the trigger, too!) and not waste money on fancy features that are more marketing spin than actually useful. Or tell me if I’m vastly overthinking this process… =P

Thanks!

 

* Re the holiday sales: Thanks to purchase price protection that we have on a couple of our credit cards, I’m not super concerned about timing the exact best price.  I’ll try to get good prices, but if the appliances are advertised within the next 90 days for a better price, our credit card companies (specifically Discover and Chase) will refund the difference to us.  I’ll need to quickly scan the Sunday ads weekly after purchasing, but seems worth it!  So far, we’ll be getting at least $80 back from a price drop on the microwave we bought last month that is now on sale for a cheaper price!

43 comments to Please Tell Us About Your Kitchen Appliances!

  • That kitchen is coming along Mrs P. All of our appliances are off-white/bisque. I don’t like black or stainless appliances. Our kitchen is small, so we also went with a microwave over the stove. My family has one of those integrated range tops (in the counter), but I’m not a big fan. Our stove is fairly basic.

    We’ll be getting a new fridge soon also. I think we’ll go with a freezer bottom, fridge top design. Be careful with the french door fridges. My step father has a recent one, it’s huge but somehow there isn’t much room inside. The doors and internal divider (between the left and right sides) must take up too much room.

    It will be interesting to see what you buy. Hope you guys have a great weekend
    -Bryan
    Income Surfer recently posted..3 European Blue Chips With PotentialMy Profile

    • Internal divider in a french door fridge? Most of the models I’ve been looking at don’t have any sort of internal dividers in the middle, but I’ll watch out for that! I can see how it would make the space seem much smaller.

  • My mom love, love, loves her double oven. I still get texts about it two years after its been installed. She does catering, but rarely from home, so this is really about cooking for her and my dad, and some basic entertaining.

    We also just moved to a French Door fridge, and we love it. We do waste less food, though I wouldn’t say we’re eating healthier.

    • So what kind of stuff does she use the double oven for? Is it really cooking things at two different temperatures at the same time? Or just having the extra space/shelf?

      • She’ll do bread in one oven and a roast in the other, or sometimes she’ll use the convection oven for some last minute heating, while using the other one for something that’s been cooking longer.

        When big groups come over to their house (often), friends might bring something that needs to be set in the oven, while another friend needs to finish baking their other thing.

  • Tara

    I would take induction over regular glass since you can’t get a gas cooktop. Right now, a lot of appliances are crazy on sale because I guess November is the time to clear them out. Unless you use aluminum pots (you shouldn’t since they impart flavors into tomato based dishes) it’s not any harder to use an induction surface. They are essentially like the quick heating of a gas stove.

    Also, with french door fridges–I recommend having an ice maker. Generally it’s not much more to have one in a french door fridge as they appear almost to be default. I’m not a fan of in-the-door dispensers for ice and water as they’re generally $200-$300 more for a fridge, plus they can take premium door space due to the in-the-fridge icemaker.

    I do however like the water dispensers that are inside the fridge. You get filtered water that is chilled but the dispenser isn’t in the door so you don’t lose any space. Plus, there’s no dispenser in the door to keep clean. You don’t see a lot of fridges with this option, but they’re always cheaper than in the door models. Samsung makes a good one.

  • Heidi

    I LOVE my French door fridge (basic Samsung one with no extra drawers/water dispensers) but I feel like it has much more usable and visable space. However, I did buy an appliance warranty (from Best Buy), and have needed to use it as the motherboard in the fridge had to be replaced early on- just having a tech come to the house would have been more than the warranty cost me. The one thing I would change is my small old house has narrow doors, which limited my fridge choices- I wish I could have gotten a fridge with adjustable shelves.

    • About how old was your fridge when the motherboard went out? And thanks for the reminder to measure doorways! Hopefully that doesn’t limit any plans for a big fridge =)

      • Heidi

        The fridge was only about 2-3 months old when the motherboard broke which is why it was such a surprise! I believe that the manufacturer’s warranty would have covered the part, but not the fee for the technician to come out to the house twice (once to diagnose, once to install) which if I remember correctly would have been atleast $300. The Best Buy warranty on the fridge was less than that, so I’m glad I got it. I bought the fridge in 2013, it’s a 20cu ft Samsung French Door (no water dispenser).

        • That’s crazy! I’m surprised the warranty wouldn’t have covered the technician! Our dryer warranty covered a visit by a technician even when the problem turned out to be a clogged vent (when we first moved in)!

  • After having lived with my parents who jumped on the french door trend early and then going out on my own to have other fridges . . .

    YES, YES, YES to the French door! A million times yes! Definitely easier to see food, keep food straight, etc. Just don’t get one that is insanely deep. My parents have one with the filtered water spigot thing on the inside, which is a nice compromise. I have many times debated springing for a new fridge just to get a French door one.

    Can’t help you too much on the range other than to say:
    – just get the normal one that is easier to deal with
    – no to the double oven — again, my parents have one, and it is a PITA. Plus, hard to cook really big items like turkeys and such.

    Hope the sales treat you well!
    Leah recently posted..Time and seasonsMy Profile

    • Another french door fridge lover! Maybe they do live up to the hype!

      I haven’t cooked many turkeys in my time, but don’t necessarily want to limit what we can cook with an undersized oven. Good to know.

      • Tara

        I also wanted to say… if your cat is as badly behaved as mine and likes to poke her head in the fridge when you’re getting food (our cat is BAD–but we love him), a french door fridge would prevent that from happening since the freezer is on the bottom so every time you open the fridge, it’s too high up for a curious cat to look inside.

  • We love our double oven, but I can’t use the top oven without burning myself unless I’m extremely careful. (DH has no problem with them.)

    We’ve had two rentals at this point with convection ovens and in the year we’ve been in them have not really figured out the convection part. We do not recommend the convection oven/microwave combo we currently have at this rental. It is a huge pain to use just for regular microwaving (but you’ve already got the microwave figured out!)

    We also have a separate ice maker at home but it is such a huge energy hog that we just disconnected it.

    I’ll be interested to see what people recommend in case we end up redoing our kitchen when we get back.
    nicoleandmaggie recently posted..Ask the grumpies: How do I ignore a terrible pediatrician?My Profile

    • Note: our double oven is two full-sized ovens. Love it.
      nicoleandmaggie recently posted..Ask the grumpies: How do I ignore a terrible pediatrician?My Profile

    • Are yours the two full-size ones that are built-in? So one of them is kindof at shoulder level and the other waist level? That seems neat, but definitely won’t fit in our space – unless we want to give up having a fridge! =P

      • The bottom one has a flat drawer under it (for pans), so I guess the top is a little higher than my waist. The other one has a top taller than my shoulders. Lowering it is one of the things we’re considering with a remodel. But who knows.

        I guess if you didn’t have space and wanted two ovens I might recommend the set-up we have in our current rental with a regular-size oven and then the microwave/convection-oven combo over the stove. But we still think the combo is obnoxious and difficult to use so if you got one you shouldn’t get the kind we have (and besides, you already have a microwave).
        nicoleandmaggie recently posted..Ask the grumpies: How do I ignore a terrible pediatrician?My Profile

        • My parents also have the micro/convection oven. It’s stupidly big and not very good as a microwave but also not good as an oven.

          I just like the plain ol’works like an oven thing. Convection ovens seem strange to me, and you often have to adjust the cooking time. I like to bake, so I worry about everything drying out. Granted, I haven’t read about them and have only used them when visiting my parents in their current home, so they might be nice if one knows how they work.

  • Definitely go for the French Door! We went Stainless because all of the other appliances in our kitchen (which we didn’t get to choose) were Stainless. http://www.homedepot.com/p/LG-Electronics-28-cu-ft-French-Door-Refrigerator-in-Smooth-White-LFC28768SW/205029841 We *love* our LG models – we had this behemoth in our old house, and a newer/larger LG in the new place. The new LG is so large we didn’t have a choice in whether the door ice maker was optional or not :( I use it a surprising amount though. The LG models are “super” energy efficient, and most qualify as energy star CEE tier 3 (Samsung is the only other brand that has such a model).

    I would *not* recommend a “double” oven if it’s the same size as a standard oven, just with two doors. You’ll never fit a roast/turkey/other large beast in it – just go with the regular. Convection ovens are a dream for serious cooks/bakers, but a nightmare for others – you have to adjust all of your recipes. All newer ovens have great insulation and are pretty good at even heating all by themselves, don’t spend the extra money unless you’re a serious cook and willing to go through the work of adjusting your recipes (apparently, some ovens will do that adjustment for you, but I don’t know how good they are).

    I *love* my induction cooktop, and *if you have the pots/pans for it* – I’d suggest the induction – the control and efficiency of gas, but with electricity. HOWEVER, you have to have induction ready cookware, and that can be a significant purchase if you don’t already have it. Our induction cooktop is GE Profile brand, but I’m not thrilled with the controls on it. I started with a $60 Duxtop single burner as practice and test – it sat on top of our crappy electric glass top and was the primary burner we used until we got our full cooktop (it’s 1800W vs the 3200W available on our “big” burner – 9 minutes for 4 gallons of water to come to a rolling boil!)

    In general, I’ve been very happy with LG and Whirlpool appliances. Not thrilled with the GE Profile stuff we currently have, but it was “free” and I’m not replacing it anytime soon.
    Mom @ Three is Plenty recently posted..Detailed Financial Picture – November 2015My Profile

    • Also wanted to add that the “door in door” while a nice concept takes a *lot* of space out of the fridge. We considered it as we like to reach in for iced tea a lot and opening the whole (30+ ft^3) seemed a bit wasteful, but when we played with it in the store, we were not happy with how it worked or how much space it took up. We also considered the Samsung with the doors for the freezer instead of the drawer (bottom freezer -one side can be a fridge or freezer), it looked nice, was large enough for us, but had horrible customer reviews- in your case, it’s only available in stainless, so not one to watch out for.
      Mom @ Three is Plenty recently posted..Detailed Financial Picture – November 2015My Profile

    • This is the Samsung French Door that I’m looking at pretty seriously right now. The only downfall seems to be that it doesn’t have a deli drawer, so we’d have to figure out some other way to organize cheeses. Maybe a small basket or bin?

      Energy efficiency is nice, but we’re not super concerned about paying extra for a very low energy model because
      1 – pretty much any model will be less than our current fridge in terms of energy usage
      2 – we’ve already “prepaid” energy costs via our solar panels, and won’t get that money back if we don’t use it… and we’re currently sitting on a pretty good surplus of kWh credits already, so cutting back on energy isn’t a huge priority.

      Thanks for the confirmation on the door-in-door. It seemed kindof gimmicky, and hopefully with a filtered water dispenser at our sink we won’t be reaching in for beverages too often.

  • I agree, white is the way to go. I would get a french door fridge. My parents have one and it makes sense. You’re not looking in a freezer more often than the fridge, so why would you have a freezer at eye level? Also I have this vague idea that a freezer on the bottom is more energy efficient because cool air sinks? I have no idea if this is true.

    Don’t knock gas stoves because you had one faulty one! Gas stoves are awesome. There’s a reason there’s the saying “Now you’re cooking with gas!” When you blast that thing on, you’re boiling water in no time. I can never go back to waiting for coils to heat up.
    Norm recently posted..How To, And How Not To, Rent An Apartment From MeMy Profile

    • “You’re not looking in a freezer more often than the fridge, so why would you have a freezer at eye level?”

      Makes sense to me, but I’ve never had a fridge that wasn’t the old-school top freezer bottom fridge so I wasn’t sure if I’d hate it!

      As for gas stoves, Mr PoP tried to convince me to get one countless times. No, no, and no. For so many reasons (including my huge discomfort with open flames – I hate even lighting the propane grill!), no. Especially not when induction heats up almost as quickly (if I ever decide I need immediate heat) and is WAY safer.

  • Go with a glass-top stove! I had one in a rental for 3 years, and I really miss it. It was really easy to clean, and doubled as extra counter space. The only downside is that your pots have to be flat on the bottom. We have a set of copper-bottom pots with family sentimental value that we couldn’t use on it. My newer set of stainless steel pots were fine, though.

  • spiffi

    I am not a fan of the french door fridges – but I love my fridge with the standard door, and freezer on the bottom. Mine has a pull out drawer freezer – I liked that option better than a swing out door on the freezer bottom.

    I read all the consumer reports and the number one thing that breaks on fridges appeared to be the water dispenser/ice maker – so I skipped that in my fridge and have mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I never had an ice maker, and like having the extra space in my freezer. On the other hand, my friends have an ice maker and it’s really convenient. Maybe my next fridge, in 10 years, I’ll splurge and get the ice maker :)

    I have the flat top ceramic stove – it’s what came with the house. It’s fine – but I don’t feel comfortable using cast iron frying pans on a glass top stove. And when I wanted to can some jam, it was not recommended to place large heavy pots of water on the glass top to boil. You have to be careful that your pot bottom doesn’t extend out past the boundaries of the burner or you can crack the glass top. In some ways the old coil stoves are still the most flexible.

    • I never had an icemaker until we installed the one that came with this fridge probably 4 years ago. It’s awesome to not have to fiddle with ice trays, but there’s definitely a space premium on having it and it’s already broken (well, the line that connects it leaks). =P

      The not-needing-to-be-careful part is what I love best about the coil stovetop, but it’s really only the very basic models that have coils anymore. If I want a convection oven not to mention any other features, we’re pretty much committed to getting a glass top (since gas is not an option).

  • Debbie M

    I am always a fan of standard-sized, easily replaceable items, so I’d vote for free-standing. I don’t mind that kitchens look like kitchens.

    I know you’re already decided on the microwave, but I’m going to tell you about another option anyway: we have one on the counter in the corner set atop four matching mugs. Since it’s in the corner, it is not a focal point and doesn’t take up much prime counter space. Since it’s on mugs, you can open the door even if there’s something (short) on the counter in front of it (like a cereal bowl). And you can push things underneath to get them out of the way–or just store things (like a loaf of bread) under there. And I’ve always assumed it’s easier to reach and doesn’t collect as much grease as an over the oven microwave, but I’ve never had the latter.

    Our microwave has lasted over 16 years and is still going but is from a poorly-reviewed model, so I think we got whatever the opposite of a lemon is. I like the turn table (do all microwaves have those nowadays?). It’s even removable for easy cleaning.

    We also fantasize about french door bottom-drawer fridges. What’s good about our current fridge, though, is:
    * adjustable shelves (one gives enough room for milk)
    * glass shelves (improves visibility)
    * ledges on the edges (reduces the impacts of spills)
    * three drawers (two we use for produce and one for cheese and butter)
    * the drawers pull out all the way and are easy to put back (easier for cleaning)
    * metal (I like magnets on the fridge)

    I have an old-time gas range and oven, so you wouldn’t like that. I do miss having a window in the oven door–I recommend that.

    I have no dishwasher–you wouldn’t like that either. I’ve heard that modern dishwashers, unlike the ones in the apartments I grew up in during the 1970s, actually work. But then I’ve heard that they don’t actually work with modern greener dishwashing soaps. But then I heard that they’ve made dishwashing soaps stronger, so they do work. But then I heard that the new soaps cloud your glass or even etch it and dishwashing detergent is the real reason you’re not supposed to put your All-Clad in there. Also, I remember plastic things flying around and getting caught someplace that melted them, but now there are things to hold baby bottle tops that could probably also work for other things. Anyway, I don’t know what I think about dishwashers yet, but I have high hopes and want to have one that works with mild and affordable dishwasher soap one day.

    • “* three drawers (two we use for produce and one for cheese and butter)”

      This seems to be the biggest drawback of the model I’m looking at hardest right now. It only has 2 fridge drawers, so I’d want to get a rubbermaid bin or something like that to use as a deli drawer/basket for cheeses, etc. That might be a little weird of a solution, but maybe it’d be fine.

      As for dishwashers, we think ours works well, they’re just designed to all be slower than molasses these days. I remember when the dishwashers took less than an hour to run. (It could be run after dinner and then put away when homework was done!) But now the default is 2.5-3.5 hours… though they do use less water than they used to. The only additional feature I think I’d get on our next dishwasher is a quick rinse cycle, which our dishwasher at work has. If the load isn’t full, but the dishes are starting to get a little stinky, you can run a rinse only cycle that clears out the food particles and the stink until you finish filling up the dishwasher. Nice when it can take days or a the better part of a week to fill up the dishwasher with only 2 people sometimes!

      • Debbie M

        I wonder if you could replace one of the refrigerator shelves with a shelf/drawer combo from the same (or similar?) company.

        Right, wow, 2.5 – 3.5 hours is long. I know that soaking works (water being the universal solvent and all), but my experience is things don’t need to soak long. Interesting.

  • The frugal ecologist

    Fun! Your cabinets are looking amazing!

    I know you’ve already put it in, but I would choose option 4 and get rid of the over the stove microwave. Ugly and detracts from your awesome otherwise high end kitchen. Get a sleek range hood – you could even make a custom surround with your wood skills. Option 4 is to Stick the microwave in the large wall unit – we’ve done that for years. It’s really not a pain to open 2 doors – the cabinet then the microwave – when you need to use it and it’s so nice not to see it.

    Induction, but check if your pots will work otherwise you will be buying new ones (ask me how I know). Second choice would be glass top.

    Single oven w convection. Mine has a probe and I use it frequently (but you don’t cook meat…) no need for double ovens if you’ve got a toaster oven. In a previous house we had a built in range and oven. It looked very nice and custom.

    I like French door fridges and I like the sleek look without in door dispensers. I love cold water though, so I have one. I think freezer on bottom is not great if you use it a ton.

    White will look lovely – just get rid of that microwave.

    • With the microwave, I totally get where you’re coming from, but this is a battle I have lost for the next 5 years or so. A microwave wouldn’t fit in the pantry unit I’ll be building since it won’t be a deep enough cupboard to enclose it completely and a microwave would be just as ugly there (and an odd focal point in the dining room) as it would be in the kitchen.

      Really, I want something like this http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/27/the-usb-desktop-microwave_n_5716595.html to actually become a product. We could get that and store it in the pantry and pull it out when we want to use it like a George Foreman grill or something like that. All we need it for is heating up leftovers on plates!

  • Hello,

    Your kitchen is looking great! I’ve enjoyed following your progress. After 20 years of never living in a 100% complete house, I have to say I much prefer to live vicariously through others’ home improvement projects! 😉

    My husband and I started building our current home in 2011. I actually chose a vintage gas range (which the hubster restored), having never cooked on gas in my life. I love it! But, that doesn’t apply to you, so the bits of my experience that might are:

    In our previous home we had one of the glass top electric stoves. I never had any issues with scratching it, but I found it very frustrating to cook on because it took forever to heat up or cool down. So if something was too hot, you had to pick up the pan and remove it from the burner to keep from burning the food or boiling it over. When we moved here, we started out in a garage apartment that had the bottom of the line GE electric range and I much preferred it to our fancy-schmancy flat top stove.

    I really like having two ovens (we also have a new electric wall oven), but I think a countertop oven would be a good compromise, especially if you could find one that can handle a 9×13″ pan. I almost never use the microwave, so in hindsight I would probably have done a smaller wall oven and nixed the microwave all together.

    Our refrigerator is a side-by-side with the door dispenser for water and ice. I can’t say I have strong feelings about it one way or another, although I do like having the filtered water (instead of the swimming pool water that we get here). I really wanted one of the French door models, but the ones I liked at the time were way more than I was willing to pay for a box to keep things cold. My niece has one, though, and she loves it.

    Good luck with all your decisions! I’m looking forward to seeing the finished kitchen.

    Kari

    P.S. Hi to KittyPoP from Lily and Serafina.

  • merritsu

    Don’t have much more to add, except that we bought a white Amana brand fridge a few years ago (up here in Canada, not a brand I’ve seen anyone else mention, so don’t know if it’s available in the U.S.) with a one-door fridge on top and a pull-out freezer drawer on the bottom and I’d highly recommend that arrangement. It’s easy to see what’s in the freezer, and I like having the fridge view closer to eye-level. I’ve never felt the need for an ice or water dispenser – we keep glass bottles of water in the fridge and there’s an ice bucket in the freezer. I like to keep my appliance technology as simple as possible – there’s less to go wrong that way! (We also have the smallest chest freezer I could find, which I keep in the basement for extra freezer storage – the pull-out freezer drawer is great for regular use, but wouldn’t have enough room if you like to stock up on sale items or save frozen berries, for instance.)

  • Shannon

    My in-laws have a french door fridge with a water dispenser inside the fridge : http://www.kenmore.com/kenmore-21.9-cu-ft-french-door-bottom-freezer/p-04672002000P?prdNo=5&blockNo=5&blockType=G5

    It’s cleaner then having it outside the fridge, but you do have to open the doors to get to it.

  • Amy K (RelaxedGal on the MMM forums)

    We did side by side for the fridge – we wanted the french doors, I forget why we decided against. I am jealous of the french doors – you can put a half sheet cake in there! Our side by side makes it kind of hard to store frozen pizzas, but the multitude of baskets makes it easier to organize (breads here, veggies there, meat in the other drawer, ice cream on the shelves, frozen burritos on the door, etc.)

    The sales guys at Sears were very compelling, they recommended the Kenmore and really, the Kenmore fridge has done very well for us over the past 7.5 years.

    For the cooktop / oven we did a 36″ induction cooktop, 30″ electric convection oven. Cooktop is mounted over the oven. I think this was 3x the cost of a 30″ slide-in, but less than a 36″ slide in because those are only wolf/viking/etc. Love our Bosch oven, with proof/dehydrate/pizza/convection/etc settings, a dozen in total. The only thing it does poorly is keep time – the clock loses about 5 minutes/month for some reason.

    The cooktop…. meh. We thought we’d do more side-by-side cooking and wanted the elbow space. Or for hosting get-togethers and cooking lots of food. That hasn’t panned out, I think a 30″ would have been fine. Giving away my aluminum pans made me sad. Finding induction compatible pans that don’t weigh a ton has been difficult (“lightweight cast iron” pans are actually a thing, and have been nice but hard to find). I do appreciate the fast heat up, the fact that the cooktop doesn’t get hot, and the smoothness is great for using it as more countertop space. Downside of smoothness: I need to check every so often if I’m stirring vigorously, to put the pan back on the heat!

  • So far, we love all of the appliances we’ve purchased for the reno. They are stainless steel (despite the fingerprint warning my mother gave me) and I love them. Luckily, we don’t have any littles running around smudging things so for now, there aren’t too many fingerprints on them. However, there’s this new sexy “slate” look out there that part of me wishes we would have done instead (http://www.geappliances.com/ge/slate-appliances.htm) but the stainless actually looks better with our colors, I think.

    A big reason we chose our appliances was for the efficiency/energy savings. Our fridge is a Whirlpool WRB322DMBM 22.1 cu. ft. Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator w/ Ice Maker. We chose this kind of fridge instead of french door because supposedly this is the second best at saving energy (next to those fridges with a freezer on top…no thank you) and we heard some not-so-nice stories about other brands (mostly Maytag). Also, I love my Kenmore 5.4 cu. ft. Electric Range w/ Convection Oven. Had never used convection before but now it’s pretty much all I use. It cooks everything so evenly and in less time. Love. It.

    As for your microwave, have you considered putting it up on a shelf/in a cabinet above the countertop? We have a corner of our kitchen that had one of those deep corner cabinets where things would either get lost or had space that wasn’t used, so we put our microwave there. It’s now off the counter, out of the way, no longer a focal point and I love it. I can send you a pic in an email or something if you’d like!

    Good luck with your search!
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  • Thuy

    Stumbled on to your blog through Frugalwoods and love it! I went through a kitchen remodel in 2011 after I bought a foreclosure. We (my cousin and I) did a lot of the work ourselves. I ended up buying cabinets and appliances through IKEA. They run occasional specials where if you buy 3 appliances, you get 20% off the entire package. Saved a lot of money.

    Overall, I have been pretty happy with the appliances. I got the fridge with the french doors and bottom freezer. Love having the French Doors. The shelves are adjustable and I can fit a lot of stuff in and it is easy to see where everything is. Having the freezer on bottom is much more efficient. It has an icemaker built in but I never bothered hooking it up. We just don’t use ice that often but it is nice to have the option. Most Ikea appliances are made by Whirlpool. This is the model I got. Still running great.

    http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/60288758/

    We ended up replacing the gas cooktop with an induction cooktop this year. Having had electric, ceramic, gas and now induction, I highly recommend induction. The smooth top is very easy to clean. It heats up quickly and evenly, no more hotspots when you are cooking. Dinner, literally takes about half the time to cook. Major drawbacks are requiring a higher amp line. We had to pay an electrician to wire in a 30 amp line for the induction cooktop. ($700!) There are induction that require lower amperage but you need to check the specs carefully. Since you are looking for a single unit, not sure what those specs are. Also your hard anodized aluminum set will NOT work on induction. However, cast iron works great, is cheap and will last for decades.

    If you bake a lot, the convection oven is really nice. It can reduce your baking time but you need to keep a care eye on it. Mostly, I use it to when I want to get a nice crispy exterior, (ie. pizza crusts, french fries, baked chicken) only for the last 5-10 minutes. Also great if you have too much moisture in your dish and need to dry it out a little (like a baked casserole). I would have loved a double oven but sacrificed it to enclose the microwave in a cabinet. I would rather have the freed up counter space. And realistically, I would only use a double oven once or twice a year so it did not seem worth the premium.

    Good luck on the reno project!

    • Thanks for the info, Thuy! We had our new appliances delivered last weekend after picking them out and purchasing over Thanksgiving weekend. So far we love the french door fridge (we went with the counter depth model, so it’s not super huge, but has way more freezer space than we were used to). But we haven’t quite gotten the new convection oven put in since I need to prep a couple of temporary counter supports for the slide-in model we ended up with. I’ll keep the adjustments to cooking times in mind since it’ll probably be in the opposite direction of adjustments I had to make in the past with our old oven that didn’t heat evenly. Everything always seemed to require extra time in that thing!