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!
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?
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.
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
* 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!