So it’s week 3 of the One Room Challenge which means we are at the half way point. BANANAS. My kitchen has been demolished and the new cabinets are installed (except for crown moulding.) While that feels very exciting we have a long way to go. For one, we are still without countertops and more importantly NO sink. Life without a kitchen sink is really challenging. Obviously we’re talking about #firstworldproblems but still I’m a mess and I have been doing a lot of take out.
Two quirky things about me as a kitchen designer are
1) I don’t cook much myself
2) I’m NOT A FAN OF STAINLESS STEEL.
Stainless has been the “luxury” appliance finish for the past several decades, but I personally see it as more “the standard” rather than luxurious. (Plus the finger prints! Ugg.) For my own kitchen, I wanted to do something a little more special and stylish, yet also classic I am using black and white as my main colors with a few brass accents, so I had to keep this in mind when selecting my appliances. I don’t mind mixing in a little stainless with brass, but I didn’t want the strong visual effect of a stainless refrigerator. Instead I decided to mix up the finish appliances.
My appliances were delivered and minus the fact that the microwave is MIA, I’m very pleased with my selections.
A mix of black and stainless plus a paneled dishwasher that will also be black.
Hood (no longer available)/ Stove
EXHAUST HOOD // When selecting appliances I started with the range hood. To me, the hood is the biggest style setter in the kitchen. I generally prefer custom hoods (wood, metal, plaster) but that was prohibitively expensive for me, so I decided to keep my beloved black chimney hood. It is the Datid from Ikea, but it looks like it is no longer available I love that the black finish just gives it a slightly different twist than your typical stainless chimney hood. George MAY add a small decorative treatment to this. Stay tuned…
MICROWAVE // I don’t care how small your kitchen is, I don’t want to ever see a microwave over a stove. Micro-hoods are the absolute worst. Functionally it’s hard to use both at the same time. Plus it’s visually crowded and cheap looking. I don’t mean to offend anyone, but nothing says Budget Kitchen more than a microwave hood. I’d much rather see the microwave built into a wall cabinet, or better yet, placed under counter. For my own kitchen, I made room for a microwave drawer because a lot of re-heating goes on in this house and I enjoy the ease of the drawer. (vs bending down to open a door.) Mine is still missing in action, but I’ll be sure to post about it once it’s installed. I’m pretty excited about its flush design and the drawer that opens and closes with a touch of a button. (Fancy!) I’m thinking it will be definitely worth the splurge.
DISHWASHER // My dad raised me to be a Bosch girl, so selecting the dishwasher was a no-brainer. I prefer them for quality and quiet operation. I will be adding a full overlay cabinet panel onto the dishwasher so it will match the rest of my base cabinets. (BLACK) I cheaped out a bit and bought the 300 series but I’m already kicking myself for not upgrading to the 800 and getting the 3rd rack.
REFRIGERATOR // The real drama began when I started to shop for a refrigerator. I knew I wanted a french door model with nice handles. At first I assumed I would just do stainless since cabinetry panels were not a good option. (I’ll save fridge panels for another post- lot’s of thoughts there.) But then I found this Maytag and became very intrigued…
Would a white fridge with clean metal handles bridge my gap between cottage and modern? I loved the idea that it would blend well with my white upper cabinets. It’s also pretty well priced, so that helped the budget. I even started thinking about DIY’ing fancier handles.
But so many questions filled my head. Was it chic, or too vintagey? Was the white bumpy? Or modern like glass? After calling dozens of appliance stores in the area, I finally tracked down a white Maytag and was able touch and see it. In person, the white finish was OK- not glass (bummer) but also nut bumpy/cheap. The doors are rounded on the ends, which added to the vintage feel of the unit.
Kitchen Aid Handle
I compared that to the Kitchen Aid, which is also offered in black and white. The Kitchen Aid doors are more clean lined/ square edged. Plus KA handles are chic! The stainless handle have a decorative textured style that I really liked. So basically I purchased the refrigerator that had the cutest handles.
In the end I decided that a black refrigerator was a better choice than white. It felt a little more modern, a little more glamorous, plus it seemed more consistent with the rest of my appliances. It’s not a black glass or black stainless- more like something in between polished and matte. It’s finish actually works really well with my cabinets. Had it been super glossy, it wouldn’t flow as well.
Just a small aside about refrigerator practicality and planning the proper size for your remodel:
One of my limitations was my size; this kitchen only fits a 30″ refrigerator. When laying out my kitchen I consciously chose to shrink my refrigerator to fit a trash cabinet next to the sink. I decided to do a full depth fridge to gain back precious cubic feet. With my layout, it really doesn’t matter if the refrigerator is full depth or counter-depth, so this was an easy decision to gain storage. To compare- my 30″ wide full depth refrigerator is 20 cu ft, yet many 36″ wide, counter-depth models are also only 20 cu ft. I really didn’t give up that much to gain storage for trash and cutlery.
Also, I CANNOT talk about refrigerators without talking about clearances. If your refrigerator is next to a wall (like mine) then you need to leave yourself several inches clearance from the wall to allow the doors and interior drawers to fully open. 3″ minimum, 6″ is better. In my case, every inch was so tight. I left a 3″ gap and it’s just barely functional.
STOVE // The last piece of the puzzle was the stove. When stove shopping I had a few requirements
- Gas on top / powerful burners
- Convection Oven
- Slide-In. (Controls are in front- I hate the look of the high back of free standing ranges.)
- Clean style/ Nice handles
Had the budget allowed, I would have gone for a duel fuel range, because (most say) an electric oven is superior to gas oven. I’m not a baker so I don’t really care. As long as it heats the pizza or roasts the veggies, I’m happy. So I saved by doing an all gas range. I initially selected this Bosch range because I think it’s a great product at a moderate price.
But once I finalized the refrigerator, I switched the stove to Kitchen Aid as well. This was purely a stylistic choice- I liked that the handles matched. I usually don’t care at all about my appliances matching, but the KA handle is pretty distinct, so I felt it was appropriate in this instance. Also it’s nice that it has 5 burners in only a 30″ space.
PS- I would have bought this in black if they offered it, but I’m fine with the stainless here.
With the appliances delivered, suddenly the kitchen has grown crowded REAL quick.
Next Week: I’m going to dive into the rest of my finishes: countertops, backsplash tile, sink, faucet and cabinet hardware. My counterops are supposedly getting installed Tuesday, so that means I may be a very happy girl in week 4.
Be Sure to check out my fellow ORC participants below!
Catch Up on My One Room Challenge Kitchen Renovation
*** Edited *** I want to apologize if my words about microwave hoods were insensitive. I was speaking candidly about luxury kitchen design. I’m really not trying to crap on anyone. Renovation in general is a huge luxury. Most people really don’t “need” to renovate. I think no less of someone who has a small, old, “cheap” kitchen than someone with a super fancy expensive designer kitchen. It’s mostly about the meal and company anyway.