Sunday, May 4, 2014

Day 14: A Rundown of Appliances

Day: 14
Schedule: It's On
Prognosis for Survival: Damn you pollen

Because of our elongated winter and late snow, we’re just now reaching peak pollen … no fun. Anyway, since it’s the weekend, no work is going on on the project. Tomorrow we’re scheduled to get the electrical roughed in and an inspector could show up at some point during the week.

So it’s all in one place, here’s a rundown of the appliance selection for the new kitchen:

Fridge: KitchenAid Pro Line Series KSC24C8EYP. It’s a 24 ft3, counter-depth, side-by-side. There was much discussion about models with a freezer drawer at the bottom vs. side-by-side vs. vs. french door vs. "normal" fridge. As the arrangement of things in the kitchen gelled, it turned out that the Evelin's preferred style of fridge would work, so that’s what we got. It has some features she didn’t want (specifically, water in the door), but the kids wanted that so at least they’re happy.

Range: GE Profile Series PGS950SEFSS. It’s a 30" slide-in double-oven gas range. We’ve gotten quite used to the double oven set up with our old Maytag Gemini, but I also wanted to move from cooking with electricity to cooking with gas. As with the icebox, there was a bit of back and forth over our options. We couldn’t find a configuration that really worked with a wall oven (single or double) and cooktop set up, so we ended up looking at ranges. This one has a double-oven set up with convection ovens, and a griddle plate for the center burner.

Hood: Best U10230SBI 30" slim profile range hood with 500 cfm internal blower. The downside with this unit is that the mechanics take up a chunk of space (most of the space) in the cabinet above. The upside is it is very sleek and it pushes back when not in use.

Dishwasher: Bosch 800 Series. The control are on the top edge and it has a third rack and is supposed to be quite quiet. It was a pretty easy choice.

Microwave: Sharp 1214T over-the-counter microwave. The microwave was not easy. I was leaning towards no built-in microwave, just get a small one and keep it on the counter, but Evelin didn’t want something on the counter if it could be avoided, and the designer and contractor kept pointing toward a microwave cabinet setup that would have it on a shelf with some trim around it to finish things off. I don’t know why, but I really don't like that look. For some reason, we'd ruled out a microwave/hood combo over the range, so we were at an impasse. It also didn't help that early arrangements had the microwave basically in the dining room. Eventually we came up with a configuration that had the microwave on the wall in the back of the kitchen, but it still was looking like a microwave cabinet setup. Eventually I found this unit, essentially an over-the-stove microwave without the light and fan system. There are still a few complications to work out (notably the need for some sort of lighting under it), but it seems like a decent compromise.

Radio: iLive IKB333S wireless Bluetooth under-cabinet music system. I knew I wanted to make sure we had an audio option in the kitchen because I like to have music or NPR going when I'm cooking and Evelin doesn't like the stereo in the front room cranked up to the level where I can hear it back in the kitchen. Sadly, the kitchen radio isn't a strong product category in the U.S. There were several U.K. and German under-cabinet radios that were better looking and had features I'd like to have seen (particularly support for FM-RDS), but no such luck. And, of course, there weren't any that supported HD Radio (again despite there being many options for DAB and DAB+ under-cabinet radios overseas). This unit lacks RDS support, but seemed like a better option than the one or two others available in the States.

The Splurge: Grohe Blue Chilled and Sparkling. One big splurge for the project is the faucet system. It's not just a faucet, not just a faucet with a water filter. It's a faucet that dispenses chilled filtered water AND chilled filtered seltzer water (along with regular, unfiltered hot and cold water). This will get the SodaStream off the counter (back to that clean counter tops thing), and it makes two points in the kitchen where the girls can get cool water.

One frustration with the entire appliance-selection process is that current trends really limit options. We would have rather had plain white appliances, but to get some of the features we wanted in things (like the double oven as a slide-in or the slim-line hood) we had to go with stainless steel. We were originally going for a white stove and panels for a french-door fridge and the dishwasher, but when it became clear we had to go with stainless steel, Evelin switched back to the side-by-side. At some point in the future the overuse of stainless steel and granite in kitchens is going to be a marker of early 21st century kitchen designs, much like avoccado or harvest gold appliances are a marker of 1970s kitchens ...

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