We live in a 200+ year old farmhouse with an incredibly complicated floorplan.
The kitchen was built in the mid-80s by a previous owner and we added a
living room addition in '99. Its now time to rework the floorplan of the house to
make the entire space work better as a whole. Its gonna be a big job and will allow
rethinking appliances & materials (no need to retrofit)
So... I'm collecting input.
Oven - anyone ever have a gas fueled oven (not cooktop but oven)? It would
be an advantage when the power goes off & we run on generator but I've heard
conflicting info on how well they control temperature. (we have natural gas).
Combo microwave & convection oven - anyone think they are a bad idea?
Refrigerators - After seeing cost differences, I'm planning to use a standard depth
stand alone fridge rather than the counter depth ones 42" or wider. Anyone think
the super wide ones are in fact worth the extra cost?
Anything you really love about your kitchen that is a bit unusual? Or advice you'd
like to share for someone working through the planning stage?
My sister in law has a huge family. 5 kids & lots of grandkids. So always big meals to prepare.
They built their house after they had lived in two other houses they designed themselves. Brother is a builder.
She put in 2 wall ovens & a six burner range. A large refrigerator without a freezer. Sink is in an island.
Microwave is built in above the ovens. Also a built in, automatic coffee maker. It has coffee ready when you rise in the morning. Range has a pop-up hood.
thanks. I was thinking of a wall oven plus a microwave/convection combo. I have very little wall space and am not fond of appliances on my counters. I see they have double ovens in a slide in range but they are very small. The wall oven would be much more convenient. (I need to revisit getting those small dual ovens in a wall oven unit vs range. If I could fit them in a wall space WITH the microwave, that might be workable. Though I fear I'd miss a full height oven to use for a big turkey e.g.)
Hence... is the microwave/convection oven a reasonable solution to wanting a small second oven?
I had a microwave/convection oven combo at my old house and I loved it. Used it as a microwave more often than an oven, but it seemed to do both jobs well. Only catch was the size, but if you only need a small oven for the 2nd one then you should be OK, but you're not going to be able to get a turkey in there or anything.
As far as counter depth fridge vs regular--I think it will depend on the layout of the rest of the kitchen. I have a fairly small kitchen, and if I had a regular depth fridge it would stick out way too far into the room and I'd always be banging into it. But if your kitchen is larger and the fridge isn't going to be sticking out into an area that people are always walking by then a regular depth one could work just fine.
I am hoping we can find a way to squeeze in the regular depth fridge where the current one is now. I found one a little wider & taller than my current one (which will eliminate the need for my second fridge). We'll see if the contractor is comfortable that he can carve in the larger dimensions. (It would go into a window opening in the original log house exterior wall (which is now an interior wall, due to an addition). The previous remodel had widened it enough to get in a 34" opening. I want to go to 36" Seems doable since its wood. The height needs to go from 67" to 71". That might be more of an issue but doable too.)
OK. Digging into appliance options. I read reviews and every model has folks complaining. I'm thinking of just going with one brand across the board. GE Profile. Anyone think its worth the time to research individual appliance ratings? And where to you find believable ratings?
I'm a big fan of Consumer Reports for product reviews/ratings. If you don't have a friend/family member who has a subscription chances are you can find back issues at the library (sometimes you can find stuff on their website too--some things you have to pay to access but I think there might be some things available free)
I checked their reviews. I've had some bad luck with their reviews in the last few years. Same with my dad. Their top rated dishwasher has lots of people complaining about how small the capacity is. But they don't have any mention of this.
I had purchased their top rated vacuum a few years ago. It was a complete piece of junk. I don't know what's going on with them but I no longer trust their reviews.
We have a Magic Chef range. Electric with glass top. I don't know if it's the stove or my wife that is great cook, but we eat very well with things cooked on it. She even uses it for canning, which most people argue can't be done.
The thing cost us only around $400.00. I'm a real tightwad when it comes to dolling out cash. All this stainless steel is a crock! That is just for enhancing TV real estate shows.
Of course I grew up on a small farm in the 40's & 50's so we always had to watch what we spent.
I am 100% with you on the stainless steel! It gets fingerprints and is harder to keep looking good. I'm going with black cooking appliances and white fridge. Not sure yet but probably black dishwasher.
I've been quite happy with my GE Profile gas cooktop. The sales guy suggested I just go all GE for the new appliances. But Consumer Reports does not recommend the GE Dishwasher... which led to my frustration on how to select appliances. I suppose there is probably not a huge difference in the "Mass Market" options and I'm a cheapskate at heart too.
Oh that's interesting! Ours has not worked since we moved in almost 15yrs ago & we never replaced it. We actually disagree about putting one in the new kitchen. It seems like it'd be nice when we have a dinner party. And would be expected when we sell the house. In the scheme of things, its not a big expense. DH says he will continue to wash stuff by hand. I'm hoping we can get in the habit of using the DW as it is more energy & water efficient than washing by hand. (And would keep the counter clear of the dish drying rack).
Thanks Bernie. How thick do you think the base of a drawer should be? Your construction spec says 1/2" - does that include the base? One of the lines I looked at was 1/4" plywood and that seems just way too thin!
Our entire drawer is made of ½" birch plywood. That is veneer plywood, not the particle board core stuff. I see lots of factory ones with thick sides. All that does is take away from drawer size.
Remember the old dressers with the bottoms falling out of them. Thin wood bottoms.
The ¼" bottoms will warp if the things in the drawer are heavy, like silverware.
I think I'm not understanding - you are saying that 1/4" birch plywood bottoms will warp if things in the drawer are heavy? I am planning to use a lot of drawers in my base cabinets to store pots & pans, glass & ceramic casseroles & roasting pans etc.
It seems to me 1/4" (plywood even) would be too thin to handle heavy items, especially in a wider drawer.
Before using ¼", even a small piece can be bent. Not ½", no bending of that.
Most factory cabinets do anything they can to cut costs, because they are competing with other factories.
¼" oak plywood costs $20 for a 4 x 8 sheet. ½" is $50 a sheet. They are worried about the extra $30, not quality of their finished product.
Check around your area. There should be a custom cabinet maker. Prices shouldn't be much different than a high end factory cabinet. Then you get to be part of the building process. Talking over what you want & coming up with a plan between you & the cabinet man. Not taking what some computer program can spit out.
Thanks Bernie. We're looking at "semi-custom" cabinets now. Our concern is the 1/4" plywood bottom. Dealer said we could potentially have shored up with a support underneath. DH said we could put another 1/4" piece on top.
The other concern is how the two doors meet (no center rail). The display cabinets had pretty large gaps. I'm not sure what is typical so we're going to look at some high-end showroom displays to see what we see.
I'm still ruminating on the ovens. The double oven in a single oven space (wall oven) is attractive but I worry a little about the height. I think I can cook something about 9" tall in the larger one. Is this enough????
You would be MUCH better off not buying GE across the board. For one thing, GE makes fine stoves but lousy DWs. You also need to think about how YOU cook, not how someone else cooks.
Although many people say otherwise, I buy extended warranty contracts on ranges and DW. They are not made as well as before, and the electronics are prone to failure from high heat and steam. Unless your spouse is a DIY, circuit boards can be very, very expensive. I have spent almost as much ($800 on two boards) for my Kenmore/Whirlpool gas range as I did on the original purchase price.
European DWs have a slightly smaller capacity than American DWs. You have to adjust the way you load your dishes, but they hold as much or almost as much once you've got it down. I have a Whirlpool/KitchenAid but there is no comparison between in quality between the KA (equivalent to the Whirlpool Gold line) and the Miele. The Miele is built like a tank, true German engineering. At the time I was buying a DW they did not have the adjustable tines they have in the new models - I was very disappointed because my odd-sized tableware and bakeware didn't fit in the Mieles they had three years ago. With the redesign they would fit more easily now. Miele is very expensive, however.
Gas ovens work fine, especially with the new electronics. One thing I don't like about GE models is that they only mark in 25-degree jumps. The Whirlpool brands all have much finer controls, in 5-degree changes. If you use your broiler, gas ovens are much better than electric for this, as they generally have better broilers. The best broilers are the pro-style ranges with infra-red broilers, similar to commercial broilers. They can sear a steak just like the best steakhouses, and just as fast. Be aware that with age - years, not months - gas ovens tend to run a bit hotter, electric ovens run a bit cooler. That's a generality, so something to keep in mind and use an oven thermometer to check periodically.
I have a huge need for refrig/freezer storage, so if I ever design a kitchen again, it will have the separate all-refrig/all-freezer twin units. Also be aware that if you don't use a counter-depth refrig, you MUST allow for ventilation space around any frig, which makes the standard fridges stick out even more than before. Many mfgs give the dimensions of a fridge but list the needed ventilation space separately, so take this into consideration. If you can build an alcove you can give a standard frig the look of a built-in without losing that interior storage depth.
When doing a layout, if you include an island you must really consider aisle space. What works for some won't work for other people. I loathe being crowded and generally kick everybody out of my kitchen when I'm working in it. For me, 42" is a minimum so that people can pass by me without hindrance.
Prep sinks help a lot if you have helpers in the kitchen. Don't put a cooktop on an island unless you want to spend a fortune for a vent hood. Take your 10 favorite recipes and imagine a walk-through doing the prep: what works and what doesn't, right now?
Pantries are life-savers for food and cookware storage. There are two ways to do it: standard 24" depth with roll-out shelves, either built-in or aftermarket add-ons; or hutch type - 12-15" deep can storage (nothing gets lost!) with 18-24" depth for cookware. Think vertical for cookie sheets, serving trays, cooling racks, etc.
Extra deep counters are wonderful for volume cooks and bakers but they increase costs dramatically. And you need to still be able to reach your uppers, which could be a stretch for those who aren't tall. Even in a standard kitchen, a stepstool can be handy. Where would you put it so it can be easily grabbed but stored out of the way?
Remember recycling containers, if your municipality is enlightened. Consider paper towel or dishtowel placement. Think about whether you want a recharging station for small electronics; a clever contractor can rig one up in a shallow drawer. Do you need a bulletin or chalk board to hold messages or lists?
Thanks for all those points. The info/suggestions on brands of appliances is quite useful. I bought a relatively inexpensive CAD program and can mock up everything so can visualize options. I think I've got a plan to works w.r.t. aisles & walk ways. I have no choice but for an island cooktop & a shallow pantry.
The fridge is fitting into an old window opening in an original exterior wall (now inside the house.) We're reworking a bathroom and will have access to the opening from both sides. The current fridge is recessed there & we're going for a larger one so we need to widen the space a bit.
Right now we have two refrigerators. I'm going for one larger one & a beverage fridge. I have a backup plan for keeping the old smaller fridge and putting it where the beverage one is slated.
My last "big" decision on appliances is the wall oven. They make these double wall ovens that fit into the space of one. Top one is 2.2cu ft and bottom 2.8cuft. Top has 2 racks & about 5" cooking height (taking into account cooking elements) and the bottom has almost 9" cooking height. I think its enough height. I love the option 'cause I usually just have one roasting pan in the oven. (I rarely broil things). With this, its a small oven to heat & I could cook two items at different temperatures at the same time. Or bake a boat load of cookies in both ovens. Just a nagging doubt about the height.
Thanks for all your help & suggestions! A ways to go yet but I'm getting excited about having a plan and moving into the next stage.
We decided to go with a local cabinet maker. A friend has used him extensively and they are very picky. His price was in line with the semi-custom stuff we looked at and better quality. So we're happy.
I found a couple of interesting options for appliances / cooking ovens.
GE offers a "speed oven" that does microwave/convection bake/speed cooking and some other stuff like toasting & proofing bread. I may just get that along with a standard wall oven. Its a little pricey. Curious if anyone has experience with this? Its called GE Avantium Wall oven
I had one (mentioned in previous posts). Mine was the GE Advantium brand (although it was a model from probably ~15 yrs ago--it came with a house that I bought in 2002, so newer models could be better or worse)
Ah - ecrane3 I thought you meant combo microwave/convection oven. Did yours have this new "speed cook" technology? Its supposed to cook way faster, as well as toast, convection bake, microwave etc. Sounds perfect as a second oven (or primary for smaller meals)
There are two types of Advantium: 120 volt and 240 volt. Most serious cooks are happier with the 240 volt. It is a different way of cooking, and you should try to find a "live" demonstration. There's a learning curve with them. GE's website talks very briefly about the two models, at: http://www.geappliances.com/appliances/speedcooking-oven.htm...
On the "other" forum under Appliances, these were some of the user comments about the Advantium I thought you might find relevant. As ecrane mentioned, new models may be different. Note that these edited threads go back several years: the Miele SpeedCook and Turbochef have replaced the Advantium in "buzz-worthy appliance" threads. "Speed cooking" is a general category and there are no standards for how the oven will cook quickly, so it is caveat emptor. With many new brands now on the market, you are not always comparing apples to apples. Be sure to compare features carefully.
2006: Check maximum sizes in real life. The (120) Advantium can only handle a single 9 x 13 pan - the 240 won't fit a pan that big. You can't roast a turkey in an Advantium! I hear the Advantium does cookies nicely, but if you are doing a whole batch and want to have three cookie sheets in at once, you need your conventional convection oven.
Also, as I understand it, there are a few things the Advantium doesn't do well - baking cakes and souffle's, and braising.
2006: The reason the 240 Advantium does not have convection cooking is that any food that will fit in the oven and would normally be cooked in a convection oven is done better and faster using its speed cook technology. Slowing it down to convection speed would be a waste of time and electricity. There is simply no need for thermal baking in the 240V advantium. This is not true for the 120V version as it does not have the power to accomplish much of what the 240V can. The 120version cannot use the halogen lamps at the same time as the micro, they must cycle between them do to power limitations. the 240 is not just faster, but much more capable and more than 4X more powerful, not 2X.
2006: Yes, the advantium is noisy when running, however the noise doen't bother me. (Now when the center island downdraft is on... THAT"S NOISY)
I am very pleased with my Advantium purchase. I chose the 120 Monogram and have it installed above a convection oven. I have owned it for about a month and have used it to speed-bake convenience foods for my teenagers, roast chickens, microwave oatmeal in the morning, reheat leftovers with the microwave sensor function, and bake small portions of cookies, rolls, and pastries. I made a fabulous flounder dish in it the other night-- it was the first time I actually cooked fish in an oven (usually I saute it in too much butter). BTW, I got the recipe off a Yahoo/Advantium group that posts new recipes and ways of using the Advantium.
2012: Worth noting that the 120v/15a versions of the Advantium built-in oven can be placed under a countertop, but not the 240v/30a versions (don't think there's a Cafe 240v, only Profile or Monogram). Also, the 120v Advantium is available in a 27"w version as well as 30". However, I wouldn't recommend a 120v Advantium if you use the speed cooking function often, as it has only 1/4 of the wattage available to it (1800w rather than 7200w, since it's not only half the wattage but also half the amperage), and thus relies more heavily on microwaves when in speedcooking mode, so your food won't get as crispy as with the 240v models, even though it takes twice as long to cook. For pure microwave or convection use, the 120v Advantiums are almost as good though. Also check out the Electrolux speed oven. Think Kitchenaid and/or Jenn-Air or some Whirlpool-owned brand has one now too.
Fabulous. Thank you. I just visited one of the nicer show rooms. The Miele looks wonderful. I'm just going back and forth in my head about where to spend my dollars. I'm back to thinking about the GE double oven in a single oven slot plus a microwave.
I'll start a new thread for anyone interested. We decided to go with a local cabinet maker.
I got the appliances from Sears (refrigerator & dishwasher) and GE. The latter was
encouraged by a company discount for GE.