So you have decided to redo your kitchen, or maybe you are starting from scratch. Here are some things to give thought to that could help eliminate frustration and regret later on. Whether it is one appliance, or a whole kitchen, before you dish out several hundred hard-earned dollars, there are several things to keep in mind. The following ideas are suggestions that I give my customers during their search for the right appliance.

Questions?

The first suggestion that I would make is a thinking question. If you were my customer, I would have you make a list of your cooking and entertaining habits. Not just for the current day, but for the whole year. How many do you cook for? How often do you use your oven – daily or occasionally? What features do you like about your current appliances? What do you detest? Are there things that you would do more of if your appliances made it more convenient? Do you have large get-togethers? Make lots of platters? What about care issues – are you a sloppy cook or a neat freak? I find that few people actually think about these things.

Choice of Colors

The next thing would be color choice. If picking a whole new kitchen, think about the lighting. Do you want to have a certain “feel” to your kitchen? What about counter tops – Formica or a granite type? What about color of cabinets? If you like stainless, are you aware of the care involved in cleaning? What about the color of the exposed sides? Many people don’t realize that stainless can have black or gray sides. You have to make sure that all of the appliances come with the same color. Do you want all appliances from the same brand, or will you mix/match in order to get features that you like?

So you have decided to redo your kitchen, or maybe you are starting from scratch. Here are some things to give thought to that could help eliminate frustration and regret later on. Whether it is one appliance, or a whole kitchen, before you dish out several hundred hard-earned dollars, there are several things to keep in mind. The following ideas are suggestions that I give my customers during their search for the right appliance.

Questions?

The first suggestion that I would make is a thinking question. If you were my customer, I would have you make a list of your cooking and entertaining habits. Not just for the current day, but for the whole year. How many do you cook for? How often do you use your oven – daily or occasionally? What features do you like about your current appliances? What do you detest? Are there things that you would do more of if your appliances made it more convenient? Do you have large get-togethers? Make lots of platters? What about care issues – are you a sloppy cook or a neat freak? I find that few people actually think about these things.

Choice of Colors

design-kitchenThe next thing would be color choice. If picking a whole new kitchen, think about the lighting. Do you want to have a certain “feel” to your kitchen? What about counter tops – Formica or a granite type? What about color of cabinets? If you like stainless, are you aware of the care involved in cleaning? What about the color of the exposed sides? Many people don’t realize that stainless can have black or gray sides. You have to make sure that all of the appliances come with the same color. Do you want all appliances from the same brand, or will you mix/match in order to get features that you like?

If you are using a designer, keep a good eye on both the designer and builder. For instance, are the measurements that the designer is giving you give you any flexibility in your choice of refrigerator? Is the builder actually giving you the measurements that the designer gives you to pick out your appliances? I have had several customers experience the pain of restock charges – since all appliances are considered special order – because there were problems with the measurements. What I recommended was they go back to the builder or designer and have them reimburse the customer for the restocking charge.

Refrigerator

After I have asked these questions, we start with the refrigerator. Not having enough room inside by sides is the major problem people have. Also, since none of us are getting any younger, I find that more people are going to bottom freezers. Unless you go in your freezer more than the fresh food section, bottom freezers are more “knee/back friendly”, especially with very tall people. You can still get filtered water and ice. You can get some with ice in the door, but beware!! There is one brand that my department cautions against because of poorly constructed interiors, exteriors, and availability of parts – in my opinion! The main thing is to measure your space three times, and accept delivery once! When you measure the space, make sure that you measure all horizontal ad vertical edges. Also make sure that the cabinet over the refrigerator is the same height at all four corners. You must also allow for ceramic tile, baseboards or trim, and counter edges.

Gas or Electric Ranges

neat and white kitchenNext, we move to the ranges. Gas or electric? Manual cleaning or self-cleaning? Convection or standard baking? These questions are for wall ovens and cook-tops as well. With those items, measurements are essential! If you have electric and think that the smooth top style if for you, make sure you ask about the care and cleaning needed for this item! They look nice when you first buy them, but if you do not care for them correctly, you will soon be disappointed! If you like to cook with cast iron, stick with coils or change to gas. Also, don’t expect them to necessarily look brand new after several years. If you are cooking with gas, look for dishwasher safe grates made of cast iron. Slide in stove have less oven capacity than freestanding.

If you are putting a range hood or micro-hood over your stove, make sure that you know your city’s code requirements. Minimum measurement from the finished floor is 66 inches, but most people prefer 68 inches. You also need to know if you have venting to the outside or just using recirculation. Also, if you don’t use your large oven for daily use – like empty nester’s – a micro-hood can double as an oven if you get the convection type.

Dishwashers

With the dishwasher, the main thing is the measurements. If you are using granite counter tops, we recommend stainless steel INTERIOR dishwashers. You cannot mount plastic interior dishwashers into granite, so many builders use a semi-adhesive glue to install. Our installer refuses to do this type of install. Stainless interiors give you more flexibility if you have Formica counters and may eventually switch to granite. They can be installed at the top or sides. Also, if you purchase a tall tub dishwasher, you must have 34 inches from finished floor to the under-edge of the cabinet, as well as 24 inches width.

Hopefully, these hints will help you to plan your kitchen. I will also feature each type of appliance individually and in more detail in future articles. Also, please refer to my article about extended warranties. It makes no sense to spend $ 2-5K on a kitchen and then loose them all to power fluctuations!

Take care in planning your kitchen now so that you can reap the benefits later!