Finalizing appliance decisions - opinions welcome!
Long-term lurker on these forums, finally joining the fray! After a year long process, complete with immense sticker shock and a total redesign, I am about to start my kitchen renovation - it will be really exciting to finally get the kitchen I've always wanted. I am struggling with a couple of my appliance decisions (range and fridge) and am hoping that some of the Gardenwebbers out there can lend a hand, as from what I can tell some others have had to make similar decisions.
Needs - I bake and cook a lot so both the cooktop and oven are important to me; I've decided to indulge in dual fuel since I have really liked having an electric oven (the only thing about my current range that I like!) It's only me and my yellow lab, so I don't need a big fridge, and I don't want water in the door or a water dispenser. And I'm not really concerned about being matchy-matchy, though the appliances will be on the same cabinet run with about a 20" cab in between.
So...after the frugal Mainer in me dropped the fantasy of the Wolf range, I've come up with the following set of options (in order of preference, though this seems to change daily):
Bosch Integra 700 slide-in dual fuel range (the higher end "pro style") with Kitchen Aid Architect II 19.7 cf fridge, or possibly the LG 20.7 cf fridge. This range would be my no-brainer first choice EXCEPT that when I actually saw it I was taken aback by how high the grates seemed - a good 2" taller than the others in the store. I'd like to think that when it's actually in my house and installed I won't ever think about the grate height again, but the nightmare option is that I end up kicking myself about it every day. I would love to hear from anyone who has this range and maybe struggled with this question - do you even notice the height of the grates now?
One salesman also mentioned the much-documented problem with the knobs (which seems to have been resolved, though not with metal knobs) and that one customer had reported that the labels on front had melted off (first time I have heard that one).
Both fridges seem to get good reviews and I'd be happy with either though the KA seems a little dated - those LED lights in the LG are seductive!
Electrolux wave-touch slide-in dual fuel range and Electrolux FD fridge (entry level version with no water and ice in front, and no water dispenser). Beautiful appliances but my personal preference would be a simpler control panel like the Bosch. A little high tech looking for my traditional kitchen (but they are so gorgeous that I'm not sure that is really an issue). I'm also concerned about reliability (though I will be buying from a dealer with a good service department) and about the relatively small oven size (but those rollout grates could be worth the size sacrifice!).
Kitchen Aid Architect II slide-in dual fuel range and 19.7 cf fridge (or possibly the LG). This will be the most economical package, but from what I can tell KA ranges aren't universally loved. The oven racks feel a little flimsy.
GE Cafe dual fuel slide-in range and fridge - I like the looks of the range but was somewhat taken aback when I was checking it out at the appliance store and another customer was in to try to exchange hers because the oven fan was so loud. Build does seem a little flimsy compared with the Bosch and Electrolux. Fridge seems to have mixed reviews.
These packages are all close enough in price that I don't really see that as a factor - I just want to make the best decision I can. Chime in please, especially those of you who actually own and use these appliances!