Appliance choices...aaaaagh Lots of questions

enigmaquandryNovember 25, 2010

I'm sorry I haven't been around lately. We've been doing some major work in the basement (I"ll be sure to post pics soon!) and I haven't been online much.

We do however have to replace our appliances in the kitchen post haste! Our stove doesn't light and when it does it's in a ball of fire, our fridge is probably 25 years old and is making hissing noises.

Our issue...there is no way that I have found to actually find out the best brands/designs/finishes. If I'm spending hundreds of dollars on an appliance I want it to last for a really really long time and not have to have repairs.

So other than a brand, we're looking at style...My inclination is toward a french door fridge (since the area around it is small and the doors would be nicer if they were small) and a double oven range (I just love the idea of being able to use two ovens simultaneously (I cook and bake A LOT). Any thoughts on these styles? Or others?

Lastly, we're 100% torn with either stainless steel or white. We can't handle black obviously because of our kitchen cabinets. I think white appliances are timeless and I love that. I also love how our current white ones look with the black cabinets. However I HATE white ranges, I only like stainless ones when I see them in showrooms. I really don't like the idea of a stainless fridge because of the fingerprints. Plus I hate hate hate the idea of going along with a fad...If I had my choice I would have a stainless steel double oven and a white french-door fridge, but then we would have a black dishwasher (works fine and blends in so much I don't think it has to count as "matching" the other ones) a white sink, a stainless range and a white that insane?

Please help...whimper :)

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Sorry I forgot a picture! This is a before and after of our kitchen...we have since installed some schoolhouse light fixtures and changed some things around but it's basically like this still...

From [house]( From [Stonegate Cottage]( From [Stonegate Cottage]( From [Stonegate Cottage](
    Bookmark   November 25, 2010 at 7:20PM
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I think that I would go with the black and stainless range and a white fridge. I know exactly what you mean about avoiding trends! I hate being trendy, and if I am, it is because I have reached the age where I am oblivious of trends.

I have always loved your kitchen, the most bang for the buck I have seen, and very classy.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 12:10AM
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Well I love white everything. I am not a stainless fan at all.But if you do not like the white stove then go stainless.

We have white everything but the stove and it has the black glass front and top. It really is not all that important to me..

One house we had was all hand me downs and combining households when DH and I got together. The kitchen and bath were side by side in a small house and laundry was in bath. So on one wall all in view at the same time was almond washer green dryer brown fridge and white stove. OK it made me crazy but everything worked and we found it hard to replace just for the sake of color. When we sold that house all appliances stayed behind at the request of the buyers. LOL

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 12:39AM
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We have an all-white kitchen except for the dishwasher (it was a deal). The dishwasher always seems to have something on the front of it, whereas the white appliances don't show things nearly as much. We're all done with stainless.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 7:53AM
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I have the double oven range and love it. Am on my second one due to moving, but the first one was 10 years ago. They keep adding options, never had a problem. My first one was stainless and really got tired of the cleanup. Now have a black one with Stainless looking trim.

The new one also has a toaster option...probably one of the best ideas yet. You can toast anything and allowed me to get rid of one more item from the counter. I rarely use the second oven except for roasts, etc. It is a great fuel saver and the smaller oven heats fast.

My fridge is the stainless looking paint. It matches the trim on the stove and very easy to clean. Rarely shows finger prints. A Samsung with bottom freezer and ended up being the depth of counter. Wasn't planning such but very nice not having one sticking out.

I can see why you would like the French Doors as they would not need a wide area to open. Just make sure you can open them, the one I had was next to the wall and couldn't open that side fully. A pain as I was limited to the size of what I could get in there.

Love your kitchen.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 8:55AM
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Hi, I'll echo the others and say that I think matching is not necessary. I think as far as colour goes, you should get what you like. (I'm a white fan - although I sure love the old fashioned coloured appliances from the 50s - I wish more were avail now.)

If you do get a 'french door' fridge make sure you don't need to open both doors all the way in order to get into any inner drawers. That's a pain. I love my plain jane, freezer on the bottom, fridge. It seems so much bigger and more practical that the older 'freezer on top' models.

ps, I too really like your kitchen! You did a beautiful job on your remodel.


    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 10:02AM
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Enigma, love your kitchen, and think all you are wanting to do is slide the old stuff OUT, slide the NEW stuff IN?

Don't know that much about double ovens or such, because I rarely bake, but I've been looking at a Bertazzoni Italian range. The one I want is only 24 inches wide, but they make lots of classy stuff (gas of course) which can come in COLORS as well as stainless.

I do not think you'd find a French Door Fridge as narrow as your current space allows. A side-by-side would work, yes.
I personally do not like through-the-door ice/water, and the Fr Door fridge/freezer we have has an ice unit inside the freezer, and an ice water dispenser in the hinge area of the fridge's left door. It works for me, and leaves the full fridge space totally usable.

Since you want an appliance that has few or NO maintenance, I will tell you that GE units have a bad track record for thru-door-ice maker units. That said, check out Consumer Reports online to get the skinny on their recommended units. I'm sure your library has the magazine you can read too.

what Prairie Girl says about the French doors being able to open, we CAN open both of ours at once. The fridge does stick out further than the full base cabs, which are 24 inches deep. I put a base cab on either side of the fridge, and have ability to open both doors of fridge at once. But it starts beeping quickly that it is losing its cool when both are open. I think you are better off to consider asidebyside unit for your kitchen. In fact, I'd recommend that you look for a unit that is CABINET DEPTH AND TALLER.
With you standing there at the stove, you don't want to bump your butt against the fridge when you lean over to put something in the oven. Oh yes, be sure to calculate the space taken up by an OPEN OVEN DOOR, since you will be using TWO OVENS.

And that's all I've got to say about that, said Forrest Gump. :)

P.S. So glad you are not thinking about changing out your sink.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 11:43AM
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If I were going to replace right now, I'd go with those two choices too. If you like to bake, you should consider convection for one of the ovens. I'd go with stainless in your kitchen. I know black has been mentioned, but all black would be too much I think. I like your dw being black though because it blends with the lower cabinets very well.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 11:49AM
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I dont think it has to match either and really I'd just get what you want. I like stainless especially the brushed but I don't look at it as a trend so much, I started buying stainless to match my 1960s stainless oven :), it's been around a long time. The fridge and microwave are still white though. I think a stainless cooktop is always going to look good.

    Bookmark   November 26, 2010 at 11:51AM
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I'll say that I like the idea of matching appliances, but I guess I'm in the minority around here!

Here's how we bought: we went to several stores, picked out the models that interested us, and took down model numbers. Then we spent several days researching on the internet. Just enter the brand, model number and the word "reviews" into the search bar, and you will be amazed at how much you can dig up. In particular, we found a lot of good reviews at,, and

Even more important is to read Consumer Reports, as was said earlier. Many new models are junk, alas.

A few other pointers: if you're buying multiple items, you might be able to negotiate a discount (we were able to get this on top of the sale that Lowes was currently running). Also, we got free delivery, got an Energy Star rebate, and got a $35 check for having our old 1960's model hauled off.

Finally, we bought a 5 year warranty on all the items (it was maybe $200 total), just for peace of mind. I've had so many friends who have had troubles with new appliances--it seemed worth it.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2010 at 3:35PM
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Xantippe, in minority as far as the comments SO FAR, perhaps. :)

However, I think it depends on whether someone is about to sell their home or not. If selling, having matching appliances has a purpose, but if it is a matter of personal preference, I'd say go for it.

With me, I just happen to like Stainless Steel, and that is the way I'd go. Or the way I am choosing to go when we redo our kitchen. The only appliance that I lack now is the range, which will be stainless, as will the vent hood. I did choose a white stacking Frigidaire laundry, but it will be hidden behind a freestanding divider to one side of the kitchen.

It might not sound like an ideal setup in the kitchen,to have the laundry in there, but when you are limited in space and want to maintain a variety of functions, you can make it work.

Even with a black DW, Enigma, you can always find a panel to cover the door in either stainless or another color. I watch a lot of HGTV Design to Sell, and Bang For Your Buck, and I just soak it in. But reserve the right to be different. For its size, your little kitchen has a charming impact on the house. It looks very current.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2010 at 4:14PM
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I'm another who doesn't see a need to match appliances, but I do like balance.

I have a stainless fridge and a stainless steel sink counter on the opposite side, but the stove and the sink are white. Cabinets are white. I want to add a dishwasher and will get a white one. I have a stainless microwave. The kitchen is so small that interrupting white cabinets with all stainless appliances would be too much like a checkerboard.

The rest of the counters will probably be dark brown granite to pick up the dark stain on the ceiling beams.

BTW, that is a very handsome kitchen, you really opened it up by moving the fridge.


    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 3:32PM
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OK, I'll fess up. I picked our appliances (they were all replaced one at a time, as needed, since we bought the house) on both function and looks. Probably equally 50-50. They are all Jenn-Air and despite some bad reviews which originally made us hesitant to buy them, we've been very happy with them.

The first thing we replaced was the range. We had very little option in what we could get because there was existing downdraft ventilation and there aren't a lot of ranges that accommodate that. We ended up with a stainless dual-fuel (gas on the stove and electric oven) convection oven. It was one of only a handful that we could find that would work. We loved it so much that when it came to replacing the other appliances we took our cue from it.

I'm not matchy matchy about most things, but I do like appliances to match, especially in a small kitchen. They don't have to be the same brand but I like the same finish (I stressed about handles for crying out loud). The next thing we got was a dishwasher. I would have bought one that would have accepted a cabinet panel if I could have found one cheaper but we ended up getting a great deal on a floor model stainless dishwasher. And a couple years after that we got a stainless French door fridge. I was resistant to the French door idea but my husband insisted and oh my gosh do I love that thing. Best design for a fridge ever. We got counter depth and I love that too. Well worth the loss of square footage.

As for cleaning the stainless, I don't have an issue with it. I use wipes called WOW, I think (I read about them on the home decorating forum and they are awesome). I wipe them down about once a week and they stay quite clean.

I am also not in the camp that thinks that stainless is a fad. I remember 7 years ago when we bought our stove someone on another board (dog-related actually) telling me that I was going to regret getting a stainless steel range because it was "on the way out" and that copper was the next finish that would be all the rage. Seven years ago ... where the hell is that copper?

I think white, black and stainless are all classic, can't-go-wrong finishes.

I love your kitchen, and if it were mine (I wish!) I'd be all over stainless appliances, but you gotta go with what you love.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 5:55PM
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If I were buying a dishwasher again, if there was any possible way whatsoever to afford it, I'd definitely put in dishwashwer drawers. We had them in our apartment in New Zealand 10 years ago and I've wanted them ever since.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 5:59PM
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Hi, Wi-sailorgirl. I don't think that many appliances will ever be made of copper because it can turn that verdigris/green color, which is coppor form of corrosion. I've only seen sinks and range hoods in copper. I think someone with all copper in the kitchen would be a masochist and love punishment....or else wealthy enough to have full time help in the kitchen.

I am like you, stainless is not a fad, it is a classic. My frenchdoor fridge has a stainless front, but the sides are the black. I did not even notice that when I saw it, just had to have it. I know the side by side models are nice, but I never had one wide enough to lay a large pizza flat in the freezer. With the french door style, or with a bottom freezer model, you can do that.

My last appliance is a full range. "Full" meaning with a built in oven and 4 burners. Gas. Stainless. And the vent to go with it, also stainless. I'm thinking on the cooking side of the kitchen to have stainless counter top also, and on the other side (a galley style kitchen) to have the quartz Silestone Stellar Snow, which has sparkleys in it, and it is a rather gray tone. I've always loved gray and soft yellow together, so walls will be yellow.

I think the kitchen design is most important to the individual who will be using it, and there will always be a great variety....more than in a bath or bedroom. So many choices to go with your cooking style, and your family's spirit.

I fell in love with Enigma's kitchen when I first saw it, because of the way the fridge was set up, the open column of shelves next to it, the small high table and chairs by the window, the open black cabs, and the farmhouse sink. It is a very cohesive kitchen, and to me it WORKS. The black makes it personal.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2010 at 6:26PM
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Your kitchen is gorgeous & I agree, go with what you like.. It's your kitchen. We have a GE Cafe (or Profile) duel fuel 5 burner stove. The oven is convection & our microwave is too, which is also GE one is cafe one is profile. Having the convection microwave serves as my double oven. I LOVE that stove!!!! Also, our fridge is kitchenaid frenchdoor bottom freezer, counter depth & is tremendously big considering the small square footage. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 8:28PM
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Enigma, just wanted to give you this link which I found at the Amazon Kindle site.

It gives the sites which have free ebooks online, and it includes the Project Gutenberg.

Please pass this link along to your daughter. She might find it very useful.
See ya soon. Just don't have your email.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sources of free e-books online

    Bookmark   December 11, 2010 at 3:26PM
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With your kitchen - which is gorgeous, by the way, I'd go with stainless. But I'm with trancegemini_wa and consider stainless a timeless look, though it also happens to be in style right now. I wanted stainless appliances from 1976, when I first saw them in an Architectural Digest kitchen layout, until 2000 or so, when I actually bought them.

If you do go with stainless, pay attention to the finishes. I have a Frigidaire Professional wall oven and Fisher & Paykel dishdrawers - both in stainless - and they both clean exceptionally easily and don't get fingerprints. My fridge, though, is just awful about fingerprints. (And by the way, check out the Frigidaire Professional line. They have a lot of the perks of higher-end appliances at a much lower price point. Believe me, I shopped around ... for years!!!)

    Bookmark   December 15, 2010 at 10:41PM
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HeyJoann, thanks for mentioning your experience with Frigidaire and the stainless. I am not sure but I think that Electrolux merged (or bought) Frigidaire, and seems that the quality of their appliances is pretty good.

We have the Frigidaire stacked "laundry center" and then we bought two of the small 110 powered window a/c units which have 8000 BTUs. One is in our 3-sided Lexan sunporch and the other is going into the slightly larger garden shed next spring. So far this is my personal experience in recent times with Frigidaire...but in the "old days," we had Frigidaire refriges...and they lasted forever.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2010 at 4:07PM
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Hey! Every time over the past few months I've tried to post on Gardenweb it hasn't let me! It's good to be back now :)

Anyway, thank you so much everyone for your input. It was a really hard decision for me but we made it and I've been so so happy with the results! We went with Whirlpool Gold for both, the double oven range and the french door refrigerator. We ended up choosing white, I felt the stainless, though very beautiful, would have made my space too...hard for my taste. If that makes sense. The white keeps the sunny, cottage vibe in there and is so easy to clean I can't believe it. I have had the fridge for two months and haven't actually had to clean it yet because it doesn't show a thing! Anyway, I'm hoping to take new house shots very soon and I'll be sure to post.
Thanks again!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2011 at 11:40PM
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