Long overdue, but finally posting.

Backsplash and cabs

Backsplash and cabs

Close up

Close up

Cooktop

Cooktop

Backsplash corner

Backsplash corner

Full kitchen backsplash

Full kitchen backsplash

Very busy week starting with Tuesday.  The crown molding went in.  Bam, Bam, Bam and poof – the kitchen is infinitely more polished.  And the beautiful wood shelves were installed.  Amazing what a little wood and wonderful craftsmanship can make such a difference!

Crown molding

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5

7

6

8

 

We’ve got three different cabinets with glass doors.  They need glass.

 

Butler's Pantry light moved

Butler's Pantry light moved

sink wall

hutch cabinet

hutch cabinet

Our kitchen style is eccletic.  We clearly have a more contempory look going on with the stainless steel fridge and modern hood.  The details in the woodwork are more from the traditional point of view.

 

Clear Textured Bubble

Clear Textured Bubble

 

Clear River Ice

Clear River Ice

 

Clear Wave

Clear Wave

 

 

What to do with our glass?

Link to great glass choices

Would appreciate opinions.

We went backsplash shopping today.  Quite an endless array of choices at Volpe Tile.  Fortunately we had Sue to guide us through the process.

We managed to limit our choices down to two.  Couple pics below.  Would appreciate your opinion.

Two Tile Sections

Two Tile Sections

Etched Field Blend

Etched Field Blend

Negev Blend

Negev Blend

 

Against the wall 1

Against the wall 1

Against the Wall 2

Against the Wall 2

Detailed Etched Field Blend

Detailed Etched Field Blend

We are rapidly approaching the end.  Great progress made today.  The microwave was installed with very cool trim work.

 

Microwave and very cool trimi

Microwave and very cool trim

 

 

Oven(s) wall

Oven(s) wall

 

Plumbing wrapped in a blanket

Plumbing wrapped in a blanket

 

Butler's Pantry light moved

Butler's Pantry light moved

Garden Window with faucets and stuff

Garden Window with faucets and stuff

 

In addition, the dishwasher was hooked up.  Same with the garbage disposal, the soap dispenser and the filtered water faucet.  More progress was made with the electrical work.  Getting close.

No pics to share, but I’ll tell you we had a busy weekend in the kitchen.

We actually cooked a real meal from scratch.  Nothing much, but still we had the opportunity to do some food prep.  Chicken wings baked then broiled in the oven.  Simple, but real cooking.  Sunday was spent cooking a sweet and sour brisket for this coming week.  We also made homemade pizza.  The dough was great, but we still need to get used to the oven.  Finally, the evening was topped off with sweet breakfast rolls to take into the office on Monday.  Start to get some real use.

The very last piece of granite was installed today in the base of the garden window.  Very cool.  We’re glad we invested in this change.

Garden Window

Garden Window

More progress on our kitchen but still some way to go.  We were able to enjoy the kitchen this weekend by doing some real cooking … chicken soup.  A full sink, a dishwasher, a garbage disposal … who needs them?

We also spent time admiring the fine carpentry that is going into the trim work.  Wow.  Out classes most of the materials elsewhere in our home.

Kitchen Today

Kitchen Today

 

corners

 

img_1546

Beautiful trim work

 

Wow

Wow

Half wall cabinets

Half wall cabinets

 

 

 

hutch cabinet

hutch cabinet

Another day brings more amazement.  Today our trim work began.  We were warned that the trim work would be more time-consuming than putting up the cabinets.  The warning was justified, but, oh my, totally worth it.  Such meticulous work – like fine furniture that just happens to be the base of our cabinets.

We also get to peek at our numberswiki.com

sink.  The cook top is in and working.  Big burners, big flame.

 

 

Sink

 

Amazing carpentry

 

Trim Work

A working stove

Today was a day worth the wait.  (I’m sure I’ll think that many times in the days and years ahead.)

The upper cabinets were installed.  Not one, not one wall – all of the uppers.  Wow!

And the island sink faucet was hooked up, the drain was hooked up.  Wow – running water again.

We used our kitchen sink!

Who knows what tomorrow will bring?  Granite for the garden window base?  Gas for the cooktop?  A panel on the dishwasher?  Panels on the cabinet bases and sides?  A surprise?

more info

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Day 40 brings the completed installation of our exhaust hood!  The exhaust was routed up through the attic to the roof.  Big powerful fan!  Two halogen lights with bright and dim settings.  Sharp looking!

And, the big news is our garden window was installed.  Looks so nice.

A new week brings progress.  A whole bunch of electrical work was done today.

The exhaust hood installation began.  A couple MR16 high-hats were installed over the island.  The garbage disposal was connected (no plumbing yet).  A slew of electrical outlets and switches were installed as well.


Day 30.  

Our existing tile floor needed “touch ups” for a few areas around the edges, in front of the fridge and in the new butler’s pantry where the wall came down.  We had a box and a half of tiles left over from when our floor was laid only a few years back.  Fortunately there was enough.

The tile guy was fabulous.  Matched the grout, did meticulous work and finished in a single day.  

Day 31.  A day of rest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday went well for our kitchen. The beautiful granite was installed, bringing our kitchen a bit closer to completion.

The Black Galaxy is amazing to look at … like a star system filled with thousands of sparkling stars.

The Silver Galaxy island … wow. We’re more than happy with our choices. Certainly worth the extra time and trips to make it happen.

We ate our first meals at the table end … roast chicken, baked potatoes and steamed baby asparagus.  We played with “Convection Roast” for the first time.  Cool.

Due to the fault of no one, our construction had been delayed because of our granite situation.  We arrive at day 28 of “construction” with prep for a granite install tomorrow.  Our custom steel “table” base has been installed. 
Steel table base

Steel table base

Our old fridge moved again, this time out of the kitchen and into the garage.  We’re tired that fridge and glad it’s not in the house.

Old fridge ... so long

 
Old fridge … so long

The kitchen was decluttered a bit.  We can now see the window soon to be replaced by a garden window (that is ready to be picked up and installed).

Window Ready to be Ripped out

Window Ready to be Ripped out

And, we can glance into the butler’s pantry.

Butler's Pantry!

Butler

While we were at Hankins yesterday, we picked up our top choice board of handles and knobs.

Top Knobs

Top Knobs

We are looking for modern, a little pizazz but definitely functional.  We’re leaning toward the 3rd or 4th down from the top in the center column.

Back to the granite yard yesterday.  One slab of our Silver Galaxy is potentially salvagable.  A little chip, some cracking, a couple ugly black streaks ….

Ever so patient with us, our KD takes on another complete tour of the huge granite warehouse and yard.  No slab is left unturned (not really, but that sounds cool).  Nevertheless and (seemingly) miles later, we end back to where we started.  Is this one last piece salvagable?  Can the templates be arranged to work?  Are there more hidden cracks?

Clever planning, arranging and re-arranging allowed us to leave hopeful all will turn out well.  Myron from All Marble was ever so helpful despite the half-hearted push for us to choose “black” for the island.

While we were there we saw our perimeter granite already cut, polished and ready to go.  Very nice.  VERY nice.

Undoubtedly there is a huge audience just waiting to see our beautiful granite installed and the last few hundred details for the kitchen to be finished.

Was the granite installed Friday, Monday, today?  No.

We heard from Jerry that the slab we had selected for the island was cracked.  And the slab behind that one, and the one behind that one …. the whole batch was cracked and unusable.

We’re headed back to the granite place tomorrow to look again. 

Oh, and not that it matters any more, but the name of the granite is/was Silver Galaxy.

The island granite template.  One seam, at the sink, was the best we could do.  Can’t wait for the install.

 

Huge Slab o' granite

Huge Slab o' granite

Saturday was our granite shopping trip.  Jerry did a great job making the process of selection perfectly smooth and he set a great pace.  We had already spent several hours browsing through the thousands of slabs (hundreds of different types of granite).  We had already decided to use two granites; one for the island and another for the perimeter surfaces.  I was predisposed to a black granite with speckles for the perimeter.  The trick was to find a complimentary, coordinating island piece.

We went armed with the charcoal door matching the island, a wood sample matching the perimeter cabinets and a selection of 5 floor tiles.  We were able to reduce our choices down to 4.  Then we wandered outside for a bunch more.  We stumbled upon this grayish, redish, little brown, some black and copper speckled slab with a fairly wide vein running through it.  A daring vein.  A statement vein.

I wish I had taken a picture, but alas, I didn’t.

Samples are below.

for the island

the island surface

 

for the perimeter surfaces

for the perimeter surfaces

 

a day at the granite place

a day at the granite place

 

just a fraction of the place

just a fraction of the place

Waiting for granite shopping (that’s on us).

Drywaller doing a bit of this and this.

Electrician put in the remaining high hats and an outlet for the microwave and, and, and

HOOKED UP THE OVEN!!!

We baked and look what popped out – an iTouch Cake.  We love the ovens (so far).

The oven baked wonderfully – a brand new chocolate chip pound cake and brownies.  We had an interesting time on makeshift countertops rolling the fondant and doing the decorating.

Days 17 and 18 were totally quiet.

Drywaller was here today for a bit … touching up.

Tomorrow the ovens will be hooked up which makes our kitchen usable again, mostly, kinda, sorta.

Things are pretty much on hold until we pick out the granite and granite shopping is scheduled for this coming weekend due to our schedule commitments.

We’re approaching 3 weeks and are very pleased with progress.  More later.

The 13th day was another short work day, but a significant one.  The island was installed as were the dishwasher, refrigerator and the ovens.  “Installed” is a strong word, perhaps “placed” is better suited.  Yes, let me reprhase:  The dishwasher, refrigerator and ovens were placed.  The fridge is powered and connected.  The water line for the ice maker is connected and we have //drum roll// ice.

  

Kitchen Sink penninsula (with unpaneled dishwasher)

Fridge and ovens! Microwave belongs in the hole

Cavernous fridge! Looks can be deceiving

Charcoal-black island with "sand through"

Backside of island

Fridge - full frontal

 

On the twelfth day of construction, we were given the installation of the rest of the base cabinets, excluding the island.  Our appliances were brought into the kitchen from the garage by appliance guys.

The list of what is left to do is a mixture of a bunch of little things and some pretty major ones, too.  On the big items list we have yet to pick the granite and have it installed, the island needs to be installed, the appliances need to be installed, all of the uppers need to go in, the hood and dishwasher, the main sink and faucet, the new sink and plumbing, the garbage disposal, the water filter, … wow, this was a bigger list than I thought.

On the little things list … surely longer than the big things list.  On it:  about a million little finishing touches to the cabinets, the new high hats, the island lighting, the vent covers, the in cabinet and under cabinet lighting, the tile replaced in the pantry, the light over the table portion of the island, the drywall on the back of the half-wall, the glass in the cabinets doors, the low voltage transformers, the hood vent …. yes, another long list.

Oh, and painting.

On to today’s pics:

The sink bases

 

The window seat (center drawer holds hanging files)

 

Our half-wall bookcase replacement

 

The bottom of our new hutch

 

New appliances just waiting …

 

Yet another new home for the old fridge

 

Day number nine brought the cabinet guys.  They spent the day becoming acquainted with the puzzle pieces they’d need to put together to form what will become our kitchen.  A couple boxes opened yielded our beautiful nutmeg stained cherry cabinetry.  Anxiety and excitement levels are definitely increasing.

Day nine brought back the electrician for odds and ends, including running that big black cable through our basement to the electrical panel.  Not yet connected, but it’s all ready to go.

Late in the day, the drywallers returned to spackle and spackle and spackle.  These guys start late and work late.

Day 10′s highlight was the very first cabinets installed.  Mark this milestone.  The doors open (and close softly), the drawers open (and close softly).  They’re tall, nearly to the ceiling.

One of the drywallers came back and worked late into the evening spackling, spackling and spackling.  This guy is good.  I think he would have patched every dent, crack and hole anywhere in the house if we needed him to do so.

Day 11 ended with more base cabinets installed, the plumbing capped off, a gas line moved and our old fridge moved once again.

The ovens, microwave and fridge wall.

The butler’s pantry base.

Our poor old fridge must feel very displaced

 

The cooktop and sink base cabinets

 

Day 6 was a bit underwhelming, though necessary:  underwriter came to inspect the wiring.  It passed.

Day 7 was a bit underwhelming … very little construction.

Day 8 was productive.  Dry wallers came for a visit to make the exposed walls a bit more tidy and ready for the eventual cabinets.

New Butler’s Pantry … temp home for the dog to eat.

 

 

Butler’s Pantry entrance with new headers

 

 

More fresh dry wall

The Kitchen with new dry wall.

 The electrician was back today.  Lots of wiring.

 

 The line to the ovens hangs in our basement

 

 

The old pantry/new butler’s panty ceiling.  The lone CFL looks sad.

 

The plumbing was smooshed up to be smaller.  New cabinets reach the ceiling. 

The outlet for our new, planned, to be decided mini-chandelier.  Covered over is the old fixture for our ceiling fan.

Day Four brings us an electrician that spent day unwiring, rewiring and new wiring.  Lots of new holes with wires sticking out, including a huge monster cable that is destined to provide power to our ovens.

We were approaching our first uh-oh but swerved left to avoid hitting it.  We had a bit of a disconnect on the undercabinet lighting we were expecting.  Hopefully corrected. 

Dinner?  We actually did do a little cooking ahead of time to stock our freezer.  Tonight – a healthy salad and a bowl of chili.  Yum.

Yellow wire == low voltage

Big black wire == lots of voltage

Old, New, Barely anything Blue

Wired!

Our first weekend without a kitchen served as an opportunity for us to adjust.  We tripled our cooking options by adding to the toasting capability.  We can now microwave and “grill” with a griddle.  After an expedition into our garage to hunt and capture our new microwave was succesful, we also dug out our very unfrequently used griddle.   Wow!

Dinner – delicous bean soup warmed in the microwave and grilled cheese sandwiches.  Thanks to my sister-in-law for the soup, we were able to enjoy our first real meal.

Phone call this morning … don’t expect us today.

We were warned there would be days with no work.  Today was one.

Dinner … diner food.

Not too much happened today.  A huge Plato tractor trailer came full of our cabinetry.  Two hours later – it had filled our garage after the demolition debris had been removed.  By “filled our garage” I mean fill as in ceiling to brushing against the open garage door. 

Dinner … sadly, McDonald’s.

A wall of boxes fills our garage

 

Lots o’ boxes

 

A shot from overtop of the garage door

 

 

Day One:  February 4th.

Cabinets out, soffits down and out, oven out, dishwasher out, half-wall/bookcase down and out, sink out, garbage disposal gone, filtered water faucet and filter system gone.  Microwave poof.  Wallboard — some out.  Ceiling fan down and out.

 

Our nearly empty ktichen above – with only a refrigerator left standing all alone.

 

From opposite angle with plastic sheet/dust shield

 

Corner with some drywall out

 

Soffit removed revealing some soft ductwork

 

Kitchen sink wall – not much left

 

View from the family room – lovely black dust shield

 

Into the garage …

 

Yup .. our kitchen condensed into a few small piles.  We plan to re-use the cabinets into garage storage (summer project perhaps)

 

Piles of kitchen

Poor Pete .. our confused greyhound hardly has a place to eat

 

Day One was more productive than I guessed it would have been.  I didn’t realize the drywall would come down except for the soffit areas.  It’s cold out, in the 20′s, and it is comforting to not feel any cold air seeping through the walls.

Our first dinner … late … Max picked up Chinese for us.  We ate in the family room, washed the dishes in the laundry room sink.  It’s going to be a challenge eating like this.  We’d be better off deciding to have a bowl of cereal and fruit for dinners.

We’re getting so close.  The anticipation is building.

The week before, the day before, the day of … the beginning.

First, we had to empty our kitchen before it can be demolished before it can be rebuilt.  Lots of pics.

The empty “before” picture

 

 

My beautiful (now empty) book case

(my brother and I built this … well, my brother built this)

More emptiness … it’s never seemed so large

Our last drink

An empty pantry … wall and door to disappear

Our temporary bookcase

A space for our new “hutch”

Our temporary ktichen — formally a dining room

Storage, storage, storage

More storage .. this is going to be a long few weeks

I have a problem.  Sometimes I get lost in the internet.  The mission starts easy enough:  Knowing what I want to buy, find the best price.

Google is great.  www.pricegrabber.com is terrific.  www.bizrate.com is top rate.  www.mysimon.comis comparitive.  www.nextag.com is the next best thing. 

Tabbed browsing in Explorer is wonderful.  No limits, it seems to the number of windows.  This place or that, this place or that.  Shipping included.  www.coupons.com and many other coupon sites help.  5% off, SUPERSECRET, TENOFF, SAVE5 … codes out the wazoo.

I ended up buying the two Franke sinks, a filtered water dispenser, a soap dispenser, a stainless steel cleaner, a drain filter and coordinating racks from www.needplumbingsupplies.com.  The two Kohler faucets were found at www.faucetsdirect.com (with a 10% off discount coupon code).  Can’t wait for the deliveries.

Decisions made for our sinks and faucets!  (Every decision at this point is a hurray.)

Franke ORX110

Kohler Simplice (we won’t need or install the escutcheon).

What is an escutcheon?  Glad you asked:   a protective or ornamental plate or flange  I’m not referring to this escutcheon.  For additional information

Franke RBX110 for the island

Island sink faucet – Simplice secondary faucet … a bit smaller.

Finally  posting the layout.

Knee Kitchen

Knee Kitchen

Range Wall
 
Ovens Wall
 
Sink Wall
 
Hutch Wall
 
Half-wall Wall (formerly bookcase)
 
Island
 

I have found the original builder’s floorplan for our home. We had our pick of floorplans for our house 15 years ago when we were building. A choice from about a dozen or so. We chose this layout for several reasons:
- open floor plan between the kitchen and the family room
- lots of southeasterly facing windows to grab the morning sun
- a passage way from the garage to the laundry room to the kitchen

builder's original floorplan

builder's original plans

The Existing Kitchen

The Existing Kitchen

A 360 degree shot of existing kitchen

A 360 degree shot of existing kitchen

 

We were definitely leaning toward a big, deep, rectangular sink. Lots of room for lots of pans.

That was then, this is now:

Franke ORX110
Franke : Orca Series ORX110 31″ Stainless Steel Sink

Our appliances arrived.  Wrong double ovens (Thermador Professional rather than Thermador Masterpiece) were part of the shipment.  Quickly rectified.

The Panasonic Microwave arrived from PanasonicDirect.  Checked it out.  It boils water very quickly!!  Looks pretty cool, too.

 

 

Now that we’re committed.  Now that we have the big appliances on their way.  Now that we have our layout, our lighting plan, our cabinets ordered, our cabinet colors chosen ….. now what?

We still have a few decisions left.  Namely, our shopping list has been reduced to:

  • Main Kitchen Sink
  • Main Sink Faucet
  • Soap Dispenser
  • Water Filter
  • Garbage Disposal
  • Island / Prep Sink
  • Prep Sink Faucet
  • Granite Colors
  • Backsplash

This is, afterall, a pretty short list.  Wow – is that what it’s come down to after all of this time?

Oh, we also need to decide on whether to use an Air Switch for the garbage disposal or stick with the wall switch we currently use.

Day after tomorrow is the scheduled delivery day for our major appliances.  We’re well more than a month away from construction start, but our appliances had to be delivered prior to December 1 in order to avoid a Thermador price increase.

They’ll be living in our garage from now through January.

Microwave is also on it’s way thanks to a very generous discount offered through Panasonic Direct.  Thank you Panasonic.

We’re committed.  Money down – cabinetry ordered.  Expecting an early January start.

Will post layouts shortly.

Appliance decisions made.  Managed to actually negotiate dollars off.  Hurray.  Appliances ordered (to beat the December 1 Thermador price increase).  They’re scheduled to arrive next week – Wednesday – day before Thanksgiving.  Qualified for a $500 Thermador rebate.

Faucet shopping.   Sink shopping.

We’re excited.  We’re nervous.

We went granite shopping Saturday.

Our kitchen guy, Jerry, will be shopping with us when it’s time to make the real decisions (when construction starts).  This was just a “practice” run. 

We’re going to most likely use two different granites; one for the island and one for the perimeter.  A while back we ran into a nearly all-black granite with little flecks of gold colored sparkles.  Gorgeous.  Jerry tells us that when we go, we’ll change our minds.

Sure enough … we made the forever long trek to  to browse.  Wow.  Wow.  They claim 100,000 slabs of granite and marble (divided between three locations) and though we only visited one place, we were a bit overwhelmed.

So many colors, so many choices.  We brought along some sample tiles from our kitchen floor and cabinet samples to help choose.  Up and down the aisles we went.  Up and down.  Up and down.  Then the yard outside.  Up and down and all around.

It was a good and useful experience.  I have never seen so many colors, patterns, blends and textures.  WOW.  The comforting news is that there were enough choices that felt like they are in range.  Somebody who can coordinate colors will make our ultimate selections.

It probably seems like it’s been forever since I’ve updated … it has.

To bring you quickly up to speed:

  • We’ve pretty much decided on our layout
  • We’re decided on our cabinets:  Plato  (premium – I’m hoping this splurge is worth the extra money)
  • We’ve chosen beautiful cherry (nutmeg stain) cabinets for the perimeter and painted, charcoal cabinets for the island
  • We’re nearly, nearly locked down on the appliances
Wow – how did we get here?  So many decisions made!  (and still a bunch to go)
We’ve had an internal debate (mostly internal to my head) on whether our island is wide enough.  The issue is that we currently have a 36″ wide island.  As you know, we mix, bake, decorate, roll, mix and knead on our island.  We’re very used to using the entire width.  Reducing the island to 24″ (the plan) is a bit concerning.  The saving grace is that our island is now much longer and dog-legged into a wider section.
One consideration is Gaggenau ovens rather than Thermador.  The “Gagg” ovens, as they’re called, are absolutely stunning.  They’re very pricey.  The reason for consideration is that they have side opening doors rather than the traditional drop down doors.  My thinking is that we could possibly narrow the island.  Seemed like a reasonable thought, but I don’t think so.  We will visit the appliance place this weekend.
Another decision is whether we go with frameless or framed cabinets.  There is no cost difference.  After a bit of research, this choice is rather puzzling.  Frameless are often manufactured by economy brands.  But they’re also manufactured by some very, very high end companies.  Why?  Frameless are standard in Europe.  European design brings premium pricing.  Hmmm.

Everybody makes a cook top, so there are many choices.  We’ve chosen to stick with gas rather than induction.  Saves a bit of money, avoids the need to buy replacement pots and pans, provides a more substantial heavy metal “look” rather than the sissy flat glass induction offers.  One sales guy told us that homebuyers may actually be dissuaded from buying a house with an induction cook top due to lack of familiarity. 

 

How to decide?  First – do we want a cook top or a range top?  Cook tops have the controls on the top.  Range tops have the controls on the front.  More specifically, a range top looks like a range without the oven.  Most, if not all, of today’s range tops are pretty heavy duty; lots of metal.  Imagine a big ole commercial range.  Big burners, huge dials splayed across the front, heavy oven doors.  Now, using your imagination, eliminate the oven part.  That’s a range top.

 

We chose a cook top. 

 

The sales cycle for a cook top could be the longest.  How many burners?  How many BTUs?  Do you simmer?  Do you need a “true” simmer?  Do you want a grill?  Brass is important:  no corrosion.  Brass valves, brass burners, brass piping.  Continuous grate for you sir? 

 

Our answer to the most frequently asked question turns out to be a huge disappointment for the overly explanatory salespeople.  How often do you think you will be needing the full power of all 5 or 6 burners?  Seems like an excellent question.  It seems that the desired answer is “very often”.   Imagine the power at our fingertips!  50,000 BTUs, 80,000 BTUs, oversized pots!  We could deplete the earth of its natural gas with just a single meal!

 

Seriously, what are we doing wrong that we don’t need to consistently use 5 burners at the same time?  We both cook.  We’re pretty good.  We don’t buy Birdseye Broccoli with Decadent Cheese Sauce ready to plop into a pot of boiling water.  We’ve been using our 4 burner slightly upgraded from the builder GE range for a dozen years.  Maybe once, maybe twice have we run out of burners cooking for a family of four, cooking holiday dinners for 15+, hosting parties for 50.  What are we doing wrong?

 

Oh, did I misunderstand the salespeople’s question?  Is the real intent of question to ask:  How often do you want to be needing 5 or 6 burners?  How much POWER do you want?  How much can you handle?

 

I also think I managed to insult the first one or two salespeople by asking whether the right way to choose a cook top is based on styling rather than the “features” since they all appear to have the same set.  They didn’t like that question.  I stopped asking it.

 

I guess we lucked out with a cook top decision.  We chose a Dacor.  Three different salespeople recommended it.  Dacor uses brass.  No, really, they do.  Their burners make lots of BTUs.  Really.  Continuous cooktop.  We don’t have one now, and quite honestly, this feature makes sense.  Consumers Reports just rated this as highly rated.  The construction and design appear to be fairly easy to clean (hopefully).  Oh, and the styling is attractive. 

 

Two minor concerns. 

  • The control knobs take up a bunch of room in the front right corner.  We’re both right handed and generally use the front right burner.  On the Dacor, there isn’t one.
  • A “true” simmer.  What does this mean?  Sure, the Dacor offers two levels of gas jets on their burners, but can it simmer?  One salesperson told us there is no true simmer, but another says there is such a thing.  I hope low is low enough.  We actually do simmer water when melting chocolate.

Choosing a dishwasher turned into an extremely enlightening experience.  First off, I should share, of the major appliances I expected the dishwasher selection to be the easiest.  Everyone seems to have nothing but high regards for Bosch dishwashers.  I recall from years ago Consumer Reports magazine consistently rated Bosch with top marks.  If that happens to still be the case, then this should be a no-brainer barring an extraordinary price.

 

A little history to share.  A few years ago it was time to replace our dishwasher.  I don’t recall the motivating factor, which is strange, because there must have been some reason.  I do recall, however, doing a bit of research, again relying on Consumers.  Bosch were top rated, but Kenmore’s were “Best Buys”.  Sears was having a sale on Kenmore, plus if you opened a Sears charge account you received a rebate (or something to that effect).  We ended up buying a higher-end, but not the highest Kenmore.

 

Now, the interesting part.  I grew up always having a dishwasher in the house.  I actually remember dishwasher shopping with my father.  Now this is really bringing back memories.  I think we bought a KitchenAid from a rather odd department store named Gem.  {I’ll have to ask my parents whether actually happened.}

 

Anyway, we generally rinsed (washed) our dishes before they went into the dishwasher.  Somewhere along the line, I turned into an adult and that habit never stopped.  My wife (no criticism here) insists on putting nearly clean dishes into the dishwasher.  I’ll bet ½ of America does the same.

 

In an early discussion with our kitchen guy, we explained our dirty dish handling process.  He told us to stop washing the dishes and trust the machine.  It’ll save time, it’ll save water, it’ll actually let us use the machine.  In one of our trips to an appliance store, the salesperson told us the same thing.  At another appliance store, we again heard the message.  At a third store, the salesperson explained that modern dishwashing soap contains enzymes.  Enzymes, he exclaimed, need dirt and leftover food to attack otherwise they’ll etch glasses and put wear and tear on silverware and the very same dishes that they want (“want”) to clean.

 

Not to be disobedient, we started putting dirty dishes into the dishwasher.  Guess what!  They actually come out clean.  Wow, it’s amazing.  All these years, to imagine.  I’ve quickly adopted this new process.  Dump plate into the sink.  Place dish into dishwasher.  Repeat.  My poor wife, long held habits are hard to break.  We’re seeking a 7-step program to rid her of the addiction of putting clean dishes into the dishwasher.

 

We chose a Bosch.

 

 

Another decision made, but not as easily as the fridge. 

We decided on the Thermador double convection ovens.

Thermador Double Ovens

Goregous, aren’t they?  Top rated in this month’s consumer reports!  Bottom rated for repair record.  Are we making a mistake because of that?  Our salesperson replied, “we get a lot of calls because people don’t read the owner’s manuals.”  Do I believe that?  No.  Do I believe that a little?  No.

Being concerned, I wrote Thermador.  They replied the very next day and assured me that they only provide the highest quality products.  Comforting.  The salesperson assured me that Thermador is a household name, an American icon.  Another salesperson told me that Bosch (a German company, well, maybe not German, but certainly European) bought Thermador before they folded.  An American icon.  Comforting.

Runner up … Dacor.  They make some beautiful ovens.  They heat fast, they bake evenly, they’re dependable, they’re terrific, they’re expensive.  Very expensive.  About 50% more than Thermador.  They’re American.  A salesperson pushed them pretty hard.  Our kitchen designer, with whom we have the utmost confidence with, personally has Dacor ovens.  He sells them, too.

We were looking for ovens with lots of glass (I like to peak).  The Thermador ovens we chose have very big windows.  There are some Dacors that have large windows, too.  But the two models that do have their special Discovery controller.  We already know how to cook.  The Discovery controller is ridiculously expensive, thus the Dacor ovens that would suit us are ridiculously expensive.  Darn.

But we’re happy.  Top rated oven.  Big glass.

Oh, and because the ovens and fridge are both Thermador (and only 24″ apart), we can get matching handles.  A plus.

Oh my, oh my!  We have arrived with some of our first decisions – appliances!

We decided on the Thermador French Door fridge.

  Thermador French Door

We compared this to the infamous Subzero 736.  How did we decide?  Dualing salespeople debated whether both had dual compressors.  Surely the SZ did.  Surely the Thermador does.  Yes, no?  YES!  The Subzero, it turns out, has no home for gallon containers without dedicating a full shelf to that height.  No door space for it.

The Thermador offers split shelves — cool.  The powershelf … hmmm … who cares?  I doubt we’ll find much use for it, but time will tell.   The Thermador is tall.  They’re both tall, but the SZ has the compressor at the top. 

We’re excited.  We made a decision and feel pretty confident with it.

 

It’s natural to like something brand new and shiny.  Kitchen appliances have the opportunity to fall into this category.

Our needs are typical:  refridgerator, double ovens, cooktop, dishwasher, microwave.

The process:  Research.  Go Shopping!  Research.  Go Shopping!  Research.  Dang it, go shopping.  Ugh, research.  Crap, go shopping.  Dreaded research.  Stumped.

First off, let me share that I can be a bit detailed oriented.  I apparently have an “analytical” mind.  Not sure what that means and I am not sure whether it’s beneficial.  I think.  I anaylze.  I digest information and spit out results.  I decide.  I form opinions.  I do these things well.  It has helped me in my schooling (computer science) and career (software and systems).  Professionally, I make decisions.  In my personal life, I tend to get bogged down and dread making bad decisions. 

Since the internet has come about, I find that I can get ridiculous about price shopping.  I’ve realized (and am working to correct) that it’s stupid to spend an hour or two or three to save a couple dollars when buying a few books. 

Appliances.  A few bucks.  Years of living with the decision(s).  Lots of decisions.  Lots of opportunities to research.  Opportunity to be a little anal. 

Where we are: 

  • At one of our kitchen design places, we ran into a Thermador 36″ French Door refridgerator.  Wow.  So big, so wide, bright, clean (SHINY), big freeze (to briefly store a cake before icing it).
  • Thermador Double Ovens seem to be in every store.  They’re very SHINY.  And importantly for us, they have a lot of glass.  We think we like lots of glass because we can see our goodies baking.  I like to open oven doors to have a look-see and she doesn’t like it when I do that, so the glass should make use both happy.
  • Our home has gas.  Our current oven and cooktop are gas.  Gas cooking seems superior (works for me).  Induction, hmm. 

 

 

  • A dishwasher should be an easy choice.  Everybody seems to love and recommend Bosch.

One thing I know … we need a few more visits to the appliance stores.

There are many aspects of a kitchen remodel that we’re expecting to have the possibility of being nightmarish:  choosing a designer, choosing a contractor, choosing a design, choosing cabinets, choosing appliances, choosing lighting, choosing accessories, choosing colors, choosing, choosing, choosing ….

Oh, then there is the nightmarish possibility of having to live with a bad choice.

Oh, then there is the possibility of a horrific destruction and construction phase.

Oh, then there is the possiblity of the nightmarish costs.

Oh, then there is the possibility of the truly nightmarish thought of not knowing everything that we should be having nightmares over.

Am I looking forward to doing this?  YES  Why?  Not sure, but I think I can get counselling if I really want to know.

We started our search to our Lansdale local kitchen place December ’07. Name left based unannounced.

It’s a newish place. Owners apparently had other businesses and lots of experience, so they say. Very unhelpful help, wanted a $750 design fee upfront to come out to do measurements and have an initial discussion. Geez – we were able to see 2 or 3 kitchen “vignettes” and they wanted cash.

We’re anxious …. but we’re not stupid.  First impressions leave a very lasting impression.

Because of our (my) unnatural obsession with having a wonderful kitchen, we had been considering moving from our suburban home to some unique style residence with a very large and special kitchen.  Seeing magazine pictures of downtown lofts, converted firehouses, reconfigured warehouses or factories let our imaginations run wild.  Briefly.  We’re not downtown and given our employment situation, downtown really isn’t attractive for us.  Too long of a commute, city-wage tax, noise, traffic, safety, etc.

We considered Conshohocken, thought about Bridgeport, and pondered Norristown.

View Larger Map

All three of these are very close to Radnor (my employment location) yet offer city-like opportunities. The hope had been that there were opportunities or loft-y places already available. Without being overly critical or offensive, my views of these three mini-cities.
Conshohocken: prime commuter/office location at the intersection of 476 and 76. Lots of yuppie-like condos, new-family townhouses and plenty of new offices. One small commercial strip, near-cool restaurants. No grocery store, no movie theater, probably overpriced and picked-over.

Bridgeport: Working class, a bit run-down, tiny little downtown, too close to Norristown.

Norristown: Most city-like of the three. Most run-down of the three. Promises of revitalization. Broken promises. Looked into a an old Bell Telephone building, 8 floors or so, 10 ft ceilings. Wonderful opportunity right in the middle of where you don’t want to be after dark.

A first entry for A Kitchen Remodel.  This blog is intended to follow along as we undergo our kitchen remodel.

A little background now with more to come a later.

My wife and I use our kitchen a lot.  We thoroughly enjoy cooking, baking and entertaining.  Baking is especially important to us since she (we) have a made-to-order dessert business www.oohlaala.com very dependent on our home kitchen.

Our home <<picture later>>.  A lovely suburban four-bedroom center hall colonial.  {I don’t think I realized I lived in such a home until I just typed it.}  Philadelphia suburbs.

We’ve lived here pretty much since the day we moved in, gosh, about 13 years ago.  New home at the time, our choice of design, some custom upgrades made, great open floor plan that we’re still happy with after all of these years.

<<picture later>>

Our family:  2 kids, both in college as I write this, neither living at home.

We’ve been faced with a dilemma of sorts.  Our house has more rooms than we really need.  Fine, we need our bedroom and our bathroom.  A kitchen is useful, considering what I mentioned above.  A family room – required.  A dining room proves to be useful, for us, perhaps 5 or 6 times a year.  Maybe a little bit more.  The kids (let me introduce them briefly:  Max and Sara.  Hi Max.  Hi Sara.) still need their rooms.  Max continues to visit us weekly, mostly Sundays.  And Sara is spending this summer with us, plus she’ll be back for school breaks (senior year coming up) and who knows after graduation.

That leaves us with a guest room.  Very useful.  Its usage nearly corresponds with dining room usage.  Well, actually, the guest room is used more often.  Oh, and our unused, largely unfurnished living room.  Oh, and our huge basement including an office and our work room/storage/tools/storage/crawl space/storage/heater/storage room.

Let’s not forget our two car garage that sometimes is empty enough to hold one car.  And finally, a laundry room (mudroom).  {What is a mudroom?  Mud comes into our house and I’ll hear about it.}

Gosh, turns out we hardly have many unused rooms.  The large finished basement (that I did pretty much on my own) is barely used except for storage.

 

    
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