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 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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