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Remodeling--Need Advice on Kitchen Appliances!


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#1 EvaB

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Posted 07 December 2012 - 10:22 PM

Hi Everyone,

I am remodeling some of my house, including kitchen. All of my appliances are old, old, old. I want to replace them and enjoy cooking again, but the blessing and curse of the internet is that while one can read in detail about every appliance known to humankind, the same is true for every experience that anyone has ever had with any appliance in question. I do my dues and find things that sound good, Consumer Reports recommends, and then read the reviews ranging from 5-star accolades to 1-star pans--inevitably many of both for any given item. Yes, I know, I own a food service establishment and read our Yelp reviews, so I should know what I am getting into with that kind of "help." It does not improve things when the many-year service people who work on my store equipment tell me that equipment--home or pro--built today is all crap! Perhaps it is telling that the ONLY item I have found garnering 100% positive reviews is a toilet!

So, I am asking for you to add your experiences to the pot(ha-no pun intended, really). What do you use in the home cooking realm? I am particularly interested in gas ranges, range hoods, and fridges. Does anyone have any experience with the NXR range? The Electrolux Icon series or the less expensive Electrolux 30" all-gas ranges? Fridge layouts and manufacturers? Great or terrible counter materials? Anything kitchen related that you can't imagine life without, or would prefer never face again except under threat of death?

Personal experience from known individuals is worth a thousand on-line reviews!

Thanks!
Cool Moon Ice Cream

with apologies to Jack Prelutsky's "Bleezer's Ice Cream Store"

I am Eva Marianna
I run COOL MOON ICE CREAM STORE,
there are flavors in my freezer you have never seen before,
twenty-eight divine creations too delicious to resist,
why not do yourself a favor, try the flavors on my list...


#2 Jill-O

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 08:09 AM

Sue remodeled a little while back and we are both happy with her fridge and stove/oven. She went induction, and I have to say, I like the induction burners as much as gas, maybe even more.
Like the fridge too. It has a bottom freezer which has a top sliding drawer in it, cafe upper doors, tempered glass shelves that can be configured many different ways, and a separate center drawer, with it's own climate control (which we use for beer and soda).
Samsung fridge and a Frigidaire stove Sue reminds me...I can get model details if you are interested...
Never give up! Never surrender!

#3 EvaB

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 09:26 AM

Sue remodeled a little while back and we are both happy with her fridge and stove/oven. She went induction, and I have to say, I like the induction burners as much as gas, maybe even more.
Like the fridge too. It has a bottom freezer which has a top sliding drawer in it, cafe upper doors, tempered glass shelves that can be configured many different ways, and a separate center drawer, with it's own climate control (which we use for beer and soda).
Samsung fridge and a Frigidaire stove Sue reminds me...I can get model details if you are interested...



Thanks Jill. I've looked up the models now. Thanks for the reminder about induction. The reviews for the ones recommended in CR (for whatever worth) are as positive as those for the Toto!
Cool Moon Ice Cream

with apologies to Jack Prelutsky's "Bleezer's Ice Cream Store"

I am Eva Marianna
I run COOL MOON ICE CREAM STORE,
there are flavors in my freezer you have never seen before,
twenty-eight divine creations too delicious to resist,
why not do yourself a favor, try the flavors on my list...


#4 John DePaula

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 10:27 AM

We used induction cooktops (in addition to gas tops) at cooking school and I really loved the instantaneous control and ease of cleaning. Only drawback, of course, is that you must have induction cookware. A good excuse to buy new cookware, IMO.

I also have a Samsung fridge and I love it. I mainly bought it because it fit a built-in space of my mid-century home that is, by today's standards, a bit small. But the fridge is really good with seperate air (compressor?) for fridge and freezer sections. Pull out drawers in the freezer, very nice. Plus you can set/read the temp for both on the door.

I bought a Frigidaire Commercial unit this year and would avoid them. My mom bought the home model this year and isn't pleased with it, either. I think they've let quality slip from what they used to be.

I bought a Blendtec blender recently and I like it a lot. Very versatile & powerful and IT FITS UNDER THE CABINETS (just under 16" high).

I have a Kennmore Elite dishwasher (made by Bosch) and it's really good. Very nice stainless inside and out, heating element is enclosed - a real workhorse.

If you can swing it, I recommend a double oven. I bake a lot and it's nice to have two separate temperature spaces work with.
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#5 superdog

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 12:48 PM

Dear All,

We bought a hood from Overstock.com :
http://www.overstock...61/product.html

It has 900 CFM, and cost < $700, works really well for us.

As Jill says, induction is awesome - great control of temp, and in the summer time, you won't be heating up
the Kitchen so much since it does not have heating element like gas range or electric stove. Only downside is
Aluminum and Copper only cookware won't work with Induction cook top.

We purchase most of our granite here:
http://www.qhbsgranite-cabinets.com/

Very good prices.

Hope this helps,
Ellen
Ellen @ SuperDog
superdogpdx@gmail.com

#6 RM

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Posted 08 December 2012 - 03:55 PM

While its been 7-8 years since we remodeled I am reminded daily how happy I am that we went with granite countertops rather than the Corian that we had in an earlier kitchen. While I love the look of Corian and used it in the bathrooms, the ability to take a pan off the cooktop or out of the oven and place it on the counter without fear of damage is great.

Ensure your oven fits half-sheet pans. Everytime we cook over at my Dad's with his slightly smaller oven that won't close with a sheet pan in it I'm happy I don't have his oven. A narrow cabinet that houses cookie sheets/pizza pans/sheet pans is always great.

I love a bottom freezer fridge. I've had a Sub-Zero for years and love it but there should be many other less expensive bottom freezer choices available.

Make sure that you plan in undercabinet/over counter lighting from the beginning. It's great to turn on the task lighting when you need it.

We put in a small (6" wide) floor to ceiling pull out spice "drawer". It fits between the fridge and the end wall of the kitchen, is an ideal use of space, and really handy.

We were very glad we went with a lot of pull out shelves in our lower cabinets. We also had a dual level, 3/4 round, turning shelf in a lower corner cabinet that is really useful space.

We put in a roof mounted Dacor vent fan thinking that it would be quieter than a fan in the hood. Since it was only 4-5 feet from the fan to the hood I was disappointed in the noise - it does generate a lot of pull though.

Good luck.

#7 EvaB

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Posted 09 December 2012 - 02:09 AM

Wow, thanks everyone. Lots of great info here!

RM, I'd love to see a photo of your spice set-up. That's something I have been mulling over in my head and I'd love to see your solution. If you have time and can take a cell phone photo feel free to PM me and I can get you an email address--or post it here if you prefer.

Good points about the granite--heat-proof surface near the stove.

I am still up in the air about a range. The NXR is a Chinese gas range available through Costco (and elsewhere but not sure yet if anyone carries it locally). It has 4 double-ring 15000btu/simmer burners (all the same) no other bells and whistles, and no electronics except the starter--for $2K which is a good deal for a pro-style gas stove. The downside seems to be getting customer service when things fail, but the upside seems to be that it's easy to fix because the parts are mechanical and available. Many companies seem to outsource their warranty service contracts with the result that service is lacking--at least this seems to be a common theme in the reviews. Here's the NXR--it's kind of interesting:
http://www.ajmadison...toNumber=257275

The Induction ranges look great too, and are very highly rated in consumer guides, but add about another $K to the price.

Lots of nice fridges. I'm on the fence about french door vs side x side but after looking today think I am slightly more inclined toward the sxs. A little harder to find, but the stats suggest that not having through-door ice/water cuts down significantly on potential repairs.

Anyway, thanks again for the info and useful links!

EB
Cool Moon Ice Cream

with apologies to Jack Prelutsky's "Bleezer's Ice Cream Store"

I am Eva Marianna
I run COOL MOON ICE CREAM STORE,
there are flavors in my freezer you have never seen before,
twenty-eight divine creations too delicious to resist,
why not do yourself a favor, try the flavors on my list...


#8 joburn

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 03:18 PM

A very successful full remodel 4 years ago here. DCS all-gas range, works very well, great simmer feature on all 5 burners and plenty of BTUs. Oven works pretty well; with gas oven there's more temperature variation than electric which could hamper a serious baker but we're more the savory roast/broil types, and have made our best roasts and pizzas ever out of this one. No electronics other than starter, very simple and not much can go wrong with it. The Vent-a-hood above it pulls anything, and I mean anything, away quickly. I believe they were bought by another company recently and re-branded though the manufacture may be the same.

Fridge is a Liebherr; separate compartments and pullout freezer drawers, definitely keeps everything fresh much longer than our old one did. The design is sort of unique and we've found it works really well for us. If you need a lot of space, side-by-side thin tall models would do the trick. Downside is that the freezer makes more noise than it should and we have had several compressors replaced - upside is that Liebherr has been very responsive and we've had no problems about warranty work.

Dishwasher is a Miele with a separate cutlery tray on top. Silent and cleans really well; really top-line performance, no complaints whatsoever.

For appliances I recommend making an appointment with someone such as Derek at Basco so you can look at a number of options side-by-side without pressure.

Heartily second the pull-out cabinet shelves advice above. Also have pullout large drawers for mixing bowls, etc. that work nicely. Also second the under-counter lighting advice.

We are very happy with our Cambria quartz countertops and they are beautiful as well as highly wear-resistant, no issues with red wine or citrus juice spills (which given our cooking style is a must).

Good luck!

#9 Jill-O

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Posted 10 December 2012 - 03:30 PM

Yeah, Sue has a Miele dishwasher with the top cutlery tray too...sometimes I touch the door to feel the vibration to make sure it is on - it is soooo quiet! Does a good job, too. I love the adjustable height middle rack.

And yeah, under-counter lighting is a must, IMO.

There is a hood over the stove, not sure of the brand, but it works really well - two speeds for the fan, and two settings for the halogen lights (that do a great job over the stove, I'd get a hood for that alone!). If you use cast iron skillets a lot to sear meat (like we do) it's almost a requirement to have a hood.

We are short (Sue is 5' and I am 5'3") and standing on a chair barely allows us to reach the top shelf in the cabinets (we have to actually stand on the counter to get to the top shelf). We keep all the dishes in a deep drawer next to the dishwasher. Much easier access than when they are stored in cabinets!

Sue has beautiful custom cherry wood counters, but honestly, I wouldn't do that, myself, I'd go with some kind of stone/granite/composite.
Never give up! Never surrender!

#10 Laksa

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Posted 06 February 2013 - 09:51 PM

Induction is great. We got a single induction burner which sits next to the range and is a real workhorse for boiling water at the high end and simmering and reducing things at the low end. But I'd go for the range. The don't work for wok cooking, but on the other hand most non-commerical stoves don't either.

 

Stainless steel countertops are also terrific. Nothing easier to keep clean and you can get a lip formed at the front edge which keeps spills on the countertop.



#11 abefroman

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 12:00 PM

Wow, thanks everyone. Lots of great info here!

RM, I'd love to see a photo of your spice set-up. That's something I have been mulling over in my head and I'd love to see your solution. If you have time and can take a cell phone photo feel free to PM me and I can get you an email address--or post it here if you prefer.

Good points about the granite--heat-proof surface near the stove.

I am still up in the air about a range. The NXR is a Chinese gas range available through Costco (and elsewhere but not sure yet if anyone carries it locally). It has 4 double-ring 15000btu/simmer burners (all the same) no other bells and whistles, and no electronics except the starter--for $2K which is a good deal for a pro-style gas stove. The downside seems to be getting customer service when things fail, but the upside seems to be that it's easy to fix because the parts are mechanical and available. Many companies seem to outsource their warranty service contracts with the result that service is lacking--at least this seems to be a common theme in the reviews. Here's the NXR--it's kind of interesting:
http://www.ajmadison...toNumber=257275

The Induction ranges look great too, and are very highly rated in consumer guides, but add about another $K to the price.

Lots of nice fridges. I'm on the fence about french door vs side x side but after looking today think I am slightly more inclined toward the sxs. A little harder to find, but the stats suggest that not having through-door ice/water cuts down significantly on potential repairs.

Anyway, thanks again for the info and useful links!

EB

You might do more research on NXR range and reliability. If you are looking for a professional style range you are better off buying just that. Induction cooktops are great as are electric tops with flat glass surface. Wolf makes an excellent model. If you are looking at cooktops a downdraft ventilation system with and external fan is the way to go, you can get high CFM with them. As far as refrigeration, French door with bottom freezer. side by side offers very little in the way of storage. we have an extra fridge in the garage to compensate. Quartz for countertop, low maint. Franke sinks are very good as well if you are replacing that. Good luck.



#12 abefroman

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Posted 09 February 2013 - 12:02 PM

Also, to determine BTU's for electric multiply wattage by 10. 3,000 watts x10= 30,000 btu's.



#13 bwolff

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 03:41 PM

Second recommendation on commercial range.  6 burners (or 4 and flat top/broiler). Same price as high end residential but huge oven (2 sheet pans) and 30k btu burners.  I've had US Range, now have Imperial. Got it from some place in CA - free shipping. You do lose some "features": e.g., window in oven door; light in oven; auto cleaning, clock, etc. but the benefits are worth it I think.  You don't need commercial venting.



#14 StMaximo

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Posted 13 February 2013 - 06:10 PM

Commercial Ranges typically have a greater clearance distance needs than home appliances i.e. 6 inches from the wall and to the sides. Some commercial ranges have optional kits to make them safe for lesser clearances. You should probably check building codes, insurance etc. before you buy. There are some potentially some serious safety issues. Things like this can take up a lot of space that you may not have. Your building inspector can be your friend when sorting out these things. It's expensive to have to redo something that wouldn't have cost that much more to build to code in the first place.

 

You don't need commercial venting, but you may want or be required to have something more than the typical residential kitchen fan, especially on a warm day.

 

Do a serious evaluation of what you want versus what you need. How many people do you typically cook for? If it's a family of four you don't really need commercial gear. If you entertain large groups often it might make more sense. Watch an old Julia Child episode - she was cooking on a home type electric range. It gets expensive building a quasi commercial kitchen for home use and it won't add as much to the resale value of your home as you put into it in most neighborhoods. 

 

Good luck with this and whatever you do, please post pictures of the completed project.



#15 EvaB

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 11:24 PM

Thanks again everyone!

 

I am not going with true commercial equipment, for precisely the reasons cautioned above. I am sticking with gas over induction, partly because I actually do quite a bit of wok cooking, and because I don't want to have to upgrade my electrical supply. My top contendor for slide-in range right now is the Electrolux 30" gas with 4 burners and continuous grates, which a couple of my friends have and like.

 

I found a Kenmore SxS fridge without through-door ice maker that is not outrageously priced. Kenmore is Whirlpool which is top rated by CR.

 

Found a really cool sink--Franke Orca --which is a large single bowl s/s sink with a wider part and slightly narrower part. There are various racks that fit into this sink but the flat grid that fits in the smaller portion of the sink looks particularly useful. It sits several inches above the bottom. Here's a link: http://www.franke.co...127_detail.html

Having a terrible time finding a kitchen sink faucet due to that fact that I need to water-change my aquarium. I either need to be able to hook a hose up to the sink faucet, requiring threaded nozzle, or I need a pull-out faucet nozzle that's long enough to reach over the edge of the sink to a 5 gal bucket. Not as easy as it sounds!

 

I'm going with Paperstone for the wall counters, and butcher block on the island. These two choices are primarily aesthetic. I could not find stone, quartz or laminate that I like (yeah, I'm picky) and while I absolutely love the practicality of the  s/s countrtops at Cool Moon, I decided that the look was a bit clinical for home. I scored some nice tile from the Pratt & Larson sale room, which will run in a single line along the backsplash base, with fir above to the height of the upper cabs. Upper cabs fir/glass and some open shelving. Lower cabs and island cabs will be painted. Marmoleum floor. Bosch dishwasher. Still pretty clueless on range hood, though I have gathered some rec's for relatively reasonably priced Kobe.

 

Lots more in other parts of the house, but that's the food related line-up. Demolition in two weeks and picts for sure!


Cool Moon Ice Cream

with apologies to Jack Prelutsky's "Bleezer's Ice Cream Store"

I am Eva Marianna
I run COOL MOON ICE CREAM STORE,
there are flavors in my freezer you have never seen before,
twenty-eight divine creations too delicious to resist,
why not do yourself a favor, try the flavors on my list...


#16 StMaximo

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 08:23 AM

I have a faucet from Costco similar to this one. I just tried and I can put a 5 gallon bucket in my sink to fill it. Not sure I'd want to try and lift a full bucket out of the sink though. I'm more of the two half full bucket school of thought.

 

That's a nice looking range. I really like the flat grated surface.



#17 jennifer

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 10:43 AM

We have a Pfister faucet that was "cheap" for a pull-out faucet with brass and ceramic inner parts.  I think it was around $150 from Home Depot 10 years ago, so probably $175 - $200 now.  The front head pulls out and extends 20", I fill 5-gallon buckets periodically with this by sitting the bucket on the counter next to the sink.  As StM said, I don't want to lift a filled 5-gal bucket out of the sink, so the counter is easier.  

 

What's been interesting about this purchase, is that in the beginning I envied all the beautiful Moen & other expensive faucets that looked so much nicer and heftier.  But over the years as I use faucets at friends' houses or wherever, I've really come to appreciate this streamlined lightweight faucet head, vs the giant ones that are so much more expensive and cumbersome to work with.  This simple faucet was very well designed and so functional, I'd buy it all over again.  

 

Regarding ranges, have you checked availability at Basco's warehouse?  They list their inventory online and I'm told are willing to negotiate.  This isn't the Pearl District store, this is their outlet/warehouse.  I've seen Electrolux's, DCS' and others marked down considerably on this site. The Electrolux I saw last week isn't there anymore but there's a 30" DCS out there.  Ditto for high end refrigerators, hoods, washers/dryers, dishwashers, etc.  I just started looking last week because we need a new washing machine, and I see things come & go every few days. 

 

http://bascoappliances.com/outlet.html

 

 

EDIT: I must've sorted the list too much.  The Electrolux 30" gas range is still there under "Ranges".  Not sure if this is a good price or not, $2,899.  They might be willing to negotiate too since it's a warehouse item.



#18 bwolff

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Posted 20 February 2013 - 11:34 AM

EvaB -

 

Sounds like an awesome kitchen.  Buckle up -  I have found cost overruns and schedule delays to be the norm.