Friday, April 13

The 411 on Appliances

When your shopping for appliances, you know about all the major brands that advertise on HGTV.  The typical big box brand appliances you can get at the hardware or electronics store.  But you want something truly outside the box.  Those appliances are out there, and they are enough to make a statement in your kitchen remodel.

Cooking Appliances
AGA Cooker System
When looking at cooking appliances, there are some unique appliances out there, that most home owners have never seen, much less looked into for their new kitchen.  One line, is the AGA line of cookers. These ranges feature old fashioned lines and curves with modern cooking technology.  These cookers have multiple purposes including the ability to bake, fry, grill, toast, stew, steam, roast, simmer, and even stir-frying.  The AGA line of ranges also come in a variety of colors, including your basic black, white, and stainless, as well as ruby red, sapphire blue, and the one pictured to the side, aubergine, and so many more.

If your looking for something a little more contemporary, there is also a great line from Italy, called Bertazzoni, which features a wide range of cooking appliances with multiple purposes and features, designed for the inner chef.  Other brands of note include Viking, Miele, and Wolf's line of cooking appliances.

 Refrigeration Appliances
There is more than that typical side by side refrigerator you may have sitting in your kitchen right now.  I am sure you have seen the newest wave in refrigeration, the French Door style refrigerator, which has the freezer in a drawer on the bottom of the unit, with dual doors for the refrigeration section on top.  There is still even more, like modular refrigerators, and built in refrigerators, that blend seamlessly into your kitchen cabinetry.

AGA Refrigerator Drawer
The main refrigerator isn't the only source of refrigeration in some kitchens, there are other units available, including refrigerator drawers.  The ones pictured here, available by AGA, are a great option for Kosher Kitchens, or for anyone who needs a little extra fresh food storage.  Additional alternate units include wine and beverage coolers, ice makers, freezers.  All of these units typically fit under counter, in the same space that a typical dishwasher uses, and sometimes even smaller.  When a standard refrigerator, or even a counter-depth or built-in just isn't enough, taking a second look at some of these units is a must.  They also work well in auxiliary kitchens like in-law suites, bars, game rooms, and more.

Cleaning Appliances
When cleaning up the kitchen at the end of a meal, the dishwasher isn't your only appliance.  There is also a need for the Garbage Disposal and Trash Compactors if requested.  When selecting a dishwasher, you have some variety, but with dishwashers, my experience has been "You Get What You Pay For."  There are always some exceptions, but be sure to consider the features you will use, and nix the ones you don't.  For example, if you are looking for something quiet, but just want the basic features, then you can skip the steam cycles, which will typically cost you an extra $100 depending on manufacturer.  You can also get drawer styles of dishwashers that can be installed as a stacked unit, or two half units that can be installed on either side of a sink, which is great for anyone with physical limitations, or in a chair.  Many upgrades worth spending the extra money, low decibel ratings, the lower the dBA the better.  Also, stainless steel interior, steam cycles, and of course, a sanitary cycle.  Most clients I have worked with only want a Normal, Light, and Steam cycle, as they rarely or never use a china or pot and pan cycle.  The other main feature you will want to look into when selecting your new appliances, is if you want a fully integrated unit, that can have a cabinetry panel applied for a seamless look, a semi-integrated, which typically has top controls and a handle, or a dishwasher with the controls on the front.  
InSinkErator Excel

When selecting your garbage disposal, shop around and see what is out there.  You are typically purchasing most units based on sound ratings, and grinding chambers.  The least expensive units have one grind chamber, low horse power, and no insulation, translation - don't grind as much and are loud about it.  More expensive units have multiple grinding chambers, horse power, and insulation, like the InSinkErator Excel, which has a higher horse power than other units, 1HP, three grind chambers, grinding food three times, and insulation, creating a unit that is 60% quieter than other models.

When looking for appliances, what you are used to isn't the only thing.  I stress to all of my clients, you will typically have your range or refrigerator two to three times longer than your car.  You really want to do your research and find the best appliance for your family, and your families habits.  Shop around, talk to your neighbors, open doors and see what has the features you want.  The best thing to do when shopping for an appliance, is take your time and do the research.  Statistics show that most people are only shopping for appliances a day or two.  When your investing several thousand for a refrigerator alone, you really want to be sure you aren't going to hate it three days after it is delivered.