Kitchen renovations can be pretty daunting. There are just so many decisions and many of them are permanent, and a big time investment. From doing this with so many clients, and last year on my own house with my #canningreno, I know how difficult the decisions can be. 

So here's a guide to help you with one aspect (perhaps a series of posts on this to follow?)- buying your kitchen appliances. 

1. DETERMINE WHERE APPLIANCES FALL IN YOUR PRIORITIES LIST

When I work with clients I try to get them to group various aspects of a reno into tiers- A, B and C. A being top tier- what do you not want to sacrifice on and you'll pay top dollar for. B being middle of the road- ok with purchasing off the rack and C being third tier, can be very flexible with selection and price (PS- tier C does not mean ugly! It just means you make decisions that make sense for your priorities). How these are classified will very much depend on your overall budget (BIG ONE), timeline, esthetic, upbringing, attitude towards money, propensity to risk, how long you plan to be in the home, what you consider luxury, etc. etc. When I do consultations with clients I ask dozens of questions to help clients figure out these priorities. Here are a few things to consider in a kitchen reno- where would you group things?

  • cabinets
  • major appliances
  • counters
  • faucets
  • cabinet hardware
  • lighting (under cabinet, island pendants) 
  • flooring
  • backsplash tile
  • dining seating / table if applicable 
  • small countertop appliances
  • dishes, cutlery
  • accessories
  • doors 
  • windows
  • window treatments
  • baseboards, trim, mouldings  

In my own home, appliances fell into group B. I wanted pieces that looked great but were sensitive to my not unlimited budget. So when I stumbled upon the Whirlpool Black Ice collection I knew I had found a great fit for my house. 

I wanted the appliances to feel built in, but not incur the cost of built in paneled appliances (which would have been more than twice the price). The black blends in with the cabinetry I selected, creating a streamlined esthetic. In a kitchen as small as mine, I wanted as few sight line interruptions as possible. Black is an elegant alternative to stainless steel and in my home Black Ice was the perfect fit.

2. FRIDGE OPTIONS- FRENCH DOOR, SINGLE DOOR, BOTTOM FREEZER OR SIDE BY SIDE FREEZER, WHICH IS BEST?

This one is very much about personal preference but it is also very much reliant on space. In my tiny kitchen, I simply did not have room to open a full size door. On past client spaces I have recommended the French door option in tight passage ways, opposite the kitchen island, essentially wherever space is really limited. The french door refrigerator I selected (30"- the narrowest fridge available and basically the only thing that would fit my kitchen given my space limitations!) has pull-out drawers I love and tons of door storage. In short, space is probably the most important consideration in what type of fridge to select.

3. RANGES- GAS OR ELECTRIC, SLIDE-IN OR BUILT-IN, SINGLE OR DOUBLE OVEN

Again, let's get space restrictions out of the way. I probably would have done a double oven as with the number of people in my family, and how much we like to entertain, I could totally use it. But space just would not allow me that luxury here. So consider space- I think if you cook enough and your have the square footage built-in double ovens are pretty awesome. 

Now for the gas vs. electric option- I guess you could call me a foodie, but that really only pertains to when I dine outside the home. When at home, time often only permits me to make quick, efficient meals. Basically, I'm no chef- but I LOVE food and the communal act of eating. So I kind of was intimidated by gas ranges and thought it should be reserved for "cooks." Never had it growing up, never understood the appeal. But at the rental we had for four months while our reno was in full tilt, I cooked on gas and was totally converted. It's instant heat, consistent heat, and food just tastes better in my opinion. And did I say faster? So much faster.   

And for some definitions incase you're still confused- built in ovens / cooktops fit directly into the millwork (cabinets) or cabinets, and often a custom application must be employed (although some off the rack cabinet manufacturers make built in oven cabinets but you usually need to trim it out to look really polished). Built in microwaves are installed under a short cabinet usually on top of your range with a built in exhaust fan to blow air outside. And dishwashers are most usually built-in. The toe kick (piece of material that runs under all the cabinets) is installed under it. Slide-in ranges do just as they say- slide in to place ; )

4. WHY EVERYONE NEEDS A DISHWASHER

Ok so everyone does not need a dishwasher. But I lived without one, with 4 kids, for 4 years and my goodness having one has streamlined my life. It's like magic. You put in dirty dishes and they come out sterilized, sanitized, food free with little effort- allowing you to get on with life and spend time with the people you love. I love products that are easy to program, easy to use, and make my life easier. This dishwasher does just that. Super easy to program with consistent results.

Keep in mind- dishwashers can be a bit tricky to spaceplan for in a tight floorplan such as mine as you have to ensure the door has enough room to open fully, and plumbing and electrical need to be connected. 

My recommendation on selecting appliances is most importantly to look at your priorities. Appliances eat up a chunk of a kitchen budget so you want to make sure you're selecting something right for your family. The Black Ice collection has been a great fit for mine. 

Thanks to Whirlpool for partnering with me on my home renovation. For more info on my #canningreno click here and here.   

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