Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Appliances - Revisted

*** Update on the August 1, 2011 post ***

List of model numbers is listed further down the post... First a bit of context.

Now that the kitchen is in, we need to get serious about the appliances that will be part of the both the kitchen and the rest of the house. In many parts of Europe, when one moves, the kitchen moves with them. Unfortunately, here in the States, there is usually not a lot of appliances from your old home that you can take with you since buyers kind of frown upon a kitchen without appliances. So, short of the toaster and the food processor, everything stayed there and we had to use our appliance allowance to buy all new appliances for the new house.

Looking at the price-range the new house will be in, a certain group of people expect a certain set of brand names. However, we will not go with the Wolf / Sub-Zero level appliances or the fully integrated look. In the process we now save a nice 5-figure sum of hard-earned dollars--and the peace of our marriage since Jen would not approve of spending that much! To be honest, it seems that most people go with the commercial-grade appliances more for show than utility since the average American family either eat outs or orders in more often than they cook a meal themselves. For us, it doesn't seem that the extra expense of a brand name is worth it. Jen is a great cook, even without the super expensive appliances.

We initially opted for appliances made by the Whirlpool corporation since the company I work for does all the transportation for said company and therefore we can get a substantial discount on the average retail price. Through our builder we found a local whole-saler (MAS Distribution in Richfield, OH) that matched those prices and also carriers most other brands. So, we widened our brand selection and looked at - and selected - a number of floor models and scratch-and-dent models that normally would not have been in our budget.

We selected mostely the stainless steel models simply because there are less choices now in white and black and we actually do like the look of steel in combination with the dark espresso wood and white quartz counters. For the kitchen we did go with a black oven but the stainless handles match the rest of the kitchen and the Sharp MW drawer next to it has a good number of black parts as well making it all look pretty seamless. We are also getting a white freezer since it will be in the pantry, and white washers and dryers for the laundry rooms.

So, here are the appliance choices we have made and barring any delivery issues these will be the appliances being ordered in the next couple of days:

Cooktop - Dacor Preference 36" Gas
We selected this after first looking at the KitchenAid 36" gas models and then the recessed grates model Whirlpool GLS3665RS. However, our supplier had a Dacor floor model on clearance that will offer more flexibility with seamless simmer-to-sear options (from 400 to 18,000 BTU) and still offer the continuous grates for easy pan moving. Also allows for griddle, searing grill and wok circle to simply fit over the two center burners that are both equally sized (12,500 BTUs). We could not pass that up for 75% off. And to top it off, it's American-made too... Food (no pun intended) for thought, due to the ICF construction the required BTU number for our furnace will actually be lower than the combined output of the cooktop... hmm... ;-).
Dacor Preference PGM365
Vent hood - Vent-a-Hood SLDH14 136 36" Wall mount
Jen really wanted a flat bottom vent so she could put spices on it like one we found the last Christmas in Europe, but the only ones we found in the States were either three times as much as other options, too loud or too high in CFM numbers (risking negative pressure in your house, look up how bad that is...). In our old house we had installed a Whirlpool island-mount vent hood. It looked stunning, sucked up a small book (with a good install and only a 400 cfm motor), was extremely affordable and looked nice and modern (our style). However, it was simply too loud for Jen so we looked at various brands and where very lucky to find a floor model (of the Texas-made) Vent-a-Hood at 50% off that normally would not have been in the budget.
Vent-a-Hood SLDH14-136
Refrigerator - Whirlpool 36" Satina Side-by-Side
We selected this particular 26 cu ft unit since it has a very good energy rating (ENERGY STAR® Qualified - Tier II), has the faux-stainless finish (read: less finger prints), has glass shelves in both the fridge and freezer section, gallon storage in the door and ice-in-the-door. The popular French-door style doesn't work for us because we cook most of meals from scratch, and then put the leftovers in containers for my lunches. The stackable containers don't work very well with the drawer design in the French-style design but work great with a side-by-side because I can see all my lunch options clearly at a glance. Furthermore, this one has the Satina finish (stainless-look) to prevent fingerprints...
Whirlpool GSS26C4XXY
Wall-oven - Jenn-Air 30" Double Convection wall-oven
We selected this double-wall oven because the supplier had 1 floor model left of a discontinued line. It is not a stainless finish, but still has the stainless handles (that match with the other handles in kitchen) and is on a wall where it wouldn't matter too much. Again, at 50% off we couldn't pass this one up. It has both upper and lower convection (with conversion), proofing, probe, dehydration, pretty much all of Jen's wish list of items she ideally would like her oven to have. We cook a lot and both units will be used almost daily. This floor model saves us a crazy amount of money since we're getting it below the price of the Whirlpool model we had selected earlier and that one didn't have the lower convection, probe, proofing, and dehydration functions.
Jenn-Air JJW9830DDB
Dishwasher - Bosch 800-Plus series - 24 '' Recessed Handle Dishwasher
We did not look at the Whirlpool dishwashers since they are not very highly rated and are a bit too loud. We thought Miele and the higher-end Bosch models were simply not in the budget so we initially went for the nice middle ground with KitchenAid. We selected a particular model with a ENERGY STAR® Qualified - Tier II rating and only a 49 dBA sound level. However, again, our supplier came through with a floor model Bosch 800-Plus series at a very attractive price and only 42dBA. It doesn't have the flat front I initially was looking for but in function-over-form manner we decided that the lower sound level and the German engineering (all our kitchen hinges are German as well - Blum) was enough of a reason to switch.

Bosch SHE68E05UC
Freezer - Frigidaire 20.5 cu-ft upright freezer
In our pantry we will have a full-size upright freezer since we cook a lot and buy our meat in 20 to 40lbs increments through our local farmer(s market), and it will allow us to buy larger portions of our bulk goods (at a lower price per pound). We know they are not as energy efficient as a chest freezer, but the accessibility of an upright freezer is simply far superior to having to empty a chest freezer out while looking for an item (which negates the energy savings since the unit will be open much longer). Initially I looked at a 25 cu-ft, but those are real energy hogs, so we stepped down to a 20 cu-ft unit with some half and some full-length door-shelves and plenty of storage inside yet still carriers an ENERGY STAR® Qualified rating.
Frigidaire FKFH21F7HW
Microwave - Sharp drawer unit
This one was pretty much a no-brainer from the moment we saw it. We value our counter-space over the cheaper price of the table-top units and are doing all drawers for the kitchen cabinets so a microwave drawer unit was an ideal fit and is very well suited for accessibility. It also works well for us since we only use it occasionally as an assist in defrosting or re-heating some left-overs. Furthermore, while you can buy a DCS, Jenn-Air or Viking unit, they are all made by Sharp since they hold the patent making the non-Sharp ones just a Sharp-interior with different fronts for inflated prices. We'll save some money and buy the Sharp model...unfortunately the scratch-and-dent model was only available on the 24" unit and not the 30" unit for which the cabinet was designed. Ah well, you win some, you loose some...
Sharp KB-6525PS
Disposal (island sink) - Waste King
Everyone keeps buying the InSinkerator and they are great disposals but most every test of disposals ranks them number 2, right behind the Waste King. So we went with the L8000 for both sinks. The prep sink will see the most action and for the regular sink we thought we'd use the builder-supplied model simply since it will be mainly used for rinsing prepared food versus the larger, chunkier food prep items the Waste King will be dealing with. However, Amazon's Black Friday deals pretty much had a two-for-one deal so now we have two...
Waste King L8000
Washer/Dryers - Maytag
We are normally only a family of 3 - but with room for guests - so we don't need the super-high capacity washers, but with me being from Europe and used to front loaders we'll get the HE front-loaders this time around. Again, not the top-of-the line but good, decent, quality-built Maytag units, with an ENERGY STAR® Qualified - CEE Tier III rating, 3.6 cu-ft washer with NSF Steam Cycle and a 6.7 cu-ft electric dryer (this also saves some money by not having to run a gas line to the 2nd story). As part of our universal design plans, we have laundry rooms on both the upper and lower floors. Our regular wash will be done upstairs, and the downstairs laundry will be available for kitchen linens, our son's future stinky sports clothes, and any laundry overnight guests might need/want to do without having to go upstairs to our laundry room. To cut back on the learning curve for Jen we've selected the same models for both upstairs and downstairs (through the savings of the floor models). And in a nod to buying local, using the Whirlpool brands where it makes sense, we support our local economy as most of these units are made close to Ohio.
Maytag washer-dryer desgin
Now we have to go spend the money... necessary evil I guess ;-) Print this post

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