How (and When) to Buy Appliances for your New Kitchen

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Did you know that until you have chosen and purchased your appliances, you can’t begin designing your kitchen?

Jan Romanuk (my long-time dear friend and past business partner) says many of her clients are surprised to learn that this is the first step inside any kitchen renovation.

Three years ago when we bought this house and renovated the kitchen, Jan designed it for us. She has been renovating and designing interiors for over 35 years.

Jan has impeccable taste in all things fashion including, of course the home and is a wealth of information and can answer just about any question you’ll have about home renovations.

She’s been working with Mike Langari (below) for years, a very successful cabinet maker on the North Shore who builds kitchens and millwork for every room in your home from West Vancouver all the way, to well, Chilliwack (my house).

He built my cabinets and and he’s recently hooked up with Pedini Kitchens from Italy to bring fabulous, sleek, and extremely functional, Italian design to Vancouver.

Mike still makes every other kind of kitchen you and I have in our home, however if stunning, high end Italian is what you’re after, now you can get that in Vancouver through Mike and his team.

I was at their official grand opening last night.

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Jan Romanuk & Mike Langari

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A fireplace with custom millwork by Mike in the showroom

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Brizo Faucet

Check out this very great faucet from Brizo. It has a touch feature so when you’re prepping food, you don’t need to use the lever, just touch the faucet and it turns the water off and on.

And as an extra bonus, it comes with a bud vase (on the right).

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Pedini Kitchen

So here’s the skinny on appliance shopping from Jan:

Buying appliances is just as expensive as buying a car. If you don’t know what your appliance budget is because you have no idea what they will cost or what you will like, go to several different appliance showrooms to find out which colours and brands appeal to you.

The minimum you should budget for is $10,000, And it’s important to know that appliances brands have become really important to buyers.  Appliances have become the jewelry of the kitchen. In high end neighbourhoods, Real Estate agents are now asking questions like “Did you install a Sub-Zero, Wolf package?”.

Fridges – Full fridge, drawer fridge, half fridge half freezer, wine fridge the options are endless today with the largest selection of refrigerators we have ever had.  Whether you are looking for a small 24″ or a professional 60″ refrigerators today can be integrated with custom panels to look like the rest of your Millwork. This gives you the homeowner more design options to create a furniture like feel to your open concept kitchen family rooms.

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The new 24″ freezerless refrigerator is great because the entire length of the refrigerator is in use. And it’s great to have more access to vegetables and dairy products since people are freezing less and eating more fresh.

I recommend a 36″ standard size, 24″ counter depth refrigerator, because in the average kitchen it looks balanced. If you install something larger than this in the average 10 x 12 kitchen, it will look appliance heavy.


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This new concept of luxury appliances featured in this kitchen (above). This horizontal line of wall oven, steam oven and microwave all in 24″ format offers the homeowner the convenience of having easy access to their appliances in at a height that is most comfortable anywhere from 36″ to 42″ from the floor.

Gone are vertically stacked appliances. Horizontal, is the new trend in kitchens now.

Cooktops – Gas cooktops have been the desired cooktop for chefs and homeowners alike for many years. They still provide  a very accurate cooking temperature with flame control and evenly distributed heat and gas is much faster than electric with no waiting time for immediate heat.

Another advantage of gas is that if there is a power shut down you can manually light your gas cooktop and cook your meals.  Cleaning of a gas cooktop if one of the major downsides when compared to electric or induction

Electric – an electric cooktop gives you the convenience of a easy clean surface, however, the inability to evenly distribute heat and the longer turn off time makes this a less desirable choice. If your budget requires that you look at this option buy the best your money can buy.

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Induction – This is my favourite, with the great instant off on and instant cool to the touch, I believe we will look back on gas cooking like we we do now with coal burning stoves of yester year.  You can expect exact temperature control with the most efficient simmer on the market. The coolest kitchen ever, that gives you instant “cool” to the touch, no more burned fingers and the safest cooking product for your children.

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See how one side is boiling and the other side is ice? That’s because only the place where the pot comes into contact with the surface of the cooktop gets hot.

Very cool. Literally.

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Hood Fan – another appliance that gives the homeowner an opportunity for self expression.  The world of hood fans has been given new life with inserts that gives us the freedom to create a invisible hood fan above the cooktops (see how it doesn’t stick out in this photo above?) .  With the advancement of induction cooktops that blend into our countertops, the invisible fan is a continuation of the cleaner, clearer more furniture looking kitchen.

My best tip is, don’t blow your budget on your appliances. I recently spoke to a couple who had just spent $50,000 on their appliances and wanted to spend $15,000 on their millwork.

A kitchen with expensive appliances, especially if it’s white, should be a wood painted product instead of a less expensive MDF kitchen which will swell when it gets wet.

Thanks Jan!

There are two people who have changed my life and Jan Romanuk is one of them. We were business partners for a short time right before I started writing this blog in 2008 and so much of my knowledge about renovations, kitchens and bathrooms comes from working with and knowing her. She is one of my closest friends and I feel lucky to have her in my life!

If you need help designing your kitchen on-line or in-person, contact Jan or Mike at Pedini Kitchens here.

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 Jan Romanuk & Maria Killam

Next time, remind me not to wear stripes in a photo, they make me look huge, haha!

I’m doing a poll that will help everyone, how much did you spend on your appliance package?

Related posts:

My White Kitchen Inside Style at Home

How to Coordinate White and Cream (If you made a Mistake)

Ask Maria: Will my White Kitchen be Cold?

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  1. Maria it has been so much fun participating in this blog and I look forward to other “kitchen” elements we can discuss Thank you for including our kitchen showroom grand opening in North Vancouver

  2. Microwave/vent fan combos can be a good choice if you have limited space (I had one for many years), but they do have some drawbacks. They are a compromise solution.

    First is height; unless you are fairly tall, there is a definite hazard factor to getting hot food out of them because you will be reaching up, and actually over your head if you are shorter like me. You cannot lower them to a more comfortable height because all fans must be mounted a certain distance above the cooktop (specified by the manufacturer) to work properly, to allow enough height for taller pots below, and to also protect them from the heat and possible flames coming off the cooktop.

    Another big drawback is that they are not as powerful and efficient as a dedicated hood fan.

    You also can’t size them properly; NKBA advises that hoods extend 3″ beyond the cooktop on either side in order to most efficiently capture all the “stuff” coming off the stove as food is cooking.

    You also don’t have to choose between a microwave and a second oven; get a combination microwave/convection or speed cooker oven! I loved mine.

  3. Microwave/vent fan combos can be a good choice if you have limited space (I had one for many years), but they do have some drawbacks. They are a compromise solution.

    First is height; unless you are fairly tall, there is a definite hazard factor to getting hot food out of them because you will be reaching up, and actually over your head if you are shorter like me. You cannot lower them to a more comfortable height because all fans must be mounted a certain distance above the cooktop (specified by the manufacturer) to work properly, to allow enough height for taller pots below, and to also protect them from the heat and possible flames coming off the cooktop.

    Another big drawback is that they are not as powerful and efficient as a dedicated hood fan.

    You also can’t size them properly; NKBA advises that hoods extend 3″ beyond the cooktop on either side in order to most efficiently capture all the “stuff” coming off the stove as food is cooking.

    You also don’t have to choose between a microwave and a second oven; get a combination microwave/convection or speed cooker oven! I loved mine.

    Wendy

  4. Am currently redoing our kitchen…white cabinets, white subway tile, Cambria quartz Bellingham!! I am reusing my dishwasher…Bosch, 6 years old…works amazing well. My husband was able to fix it when the computer panel went out. I have an electric double oven Maytag range. I love it!! The cabinet maker is building in a range hood. Both are white. My husband and son talked me into a stainless GE fridge that my cabinet maker boxed in. I hate stainless, but I LOVE the fridge, dual ice makers!! My microwave is staying on the counter top. My cabinet maker is “building” it in and putting a drawer under it that I can pull out to take things out of the microwave, stir the food and put back in and close the drawer. I cook too much to have one over the stove. I really do not want people in my kitchen when I am cooking!!! By the fridge is a 42″ counter “drink station” that houses all of the glasses, Keurig, Soda Stream, etc. My husband was able to rewire the kitchen and put in the LeGrand undercabinet system and I now have no plugs in my back spash and awesome undercabinet lighting!! I have Maria to thank for “supporting” my quest for a white kitchen. I was able to show her articles to my husband and children and convince all that all white was the way to go!!

  5. We bought all new appliances last summer. I miss my old, white, GE appliances. They worked great and were easy to clean. But I wanted to update my kitchen so I replaced them with stainless Maytag appliances. The handles were what attracted me to them.
    But each new appliance has had an annoyance that I’ve had to learn to live with. I’m just glad I only spent $4000 & not $10000.

    • I too miss my old GE appliance, namely being the Fridge. Purchased a top-of-the-line name brand five years ago and cannot wait to cast it to the dungeon (the basement) to be used as a 2nd Fridge as its design is just horrible! As far as my present stove goes (the same age), again cannot wait to get rid of it when I do my upgrades. Even though it has all the bells and whistles, IMO it sounds like a Boeing 747 on take-off so I will be giving ‘it’ away. Don’t know if its because it has a convection feature and warming drawer but the fan constantly runs when on and its just plain annoying … ☺. Apologize if I sound like I am whining but when comparing the very old with the new; I personally prefer quality and function over aesthetics any day and what’s with the big handles on appliances anyways?

  6. I will not have gas, and I don’t like stainless steel in my own kitchen (seen it look fine in other settings but its not my style) so white coming back and induction coming in are Really Good News for me.

    As far as ‘can use in a power outage’ maybe look at solar panels and/or the new Tesla batteries. Not really a huge argument for gas anymore IMO.

  7. Question for Jan: I want a lot of frig & freezer space. I love the built in look where there is a matching frig and freezer beside each other. However, the price is totally out of the question and I need to do something cheaper than average. I think a regular frig & freezer beside each other would look a little strange. What do you think? Could I put one on each side of the kitchen? Or should I just make sure that I have a big enough pantry to hold the freezer? What have you seen that looks ok?

    • My recommendation would be a 36″ fridge only in your kitchen and an alternative location for your freezer, this could be your pantry, laundry room or I have even seen clients put the full freezer in their garage. All options will work estictically and from a design perspective.

  8. I like white cabinets and appliances but the color of each does not match close enough for me. And the appliances themselves are different shades of white. Is there any way to get a closer match with the cabinets? Or should I just get black appliances? (I don’t like stainless steel.) I plan on having black countertops anyway.

  9. If this is a new installation you can have your white cabinets painted to match your white appliances. I know Maria could help this colour question perfectly

  10. The biggest reason we are going for induction in our new kitchen is for the vent. We are in an interior townhouse with no option to vent upwards. Our present JennAir gas stove with drawdown vent in the center is terrible. As soon as we turn on the vent it pulls the gas flame and the heat with it. Literally lowers the cooking temp by 50%! MY neighbor has almost the identical one only GE Profile. She has the same heat loss problem and also cannot get the flame low enough for a simmer on any burner.
    We think the induction with a pop up rear vent will solve our problem by heating the pan and pulling the odors and smoke from the top of the pan instead of below it.
    Does anyone know this for sure?
    Thanks

  11. I learned this after already buying a few appliances! The one thing I learned was that not all 30″ stoves/ovens are created equal. I purchased a 30″ cooktop and wall oven because I really hate the crack between a regular oven and the counter. Little did I know how much this would affect my cabinet design in my tiny kitchen! The separate cooktop/oven of course require a larger cabinet, something I didn’t consider. And those few inches made a huge difference in the size of drawers I could place in the adjacent cabinet and how much room I had to squeeze in my 30″ fridge. It actually made the whole thing really complicated.

    Luckily we figured out that we could move the fridge to the other side of the kitchen and now the issue is solved and the kitchen will be great. But yes, especially with small apartment kitchens, know your appliances and also any cabinetry/clearances they require!

  12. Oh I wholeheartedly agree that knowing what appliances are going in is the essential first step to designing a kitchen.

    My b/f lives in a tiny 1 bed flat with the most badly designed kitchen I have ever seen, thanks partly to the wrong appliances. Since he doesn’t cook he doesn’t have a problem but it’s driving me nuts.

    It’s a new development and the developers just put in a job lot of appliances. So a 1 bed flat which has just enough room for a couple to live in, but no more than that, has a family size fridge freezer and (even worse) a family size dishwasher. All integrated. And because it’s all new the b/f has a natural reluctance to get rid of it all and start again. The dishwasher doesn’t get used because we run out of dishes long before the time it’s anywhere near full enough to switch on. And because it is so wide it pushes other cabinets out of sync. So there is a massive space in the bottom corner of the kitchen cabinets which is inaccessible because the sink has to go above, making it difficult to put in a corner carousel/lazy Susan which would enable things to be swung out. The sink can’t be moved because the dishwasher is in the way.

    If the developers had thought for one nano-second about actual practical use of the tight kitchen space they might have considered putting in a narrow dishwasher which would get used more and would allow a further 7-10 inches of space which would create better options for cabinet storage. Hey, we might even be able to fit in a kitchen bin! (Yes the developers slung in units but failed to consider the need for refuse and recycling.) So the kitchen bin at the moment has to stand against one lower cupboard door (making it difficult to access the contents of that cupboard) and reasonably close to the freezer which strikes me as ‘eugh!’.

    Sorry, rant over.