I mentioned in this post that we were trying to nail down the appliance choices so that we could place all the orders and start refining the casework drawings. The refrigerator was proving to be the biggest challenge, and we didn’t leave the initial appliance meeting with really clear direction on what to choose.
There are three key things that we are doing in this renovation that will radically transform our current kitchen layout in a relatively small space.
First, we are building a two-story addition to the house in the current footprint of the two-story balconies on the side of the house. It’s a pretty small footprint, but it creates a new space (roughly 5′-8″ x 16′-0″) for pantry / mudroom storage, and it relocates the rear entry door OUT of the kitchen and onto the south wall of the house of the addition.
Second, we are rebuilding the south wall of our house, removing the original double hung windows in the center of this wall on both floors, and installing new steel at larger openings that will hold four huge windows mulled together. This will better connect our house to the rear garden visually, and the slightly higher sill height in the kitchen means that we can install an ‘L’ shaped kitchen in lieu of the galley style kitchen we have now. Concealed storage shifts to lower drawer storage only, and everything above the counter will be on open shelving. The pantry will support our storage needs, and a new credenza that is integrated into the new basement stair opening / stair railing system will hold items that are directly associated with the dining room – table setting and vases, cookbooks, etc.
Third, we are moving the refrigerator out of the main wall of casework and placing it in the former rear entry door opening. That opening is 3′-0″ wide and 7′-0″ tall, and has a transom above it. Moving the fridge to this location means that we can have a kitchen design with no interruptions on the worksurface side. I’m super excited about this. But, there is a definite size constraint with this plan, and that’s been tricky to navigate and stay in budget.
A 7′-0″ high opening necessitates moving into professional appliance lines – otherwise we’d have this awkward filler panel above the fridge and then the transom – it just wouldn’t look right. It’s a very visible spot from the rest of the house too – and it’s got to be right. We’re excited to upgrade all of our appliances – don’t get me wrong. But some of those options can get very pricey, very quickly. I initially wanted a white refrigerator, but there are only three brands that offer white pro models – and my favorite, the True residential – is around $20K. That’s a whole lot of money to keep the milk cold.
We then pivoted to a panel ready fridge, and found a few options under five figures, but the compressors were on the bottom, and the refrigerator shelves were really high – I didn’t love them. Plus, the more we thought about it, the more weird a paneled fridge seemed there. They look great in a wall of cabinets, but this is in a former door opening, so I worried it would just look like a door? a weird infilled door? like, what even style panel would look right there? That’s when I realized that if we couldn’t find a white professional fridge that didn’t cost $20K, we should refocus on fridges that were stainless.
So when the person we were working with texted me about a special deal on a Sub-Zero 36″ Pro model with a left hinge – I got pretty excited. These fridges are also in the high five-figures, and you can’t even order them because they are 12-14 months out on production. This particular unit was ordered wrong for a client – they wanted the glass door option, but the solid door arrived. Because it was going to take 10 months to receive the correct unit, they used the solid door unit for part of that time. Their correct fridge arrived, and this one was available for a significantly reduced price. We drove over to look at it – it’s in perfect shape – and bought it. It’s quite an upgrade from the Kenmore Elite unit we bought off the floor for half price ($800) at SEARS(!) in 2000. But I love the fact that we’re carrying on the tradition of being open to appliance surprises when they present themselves.
Since this unit has a humidity controlled pantry drawer, we’ve moved away from the separate pantry drawer unit we were considering. So that’s also a $$ win on this choice. Now we just have to arrange for delivery in the next 30 days – and we’ve got to find it a safe home while we work to make a new space for it. But I’m so excited that it’s starting to come together.