so, remember all the pretty above? that was my kitchen design plan, which i shared a month or so ago. it included all the finishes, the flooring, the paint colors and the inspiration–but it was missing one crucial piece of the puzzle: the appliances.
as i wrote about yesterday, i AGONIZED over the purchase of my refrigerator and oven (and to a lesser extent, my dishwasher). why? because i love to cook, and so i wanted to make sure i was getting the very best. but also, mama’s on a verrry tight budget, so not only did i want to get the very best, i wanted to get the very best bang for my buck. that meant that although i would have loooved to go all spurge-y on viking and sub zero and wolf, there was simply no way. my finances helped to narrow things down…somewhat. see, there are a surprisingly large amount of appliances available in the median range of things.
speaking of ranges, another thing that complicated the issue was that i was VERY particular about the kind of range i wanted. see the oven below? it can be yours for just $400. and it will probably work JUST FINE. but that ugly back panel, with its ginormous buttons and oversized screen? i did not want that. AT ALL. NO BACK PANEL FOR ME.
this simple fact complicated things. i quickly learned that ovens like the above are called “freestanding” ranges. as in, they can stand on their own, floating in space, unanchored by silly things like countertops. if you want an oven with no back panel, you need a “slide in” range. and that immediately a) slims your pickins’ and b) makes things WAY MORE EXPENSIVE.
of course, me and my stupid expensive taste had to go and ruin things again. instead of $400, i was now in the $1500-$2000 range. YIKES.
that being said, the one item i was willing to splurge on was my stove. see, i’m a girl that LOVES to cook, and loves to bake even more (like, to the point that i’ve toyed with the idea of opening a bakery someday). so while i could live with a not-so-fancy fridge and dishwasher, i simply could not live with a sub-par oven. and i really, really couldn’t live with a freestanding range with that UGLY BACK PANEL STARING AT ME EVERY TIME I PUT A TRAY OF COOKIES INSIDE IT.
my family tried to talk me out of my “no back panel” obsession, but i could not be swayed. so i looked at a few different options. first was this kitchenaid model, which was straight up REALLY, REALLY pretty. i have a longstanding love affair with my kitchenaid mixer, and so i thought sure, why not? kitchen aid is reliable, there’s no back panel, this baby is beautiful, let’s do it.
kitchenaid oven, $1498 | rated 57 by consumer reports
then i started reading the reviews. and consulting consumer reports. and it turned out that for all its beauty, and the fact that it was selling like hotcakes, people didn’t really love their kitchenaid ovens. they didn’t even really like them, in some cases. and consumer reports gave it a 57 (for reference, the highest rated stove on their site gets a 79). WOOF.
the next contender was this GE model, which was relatively well-rated by the folks online. commenters liked it, but consumer reports gave it a 73 (not terrible, but also, not great). i’ve had GE appliances in my rental apartment for the past 7 years, and they’ve held up great. GE is generally known to be a reliable brand, but a deep drive into the online reviews revealed that GE wasn’t what it used to be, and that many people had issues with their newer GE appliances, this stove included.
GE cafe oven, $1598 | rated 73 by consumer reports
of course, there was also the fact that it simply wasn’t as pretty. out it went.
the final contender was the very first stove i had fallen in love with. it was a samsung model that was as pretty as the kitchenaid range–AND it had better reviews! unfortunately, it was also the most expensive range by about $200. but i mean, look at it. it’s BEAUTIFUL!
samsung oven (the winner!), $1798 | rated 77 by consumer reports
that’s some restaurant style shit right there, amiright?! but a budget is a budget, and i was determined to stick to mine (i had given myself $1600 for the oven). so i had to find $200 somewhere else.
that’s where the fridge came in. i needed a 30″ model (#apartmentliving), which narrowed my choices down quite a bit. but i also really wanted a french door on top, bottom freezer design, which narrowed things down even further (most french door style fridges are around 33″-36″ wide; a fine size for someone in suburbia, but not for a single gal in new york city). my top choice was this samsung model, which i first came across at home depot and fell in love with almost immediately.
samsung fridge, $1298 | rated 74 by consumer reports
it was oh so sleek on the outside, and oh so functional on the inside. there was an ice maker in the freezer (non-negotiable in my book), and it boasted 21.8 cubic feet of storage in its itty bitty 30″ body. but it was also sort of pricey. i was ready to take the plunge, but before i did, i decided to run my choices by a home depot online chat associate. being the amazingly helpful person that she is, my new friend elizabeth informed me that there were a few very similar models i could look at before selecting the samsung above.
one of those was this LG model, which was basically identical, but also, $200 cheaper! HALLELUJAH! SEND THE LITTLE ANGELS DOWN TO DANCE AROUND ME! i had found my $200 savings!
LG fridge, $1098 | rated 75 by consumer reports
i immediately freaked out to elizabeth about how excited i was to find this fridge, and thanked her PROFUSELY for her help. i’m sure she was all, someone get me off this online chat, this woman is a crazy person, but really, i was so thankful! home depot, if you’re out there, your chat associates are seriously the best, and have been SO helpful throughout this process. it is RARE to find good customer service out there, and so far, HD has hit it out of the park.
so, i now had the oven and the fridge covered. that left the dishwasher.
my parents raised me to be a bosch girl, all the way–they are the undisputed leaders in dishwasher land. but here’s the thing: i was already buying a pricey oven. and while many dishwasher brands are all, “IT’S SO SILENT YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW IT’S RUNNING!” “CLEANEST DISHES EVER!” “SHORT CYCLES” the reality is that all a person truly needs is a box that washes their dishes in a relatively short period of time. silent is nice, sure. so is a stainless steel interior. but i have been washing dishes in a white plastic GE box for seven years now, and i don’t feel as though i’ve missed out on any of the amazing benefits above.
would it be nice to never have to hear my dishwasher? i mean, i guess so – but i don’t really mind the sound of running water. if i close my eyes, i can almost pretend i’m sunning myself under a waterfall instead of sitting on my couch watching house hunters.
all of this is to say, i felt very strongly that i did not need to spend $600 on a dishwasher (yes, that’s what nice ones cost, and that’s the STARTING POINT! crazy!). but $400…$400 i could do.
and lucky for me, this whirlpool gold (which a salesman at PC richards told me was basically equivalent to buying a bosch!) model was on sale at home depot for that exact price.
whirlpool gold dishwasher, $400 | rated 75 by consumer reports
was it the fanciest? no. did it have a stainless steel interior (which would have cost an extra $100)? no. but as consumer reports said, “if you only run your dishwasher while you sleep, you’ll find lots to like in this low-priced whirlpool, which had superb washing, drying, and efficiency.”
SOLD! as a bonus, consumer reports informed me that whirlpool was the most reliable dishwasher brand. SOLD AGAIN!
so, as a reminder, here’s where i landed:
samsung oven: $1798 on sale at home depot (originally $2499)
LG fridge: $1098 on sale at home depot (originally a staggering $1799)
whirlpool gold dishwasher: $399 on sale at home depot (originally $599)
total price for kitchen appliances: with tax, i ended up paying just about $3500. if i hadn’t bought during a sale, that price would have skyrocketed up to almost $5k. can i get an amen for buying on sale?
do i know, with 100% of my being, that these are the VERY BEST APPLIANCES for my budget? no. but i don’t think i could ever know that. here’s what i do know: minerva at home depot west 23rd street told me that i was buying well, and that i had made good choices.
and guess what? all any newly-christened 30 something wants to hear is that she’s made good choices.