At the outset of the project, we created a budget. In that budget is a section for appliances. Being renters up to this point, we don’t own any major appliances. We needed to buy: Washer and Dryer, Fridge, stove (or range and oven(s)), kitchen fume hood, and a dish washer. Having spent more than a decade working in commercial kitchens, I’m pretty opinionated about consumer appliances. Mostly my opinions amount to those of the old man next door, carefully evaluating that latest nerf ball the neighboring kids have deposited on his lawn. In the end, this means I value simplicity and reliability over all else. The closer my fridge can be to a wooden box with a giant lump of ice in it, the better. This provides the added benefit of my most desirable appliances also existing on the cheaper end of the appliance spectrum. So our appliance budget was modest at the beginning.
For the first time in my life, I shopped on Black Friday. We were able to take advantage of sales on appliances and purchase a washer/dryer set, and a fridge. The washer dryer set is super fancy and high tech. Emily was in charge of picking those as my understanding of how to do laundry ends after “jam all your clothes in and press the go button”. We went slightly over budget, but were able to get something far beyond what we were expecting. She seems quite happy with the choice and that’s good enough for me. The fridge is actually the exact one that we have in our rental right now. It’s your straight forward top freezer model. No water, no complicated multiclimate features, no crazy buttons. Just a fridge. It’ll do the job. I will admit though that we might end up getting a drop freezer somewhere along the line now that we actually have space for it. Emily has waged a silent war for bulk purchasing foodstuffs for most of our relationship and my primary defense has been that we just don’t have the room to store half a cow. The dish washer we have picked out, we just have yet to order it. We did invest in a subscription to Consumer Reports online and it’s been really helpful in evaluating appliances. This is how we knew how much better of a deal the washer/dryer pick up was over what we were going to buy. And CR is why we’ll end up with a GE dishwasher even though it’s slightly more expensive than the other contenders. The saga of the fume hood was chronicled in another post, but we have one now and it sits in the garage waiting to be installed in the finished kitchen.
The last thing to buy is our stove. We have a gas line running into the kitchen. This is important as I’m firmly against electric cooktops and would have run a new gas line if I needed to. We toyed with the idea of doing a separate cook top and oven, but physically it just didn’t make sense in our space. As of writing this we haven’t picked out our stove yet. The design of the kitchen is going to be a mostly built-in look and towards that end, we’re going to get a slide in range. A slide in range is meant to be flush with the countertop without a big gap. It also doesn’t have a back gaurd and often the sides are unfinished. Slide-ins tend to be a little more expensive than traditional stoves and there are less options at the cheaper levels but it’s not outside of our budget to do.
Part of Em’s contract with GE includes an incentive bonus for patent generation. The idea is that if you invest something and the company pursues a patent on it, even if it doesn’t end up getting patented, the company will kick you a $1000 bonus. GE of course owns exclusive rights to anything you invent while working for The General, so I imagine this system is far more beneficial to the company than the employee. Still, even the most minute detail of a design could potentially be patented and some engineers are quite aggressive in racking up the bonuses. Em earned her first patent when she was working in HID and it involves a chemical thing far more complicated than I understand. She just recently filed for a her second patent. Actually getting a patent takes a couple years of going back and forth with the government, but her bonus will show up next paycheck. She graciously decided to put it towards the stove budget, effectively doubling what we were looking to spend. While I may want a wooden fridge, I’m supremely happy with a very complicated, well designed cooking appliance. Multiple, high output burners, convection oven, digital thermostat with precise temperature control are important to me. Now that we’re in a different buying class of stoves, we have to do more research and figure out the best candidate. My prediction is we end up with the high end GE model. Em gets a nice employee discount buying direct from the company and the very high-end series of GE appliances get stellar ratings with CR. But I’ll try to kick the tires on a few other models before we end up going that route.