After sitting in our living room for over two weeks, the new appliances are finally in and we've had a chance to actually get to know them a bit. I chose the Kitchenaid brand, after much lengthy online research. My primary reasons for going with the Kitchenaid line were 1) they had a French door refrigerator that could accept custom door panels and was also one of the shallowest and therefore closest to true counter depth out there, 2) they had a quiet dishwasher that could accept a custom door panel, and 3) they had a nice looking slide-in range with a convection oven that got good reviews.
First, the range. After we installed it and it was operational, I was concerned. The electrical panel on the range was acting up. I was uneasy thinking there may be a short inside my gas range. Kitchenaid sent someone to fix it. Had to put a new computer chip in it or something.
Dang, this baby can cook fast, simmer slow, light quickly, and you can't argue that it doesn't look like it can cook :-).
Then there is the fridge. We had thought about putting slate tile in the kitchen, but chose wood instead. We do love the look of the wood floor, but there are a couple of downsides. What we were most afraid of was the eventual leak in the water line to the dishwasher or something of that nature. We just didn't think we had to be afraid of it two days after the brand new appliances were installed! Yup, a water line inside the top-of-the-line Kitchenaid refrigerator was not attached correctly at the factory. Note that there was nothing wrong with the connections Drew made; it was a manufacturer defect. So for two days, each time we would use the water filter, the water in that line would drain back under the fridge on the BRAND NEW HARDWOOD FLOOR. I finally noticed some cupping of the floor out in front of the fridge on a Friday night, while Drew was on a trip. I was, um, disheartened. Twenty-seven square feet of the flooring had to be ripped up, let dry for a week, and replaced.
It is all fixed now, and the fridge seems to be good.
The counter depth feature makes for a nice look and fits the floor plan very well, but I would not recommend it for a family. The French door style is nice for the fridge compartment, but the freezer is pretty tiny. We'll have to get a separate chest freezer to store our dead cows and birds.
Note to anyone considering custom panels: don't use chrome cabinet pulls and faucets. These door handles were one of only four choices in chrome of the 6 or 7 hardware manufacturers I shopped. These were only $38 a piece, but the others were $132, a piece. That would be over $400 in handles, for your fridge. Ridiculous.
The GE microwave, shown here with the blue protective sheet still on, has some very cool features. Really easy to use. Would highly recommend. It will eventually sit on a shelf above where it is sitting now.
The hood is a Whirlpool and throws 400 cubic feet per minute of air. It vents out through the dropped ceiling in the adjacent bedroom to the outside, which is a big improvement over our old recirculating impostor of a hood.
I like it for functionality and because it is slightly taller and more beefy looking than the other under-cabinet hoods I looked at, but still allows us to have all that usable cabinet space above the stove. It was a good compromise for our space.
Although the sink is not technically an appliance, I'll show you it because it is v. cool.
I saw this sink in This Old House magazine and thought it might work nicely in our kitchen. It does! I love the apron front style and the integrated drainboard is super handy. As far as I could find, this sink, by Whitehaus, is the only farmhouse apron front with a drainboard. The Delta faucet is also very handy; you turn it on by touching the spout or lever with any part of your hand or arm (or foot or head I guess - I haven't tried). It is convenient and a nice feature when you have "chicken hands".
So there are our new cooking toys. Now there is no excuse not to cook like my sister-in-law.