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5 Hot Tips on Appliances for your Kitchen Renovation

Most of my projects involve the design or re-design of a kitchen which, I think, might be my favorite room of the house (it really depends what day you ask me!) and even before I became a designer, I looooooved a good appliance store perusal! I don't know what it is - the glossy finishes, the association with food... All of it, I guess. Don't even get me started on the built-in or panelled appliances (*cue Homer Simpson drooling noise). But what to choose?! Well here are 5 well-worn tips on appliances from someone who's got your back (me!)!

1. The Cooker

You don't need a gas range. I REPEAT: YOU DON'T NEED A GAS RANGE. Hell, I don't even want one. You know who else doesn't want one? A bunch of Canadian researchers who studied the effects of gas ranges on indoor air quality then proceeded to GET RID OF THEIR GAS RANGES. (You can read about that here.) I, personally, have owned an induction range for almost six years and she's a beaut! The thing literally boils a pot of water in 90 seconds. The heat (or reduction of heat) is ACTUALLY instant. I would legally marry it if I could. (My husband feels the same way about the range, BTW.) I knoooowwwwww that it doesn't look the same as some big-ass, sprawling fancy-pants gas range BUT it still looks super sweet, particularly because food doesn't burn onto it since it doesn't get burning hot so it's always spick-and-freaking-span. No scrubbing necessary. I could (obviously) go on. Oh baby.

The Fancy-Pants Range that sits in my kitchen.
Look ma'! No knobs! (pic:

2. The Cooler

Get the counter-depth fridge. I have no idea who in God's name is designing fridges these days but I'm unimpressed by most of them - they're so deep, I could likely refrigerate my SUV overnight along with that cookie dough. Sheesh. Lower kitchen cabinets are 24" deep and the average non-counter-depth refrigerator is 35" deep. That means it sticks out 11" from your beautiful new kitchen cabinets. Then the handles stick out even more. No thanks.

It's a no from me, dawg. (pic:

Counter depth fridges aren't really counter-depth. The box of the fridge is usually 24" deep, then the doors stick out a couple inches more - usually 26-27" deep in total, which is much better than the alternative. When I design a kitchen, I assume we're going with counter-depth or built-in appliances and I build in room to go wider so you still have the space for the Costco haul but don't have a behemoth sticking out from your cabinets.

3. The Washer

Get the best dishwasher you can afford because new dishwashers kinda' suck. It's true that new dishwashers use muuuuuch less water than the harvest gold beauty that we had in my childhood home (that, for the longest time wasn't built in. My best friend's family across the street had an avocado-coloured one that faced one way when dirty and got moved to face the other way when it was clean!)

What a time to be alive!

I'm pretty sure those things drained the North Saskatchewan River (if you grew up in Edmonton), whereas new ones use much less water and, in my experience, don't clean super well if you don't rinse your dishes as thoroughly as my husband does. In this case, you get what you pay for.

4. The Warmer

Build in the dang microwave. I know it feels a bit weird to reach down to use the microwave in the island but it just looks so much better. If you can, rather than two wall ovens, put in a microwave/convection oven combo with an oven on the bottom.

pic: GE Appliances

Have a smaller budget? Have a spot for the microwave built into the lower cabinetry, with a plug-in behind so you have more of a built-in look.

5. The Small Stuff

For the small appliances, I try to fit an appliance garage into every kitchen I design. Let's hide the coffee maker, the toaster, the blender, the mix-master... All of it! It'll make even a budget-friendly kitchen reno look much higher end if all of the crap (yeah, I know how expensive that blender was!) is off the counter.


After all, you don't see bumper stickers on a Ferrari, just like you don't see small appliances on the counters of high-end kitchens. I hope that analogy landed.

Bonus Cheap-O Tip:

Scratch and Dent appliance stores are your friend! Fun fact, my fancy-pants induction range and dishwasher both came from our local "seems-shady-but-I-swear-it-isn't" scratch and dent place and they've both been amazing. They've also saved us thousands of dollars. The real bonus here is that you get your new appliance in HOURS or DAYS, rather than WEEKS or MONTHS. Amaze-balls.

Bonus Fancy-Schmancy Tip:

Get as many panel-ready appliances as you can if you want your kitchen to look classy AF. Start with the fridge. Or the dishwasher. Or both, haha!

A girl can dream, can't she? (pic: Sub-Zero)


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