One of the more interesting (and difficult) things we've tackled in our kitchen design is selecting new appliances that integrate with the vintage Thermador ovens and cooktop we found on Craigslist.
The cooktop is huge and has a built in griddle (for all those pancake breakfasts I plan to make... I don't know what it is about this cooktop that makes me think I'm June Cleaver and want to buy bulk packages of bacon!) The cooktop is in amazing shape, plus it came with a second cooktop (brand new still in the box). It's huge and will be a definite focal point of the new kitchen.
The matching double ovens (that's right we have TWO) will sit side by side next to the huge cooktop. It will be an impressive wall of Thermador bliss. Naturally, new appliances pale in comparison, but we had to find a dishwasher, refrigerator and microwave that would blend in and not break the bank.
Last year our dishwasher died. We replaced it with a Bosch 24" Integra 800. It's simple lines and stainless steel front sit flush with the cabinets. It is really nice and nearly silent. My only complaint is that is does not have a dry feature... so our cheap plastic dishes are always wet and need to be towelled off when we put them away. This model has the hidden control panel and in my book is considered "expensive"... so we are keeping it in the new kitchen.
The refrigerator was a challenge. I want. I want. I want a built in refrigerator that completely integrates into the wall. I can't. I can't. I can't possibly justify an appliance that costs as much as a moderately priced car. RRRRRRR. Plus, every appliance dealer has advised us to stay away from the built ins. (I guess the compressor on the top can be a real problem.) With the cooktop, ovens, and dishwasher all stainless steel we were pretty locked in to finding a nice, reasonably priced stainless fridge. I'm a side by side fridge girl... not real excited about the french door design with the pull out freezer that is so popular with the kids these days. Everyone I know who has one loves it, but it's not for me. So with a short criteria list in hand—stainless, side-by-side, ice/water in door, energy efficient, counter depth—we headed down to Riegelmann's, the local appliance store in old town Gresham. AND there it was... love at first sight. I instantly knew that was our fridge.
A beautiful Electrolux Icon side by side with a big ding on the side... and marked way down. Everything works and it has a full warrenty, but that little ding knocked over $600 off the price. The fridge will be encased in cabinets, so the flaw will never be seen once it is install. We particularly like all the metal accents (not plastic) in the water/ice panel and the freezer baskets. This thing is built to last.
The new kitchen design has the microwave tucked out of sight from the main galley—around the corner in the lower cabinet that faces the breakfast nook. Since we typically ONLY use the microwave for melting butter, cheese quesadillas and popcorn it made sense to put it where the kids could easily use it—next to the TV room. After receiving a tip from one of our blog followers, we are very excited to add the Sharp Microwave Drawer to our appliance "must have" list.
I have yet to see this in person, but I will be hunting for a floor model in the Portland area to test out. (I've gotta kick the tires before simply purchasing online.)
The last (and certainly not least) appliance for this kitchen project is the TCC Kitchen Center. This is the slickest thing I've seen in all my appliance research.
The basic power base (similar to the NuTone counter power unit) mounts right in the counter top. It has several attachments—blender, food processor, mixer, etc—which eliminates the need for several small appliances. Including this in the design adds the "kitchen of the future" final touch!