Since posting about our renovation I have been asked lots about our kitchen so I thought I would share some of the things I learnt and loved or wish we had done differently for those thinking of redoing their own kitchen! I can’t believe it but we have almost lived in the space for a year now, January will mark our first year! The good news is we still love it.
What did we learn…
REROUTING HEATING VENTS
Little things make a big difference, originally Fraser was just rerouting one of our heat registers because we were adding cabinetry and it was going to block the original placement but at the suggestion of our Kitchen installer and all around handyman he took a bit more time and venting and took it a bit further to be under the sink. Not only does it look better than it would have looked if it was just randomly placed under some cabinet it also feels so nice on my feet when I am standing at the sink:)
Appliances were a huge grey area for us, first I should say I have never really loved or have done a ton of cooking so to say I had a huge preference about appliances would be a stretch. I had a vision of what I wanted the overall look to be but as far as function I knew nothing. That being said the first stove I found was over $10k and Fraser denied that immediately (always a realist when it came to budget, so annoying!). But we did love Trail appliances in Richmond (just by IKEA). Basically we shopped around and found they had the best selection, with the best prices and best customer service so it was a no brainer. Be aware they have a designer showroom on one side that is amazing and will leave you drooling!!!
I did consult a designer to ask what was the rule with appliances, should they all be the same brand? She said in high end homes they usually are but if you are just an average kitchen renovation with pretty standard appliances it is more common to see a mix and match package because people tend to try and get the best for their budget.
So for example in our case we knew we wanted a gas stove and oven (not dual fuel because it would have meant having an electrician and plumber do an instal which would have been more dollars!). Fraser wanted a water and ice maker in the fridge, I was not in favour because I like the fridge to look as simple as possible and didn’t like the look of the water on the front of it, this also added to our plumbing bill because we had to have a water line installed to the fridge. However I use the water and ice almost everyday and LOVE it now. Despite it looking a little cheap, in my opinion, I love the function and think that at least the one we picked was pretty simple in comparison to a lot of the other ones. And finally we wanted a dishwasher that worked very well! This was a huge thing for us as we had not previously had a dishwasher and were super excited about this appliance. Plus I know us and we are not great at rinsing and Fraser thinks everything can go into a dishwasher so, I wanted as good as we could afford. This lead is to getting a Kitchen Aid dishwasher (was better built, I cant remember the technical stuff but it had something good about the motor) and it also had a heat dry which was important to us, who wants to open the dishwasher and have wet dishes! Our fridge and stove were both Frigidaire Progessional and at the time I wasn’t super excited about our choice, I had really wanted the Kitchen Aid ones but besides the fact that they were a little more expensive Fraser didn’t like the racking inside the oven as much and the Frigidaire Pro ones came with a thermometer probe that hooks up to the stove and notifies you when your internal temp reaches the preset temp. It also came with a cool grill/griddle for the center elements. I hated the tech stuff that this stove offered and prefer a more old school manual stove but since Fraser was footing the bill I let him have this one… You gotta let them win sometimes:) One word of advice, most of our appliances are smudge free… I highly recommend this finish. Despite all the little hands we have in our house our fridge surface stays nice and clean. However our dishwasher is just stainless steel and you see every mark!!! Finally, the microwave, now who would have thought that this would have been our hardest choice, but it seriously was. We couldn’t find a coordinating Frigidaire Pro microwave that wasn’t the Hood range exhaust above the stove kind, so it meant looking at another brand. Then came in me, usually oblivious to budget I turned super cheap when it came to a microwave because I couldn’t imagine spending as much or more than we spent on our dishwasher or even stove on a microwave. In the end we knew we needed a microwave and we decided on a Panasonic as this was the brand recommended, and we bought the coordinating trim kit to put around it so it appeared as if were built in (but was a lot less than actually buying a built in). I was still feeling unsure about spending the money on this (I think it ended up being around $700, and the trim kit was a good $250-300 of that price), however I love the way it looks now and am so glad Fraser convinced me to “splurge” on this. We had even bought the wrong size trim kit so it meant I had to go back in and do an exchange but boy was it worth it.
Another area I was surprised at cost was for our faucets. I knew I wanted the pot filler from the moment we were redoing our kitchen purely from an aesthetic stand point but now that we use our kitchen so much I realize how useful it is espiecally since we only put in one sink! Having that other area to grab water from makes cooking with more than one person a breeze!
Anyways, faucets were expensive and so much selection, not only what style but what finish. We ended up going with a brushed chrome (I think). Whatever we choose was the same as our handles and I am very happy with it. I prefer a bit of a matte finish over shiny and this was a great choice. The compromise we made here was Fraser again wanted a techy faucet that you just touch to turn on, I hated this idea and read lots of online reviews about how unreliable and easily they break. All that said when we went in to Rona because they were having a sale on Delta Faucets and because we had air miles we could redeem on the faucet, there was very few options for pot fillers and I wanted to get a faucet that coordinated so it happened to be one of these touch ones. It took me awhile and I hated it at first but I have come around and now when your hands are all gross from whatever you have been doing I love that fact that you can just swing your elbow and voila there is water! Both faucets were well priced and I am glad we didn’t splurge here, Plumber was happy when he saw them and said delta was a reputable good brand so that was reassuring.
So one thing I really have never loved is a corner cabinet, and I knew I definitely didn’t want one for the upper cabinets, mainly I am fairly short and find them ackward and hard to access. So we fixed that by just doing one wall of upper cabinets. However the bottom cabinets we knew had a corner, I really wanted to keep the same size drawers on either side of the stove but I knew that would leave bo room for the typical corners cabinet, then we went to ikea to check out what they offered and we found the faux cabinet front that open up into a half lazy Susan style pull out. It was and is perfect for what I wanted!
So Fraser was big on adding electrical and power wherever we could and I am so glad he was. We had originally wanted power on either end of the island but then decided just to put it one the side that had the microwave (because it was super easy and didn’t impact any storage. In hindsight we wish we had give up a bit of drawer space on the other side to havean additional outlet as well as having a USB port directly in the outlet). We seem to use this often as a charging station so would have been nice to do the USB for that and I also love to use this for any baking stuff (mainly my Kitchen Aid). I was a bit sceptical originally thinking too much power outlets would impact the look of our space but I now see how often we use them! And how convenient a well placed outlet is.
This is an area I can see how people get to and start to skimp and save in budget, don’t!!! I love all the extra storage these floor to ceiling units create and it helps make the space look United and super clean with nothing exposed. Plus having drawers and slide outs is much easier than just Plain shelves. Even for all our base cabinets in the kitchen we did all drawers except for the corner cupboard!
Well… this is a start, kinda gives you an idea of how much there is to think about when it comes to kitchens, would love to hear from you if you have any questions, advice or tips!!!