When we bought our house, we knew everything in the kitchen was dated — and if we were more ambitious (and had a bigger budget) a full kitchen renovation would probably be the way to go. Instead, we’ve been slowly making upgrades here and there, such as adding the dishwasher and microwave — and in the time since then, we’ve made two more major appliance upgrades, and also replaced the half-broken off-white blinds with some nicer window treatments.
Jumping ahead, here is a view of the kitchen as it looks now:
Current kitchen (August 2014).
Which has come quite a long way from what it looked like when we moved in:
Original kitchen (July 2011).
The stove and refrigerator upgrade really made a big difference, though it didn’t happen all at once — the stove actually got replaced almost a year ago (eek, how has it been that long?!) while the refrigerator upgrade, blind replacements, and some general cleaning and organizing all happened the weekend before last in a flurry of manic nesting insanity.
I know what you’re probably thinking: That’s the wrong room, you guys! Second Baby can’t sleep in the kitchen! Which is totally true — although thankfully I’ve been able to redirect some of that misplaced nesting energy toward the room where it’s actually needed (aka the nursery) and happily, we’ve been making some good progress in there as well. More details (hopefully) to follow shortly!
But getting back to the details of these upgrades, we replaced the stove last September. Even though the white gas-powered stove that came with the house wasn’t as old as the fridge (which I’m pretty sure is a relic from the 1960’s or so), it had some issues with the burners and the oven not preheating right. We kicked around the idea of upgrading to an electric or induction one, but eventually decided to stick with another gas model, since we already had the hookups for it and it was what we were used to.
Here is a view of the new stove (beneath the very old rusty-looking range hood that we still need to do something about):
Unfortunately I lost track of exactly what model it is, other than that it was a GE, but we chose it mostly because it was on sale at Abt Electronics.
As for the fridge, we went back and forth on what kind to get — I really wanted a side-by-side model, while Joe was somewhere between indifferent and anti-side-by-side. One thing we agreed on was that we weren’t particularly interested in one of the in-door ice makers, since we don’t use ice that much, and had heard that they can increase the amount of energy the freezer uses. It seemed to be surprisingly tricky to find a side-by-side fridge without the ice maker, though — I can only recall seeing one model while browsing in various stores over the past few years, and it wasn’t very attractively priced.
But then a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon one on Sears.com (a Kenmore 25.2 cubic foot model #41153, product listing here) that looked like exactly what we wanted at a reasonable price — so we took the plunge and just ordered it online. Which felt a little risky / adventurous after that incident where we tried to buy a crib online from Target, but it arrived in one piece, and we couldn’t be happier with the upgrade.
The old fridge really was on the small side. It was actually more or less counter-depth (from a time before that was the cool trendy thing to have?) and had little in the way of freezer space (made even worse by the fact that it built up frost in there at an incredible rate). Here’s a view of the inside of the old fridge:
By comparison, the new fridge is holding pretty much everything the old fridge was, plus two additional gallons of milk, a 12-pack of soda (we couldn’t dream of fitting one of those in the old fridge!), most of a watermelon in that green bowl, and a bunch of additional frozen goodies — and it still looks half empty!
One interesting side note on our appliance purchasing experience: I was kind of surprised at the contrast between Abt Electronics and Sears when it came to delivering appliances, considering that Abt gives the impression of being the fancy, high-end place to go — you walk into their store and it’s all fountains and aquariums and artwork surrounding their huge shiny selection — while Sears comes across as being just your standard run-of-the-mill retailer. But here is how the deliveries went from both places:
- Abt called at 9:00 in the morning on the day of delivery to confirm they’d be delivering that day, never gave an exact time, then (after calling at least once more later in the afternoon/evening), finally delivered the stove at 8:00 or 9:00 pm. (I don’t even know the details — Joe and I had scheduled a romantic evening away, expecting that it would be delivered long before Lillian’s bedtime, so it was my mom babysitting at the house who let them in.)
- Sears contacted us the day before delivery to give us a 2-hour window in which they’d be delivering (between 10:00 am and noon in our case), then called again on the day of delivery to let us know they were on the way and would be there in 20 minutes or so — and they were, just as expected. (This was particularly handy with it being a fridge delivery, since we were able to leave our food in until the last minute, then stash it in a cooler so they could haul the old fridge away.)
Not sure if either of these experiences was just a fluke, or how things normally tend to go with appliance delivery from these two places, but it was interesting to compare.
Anyway, the other kitchen upgrade involved the window blinds — I don’t have a close-up of the old ones, but they were just the standard plastic kind, which we decided to replace after Joe tried to open them one day and they just irreparably fell down. When it came to replacing them, we splurged a little to get fancier wood-looking ones rather than the same kind of plastic ones as a replacement (picked out in-store from Home Depot, but I’m pretty sure these are the same ones). I think the end result looked a lot more polished and fitting to the kitchen than the plastic:
And more importantly, they actually restored some privacy after a few weeks of having broken blinds, which should come in handy for the next time we want to prance naked through the kitchen while baking pies.
Another random side note: I did actually have ambitions to write a “kitchen upgrade” blog post way back in January, after we replaced the stove but before we replaced the fridge. I even tried to take a picture, but in the very short amount of time I spent trying to set up a shot of the kitchen, Lillian carried an empty cooler over to the counter, climbed up on top of it, and started ripping open Sweet ‘N Low packets.
I was kind of floored at the speed and efficiency of the mischief. Thankfully for our sanity, it was the first and last time she did that (though it probably helps that the cooler lives in a locked closet now).
In addition to red-handed toddler mischief, the photo above also shows how we used to store a blender and slow cooker in that awkward triangular space behind the sink But, we found that we used them so rarely that they just ended up gathering dust, so when tidying up the kitchen after the fridge delivery, we stashed them in a cabinet and went back to having the little faux flower basket there instead. (Figuring that if something is going to gather dust up there, it might as well be a useless decorative object.)
Anyway, that’s the extremely long rambling update on our kitchen. It feels a bit off topic considering that we have a new baby due in less than four weeks (!!!) — although the new fridge in particular should come in handy for holding lots of frozen pizzas (or as we call them, “new parent chow”) and extra space for storing bottles and formula (since bottle feeding is the plan). The next few blog posts should be a bit more relevant to preparing for baby, so stay tuned!