Thursday, May 2, 2013

How Much?

Here at the Pond we need a new refrigerator. I know this sounds simple, yet it is not. There is more to this issue than just what style; French door, bottom freezer, side by side or what finish; stainless, white, panel ready?

Actually the contractor is down stairs making a lot of demolitions noise. In our 1942 vintage home the vertical space for a refrigerator is 67.75". That has been just fine for the past 70 years but now refrigerators have gotten taller. To be fair it is possible to buy a refrigerator within this height restriction but these are not our best option. Too bad because they are thousands fewer dollars than the type we do need.

What is needed is a newer counter depth refrigerator because it will give us the clearance necessary for an island. Our Kitchen is large and open with a lot of empty space in the middle. We could have put a small  freestanding butcher block in there years ago but instead have been stuck on the notion of having one that was created from a modified vintage cabinet with a marble top for pastry making. We actually do not make any kind of pastries but that has not weighed heavily on our thoughts.

Our other big issue is the cabinetry in our Kitchen was all built in place on site. These days cabinet boxes are cleated onto walls then fitted with door or drawer fronts. In our house the cabinets were built in place by carpenters which means they cannot be unmounted from the wall because they are part of the walls. Thus, it was necessary for us to hire a master finish carpenter to modify existing cabinetry in situ.

Of course, so far,  as is typical with we Pond dwellers, we have agreed on the big picture but not the details. Since we were going to have this carpenter on site we decided it was wisest to have him make some desired  corrections to a bath window and the entry transoms and ... well the list is growing by the hour.

There is the issue of the stove too. It needs replacing but the space available is 40". This was a standard appliance width in the 1940's  here and remains a standard in Europe.  Very few American made ranges  are available today. Again we will need to either modify the cabinetry or find a 40" width appliance.
 At  they have spectacular fully restored vintage stoves. This beautiful Wedgewood stove has 6 burners, 2 ovens , all new interiors and beautifully restored porcelain and chrome finishes.  Not allowing for shipping or installation, the cost  is about $8,000. A brand new cobalt blue Aga cooker is $8,000 - $14,000 also not including shipping or installation. Neither option is within budget. What Blowfish has a hankering for is a dual fuel stove with at least 5 gas burners and
a pair of electric-convection ovens. And, he wants stainless steel which I do not.  Is anyone surprised?
As it turns out there are two USA companies that still make a 40" appliance with dual fuel. Kenmore and Frigidaire. Both are made in the same factory, look identical and share the same bad reviews from unhappy cooks, bakers and remodelers. They do have a friendly price point  at less than half the restored ones or the  basic Aga.  The vintage stoves are not dually fueled. You can get a restored one as a gas or an electric unit but not both. This is not satisfactory to Blowfish. He wants  what he wants and sees no point in paying thousands for what he does not want.

Naturally I have been searching for the compromise solution.
I even researched without getting out my passport or hopping onto a plane to Italy where they know how to make appliances which speak to me. Unfortunately they are not in the budget.  Since the restored Wedgewood has been vetoed because it is an all gas appliance,  I thought this dual fuel Ilve would be a nice compromise.

 It is true the top is not beautiful  vintage chrome. It is stainless.
 But, since the enamel is available in cobalt blue  I thought I could compromise on the stainless. Unfortunately Blowfish  was not thinking this was any sort of compromise. He did not even ask about the shipping  from Italy or the installation charges before saying " No! Fishy, No!" I was hoping for a " Yes! Fishy, Yes!"

Too bad.

So far we have agreed to panel ready refrigerator and dishwasher  if we go with a stainless cooker. If  we go with a white cooker with a stainless or chrome top then we need not spend the additional thousands for the panel ready options. We would just buy white finishes which are the least expensive. I think this is reasonable but I am only one vote. I do know however, that there are three votes to be had:

(1) Fishy,
(1) Blowfish and
(1) Blowfish's stomach.
I keep thinking that last vote will land on my page after a month or two of no cooker at all.
Alas there is also the vote from "expedience".
Today, when the carpenter was leaving he said,
"I will need  the  dimensions for the new refrigerator by tomorrow."


Doom said...


Oh, by the way, I am not a fan of stainless myself. I like neither the look anymore, nor the cleaning of it. Bleh. I went through that stage though, so... I'm not completely innocent.

If I had the money, I would go with a culinary all gas stove (with zero electric if I could find one without buzzers, lights, camera, internet connect, and what awful all else they put on them anymore), with a wood-fired getup off to one side of my kitchen for emergencies and romantic/nostalgic moments.

Good luck. I'll be curious about what you end up with. Decisions, decisions... and the wallet. Ugh.

fishy said...

Doom, you live up to your name my friend.
I now have visions of my appliances spying on me for Big Brother!

I have never cooked with gas but culinary friends with true expertise swear I would love a gas cooktop. I am NOT a fan of stainless and have declined to go with an all stainless appliance package. Unfortunately the dual fuel appliance Blowfish finds affordable ONLY comes in stainless.

The thing I find annoying is the need to remodel my Kitchen to replace standard appliances. At least we do have two fire places so we have the romantic/nostalgic/emergency scenarios covered :-)

Doom said...

I hadn't quite meant it that way, but I do find a way in spite of intent, to... roust the mind?

Yeah, I see your point a bit more clearly though. Frustration with a modernized world that doesn't take... tradition, what is in place, sentiments, into consideration.

As for gas cooking, it is great if you fancy yourself an cuisine artiste (said in a Frenchish way). The only real reason I want it non-electric is because some of the new electronic systems in them make them dysfunctional if electricity goes out... if you did bring up some other points.

Aunty Belle said...

Oh mah heavens, I could write ya a book.

But first, Fishy, ya belong in marketing--a 1949 home is "vintage'? Thas' so clever. If it were mine I'd jes' say "old". But old is good in mah book--built this now old house to look old, so old is good fer me.

But, we's old enough to have similar troubles--an' a few years back we redid the kitch--recall mah squeals and peals of excitement over the copper sink?? the non-standard appliance issue wuz a nightmare. Thas' why I'se half bald--yanked out mah hair.

Uncle doan cook inside, so he wants gas, he has it--outside wif' a grill. I doan like gas, even if ya cain't smell it, it give me a headache.

That Wedgewood is a thang of beauty!! Worth every cent! But...fer same $$ ya can get that Frenchy beauty, La Cornue, in Provence blue wif' chrome trim--it has gas burners, but two electric ovens, one of those is convertible from conventional to convection. Thas' one than mah not-now so new kitchen has that I does count on, a convection/ convertible oven.

On refrigerators--french doors looks nice, but most doan have dimension on freezer side that accommodates a 25 pound turkey---we has an extry freezer in the buggy barn, but even so, I declined a french door inside fridge fer that very reason--so now ya might come in mah kitchn an see Aunty's derriere upended over that freezer on the bottom arrangement--nothing is perfect. Well, akshully, iffin' ya have a really big kitchen, ya can do as a friend did--buy the refrigerator drawers only. An' install a full freezer whar' the fridge was.

On islands --I think every busy cook needs a barrier to keep the kitchen visitors oout of the cook's space, I'se a fan. But Uncle would not let me have marble--oh how I pleaded for a gorgeous teracotta beauty--because he says is it so porous that it ain't purty after jes'a year or so unles ya seal it about every 6 months. Now..I'se thinkin' Blowfish, bein' Eyetalian drinks red red wine--ooops! That white marble ain't happy wif' red wine. But...Aunty say, ok, then buy three slabs of the stuff--an' replace when needed. Marble is still lovely in old ( as in 1600s) chateau kitchens in France, so I ain't sure Uncle be right on this point.

We'uns wanna see the after pics!

fishy said...

Doom, maybe because America is still a brash young country we do not yet revere the wisdom of our ancestors. Of course, at the rate we are destroying what they built ...we are scrapping the opportunity.

No my "vintage" home is circa 1942-3.
I do remember your renovation posts and your delight in a new coppery Kitchen. In fact, I am holding onto that "delight" part because getting there is not fun. Plus I do not have a hankerin' to be bald.

The Cornue was tops on my list to research, alas the size is not 40" it is 43" in width. I might could modify for the difference but it would be expensive plus I would have to install a larger flue in the walls and ...well it just isn't to be.

Thermador makes individual column refrigerators, freezers and wine coolers of varying widths but just the research gave me sticker shock worse than the Wedgewood, the Aga and the Cornue combined.

The Island is the one thing I could give up without wincing. Not Blowfish! He is hankering for one so bad he did not put up a fuss about the marble. Yep. You guessed it, he is a red wine man but I am thinking after his third or fourth marble replacement he'll figure it all out.

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