Choosing a Refrigerator – 6 Tips

French-Door Styling in refrigerators are still popular ... and stainless finishes are never trendy.

French-Door Styling in refrigerators are still popular … and stainless finishes are never trendy.

Buying a refrigerator is hard. The selections are overwhelming. The prices keep going up. There are so many brands and all the ads sound appealing because every brand competes for your business! Since you’re reading my own blog about kitchens, I figured that some of my tips ( even if I sound opinionated ) might help someone who has this daunting task ahead of them! Here goes:

1) Ask your friends, family, neighbors or anyone you know who has purchased a refrigerator in the past 2 years. Seriously, I think it’s the first step in your research before you start shopping. Opinions count.. and people either love or hate their refrigerators. Write the brands, model no’s, manufacturer, style and (if they divulge) price that was paid. Also ask people if they have had to call for service (not necessarily a bad thing) and how that all went.

2) Research online. Do your homework on different makes and models and see what each offers in size, configuration, and style. Save money by not traveling everywhere around town at first. I love love love the internet for research on refrigerators.

3) Prepare your opening and prepare for delivery. Sizes are SO important, especially if you’re remodeling and especially since refrigerators are being built taller. Don’t be surprized by the dimensions of the unit …. prepare for the delivery as well. I’ve seen homeowners not being prepared for getting a new fridge INTO their house (including making a turn or going up steps, header blockages and door trims with narrow doorways.

4) Don’t buy a fridge based on cubic feet alone. So many times, it doesn’t tell the story of how food will be stored. I encourage my clients to bring their containers or must used items that they keep in their refrigerators … and test out models at showrooms by trying out the way door shelving is configured and how easy it is to see items in the back. Accessibility is really important. That’s why I always recommend counter-depth styles.

5) Don’t be afraid of stainless finishes … it’s really not that hard to maintain. The only newer finish that has come on the design scene recently is “Ice White” which is a type of white metallic color. Whirlpool introduced it mid 2012. We’ll see if it catches on.

6) Look for the best quality hinging possible, and consistent temperature control. Air purification is one of the best improvements in refrigeration. Look for it in lines like Subzero with features like a NASA designed filtration system that replenishes the air every 20 minutes while eliminating bacteria, odors, and microscopic contaminants. Or there is a less expensive Whirlpool fridge with a replaceable air filter that Whirlpool claims “lets air actively pass through the filter, helping neutralize odor and bacteria. It reduces odors 15 times better than baking soda. Replace filter every 6 months.”

I recently had a good laugh while listening to Brian Regan’s humorous sketch on “buying a refrigerator”.

He had a good point …. refrigerators keep things cold! Simplistic, but it’ll keep you from getting too crazy when shopping for your new fridge!

Best of luck.


Admit it …. it’s time for new cabinets!

The possibilities with new cabinets are endless! Here are cabinet trim, crown,& valance to enhance a cooking area.

The possibilities with new cabinets are endless! Here are cabinet trim, crown,& valance to enhance a cooking area.

Buy quality, beautiful and healthier cabinets. I think that new cabinetry can update a kitchen the most, although most homeowners have been “told” that changing out the old countertops to granite will do it. Forget that. It’s a bandaid approach NOT to remodel with the newest cabinets.

Most manufactured cabinets today are now put together without urea-formaldehyde glues. Urea-formaldehyde is a known carcinogen. Remember the odor of new cabinets? Not any more….plus cabinet finishes in quality lines have superior finishes. Some lines have automotive finishes and the stains or paints are strongly warrantied. The fact is, you can’t even slam the drawers OR doors anymore on most cabinets.

The latest door styles, hardware, finish options, and “healthier” boxes on cabinets …. all with a really good warranty is where it starts in quality kitchen remodeling.

Contact me if you have any questions. I’m a cabinet girl from way back.


Remodeling a kitchen with too many doorways!

Here's a pantry cabinet added on a short wall between 2 doorways.

Here’s a pantry cabinet added on a short wall between 2 doorways.

Designed kitchen with doorway and hallway entries in mind.

Designed kitchen with doorway and hallway entries in mind.

When faced with openings all around a kitchen, here are some design solutions I’ve seen work in many of these spaces:

1- Design “zones” for various tasks and activities that take place in the kitchen. I like to use “short” walls for placing a base cabinet or two for under-counter additional refrigeration or a possible beverage storage. The additonal countertop space, even if only 24-30-inches, is amazingly useful. A “Coffee/Tea Zone” in this area can look really nice.
Sometimes I may need to adjust the depth of the base, to simply allow easier and wider clearances.

2- Think about the possibility of actually closing up one of the doorways or entryways. For example, I worked on a kitchen several years ago that had two “out” passages from the kitchen that got you to the same room….the front foyer! Wow, all of a sudden we had more space in the kitchen, more counters, and more storage!

3- Open up the wall “in-between” a couple of doorways and get rid of all that stained wood that supposedly trims out all the casings. Make the entrance grand (columns, etc.) or minimize the opening and draw your eye to the kitchen. Headers may need to stay put, but I love using headers for architectural detail and interest.

4- By all means, paint all the woodwork and doors and casings and baseboard. This will minimize all those “rectangles”!

5-Create a seating area in between openings (again, this is another “zone”) that becomes a design feature in the kitchen. What’s great about considering a built-in seat or base cabinets with a stone overhang for chairs or stools is that you can do this first …. while you’re saving money to replace your tired and worn-out cabinets.

Develop your nook eating area

Develop your nook eating area

Remember, new, updated cabinetry and counter surfaces is always the best solution for kitchens with many openings and doorways, along with new painted walls and painted woodwork. Wait, save, and do it right!

Have a great day…. and have fun planning for your kitchen. Call me anytime with questions.