When Nick and I were looking for kitchen appliances, cabinetry, bathroom fixtures and tiles we researched products on-line to get ideas and get a glimpse of what things would cost. We went to retail sites, as well as, Pinterest and Houzz. Our intention was to support local businesses as much as possible, but would we be able to shop at a Mom and Pop store and stay within our budget? Being owners of a small business we really appreciate the support of our neighbors. We rely on them to keep our business going, so why not try to give back to the same neighbors and members of our community by shopping locally? We were delighted to find out that most local businesses not only match online prices, sometimes they do even better!
I met with Fred Fennimore of Hendricks' Appliances in Stockton, NJ in late August to look at what they had. I had worked with him before when we needed a new range for our kitchen in Ottsville. For our new house we needed all new appliances, but, as the cook in our family, the range was the most important piece I would buy. I looked at a lot of ranges on-line and one thing I didn't like is that most of them feature burners of varying sizes. You get one large burner, a couple of medium-sized ones and a scrawny little thing that's for...I don't know what. I spoke to many friends who are good cooks and they agreed with me. You want all your burners to be able to go from a low simmer to a full blown 18,000 BTU searing flame. You don't want to be confined to where on the stove top you can get those different temps.
Fred showed me a GE Mongram that I liked. It was a 30" dual-fuel model (electric oven for consistent heat, with a gas stovetop) that had 4 good burners with a sturdy rack system that covered the entire top of the range. That creates a very stable surface for large pots and even my large paella pan. (I'm Cuban-American...given a choice between a regular sized pan and a HUGE one, my people mostly choose the latter. Why cook for two when it's just as easy to cook for 8 and have left-overs?) He gave me a good price for the range which included a matching GE Monogram Dishwasher for free (they were having a GE sponsored promotional sale).
The appliances are being installed!
As for the rest of the appliances, we chose a refrigerator from Samsung (French doors on top, center refrigerator drawer and bottom freezer drawer). The exhaust hood and Maytag Maxima Washer and Dryer I purchased as floor models and got at a big discount. The whole package cost us under $12,000 delivered. Needless to say, those prices on the linked items?...we paid way less...
Even though our house is old, Nick and I wanted a modern kitchen. Sven Helmer at Finkle's Hardware in Lambertville, NJ (they're right across the street from the store) showed us a line of American-crafted cabinets by Mid Century Cabinetry. We chose their Rohe design which features simple, plain front doors with no decorative trim. The upper cabinets would have frosted glass doors. All in white, except for the refrigerator surround and upper cabinet. For this we chose oak with a walnut finish as an accent color. We would get the drawer and door pulls ourselves from Ikea and, as I stated above, we already had the countertop material in our warehouse. Sven came out to measure. (That's another great thing about shopping at small independent business: great customer service!) We were able to design the placement of each kitchen cabinet based on its a specific use. Our kitchen is going to be so well organized. Yay!
Remember when I said that the cabinets had a mind of their own? Well, Sven, Brud and I measured and re-measured. We referenced the architectural plans. We planned every inch of wall space to fit all of the cabinets. When they arrived one of the lower cabinets was the wrong size (ordered the correct one...still waiting...). Brud had to re-work the two upper corner cabinets so they'd line up properly. Because of this one of the doors wouldn't work, so we had to have one custom made. We're still waiting on the frosted glass for all of the uppers.
All 20+ cabinets came to around $11,000 delivered, which we thought was pretty good. I priced out cabinets at Home Depot (almost double what we paid at Finkle's) and Ikea (less, but, just...not quite right).
We needed tiles for the bathrooms and for the kitchen and, I have to say, we were overwhelmed. There were so many choices! We shopped around, going to Home Depot, Lowe's and some on-line sites. I found subway tiles for the kitchen on a tile website, but how would it ship? This is one of the things to keep in mind if your thinking of making on-line purchases: how do you receive it? It's one thing to get a UPS box at your front door with some drawer pulls in it (Ikea purchase). But a pallet of heavy tiles? No, thanks...(Believe it or not I almost ordered the range on-line. That would have been a nightmare to get off the truck!)
We finally ended up going to Avalon Flooring in Warrington, PA where we met with Martha Garner. This store was huge and had everything we could ask for. Lots of different styles, colors and prices. We took some samples home and after a week we went back and placed our order. The selection and great customer service made choosing our tile pretty easy. We got our white subway tile for the kitchen backsplash. For the floor we found a wonderful 12" x 24" ceramic tile that we planned to lay on a diagonal and would encompass the whole kitchen into the powder room. For the bathroom we chose 12" x 24" tiles as well. Slate colored ceramic for the floor and a beautiful blue-gray ceramic tile with a linen grain for the shower surround.
The ceramic tile floor in our master bathroom was laid over our floor heating system.
We love the shower surround tile.
We're Almost There
By the middle of February the cabinets, appliances and tiles were all being installed. Then Brud installed the kitchen countertops. The whole project was now in that end-game stage, where we could definitely see what we were going to have when it was all finished. I can now stand at the sink, looking out the window towards the back yard and get a feel for living in our new kitchen! All very exciting. Still...we felt...we're so close, but...