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building our new home

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Ok, so about 2 months ago my wife and I signed a contract with CP Morgan to build our first home. It was so exciting, walking the models, picking a lot, going to the showroom....and then last week they bomb was dropped and CP Morgan folded! How could this be?! we're all still in shock, but in retrospect I am glad that it happened! there were alot of "unforeseen" expenses mounting and we werent happy anymore.

But our realtor (who I wouldnt recommend to my worst enemy- yeah she sucks, but we're stuck with her now) found us a new builder. We're getting a bigger home, far nicer stuff, for just about the same price...why she didnt suggest them to begin with, i'll never know!

Anyways, so my wife is really giving me "free reign" over the kitchen. Together we're lookd at cabinets, flooring, countertops. I think we'll spurge for granite. It is just so SEXY! (on a serious note, why else pick it?)

So, the builder provides a range, hood and dishwasher. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the idea of a cooktop in my island. I can get the $400 credit back if i tell them to keep their range. I am wondering though, is it really worth it? I'd like to hear from people who have cooktops and seperate ovens or even dual ovens. I've seen the cooktop on homedepot's webpage that is like 4 gas burners and a grill. That sounds awesome to me. I dont know what brand is good or anything, I just know I want it.

I dont know what our budget is, but I do have some money to spend. After all, Uncle Sam is giving us $8,000 to buy the house. And what I dont spend on appliances, I get to put into my 1975 corvette :cool:. Its really a win-win situation. I'm sure I'll have to buy the wife something...but for the most part she is poiling me rotten. Arent I lucky guy?!
post #2 of 8
Yes!! I am happy for you. As long as you do your research, I think you will be very happy with your choices. When it's all done post pictures.
post #3 of 8
I like my separate cooktop and the height it puts the separate oven at. The other nice feature is the ability to custom tune both appliances instead of getting what you get in a range.

That said, a dual fuel range can be an awesome thing but they're expensive, often more than the separates combined price.

BDL has chimed in enough times on buying two home ranges giving you good versatility and burner surfaces with a good price point. For many people, that's probably an excellent thing to do. Buy one in gas and the other in a high performance electric maybe.

But if you are into any specialty cooking, separates and ranges won't do the job in all cases. I like cooking in a wok and am very disappointed in home ranges and wok cooking. This could be fixed with a separate wok burner, special high output burners and the required fire proofing (particular construction codes and often a dedicated fire sprinkler system at the cooktop and a commercial grade high output hood. And being able to use a such a high output burner for boiling a few gallons of water would be a nice touch for shrimp boils.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
post #4 of 8


We just finished our kitchen about 9 months ago. I have a Thermador five burner gas cook top on one side of the room and a double oven( GE) on the other. This has been wonderful when my husband and I both cook. I really like the Thermador five burner and the oven are fine as well.
Don't forget to look for a pot filler over the range/cooktop. This has been one of the best things I added. It's wonderful to cook in a kitchen built to your specs and needs.
Good luck.
post #5 of 8
I've moved into 2 newly built homes (I didn't have any input as to design) and neither kitchen had a place for a trash can. If I had ONE piece of advice, it would be to make a dedicated place for your trash can, under a counter or in a cubbyhole somewhere, instead of finishing your lovely new kitchen and having your garbage sitting next to the kitchen island for all to enjoy.

P.S. Same applies to recyclables.
post #6 of 8

Watch out for builders! Kitchen rant

I was in various aspects of the housing industry for some 40 years -development, consulting, etc....and have never owned a new house. :o
I continually saw what cost-containment measures were being put in place in the building industry over the years, and so I went for some oldies but goodies as we moved from Chicago to Santa Barbara to Bainbridge Island back to Santa Barbara and back (alas) to Chicago. I kept getting hit by housing market collapse. Oh, well.

If any of you should have the opportunity to buy a (used) house which was built by a custom builder... for himself DO IT! I was lucky enough to do that twice - once on Bainbridge Island and once it Santa Barbara. Those two were HOUSES! Especially the parts you couldn't see.

Anyway, you should become familiar with the trade term describing certain appliances... "Builder Grade" which can be accurately translated as "Cheaps**t crap".

Don't let your builder pick your appliances.

You need to do a lot of research and shopping (Consumer Reports, lots of available sources) and decide which best fit your needs. You don't need to pick one brand for everything, either. If you can afford a new house in this economy, you can afford to take some time and really work this through.

If you're big for cooking, you need to put a lot of time and thought into this. You will be working (playing, right?) here for a long time! :bounce: You will probably be well-advised to buy them yourself and have your builder just put them in. You will have to give him enough lead time for planning. On the other hand, he may be able to get a better deal for you than you can for what you've selected. Play it both ways; just make your own picks,

You should do the research, appliance-wise, and tell your builder what to build in for you.

For my fairly-recently rebuilt kitchen, I hired an architect who is a kitchen-bath specialist, and researched and shopped the hel! out of the appliance market.

We couldn't be happier, even though the whole kitchen is only 8' x 13'. We have solid maple cabinets which would have gone for $1,500 per lineal foot (not including counter, floor, lighting) if my son hadn't owned a cabinet shop at the time. You want the wonderful Euro-hinges and the Accuride under-drawer, full-extension slides to make your life complete. (Probably) :lips:

The big mistake was a ceramictop electric cooktop. We can't have gas in the condo, so we picked an extremely-cool looking ceramic glass cooktop which looks great with our black granite counters, but actually doesn't cook for s***.

Hope you go for granite... we love it, and there's really NO maintenence.

travelling gourmand
travelling gourmand
post #7 of 8
For awhile the trend in upscale kitchens was commercial-look residential appliances. Many homeownders did not understand that these appliances were actually, completely, and totally residential and that their only similarity to restaurant equipment was look (okay, maybe a decent griddle too).

Most cooking appliances are a mix of components connected by plumbing with a few electronics bolted into a chassis. Residential differs from commercial in every one of the above ways. The only carry over from commercial are things like grates, knobs, and other appearance items. Another way the commercial/residential appliances differed from both residential and commercial was lousy reliability and incredible repair costs.

In the least several years some of the commercial/residential units (let's call them CL for commercial look) have been improving as higher quality large components have hit the market. So, it's not quite the nightmare it once was.

So much for introduction.

My suggestion is that you get whatever credit you can from the builder and buy whichever appliances you most like based on your kitchen design. You don't want a builder making any choices for you. He's chasing his own self-interest, not yours. It's your kitchen, get what you want not what he wants.

It starts at design, not appliances. Unless you have very specialized needs -- a wok burner, say you're going to be working with standard sizes.

Here are some things to think about:

The most important and most used appliance in the kitchen is the sink. Don't get a self-rimming sink. Get an undermount. Your counter tops will stay dryer, you will thank me. Get the biggest sink you can cram in the space.

In general, if your choice is between a smaller and a larger appliance, always get the larger size.

You don't NEED CL, but you may want CL because it looks so cool. Don't fight it. Buy it. If I could build a new kitchen to my 'druthers right now -- I'd probably go CL (American Range, Cold-Tech). Otherwise, I'd probably go Westinghouse. I'm not suggesting those as your choices, just sayin' is all.

If you want a CL range because you need eight burners and a double oven but aren't moved by CL's looks, you can buy 95% of the performance for 65% of the price with two home ranges -- one with most of the cool features like convection, etc., and the other more stripped down.

If you do go CL, make darn well sure you have a big league warranty, have a repair service who can handle your appliance chosen, and have worked out repair and replacement agreements with whomever. Nothing quite like an $8000 stove with ovens which won't light and takes three months to get fixed. Not only does that happen, it's not uncommon. People want to sell appliances, they'll deal with you. Don't accept the standard warranty as adequate.

Don't dwell on burner power. It doesn't mean much to a home cook, even a good home cook, or me either for that matter. A medium power burner -- around 12K BTU is heap plenty energy. High power burners are more valuable for volume than for quality or speed. If you don't do the volume, you don't need one. Furthermore, REAL burners require a much bigger gas line than you're going to have in your kitchen. If your high burners top out at 8K or so, that's a problem.

Cook or range top = gas, sealed, continuous grates
Oven = Electric, convection, self cleaning
Broiler (if you care) = IR

Range or separate cooktop? It doesn't matter. Whatever works best for you in terms of organizing the rest of the kitchen. Wait a minute! Organizing the rest of the kitchen? What's that about? It's nice to have your ovens at a more comfortable height than you get with a range. Nice but maybe not as nice as the storage you're losing. Storage is the second most important appliance.

Organization, organization, organization. Design it in. Create a place for baking and a separate place for knife-work cutting. "Butcher block" counters aren't really usable for cutting. They get screwed up unless you put your board on top of the butcher-block counter. In the last kitchen I designed (don't live there anymore) I put in a large butcherblock counter for pastry work -- the rest of the counters were tile. It worked pretty well, but your better with granite countertops, or at least a granite or marble pastry area.

Storage, storage, more storage, and pot racks. Must have pot racks.

That thing about a kitchen triangle? It's true.

Don't panic and spend too much on a refrigerator. It's a box that keeps things cold. If you're lucky it's a box that keeps things cold and gives ice water. After that all you're buying is looks and space. Spend as much as you can on space, and as little as possible on looks. There's nothing wrong with a white refrigerator.

As soon as you have a basic idea of what you're trying to do, get back to us with as many specifics about your appliance choices as possible and we can go through them in detail.

Granite countertops are unbelievably practical. They're not particularly expensive anymore either.

Given the state of the building industry you should be able to find great discounts on practically everything. If you're builder isn't finding them for you, that's a big problem.

post #8 of 8
If you have an island, a prep sink is nice. Here's a hint. If you do get a prep sink, for $150 to $200 put a disposal in it. You'll be very happy.

A powerful ventilation system is nice, also.

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