Originally Posted by French Fries
I want to remodel my kitchen. Possibly take down one exterior wall and making the kitchen bigger too. If anyone knows of a good contractor in the L.A. area, please by all means share with me.
Now where do I start? Should I first pick the oven and fridge? And how do I do that? What brands are good? I don't really know prices, I'm willing to put the price if it's worth it.
I know I'm being really vague, but I just made that decision a couple of days ago after my oven died, and I don't really know where to start. I was hoping you guys could help me with a few guidelines, maybe some dos and some don'ts, and hopefully some brand recommendation for a new range and a new fridge?
First, buy stuff that actually does what it's supposed to, and doesn't just look cool.
A big self-cleaning electric double oven is nice, however make sure it's actually big enough to hold whatever you plan on putting in it and is "self-cleaning", not "continuous cleaning or anything else.
A big cooktop is also nice (I like gas). Make sure it has enough real-estate to actually hold all your big pots and pans at once. Just because it has 4 burners doesn't necessarily mean you can actually fit 4 useful cooking vessels on it. 5 burners is better, 6 is really nice. Make sure you check the individual output (BTUs) of all the burners. You want at least one really high output burner (14,000 BTU minimum), 16,000 or more is even better, although it's a balancing game, since home-use cooktops have a total BTU output limit of around 40,000 BTUs (I beleive this is a UL or AGA limit), so anything built for home use that gives you one really big burner probably also has 3 wimpy burners.
You can get into an actual commercial cooktop, but you'll need to make special arrangements for hea/fireproofing the area around it as well as installing a high-capacity ventilation system.
Also, there's a big difference between something that actually has high output burners and something that just looks like it. Make sure you see the actual specifications.
Be sure you get a designer who understands how to design usable kitchens, and not just places that look cool. A lot of kitchens are strictly for looks. The stove, refrigerator, oven and sink need to be close enough together that you can travel between them without a lot of walking, and you'll need a bunch of open counter space near the sink for cleaning/prepping veggies, etc.
Believe it or not, it's hard to get a bad refrigerator these days, although I'd skip the ice maker and ice/water in the door, since they all start tasting funky in very short order.
Get sliding shelves everywhere
. Any base cabinet that doesn't have one will immediately fill with stuff you'll never see again.
Some "nice to have" things I've seen:
- A pot-filling faucet right over the cooktop
- Two dishwashers (not for keeping kosher, but for making the dirty dishes go away faster during/after a party)
- A ceiling exhaust fan for when you open the oven and something has gone "way past golden brown"
- A "solid surface" or welded stainless counter-top where the sink is an actual part of the counter-top, and not bolted/screwed/glued/whatever. Anything except a 1 piece sink/counter-top will collect disgusting mung in the crack and you'll spend the rest of your life cleaning it.