The Kitchen Renovation: First Impressions of Our New

Our appliances were delivered a few weeks ago. Here’s a quick rundown on how we’re feeling about them so far!

Prior to getting started, it’s worth noting that our appliances are not in their final configurations and all of our opinions are based purely on initial impressions. Most appliances were purchased through Abt here in Chicagoland. This post isn’t sponsored, but Abt was kind enough to offer us a discount on our purchases.

A Kitchen Recap

Our kitchen is making slow, steady progress and we’re finally at a point where we’re even able to use it a little bit! Here’s a quick recap of where we stand now and where we’re headed:

  • All electrical and plumbing adjustments are complete. Drywall is finished and primed with a quick coat of paint applied to lock in any remaining dust.
  • Brand new maple floors have been installed, stained and finished.
  • Cabinets have arrived and we’ve started the long process of assembling them.
  • Next steps are to install cabinetry, then countertops, then tile, then lighting and finishes.
  • Our goal is to have everything completed by Thanksgiving, but we’re not putting too much pressure on ourselves.

For now, the kitchen is sort of functional, but we’re without running water in the space so the nearby bathroom vanity is working as our makeshift kitchen sink. We’re getting by on lots of take-out, a solid variety of snacks and easy meals that we can pull out of the fridge or freezer and heat up in the oven. Here are the initial pros and cons of each of our three working appliances!

Fisher & Paykel Panel-Ready Refrigerator/Freezer

For our fridge, we decided on a single-door 80″ counter-depth model from Fisher & Paykel. As of now, it’s placed approximately where it will end up in the final kitchen configuration, and we absolutely love it!

Fisher & Paykel counter-depth fridge/freezer

Pros so far:

  • The adjustability of the 4 independently wheeled feet is truly impressive. An allen wrench bit on a drill got it perfectly level on our uneven floors faster than any appliance we’ve ever installed!
  • The lighting is phenomenal! Not only is there a large LED light panel at the top of the fridge compartment, but each clear drawer has its own small light.
  • The storage and adjustability has been thought out incredibly well. There are tons of adjustable dividers and the fridge even comes with 4 movable trays to lay wine bottles horizontally.

Cons so far:

  • It’s tall! We knew this going in and actively choose the 80″ high model for better symmetry with the pantry cabinet that will sit on the opposite side of the range wall. Kim has to stand on her tiptoes to reach the top shelf, but we’re getting used to it!

Fisher & Paykel 36″ Induction Range

Our former range was a standard 30″ natural gas model, but we decided to make the switch to induction for both energy savings and easy cleaning. We selected this 36″ stainless steel induction range, also from Fisher & Paykel.

Fisher & Paykel 36″ induction range

Pros so far:

  • This range is a work of art! The 36″ width gives it a hunky, industrial presence.
  • Every aspect of this appliance is incredibly well thought out and designed. The controls feel great, the tiny round screen on the far left acts as both a clock and digital display for cooking functions and the shelves fully extend on telescoping sliders.
  • Much like the fridge, the feet are easily and infinitely adjustable. We got it perfectly level in just a couple of minutes.
  • The different cooking modes are fantastic! Aero bake and pizza mode are fast favorites that allow for different of the upper, lower and side heating elements.

Cons so far:

  • Our only con, if we can call it that, is that this thing cooks fast! The induction cooking process takes some getting used to. The instructions recommend shortening cooking times until you’ve adjusted to the speed, but we’ve certainly burned more than a couple of things so far.

KitchenAid Under-Counter Refrigerator/Freezer

This panel-ready, under-counter fridge/freezer drawer unit will comprise a large portion of our mini ‘beverage station’ at the end of the sink wall. We’ll install a pull-out bar cabinet to the left of this fridge and our new espresso machine will sit on the counter directly above it giving us easy access to all of our favorite drinks!

kitchenaid under counter fridge/freezer

Pros so far:

  • This compact fridge swallows up a huge quantity of canned beverages! We’ll likely be able to keep around 75 cans cold once we’ve got everything all organized.
  • This was one of the few under-cabinet refrigerators that featured a freezer drawer with an ice maker on the bottom. We’re excited to have a dedicated ice maker integrated into our beverage station.

Cons so far:

  • Ever since we plugged the unit in, there’s been a small flicker on the LED control panel. It’s not enough to bother us now, but we’re concerned that it could progress and eventually fail, so we’ll likely tap Abt customer service to determine the best course of action.
  • The standard organization options leave a little bit to be desired, with only one non-adjustable divider panel centered in the middle of each drawer. This isn’t a big deal long term, as we’ll be adding all types of organization options for cans and bottles.
  • That said, and this isn’t necessarily a con of this KitchenAid model, but rather under-cabinet fridges as a whole. We’ve found the options for super efficient, panel ready models to be lacking. We think this might be an American market issue, as the European market tends to have more plentiful options.

Falmec Ceiling-Mount Range Hood

The one appliance that wasn’t purchased through Abt is our Falmec in-ceiling range hood. We selected the Nube model for its sleek look without integrated lighting. The lack of lighting saved us some money, and instead we’ll get light from sconces above the range. For our application, one of the major benefits of this model is that the hoods’ blower motor can be installed in multiple configurations. In our case, it was mounted remotely approximately 6 feet to the right of the range hood itself. This allowed us to pass an HVAC supply line through the same soffit that houses the hood and motor for a truly concealed install.

Falmec Nube range hood

Pros so far:

  • It’s sooooo quiet! Since the blower motor is almost entirely encased in drywall, its hard to tell if the vent is even operating on the lowest couple of settings.
  • While we can certainly appreciate a ‘statement range hood’, we wanted to go in a more subtle direction with this kitchen design. The sleek, integrated profile of this hood vent fits the bill perfectly!
  • The remote allows for in-ceiling installations like ours. We never have to touch the hood itself.

Cons so far:

  • Our contractor was very impressed with the unit itself, but didn’t love the included hardware for a drywall installation. He ended up fabricating his own brackets so he could install directly to a supported 2″ x 4″ and itis incredibly solid!
  • The packaging for the blower motor left a bit to be desired. The first motor came apart in the shipping process and a replacement was sent out. The second motor suffered the same fate, but our GC was able to reassemble it without much fuss.

Fisher & Paykel Panel-Ready Dishwasher

We purchased this panel-ready dishwasher, but you may notice in some of the photos that it’s still in the box. Since we don’t currently have a sink or water in this room, we’re keeping it protected for now. I can say that we opted for the single door version for overall aesthetics with our cabinet design, although we were initially tempted to go with the double drawer. Not much to say about it yet, except that we’re excited to start using it!

Final Thoughts

Overall, we’re absolutely thrilled with these new appliances and know they’ll only improve as they get their respective panels, hardware and finishing touches installed. The appliances are likely one of the heftiest line items in any kitchen renovation, and we’re confident in our decision to invest on high-quality items that are built to last. More to come soon as the cabinets start to come together!

PS – If you’re just catching up on our kitchen renovation, here’s how it started, here’s the plan for the layout, here is a big progress update and here is a big update on our new flooring!