Remodel Woes

Microwaves & Dishwashers: Necessary or Not?

Monday, July 27th, 2015

I meant to reveal a new blog design today and I worked on a lot of tweaks on Saturday but wasn’t quite ready for the switch so I’m waiting another week (or two). Today it’s a different topic entirely but one that’s come up in conversation lately between friends and fellow remodelers and that’s the necessity of two kitchen appliances: the microwave and the dishwasher.

Late last year our old dishwasher died, it was a GE Profile and we weren’t big fans of it. Our other GE appliances in this kitchen are great but the dishwasher wasn’t. When the old one died it was good riddance and we didn’t bother to replace it for six months. I was in no rush. I happen to like hand washing dishes, I think they get cleaner, and I still wash most of my glassware, silverware, pots, and pans by hand so having to wash all of my dishes for all of those months by hand wasn’t that big of a deal. I do a lot of thinking as I wash dishes, do you?

The other issue that prolonged the purchase of a new dishwasher was that it required a new panel, or I shouldn’t say “required” but in this kitchen I had a paneled dishwasher before and wanted a paneled one again but had to drive over an hour to a cabinet maker that carried the same style of cabinets and pay extra for it and wait for it to arrive weeks later, yada yada, anyway, we finally have a new dishwasher in our kitchen which looks exactly the same as it did before. Yes, the before is the same as the after. Ta da!

centsational girl white kitchen

We researched dishwashers and decided on a Bosch this time, we’d heard and read good things and now that it’s installed, I do love that it is extremely quiet so that even when we run it at night you can’t hear it and it gets the dishes pretty clean. But I still wash most of my dishes by hand mostly out of habit and I like to watch them drying on a towel in the sunlight, I’m strange like that.

In other kitchen news, the remodel in the Las Vegas house is finally complete and this is a pretty dramatic transformation. I haven’t photographed all of it yet since the last time I was there the grout in the backsplash was still drying as my aunt was moving in, but here’s a sneak peek of the view looking in from the living room, here I opted for white appliances for this pass through kitchen since the walls, countertops, and upper cabinets are also white. But no microwave lives here.

kitchen peninsula

I’m headed back next week for a quick trip and I’ll photograph it then and share pictures of the full kitchen makeover soon. I mentioned last year I had no intention of including a microwave in the kitchen since I don’t really use it and didn’t want a micro hood. Remember the conversation about disappearing microwaves?

But when my aunt moved it she texted me asking “Where’s the microwave?” because she needed one and she ended up buying an inexpensive freestanding white microwave for the house which I plan to use but keep it in the garage, yes in the garage on a cart. Which brings up the question is a microwave really necessary? And the answer is, it totally depends on the resident.

I only use a microwave maybe once or twice a week but I have many friends who use theirs everyday. It’s a lifestyle issue. For me it doesn’t get daily use so I don’t deem it necessary but so many people do. I lived without a dishwasher for six months, in college and law school none of my apartments had a dishwasher and I learned to live without that too, but I know most people expect a dishwasher and want a microwave in their home or rental. Do you ?

Remodel Woes: Kitchen Ceiling and Cabinet Soffits

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

We’ve owned and rented homes over the years with kitchen cabinet soffits, those boxy sheetrocked rectangles that take up space above kitchen cabinets. They’re a common element in many a subdivision kitchen built in the 1980s and 1990s and I’m not a huge fan of them, so in a remodel, removing them or disguising them is my first plan. 

Kitchen soffits as a drop down ceiling can serve a purpose, often it is to hide beams, wiring, and pipes but sometimes not; I’ve always preferred a kitchen ceiling the same height as adjacent rooms. Kitchen cabinet soffits are often space fillers, there are decorative ways to disguise or improve the look of them and there’s the more challenging architectural undertaking of removing them. It’s a topic on my mind this month since we’ve encountered a situation where we’re unable to remove the drop down soffit in our two ongoing kitchen remodels.

Here’s a view of the kitchen in Las Vegas from last fall before we removed the old countertop and cabinets and lowered the pony wall. It shows the drop down kitchen soffit above the footprint of the space which I wanted to remove so very much so that the kitchen’s ceiling was the same height as the adjacent family room and breakfast nook.

soffit vegas kitchen

We tore out part of the ceiling only to discover that a structural beam and water pipes ran through the middle of it, the soffit wasn’t there just to house the big box florescent light, it was the hub of all the electrical, plumbing, and structural support of the home which made me upset because I wished the architect of this subdivision had designed the home so that the beams and pipes lived in the subfloor instead, grrr. The cost and headache and permits were just too much to change it so instead we paid to repair the demo and live with a drop down ceiling soffit in this space.

The new lighting plan will help – we did remove the florescent light box and updated the lighting with recessed cans and pendants over the peninsula in December – new cabinets and countertops will also be a huge improvement.

Grandma’s kitchen remodel (below) is progressing but we hit a similar road bump when we discovered the drop down ceiling soffit couldn’t be raised because of structural issues running through the center of it. Strike Two. We had to delay the cabinet order so that the new upper cabinets fit the lower height and thankfully we caught the issue in time to not be charged for the changes, however again we are stuck with a ceiling that we originally anticipated raising to the same level as the family room. (See the “before” for this space here and the kitchen design plan here.)

grandmas kitchen progress

While our issue is one of a full drop down ceiling, I’ve been in plenty of kitchens with a similar issue of soffits that exist just above the cabinets (also called fur downs in different regions of the country). I went in search of kitchen spaces where soffits look good because they’ve been incorporated into the design plan of the kitchen.

This wood and white kitchen’s cabinet soffits are trimmed beautifully with molding so that they blend in with the upper cabinetry.

white trim kitchen soffit

authentic oak

Here’s another dreamy example in a favorite kitchen of molding used to enhance the soffits above the white cabinets.

white kitchen fiorella design

fiorella design

In this all white kitchen, the cabinet soffits are hidden by beautiful beams and part of the architectural plan from the start.

white kitchen wood floors plank ceiling with beams

 wendy resin interiors

 

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