I find that communicating to my kitchen clients some key facts as they make selections for all items that will go in their new kitchen will surely make the process easier for them and for me. One category that tends to give us some trouble needs more discussion as the kitchen design takes shape. Appliances can be a real dilemma. We rely on our appliance expert. (Her name is Andrea at Appliance Connection: (703) 492-7283) We do need to know which appliances you choose for your new kitchen, and in fact spend a good bit of time getting various specifications and exact dimensions to ensure we allow enough clearance for our cabinetry. We also advise as best as we can how the appliances you choose will integrate, fit, and look when set in place in your brand new kitchen. This is tough to do perfectly on paper or with words.
The appliance industry has challenges too. They want to give you the best features, durability, beauty, and affordability. Most of your appliances are designed to fit into the cabinet industry standard depth of the base cabinets in your kitchen. This magic number is 24”. Your countertop should overhang the front of your base cabinets by around 1 ½”, so the other magic number is 25 ½”. Dishwashers, ranges, cook tops, wall ovens, microwaves, hood fans, and wine chillers all seem to tuck into this space neatly enough. Most appliances seem to becoming “chunkier” as the desire for a more commercial appearance continues to drive sales. This will cause the doors and handles to protrude more than we found 10 years ago, so that does give us cause to create more clearance in corners so that we don’t have drawers colliding with dishwasher handles. But the overriding “problem child” in the appliance family is the refrigerator. The one item that is opened and closed more than any other is our biggest challenge as designers. When you look at refrigerators in the appliance store, there may be no cabinetry around them to illustrate how they will look installed in your house. They might be lined up like gorgeous soldiers awaiting your inspection. You are free to open and close them, check out the nice shelves, lights, and cool gizmos that their research and development has come up with for that year. The real dig is the depth of the thing. Keeping the magic numbers of 24” and 25 ½” in mind before you go refrigerator shopping will save us all confusion later on. There are refrigerators out there that with the handles measure 35-36” or more in depth. That’s a foot deeper than all that nice cabinetry and granite. We can make the beautiful wood returns alongside the refrigerator a bit deeper. We have even arranged for the contractor to cut into the 2 x 4 wall to create a bit more space to recess it in further. We can do some special planning if that very large capacity refrigerator is mandatory for you.
Some appliance salespeople are not thinking about this detail. They often simply want you to have the 26 cubic foot behemoth of your dreams. Come in for a visit to our showroom to discuss some other pitfalls we have learned to avoid when you decide to remodel this most important room of your home.