Can You Get Away With A Partial Kitchen Remodel?

Dear Laurel,

Well, we moved into an 800 square foot apartment five years ago. It was in pretty good shape; didn’t do much to it, but got some new furniture, mostly for the living room.

Three years ago– today, my kitty died and now it’s not “we,” it’s just me.

Several months ago, I was feeling ready to redo the kitchen, but started feeling overwhelmed by the project. But then my dishwasher died and my fridge is about to die. My microwave squeaks when it’s on. And the range, is the cheapest range that G.E. makes.


But a friend asked me the other day what was happening with my kitchen remodel and it made me start to think that I should revisit the situation.


I was thinking that maybe I could just get the new appliances for now?

Is it crazy to do that?

Thank you,



Well, Laurel…

Yes, it’s crazy.

Are you some kind of nutjob or something? Don’t you know that you’re supposed to have a solid plan before diving into any interior design project? Have I not taught you anything in all of these years?



Uhhhh… Laurel??? What’s going on? That woman’s kitchen remodel story sounds identical to your story and her name just happens to be Laurel. Plus you’re being a bitch to her and that’s not like you. What gives?


Oh sorry… didn’t realize that anyone was listening…

Yes, yes, it’s me. My kitchen remodel. My obsessing over it. Indecision. Going back and forth and then beating myself up about it. Sound familiar? Really. I’m no different from most folks; that is, when it comes to myself.

But I did get an email from a reader about 10 days ago curious about the kitchen and it did get me started thinking.

PLUS, I really miss having a  dishwasher. And the rest of the appliances SUUUUUUUUCCCCKKK!!!

So, what did Laurel do?

I semi-impulsively (if waiting 6 months can be considered impulsive) got me some new appliances– on Cyber Monday!

And yes, I am a naughty girl for not having a solid plan. However, I certainly have thought this one through and worse case scenario, I can sell the appliances and I did get some good deals.

Oh, do tell!!!

Well, I would, but you can’t get them at the price I paid now so it might make you feel badly.

First let’s look at the original design for the new kitchen. You can see it here.

While I still love this design for my kitchen remodel, I realize that it’s probably a little too much for this narrow trapezoidal-shaped galley kitchen.

Plus, my apartment IS a little funky.

And the average apartment kitchen in my part of the world looks like this.


Hey, there’s my range! yuck. Almost exactly the same. This one might be bisque. That refrigerator is WHITE!


This is a beautiful old building and a two-bedroom with two teensy bedrooms on the market for $495,000.00! Good luck with that! You should not every have this window overlapping situation. I know that this apartment once had a charming kitchen!

Poorly designed kitchen. Who has their fridge butted up to the stove? This one is definitely a tear-down. They could’ve at least painted the cabinets white and changed the fridge. (some ideas coming up about that)


And something that I was discussing with Nancy Keyes which is, you don’t see any of my appliances head on. That does make a big difference because nothing is really in your face.



But, there’s something important regarding that incredible range, I love.



Remember this gorgeous Blue Star Range?


I’ll be honest. I mostly use my range for boiling pasta. So, why do I need a $6,000 range? AND, the venting issue. It would have to be a ductless hood because it’s an apartment and impossible to vent outside.


Any of you designers who do a LOT of kitchens have experience with ductless hoods? Yes? No? That is not my area of expertise.


Now, for boiling water, I probably could get away without any venting. lol But occasionally, I do saute some mushrooms. And of course, one day I’ll sell this place and the new owners will not be happy if the venting isn’t adequate.

The other issue is the floor. I’m 95% positive that there are already at least two different floors. And the one I have isn’t awful.


LAUREL!!! Just stop rambling already and show us the appliances that you got!


Sorry, I’m getting to it.

Last spring when I was researching the kitchen remodel and considering what size fridge, I measured the allotted space if I decided not to change the current cabinetry or at least the footprint–errr… wallprint ;] of the cabinets.

The opening is exactly 28″ (and an ooch) wide x 71″ (and an ooch) tall.  An ooch if you don’t know is a small number – about an eighth of an inch.


Ever try to find a 28″ wide fridge? I was in Best Buy a few months ago and inquired and the dude looked at me like I had just asked him if they carried any moon-walkers.


Well, I bet that you’ve already figured out that there IS a 28″ refrigerator.  And it’s actually quite nice– with French doors!

This is the fridge.



It’s made by Haier and has excellent reviews.


My only beef is that it’s stainless. It’s not right for my kitchen.


floorplan for my kitchen remodel

Let’s review the floor plan of the kitchen.


As you can see the fridge is on the right just a few feet in. That wall that’s shaded is where the old dumb-waiter is located. It is not allowed to be removed or altered in any way. Bummer.

But still, a big silver box just as I’m walking in, is not something I want to see. We’ll address that in a sec.

First I needed to find the best deal for this fridge. And I found it at Home Depot.

(I did pay less for the fridge, but it was Cyber Monday)


Is everything the cheapest at HD?


No, not necessarily. But I figured that it’s like going to the dentist with four cavities. Better to have them all filled the same day then to go back four separate times.


So, I decided to get everything at Home Depot.


Next is the dishwasher and after looking at dishwashers and reviews, I knew that I wanted a Kitchenaid.

This is the dishwasher I got


Have to say of all of the medium-priced appliances and even some of the high-end ones, that Kitchenaid has a monopoly on style.

And one of the things they have going for them is a beautiful round high-end looking handle. So smart.

Are you saying Laurel, that you got the Kitchenaid appliances for the handle?

uhhhh… yeah… Can you think of a better reason? ;]

Look, right now I have NO dishwasher and I mostly use my range to boil water.

And handles are important!

In all seriousness, I looked carefully at the reviews and feel confident with my choices. Sure, there is always the odd farbissina who gets on social media and whines about something, but I’m interested in what the majority are saying and kitchenaid rocks.

Plus – NO stainless steel for the body, please! I don’t care WHAT they say on HGTV!

One thing that I really wish the manufacturers would do is offer one more white that isn’t neon white and isn’t biscuit. While biscuit is better than the old almond, it is probably still a little too cream and not everything comes in biscuit.

Now for the range. And the nuker.


Here’s where it gets a little dicey.


I actually won a high-end range hood. But I’ll probably be doing a giveaway.

In the meantime, I decided to do the obvious and looked at the kitchenaid ranges. And immediately found one that I like quite a bit.

The only thing is that it’s a freestanding range and all of them have that high lip in the back for some of the controls.

My new kitchenaid range in white


I dunno. More obsessing.

The kind of range that I want is really a slide in that doesn’t have the lip, but there are very few white slide-in ranges and none that I like. Kitchenaid doesn’t make one and I really do LOVE that handle! Plus I really like the knobs. The door looks a little dark, however. Maybe I could put a film on the outside to soften it.

It could even have a pattern like this window film



A range that would look really pretty is this Ilve.


I had forgotten about it. But then, this range has some hefty BTUs and definitely would need a proper range hood, not a microwave fan.

Plus, the Ilve would need to be subsidized which I don’t know if that’s possible or not.

AND the kitchen aid is such an upgrade from the dumpy GE that I have.

Last and least is the nuker.

There was something about the kitchenaid microwave that didn’t appeal to me.



I prefer this Maytag, so I got that one. I think it has a convection setting and the range oven does too.

What next? Well, here’s what I’m thinking. I’ll get my appliances in.


Turkish Oushak for my kitchen remodel


OH! and I also got this beautiful runner on Etsy. I was inspired by Sarah McGee’s beautiful kitchen rug. There are zillions of these runners from all sorts of vendors on Etsy. They are very inexpensive too.


I would still like to reface and one reason is because I hate the hardware.


There is this company that provides refacing for Ikea cabinets called SemiHandMade. They are going to be at KBIS, (next month is the show) so maybe I can sweet-talk them into a sponsorship?

And then I would like new counters.

But, I might end up re-doing the cabinets anyway.


Now, what about that big silver fridge?


Well, one can have them painted; but, it is NOT a DIY project unless you want it to look like crap. And you have to take it outside. It really needs to be done in a shop by a pro.

I did find a nice post on Young House Love which shows how difficult it is. I do love them, but even though they said it’s “easy,” it’s clear that those darling young uns had been sniffing too much of that horrid epoxy paint. Clearly, this is not an easy project!

And one should be able to control the color better. But, their fridge does look a lot better than it did.

I realize that some would say that it’s absurd to paint a new fridge, but whatever. If it makes me happy, who cares?

Another idea I have that is a little funky and would be to put a pretty self-sticking REMOVABLE wallpaper on it.

There are a lot of patterns, but I have the pattern already on the Roman shade. I’ve looked but haven’t found one that’s shouting at me.

The fridge could be covered with self white stick dry erase paper

And then these cool overlays could be applied. This is a very interesting company. I’ve ordered from the before and they can do custom designs.


overlays could work in a kitchen remodel

The fretwork inside the doors is the overlay which is a plastic that you can paint, if you like.

This is a design that I made.

Well, there are lots of options.

We’ll have to see. Who knows? Maybe I won’t mind the stainless steel?

Well, that’s it for today.

How are y’all holding up?

I went into the city today to see Alvin Ailey with a dear old friend.


Please do click here to check out the holiday shop!


It is filled with hundreds of ideas for holiday decor and GIFTS for just about everyone, including tweens and teens, foodies, hosts, garden lovers, guys, gals, gifts under 50 and luxe gifts.

I’m adding to it all of the time.


88 Responses

  1. Dear Laurel,

    I have to be one of your biggest fans. I began reading your blog in April when we moved from our home of 18 years to a weird custom designed house. (Which could be fodder for days and days for you;) I talk about you so much that at first my friends and family thought I found a new BFF in the neighborhood.

    Back on topic, with the old house I left a Viking gas four burner plus griddle range whose oven had blown burners or some constant expensive problem. My new house has an older Electrolux induction cooktop which I was prepared to hate. I have to say this induction cooktop is WAY more responsive than gas. It’s clean and fast. This could be a wise choice for you. Just know that you may have to replace some cookware because the pans must be magnetic. This rules out aluminum and copper. It likes stainless and iron.

    I’ve purchased your Rolodex and paint palettes and look at them all the time.

    Thanks for all you do,
    Gayle Morgan
    Birmingham, AL

  2. I don’t have time to read all the other comments, so please delete if redundant, but Miele makes an amazing pop-up downdraft. It pops up 17″ inches and actually works, unlike the downdrafts built into cooktops like JennAire and GE.

  3. Laurel, this post and the comments are all helpful. I need to replace appliances but have had so many other repairs and reno I am stuck.And more to come. Also, I have zero ventilation in this old kitchen.

    I’m glad that you’re getting the fridge and dw now. You will have time to consider the range model while you enjoy the benefits of the new appliances. And time to consider if you want to do more in the kitchen or consider some of the other ideas you had for your home. I think you have snatched victory from the jaws of …victory…and are one smart cookie!

  4. Laurel-just to let you know your friend/colleague Brooke Giannetti evacuated her home and animals evacuated. Fire on both sides of their farm. Things got really bad in CA today winds.

  5. I just downsized and bought a townhouse that was the model home. That meant I got it after someone else had made all the design decisions. It’s okay, not what I would have picked, but I can live with it. I had to buy a fridge, and new washer and dryer.

    So, of course I fell madly in love with a KitchenAid fridge because of that fab handle!!! But, they were out of stock, and we were moving in quickly, and couldn’t live without a fridge that long. But I totally get the handle thing.

  6. I think your new appliances look great!…I know you don’t like stainless but the fridge will probably work just fine once it is in.

    I once owned a 1920 condo with a large window like yours in the middle of the kitchen. The wall to the left had a doorway and also a doorway where you have one.

    The small sink was in the corner to the right of the window. Then I wanted new cabinets with the sink in front of the window, so I did something I think only 29 year old me would do.

    I made a fake window sill just above where the new counter would run in front of the window. I put shutters on the window so you couldn’t tell. Half the window was below the counter hidden behind the cabinets!! lord. You could open the top half.

    Then, the condo board stopped approving new clothe dryers in units a week after I closed… but I wanted one! So, I ran the dryer vent through the closet wall, through the bottom cabinets and out the bottom half of the windows. The window faced an alley.

    1. Hi George,

      I think that’s quite a wonderful, creative solution. Those damned windows are always too low in old buildings. That’s because they didn’t believe in counters back then. haha. Funny about the dryer. We’re not allowed to have them either, or washing machines. Dishwashers are okay.

  7. It will be lovely Laurel! I can’t wait to see the finished results. Earlier this year, I bought a similar KitchenAid stove, only it is the electric glass top version (we are an electric only street in the country:( I really like it though and their handles are very stylish. I also bought a French door KitchenAid fridge at the same time; the French doors cost me a few features that other models had but I love the look! Also, I have seen some lovely tutorials for fridges wallpapered in temporary wallpaper! Personally, I don’t mind stainless steel, at least in my kitchen in this house:)
    My own slow, 2 year, Laurel-inspired kitchen remodel is coming to an end this winter. I painted the oak cabinets White Dove, unlaquered brass hardware, new sink/faucet/appliances/flooring/lighting. I finally broke down and hired a painter instead of doing it myself and my walls are now Niveous. Next up: faux paint counters into marble ,change my pendant to the lovely Pottery Barn Camille pendant you recommended in a previous post (Now sold out, I found it on EBay!)

    1. Hi Margaret,

      The black one? The kitchen looks AWESOME! A couple things though. If you notice, while she’s putting on the handle the fridge looks very streaky and the finished product looks great. And she said it’s matte paint, but I see a distinct sheen. I’m just wondering if she left some info out?

      And I wish that I understood how that handle holds. It does look amazing, however.

  8. 2 other things, my mom wallpapered our fridge! And the GE stove knobs, before you buy google the model and see if the knobs are good or bad. Our first set melted, not metal at all!

    1. Hi Brooke,

      Cool about Mom’s fridge.

      I have a GE and the knobs are fine. I mean, I don’t love them, but nothing bad ever happened to them.

      I did cancel the order for the range and microwave, because ultimately, it’s not what I really want and I’m getting a clearer picture now. You guys have really helped!

  9. Love your appliance choices. As far as painting your refrigerator,
    what about an auto body shop? I would like to say I have heard that it can be done.

    1. yes, me too and a few people have mentioned it; one was on FB and I don’t expect you to read the comments. I just don’t want to have to have the fridge delivered, taken away and then redelivered. I live in a fairly small apartment with a small elevator. I am looking into the vinyl coverings, however.

  10. I had a down draft built in that pops up with the press of a button. But most importantly, is my buying an induction stove top from Bosch, which I had lowered into the Granit counter. I will NEVER EVER NEVER go back to gas.
    Yes, I was a gas snob before I got the induction top!
    I had a Wolf 6 burner range and I hated it. Cleaning it was ridiculous and all gas stoves, of used daily really lower the air quality in the house, even with a draft system.
    My induction top cooks like a dream. It is so clean! You can boil water in 90 seconds, and temp control is instant. I have learned to cook with less heat, which preserves the structure and vitamins of the food, it just need to cook a bit longer on lower heat, but not much. The flavor is much superior. Once one cooks with lower heat, you almost need no updraft and oil and grease stays in the pan. Slow and low is key to good food. Plus you don’t smell up the house.

      1. Any time! Just a hop skip and jump from NY to the Pacific Northwest Island I live on:)
        Forgot to mention the great features on these induction tops, like being able to time the heat under your pot, for example if I steam my potatoes or vegetables, I just put the stove top timer on 20-30 minutes of low heat, put the lid on and forget about it. It will turn off before the water is boiled away and another ruined pot. Or, you can use your heavy cast-iron enamel pots like a crock pot, put everything in it in the morning, put on low heat, set for 4-6 hours, and come home to a crock pot dinner with no danger of fire or over-cooking. Lastly, you can literally cook on the stovetop with a sheet of newspaper covering the burner, and then place your pot on top the newspaper and cook!!! No splatters! That is how low temp it stays…of course the pot gets hot, but not enough to burn the paper (unless you turn it up to ultra max).
        You can tell I love my induction top…and no, I don’t sell them. 😉

        1. Are you kidding me? Do you know how many pots I’ve burned in my lifetime? I’m embarrassed to say. So, why on earth would anyone get gas then? I seem to recall that at the Thermador exhibit last January at the Kitchen and Bath show, they were actually cooking ON the induction stove. That is my recollection. But I was drunk on cupcakes. lol

    1. Chris- very interesting as I do not have gas and need new stove. Do you have a Bora downdraft? Or maybe not possible with the Bosch appliance.

      1. Libby, the induction top is Bosch, but for the down draft we thought we would save a few hundred dollars and got the Broan, which has been great (3 years now).

  11. I moved into a house in July where the previous owner bought your same dishwasher. I had seen it at ABT years ago and walking past all of the dishwashers my eye went to the same Kitchenaid. I love the quality feel of the handle which has a textured finish and the red color on the ends. The feel of the heavier door when opening is quality. Quality is noticed all over and inside. Like the top knife drawer for long cooking utensils. I have SS. Sister in law was over visiting with her husband. They are jealous of it. They bought a new dishwasher (the dark faux stainless out in stores now) which has a lightweight feel. You will be happy with it. Nice and quiet running when on. White lit up button says it’s done.

    1. Thanks so much Ginger! I know that I’m going to love my new Kitchenaid! And to be clear, no affiliation whatsoever. But you know what they say. Do a great job for your client and they’ll tell one person. Do a bad job and they’ll tell 20. hahaha!

    1. Hi Gerry,

      I looked into them and the one thing is that they don’t wrap around. One would have to make a separate cut for the sides and not sure that would work so well where the seams would meet up. Not sure. Although, one could put a flat frame of some sort – around the perimeter. Maybe even an O’verlay? There’s a link to their website in the post.

      But I’m also researching other possibilities.

  12. You know, nothing motivated me to do research like my crappy old LG dishwasher. You could put perfectly clean (meaning I washed them by hand first) into that dishwasher, and they’d come out dirty. It was a piece of junk. Determined not to end up with another lemon, I educated myself about dishwashers and chose the same KitchenAid you did–though I did not choose it for it’s great handle, I can’t lie and say it wasn’t a factor. This dishwasher performs flawlessly and quietly. I don’t think most people talk lovingly to their appliances, but I do praise my new dishwasher out loud and without shame.

  13. I DIDN’T KNOW YOU CAN PAINT A FRIDGE AND MY MIND IS REELING. And then you throw the idea of maybe covering in a cute contact paper?! I don’t even know what to do with myself.
    We have a stainless steel fridge and ovens and they are the devil. The deeeevil. They are covered in dust and fingerprints constantly. Nothing will make me rage harder than if I just clean the fridge and a minute later someone overfills their glass with water from the door and it spills down the front.
    Once again, I want every single thing you posted. Everything. those ranges are freaking beautiful. I’m so excited to see how it all turns out!!!!!!!!

    1. Hi Sarah,

      I KNOW! I did have my fridge painted geeezz 21 years ago from gross almond to a pretty off-white to match my cabinets. It was already a cheap vinyl fridge.

      It was sprayed. In fact, the guy sprayed everything! It looked amazing when it was all finished. Wish I had taken before and after pics, but alas no.

      And I’m also looking into the vinyl wraps. I found one source, but they don’t seem to have custom colors. I’m on the task, however.

      I was thinking that instead of an auto-body shop to install, why not just a regular ol’ wallpaper hanger? hmmm… hmmm… That’s if one wants to do something a little ummm “outside the box.”

  14. Wow. You seem to be traveling my road, just a few feet ahead of me. We are revamping but not reconfiguring our small kitchen space, as well. We have an old Craftsman house that had a kitchen remodel about 25 years ago that looks very modern with black laminate cabinets and an orange Marmoleum floor. We are hoping to make the space look more congruous with the rest of the old house. Finding a new refrigerator that will fit into the sheet-rocked opening that is there now will not be easy. Nor was finding a gas range that would fit into the 30″ spot that had tall enough legs to clear the heating vent underneath. The dishwasher heard us talking about getting a new model and promptly burst its door hinge. I have a new granite composite sink and boxes of tile for the backsplash stacked in my living room. Bought an ORB Franke farmhouse sink from a display at a plumbing showroom. Cabinet hardware from Ebay. New floor to be installed soon. I’m hoping that I haven’t made the biggest blunder in design history by buying all the pieces by myself and hoping for the best on the completed look. In my head it looks okay. It makes my stomach churn at night.
    Good luck with your kitchen!

    1. Hi Vickie,

      Eeegads! ANYTHING has to be better than black laminate cabinets and an orange floor! #whatweretheythinking? And in a craftsman??? Mind-boggling. I’ve gotten cabinet hardware for a client from Ebay too! Please send pics of before and after if you like.

  15. Hi Laurel,

    We have built two houses and none of them have had vented stoves because the builders (grrr) said they couldn’t do it, one told us when the house was almost finished. We have the over the stove microwave but would like to switch to a stove vent. We’ve never really had a problem but like you we are not big cooks. For a few months we did try Blue Apron and we had to sauté a lot so we opened windows mostly because the smoke detectors went off and scared the dogs.

    One other thing, we have a GE gas stove with knobs on the front and they turn on when we bump them! So before you buy try the knobs and see if you can bump them on. I have to say I dislike the gas over so if you can swing it do the gas stove/electric oven combo. Or I’d go back to electric with a smooth top.

    Good luck!

  16. I’m in the market for all new kitchen appliances, so thanks for doing my research for me! 😉 Fortunately, I don’t have the width limitation for the fridge that you do, but I’ve learned from your experience.

    My friend bought the same KitchenAid dishwasher and i heard it — rather, I didn’t hear it — on Thanksgiving. Incredibly quiet. She’s very pleased with it.

  17. I was reading your post about painting appliances and thought I would throw this idea out there….. Back in 1962, my aunt wanted pink appliances, but alas, none to be found. She had her appliances painted at a car dealership and got just what she wanted. The paint held up and looked amazing. 👍🏻

  18. Laurel,
    I can’t wait to see your kitchen when done. Love the appliance choices – not so sure about the film on the range and/or the papering of the refrig, but love the really out of the box thinking. Maybe when you see everything together, because as you say you are not facing the appliances head on that it won’t bother you with the stainless refrig and/or the black window on the oven. If it does – have you ever had an auto body shop paint an appliance? Maybe the refrig? You didn’t mention what you are doing with backsplash and counters, but whatever it is, I’m sure it will be beautiful.

    I on the other hand am moving into a house where a black window of a micro/convection is facing me head on, and that film idea is something I never would have thought of!

    Good luck with it all!


    1. Hi Kim,

      I’m loving Ruth’s idea that she wrote about so much! But now I’m rethinking the range. So, I think I’m going to call and cancel that part of the order. The rest is fine.

  19. I just want to say how great it is to see a blogger who actually buys things for herself instead of just getting everything comped to do blog posts about the products. I really appreciate that. I also love it that you have a quirky kitchen the way so many of us do. I really like the ideas you’ve posted and look forward to seeing them implemented over time. I think buying the appliances first will make your life easier. Sorry about your kitty (if that was real in your email to yourself).

    1. Hi Alice,

      Thanks so much!

      Yes, the email to myself is 100% factual. Yesterday was the third anniversary of Peaches’ passing. Miss my little puddle of fur, so much!

      As for buying the products instead of them being comped. It always takes me a while to catch on to how to do certain things like that. One reason is that I hate to ask. Some things have been offered but I don’t want a big ceiling fan. lol I really would love to have stuff comped, but if I do, it’s because it’s a brand I REALLY want!

  20. That apartment kitchen? It’s like deja vu all over again!! That’s exactly my condo kitchen in a nutshell (units were built in the 1990s). Same fridg, oven, counters, cabinets. (but I have handles on my cabinets) It must have been the cheapest stuff they could get. My kitchen really isn’t bad, but I would replace the countertops if I had the chance. Fortunately I have a window over the sink so I can look out at the woods, sunset, etc.

  21. LOVED your comments on purchasing all appliances BEFORE the remodel. I did the EXACT same thing starting last year during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday thing. I had a relatively “new”ish Maytag dishwasher (which also had a cool attractive handle) – and wanted all the rest of my appliances to “FINALLY” MATCH. Had all appliances for 6-8 months or more before the Kitchen reno eventually started. Everything worked out well – and probably better than if I had waited to purchase during same timing as reno. Saved some serious BUCKS,too! So – BLESSINGS – to you on your future kitchen.

    1. Thanks so much Terry! In the end, I figured that it would force my hand at some decisions and when I saw that fridge for only $698, I knew that was an amazing deal. The lowest I had seen it before was 998. It’s usually about the price HD has it at now.

      On the other hand, just have to say that they only raised the price of the range by FIVE BUCKS!

      WHAT??? And that price is supposed to be good only through the 20th. They need to know that some of us are actually paying attention to all of this!

  22. I had to laugh — sorry — because I bought a giant stainless fridge on Cyber Monday from Home Depot two years ago. The fridge is great, but it took an act of Congress to get it into the house which involved removing doors and handles, etc.

    I am a retired designer, but I guess I forgot my own advice about measuring doorways, etc., before ordering. But I digress.

    I am curious to know how that film might work on oven doors. (I use mine all the time.) I have two perfectly good wall ovens which are black. All the appliances were black when we bought the house. Also granite countertops. The black sucks out all the light and I keep trying to lighten things up. The cabinets are now white. So is the floor — all courtesy of white paint. I have replaced the DW with a stainless one.

    So if that white film works on wall ovens, I do want to hear about it! They are like a black hole in the kitchen. Also, Haier is probably a great brand. We bought a Haier free standing air conditioner for the garage which I use as an art studio, and we are very pleased with it.

    1. Hi Ellen,

      Well, I don’t think the outside of the glass gets hot enough to melt the film otherwise, it would burn hands too. I just cleaned my oven and it gets super hot inside. Didn’t notice any intense heat eminating. Some yes, but nothing to melt anything. The other thing is you could always just try it out. The worst that would happen is you’d need some solvent to remove it, but I really don’t see how it could melt. It’s meant to take the heat from the sun, after all.

      But, now I’m 99.9% sure that I’m going to cancel the range/micro part of the order. I might as well get something that I really love to look at. And this vinyl thing that Ruth wrote about has me all gaga with possibilities. In fact, I’m surprised that this option isn’t common knowledge.

      But one thing I really, truly wish is that more of the mid-range manufacturers offered different color choices. And also more choices of apartment sized fridges. There is a whole generation of baby boomers who are downsizing and moving from the big house to apartments and condos.

      I wonder if anyone who makes these decisions is listening? I believe quite strongly, that having the option or at least more options would be wonderful.

      The irony is that I had limited time to write this post because my friend told me our tix for Alvin Ailey were on the 3rd and I only found out the day before of the mistake.

      So, in my mind, this was probably not going to be a post to write home about. But in the end, and not because of the post, but the ensuing discussion, I think that this is an exceedingly important post because there are a ton of fabulous solutions for modifying that in our kitchens which are objectionable!

  23. Hi Laurel,
    Honestly, I don’t see how you could go wrong with your purchase. Even if you don’t have a detailed plan, you know what appliances you need and now you get to use them while you work everything else out. Love the fridge. I’ve looked at that model before for a rental redo. Ended up with a standard counter depth, since it was a 3 bedroom, but I am keeping it on the back burner for any smaller places in the future (e.g., a place for my mom). I love th kitchen aid pull as well, and nearly got them for our new home, but ended up with Jenn-Aire (same company, nearly the same handle) because our builder got us a deal that made it cheaper. Sorry you can’t have a ducted hood.

    1. Thanks so much Susie. And I agree, it’s a small kitchen and I actually think that the design as is, is fine. It’s been five years. My only issue is the DW door, but if Laurel would just always close it, it would be fine. haha! Right now, I’m using it as a drying rack.

      Someone just sent me an email that she has a 39″ La Canche with NO VENTING and it’s absolutely fine! This is reminding of the parable “The Old Man, His Son and the Donkey.” LOL

  24. A ventless hood doesn’t catch much of anything in the grease dept BUT water has no grease in it so you are good to go.
    Blessings to you and know it will all work out
    Also any frig which is real metal can be professionally painted with magnetic paint right in your home. No fuss no mess . I would like a pink one!!!!!

    1. Thanks so much Diana! Please see Ruth’s comment. That one is blowing my mind. But I also need to look up the magnetic paint. Never heard of it. But wouldn’t it have to be sprayed on?

  25. Good Morning,
    Laurel, I have a couple of suggestions…Bosch makes a 28″ counter depth refrigerator in white. It has a white glass finish, which I had for several years on a Subzero, and really liked. A few others offer white as well. I know Smeg does if you want a little “funkyness”.

    (Bosch B10CB80NVW 24″ Counter-Depth Bottom-Freezer Refrigerator – White Glass Finish)

    When we were staying with a friend and he had a French door refrigerator with no counter next to it on the right side. If you opened the left door there was no place to set anything down without walking around the left door. Does that make sense? Well, don’t kill me for saying it but it drove me mad!
    Happy to help in your research to get something that you will love! XO

    1. Oh, thanks for that Nancy. But, that’s 24″! 24″ is not difficult to find, My opening is 28″.

      And actually, I realize that I need something to break up the solid too. I wish that bosh had some nice hunky handles. Then, it would be perfect!

      But all of this is helping a lot because it’s making me rethink the range now. I think that I need to hold off on range/micro for now until I research this some more.

      In my heart, I really do want a slide in range. And I’m not so fond of the nuker on top. I found a really cool retro looking countertop microwave that would be perfect for me. I certainly have more than enough counter space for it!

      I hear you on the French door issue. This is a small door. I will probably keep things I need regularly on the right. It’s just me. In fact, this fridge/freezer is probably a bit much for me, but man, I got it for $698!

      All of this is helping me immensely!

    1. Hi Ruth,

      Well, it would make me cringe too, except that there would be the Overlay pattern over it, so the thinking would be a white glossy background.

      BUT, BUT, BUT… the link you sent. OH MY!!!!!!! Now, we’re talking! That is an amazing idea! Wow! This is life changing and 100 times better than any kind of paper!

      Thank you, thank you!!!

      1. Whatever way you go, it will be lovely. I’m observing your process as I do exactly the same thing, only even more fragmented-ly (not a word, I know). Just bought a new fridge (black…not ideal but better than the alternatives at the moment)because I had to. 1970’s homeowner-constructed cabinets have got to go, and I’m just hoping that the other appliances last until I get it together to deal with them and the accompanying headache of a reno.

        1. Hi Ruth,

          Sounds a lot like what most of us go through. Renovating a kitchen while living there is a big deal. I’ve had many clients go through it and didn’t know how they could live with all of the noise and mess!

  26. Thanks for the update on your kitchen. I agree, the appliance handles are important, I hate the “banana” handles that most appliances have. I’d wish I’d bought white appliances, stainless steel is harder to clean and really looks out of place with our white cabinets.

  27. Hi Laurel,

    Your blog is both entertaining and very informative. It’s fun look to pour over every post.

    In your appliance search, perhaps you’ve come across exactly what I need to keep my sanity:

    I am looking to move the dishwasher location from where I was forced to put it to where it should be-next to the sink. (It’s a cautionary tale and won’t bore everyone with the details.) The problem is that in my 1930’s kitchen the space next to the sink narrows to about 21 or 22″ deep because of a nearby doorway and basement steps. A 24″ wide model is what we’re looking for and it can be any brand as long as the interior is either enamel (like my current Kitchen Aide, which I love) or stainless. It is truly annoying to run across the kitchen from the sink to the DW with wet dishes.

    Perhaps others with old quirky kitchens, husbands or contractors could use the same advice..

    Thanks so much,


    1. Hi Deb,

      At one point, I was considering a 24″ when I was doing my redesign, but have abandoned that idea on the sink side. There are some 24″ dishwashers. I know that kitchenaid does have some.

      1. Hi Laurel,
        Thanks for your reply. The 24″ wide dishwashers are readily available. I was asking if you or any of your readers know of one that is less deep–21″ or 22″ would be ideal.

        Thanks a bunch for your interesting and informative blog!


  28. Congrats Laurel re the upgrading of your kitchen as unlike myself who has been procrastinating for about five years to do mine; at least you are making some head-way … ☺. Now about covering the refrigerator do not know if either of the following would appeal to you or work for the style ‘n space but for two additional ideas you might wish to websearch: a) Instructables ‘Custom Panelled Refrigerator’ by tumbling blocks (in home improvements). b) ‘DIY Painted Plexiglass Refrigerator Panels’ by Thread Ethic (Jan. 30/2013). Looking forward to your progress as I am sure it will be beautiful.


  29. Dearest Laurel,

    I have been reading your blog and following you on Pinterest for some time now, and I’m no designer, but your advice/lessons must be working!

    I too am getting a new kitchen and I too bought the “ice white ” kitchen aid appliances even though know every one said “why are you doing that”.

    Now, I am doing White cabinets and painting the whole kitchen white ( in a north facing kitchen; I learned all about direction and painting from you! (cotton balls looks yellow against my cabinets so I’m struggling but I’ll get there)

    Ok so my point, I am a little stuck on mixing metals bringing in some polished nickel for fixtures and knobs, or mixing in some brass and chrome, or doing black accents. Anyways, please keep posting on your kitchen and how you come up with your choices ( the process!) After all imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.



    1. Hi Tinamarie,

      If your kitchen is northfacing, especially, don’t forget that you’ll probably have the lights on 95% of the time if not 100% of the time. So, please take a look with the lighting or as close as you can get. And it’s okay to mix whites too.

      The mixing metals is a good idea and one on my list that I haven’t gotten to yet.

  30. Paint the fridge if you want! It will be perfect if you have it done by someone good. It’s your kitchen after all and you will only be happy with it.

  31. Keep your cabinets. Spend the money on more Alvin Ailey tickets.:-)
    I wished I had known that you’d be attending yesterday, I would have loved to just say ‘hello’ to you, even if it meant waving to wherever you sat with your friend.
    Alvin Ailey was breathtaking, drool worthy, magnificent, and totally beyond belief amazing- I do not know how human bodies( pant, pant 🙂 ) can perform such incredible art. For two hours, the world seemed a good place again..

    1. WHAT??? You were there??? Oh wow! Well, we must meet one day and yes, they were unbelievable! My favorite dancer in the company is Megan Jakel and it’s not because she’s the whitest girl and she doesn’t even have a perfect “dancer’s body.”

      But the way she moves and her insane musicality; can’t take my eyes off of her! Every time I try to watch someone else, it’s back to Megan. Extraordinarily talented!

  32. We recently remodeled our daughter’s 1947 kitchen- very small, galley style and completely disfunctional. We chose the Haier fridge you show in this article- and love it! It is cabinet depth so you save floor space (no in-your-face) and wow- the french door design offers so much space! My daughter lives alone and usually the fridge is half full. Small but mighty!
    We also saw the rave reviews but when we went to our largest appliance retailer here they said they quit carrying Haier because of so many problems. We haven’t had any yet.
    We loved this fridge online at Home Depot and love it even more in her new kitchen. Go for the Haier!!

  33. Ok. I feel exactly the same way as you do about stainless. HATE the stuff. I have an old farmhouse built in 1900 and am remodeling the kitchen, in white of course. My kitchen is a good size with high ceilings so I am very lucky there.

    So. On that note, I’m just gonna give you a linkie-poo that solved my problem.


    I started a pinterest page for my kitchen which helped soo much in narrowing down the style and being able to actually visualize what I could do. Hope you figure out a way to slay the stainless beast!

    1. Hi Korina,

      Thank you so much. I have seen those ideas and love them too. If I were starting from scratch would likely hide behind a panel, but yes it can work to do it after the fact. And especially, mine is counter depth which I forgot to say.

  34. Love love the Haier fridge you found!
    Hope you do get the chance to give it serious consideration…
    The new fridges are much more efficient than the older models…
    Cost less to run, too.
    Enjoy all your new appliances
    What a great idea!

  35. Ductless hoods: Yes, a lot of experience! Get the strongest, most powerful one you can find, with the thickest, most serious grease filter available. Use it on high speed whenever you cook. Clean the filters often. That will eliminate the greasy film problem, but NOT the odors. For kitchen smells, get a serious air purifier and leave it on constantly. If your building allows, which it probably does not, a simple wondow insert fan, working non-stop, will exhaust a lot of any remaining kitchen odors as long as you crack open some other window in the apartment at the same time.

    Covering stainless fridge: if you use a dense pattern window film, try that on the fridge too. Try to find a basketweave pattern. Look at, a British firm with a terrible website but a good product. This pattern is very dense and would “cover the gray”: I use it all the time. Try it on the oven door, but the heat may melt it. The installation process is very forgiving.

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Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
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