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Dream Kitchens: Lessons Learned
Comments () | Published October 1, 2009

Bakia spent more time thinking about what type of fridge would suit her family, and the model she chose is one of her favorite things in her new kitchen. She doesn’t store a lot of frozen food, so she chose a model with a double pullout freezer drawer that maximizes fridge space above. It’s also counter depth—shallower than standard refrigerators—which makes for a seamless look and keeps her from losing food in the back. Says Bakia: “Who knew you could love a refrigerator?”

You might discover something you can no longer live without . . .

Several homeowners splurged on appliances and products they weren’t sure they’d use.

Midkiff got a wine cooler, something she’d never had before. The dual-temperature cooler holds up to 48 bottles and is tucked away under the counter. She says it’s a lifesaver when it comes to entertaining: “I can’t recall how we managed before.”

Joan Milburn installed Plugmold—a strip of electrical outlets—under the cabinets in her Vienna kitchen. Now she can plug in the coffeemaker or toaster wherever she wants rather than being tied to a single location. “I had no idea what I was missing,” she says.

Buchanan’s designer talked her into getting a faucet with a hot-and-cold-water filtering system built in. “We thought it was a good idea but didn’t know if we’d ever use the hot function,” she says. Turns out Buchanan uses it every day to make coffee with her French press. Was it worth the splurge? “Definitely,” she says. “I can’t remember the last time I used a teakettle.”

. . . or something you wish you’d skipped.

Whitman loves his combination microwave/convection oven—“We use it 90 percent of the time instead of the regular oven,” he says—but his Miele range hood probably was a mistake: “It sounds like a jet engine when you turn it on.”

Bakia added a second sink in her island because she thought it would be efficient—it’s close to the refrigerator and stove. “In reality, I think it saves three steps,” she says. Bakia says she could have had 25 percent more counter space if she’d skipped the sink, though it has gotten some use: “We filled it with ice one time for a drink station when company was over.”

Cregan gives her sink mixed reviews, too. Nearly six feet tall, she got backaches when washing dishes in her old sink, so she decided to raise the countertop in the new kitchen. It would have worked—if she hadn’t splurged on an extra-deep sink. “It sort of negates the benefits of the higher counter,” she says. But there’s a bright side: “The deep sink hides the mess when guests are here.”

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Posted at 05:00 PM/ET, 10/01/2009 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Articles