Sunday, February 19, 2012

update yourself.

Guess who practiced trigger-pulling today?

I've been the lookout for new appliances for about a year, ever since I got it into my head that they would be the icing on top of a kitchen remodel cake. (Mmm, cake.) Problem (and by "problem" I mean "first-world kitchen remodel snafu") is, our current appliances are really working just fine. So I compromised with myself: If I could find bargain appliances and sell our current ones on Craigslist, then I could stomach shelling out the dolla dolla bills.

And, truthfully, it's only a fridge and a range. I just can't justify getting a new dishwasher yet. Our current one is black, which, unlike our off-white fridge, won't clash with the cabinets once I paint them white, and dishwashers are pretty pricey. We're going to wait for that one to die before we replace it. We will be getting a new microwave, but that's primarily because I'm going to build a shelf for a microwave, and there's no chance the behemoth we own right now will fit on a shelf. (Side note: How the eff do you pronounce "behemoth?") Still holding off on that one, though, because it's not quite as urgent (or expensive) as the others. I might lump a sexy range hood in with the appliance budget, but I'm nowhere near making a final decision about those yet.

So, for fridges and ovens, I window-shopped (in stores, online, and in other people's houses...STALKER) and concluded that I definitely wanted a French-door, bottom-freezer, counter-depth fridge. Counter-depth is a necessity in our long but narrow kitchen, and the French-door models looked so fancy - a definite upgrade from our current situation:

Don't mind the IKEA dresser...the plan is to build it
up to cabinet-height and use it as a base cabinet.
Alas, French-door, bottom-freezer, counter-depth fridges are freakin' EXPENSIVE. (Question: Why are counter-depth fridges, which are SMALLER, more expensive than standard-depth ones? So dumb.) I've saved my pennies for a while and allotted myself a $2,000 budget to cover a new fridge and range. The fancy fridges that were making me drool, though, usually ran close to $2,000 alone. Sad face. But I kept my eye out for sales and scratch-and-dent options that would fit the bill.

This morning I woke up with no house projects on the day's horizon...aaaand then remembered that Sears was having a 30%-off sale on Kenmore appliances. J.J. and I headed to the mall at 10:30; Sears didn't open until 11:00. We went to Lowe's, mostly to kill time, and ogled refrigerators (you know you're a grown-up when...).


Turns out? I am NOT a fan of the bottom freezer in real life. Good thing I didn't just play lemming and order a fridge online because it was pretty. J.J. didn't like them, either - we both got the feeling that the drawer would end up a disorganized dumping ground for freezer items. We had visions of digging through gallons of ice cream and boxes of Popsicles in search of the frozen Girl Scout cookies. Not happy visions. I'd much rather have my Girl Scout cookies be readily available than have to expend calories searching for them.

And? I had actually fallen in love before we even got to the French-door models. I had laid my eyes on this:
Frigidaire Gallery (image: lowes.com)
It was in the scratch-and-dent section and was marked down from $1,299 to $701. That's almost half-off, for those of you playing along at home. I was immediately suspicious and inspected the thing from top to bottom, inside and out. I looked up reviews on my phone (mixed...hmm) and chatted with the sales guy. I flirted with French-door models, all the while casting glances back at the side-by-side Frigidaire.

It's a used fridge, which grossed me out for a minute...until I realized that every fridge I've ever had was used, by default: They came with the apartment/house, and whoever lived there before me had used them. The original owner of this fridge had ordered a standard-depth, but this counter-depth was delivered by mistake. That was the only issue, aside from (nearly invisible) scratches on the lower side of one of the doors. J.J. liked it (but couldn't really have cared less, as long as it wasn't a dreaded bottom freezer). Done deal! We placed the order and bid adieu (really, a tout a l'heure) to our new fridge. I hope it's not lonely in the holding warehouse. I've got a whole Toy Story thing going on in my head where all the appliances come alive at night and talk to each other...

Just to max out my Lowe's card round out my evening, I hunted around online for a range tonight. Again, I was seduced by what's popular in electric ranges these days (stainless steel, glass tops), but went a slightly different route instead.

GE 30-inch electric range (image: lowes.com)
Coils! Gasp. But I did my research, and it sounds like glass tops can be a bitch. They scratch easily (at least, the models in my price range do), and you're not really supposed to use cast-iron cookware on them (wonk-wonk, that's what we have). We have coils right now, and I've never minded them. I figure we'll end up doing the same amount of cleaning with either coils or a glass top, and that's the only supposed advantage to glass tops, anyway. This model isn't anything fancy, but I'm not looking for anything fancy! And it was a steal - only $470 after taxes, my 5% Lowe's card discount, and Lowe's free delivery. Mostly, I don't want anything that I feel is too precious to use, you know? It's my home, not a showroom.

I'm pretty satisfied so far. Deliveries won't happen until next weekend, but at least financially, I came in way under budget, which helps with making my sexy range hood dreams a reality. My current fridge and range are posted on Craigslist, which could net me some more cash...which will be poured back in my kitchen remodel budget. I've been saving up to do this remodel for a while since I'm not a fan of loading up credit cards - I usually put items on a card, and then head home and pay the card off immediately. Makes for some instances of delayed gratification, but hey, it's good to practice that in SOME areas of my life. Just, um...not any candy-related areas.

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