Time to think about the kitchen remodel again

We took out the broken trees and put in new trees, so it’s time to think about remodeling the kitchen again.

house 049

The gingham wallpaper is long gone. I swear!

Here’s our master plan:

1.  Keep the flooring and floorplan as before.

We decided that it isn’t worth the additional expense to do something that might make things worse.  If we had a contractor/architect we trusted we’d be more likely to be willing to mess with this, but we don’t, so we’re going to satisfice on this dimension.

2.  Replace the countertops.

I want quartz countertops that look like marble to replace the cheap white laminate or whatever it is that turns yellow if you bleach it.  Quartz and Granite have a lot of properties that I like– easy to clean, tough to crack, great for pastry (currently we do all our pastry stuff on a granite-top bureau in the dining room).  DH also looked into “dekton” which is “in” but it doesn’t look any better than quartz and has a tendency to chip/crack according to consumer reports.  I want quartz instead of granite because it is easier to get quartz that looks like marble!  (I’m leaning into being forced to have a white kitchen.)

3.  Get a new sink that is under the countertops (instead of having a lip) and doesn’t get that irritating water puddle.

I’m thinking stainless steel, keeping a double sink.  I like double sinks.

4.  Remove the ancient ice-maker (near the sink) and replace it with a cabinet.

We’re not sure that home depot is going to be able to handle making a custom cabinet, but our previous house-painter had someone good that he uses (who replaced a bunch of kitten destroyed cabinetry in our bathroom) so we might be able to get that figured out separately.  Absent that I guess we could put in a wine fridge or something in that empty spot, but that would only be for increasing the value of the house, not something we would actually use.  (We already have one of those hidden garbage drawers that we never use next to the sink.)

5.  Replace the 30 inch electric stovetop.

This is our current sticking point.  I feel weird replacing it given that it you know, still works.  But DH doesn’t like electric (electric is slow to heat and cool… you get used to it, but it is easier cooking with gas) and says it’s rusting, which I guess it sort of is, but only around the burners not actually on top of them.  If we were better about cleaning you’d never know.  And it’ll be easier to replace it when we’re getting new countertop anyway.  DH thought about expanding it, but then we might have to cut into our cabinets which we don’t want to do.  Besides, we never use all four burners at the same time anyway.

We thought we were going to just get gas.  We have a gas hookup under the range that has never been used, but in theory could be easy to get in working order.  At least, it’s more likely than if there wasn’t a gas hookup there.

But then DH started looking into induction stovetops.  I was initially hesitant as I thought you had to buy special cookware.  Turns out you just need to have *nice* cookware with magnetic bottoms, which our le crueset and caphalon stuff already have [UPDATE:  our caphalon stuff is at most marginally magnetic on the bottom… if we went with this option we might have to get a new “induction ready” set, or we’d just be down to two le crueset and the cast iron skillet].  Induction stovetops are also safer– no open flames, no carbon monoxide, etc.  And they’re way faster than electric at heating things up.  But they might hum, which would be annoying.

DH is thoroughly investigating each of these options and has been instructed to come up with a top choice from gas and a top choice from induction.  This will probably take considerable time, knowing DH.  Right now he’s annoyed by how everything he’s been looking at seems to have a combination of 5 and 1 stars (and nothing in between)… quality control is not a priority for companies.

And that’s it.  We already replaced the fluorescent lighting and we already have fancy under lighting.  The cabinets already have all sorts of fancy drawer choices.  The pantry is still amazing and will not be touched.  We might replace the refrigerator, but that’s something that can be done separately given there’s already a big space for a fridge.  We decided not to do the ovens because I like having a double oven and even though the top oven is a really bad height for me, it’s a great height for DH.  So I can just keep using the bottom one.

Once DH has finished his researching, we plan to make an appointment at home depot and get them to hire contractors from the nearest city to take care of everything.  That worked well with our bathroom flooring.  We’re not going with a local contractor because all the ones with webpages have horrific looking “after” photos.  I mean, I get that some people have really bad taste, but that’s not something you want to advertise on your website!

Tell me about your stovetop.  Or any kitchen renovation thoughts.



41 Responses to “Time to think about the kitchen remodel again”

  1. Schlupp Says:

    We’ve had induction for about 4 years now and really like it. NO comparison to “normal” electric. Also doesn’t hum. But then, most of our pots and pans were OK and we found good homes for the few that were not.

  2. Zenmoo Says:

    We used to have gas and replaced it with induction. It was largely for safety reasons but now I JUST LOVE IT! It heats water much quicker, I love being able to set a timer to turn it off, it cooks well & is generally awesome. We didn’t need new pots just one new fry pan. It isn’t quite as good for making large stir-fries as gas because we don’t have a suitable wok. I can live with that though.

    We have an AEG cooktop. It hums a little if we hve all burners on high at the same time, which is pretty rare. Mostly the sound of our extractor fan drowns out all other sound.

    Our counter tops are a nice speckly pale brown. The colour is very, um, forgiving…

    I also really like our Franke double sink. It has a lip but a very thin one. It is extra large and fits my biggest roasting dish.

  3. gwinne Says:

    Love the basic layout of your kitchen, and the cabinets. New countertops would look awesome.

    My kitchen in my new house feels like it was lovely circa 2000 and already feels dated. But it’s in good enough shape that I’m not going to mess with it, other than adding an island. Maybe paint the cabinets white. I can’t stand the appliances but do not want to spend money on them until they actually stop working.

  4. CG Says:

    We love our induction stove! We have a Samsung range. It occasionally hums very quietly but not often and not loud. We never had gas, though, so I can’t make a direct comparison. But the thing I love most about it, even more than how quickly it heats up, is the absolute consistency of the temperature. We never have things boil over anymore because you can just put it at 4 or whatever and it will stay beautifully simmering for as long as you need. I will say that I find the oven to be less consistent than my old cheapo electric range, but that won’t be a problem for you since you’d just get the cooktop. Our kitchen isn’t configured that way. Good luck on the remodel! Oh, also we have quartz countertops and I really like them, except that if I had to do it again I would get a lighter color, like you’re considering, because the dark gray we have shows every single water spot. But would probably never consider another countertop material because it’s otherwise so great.

  5. Calee Says:

    We used an induction stovetop at the air bnb we stayed at in Oreland for a month. Hated it. Even with the right pans it was weird and didn’t heat all the pan. Go with gas.

  6. Mary Says:

    Induction is totally fine. It seems to be pretty standard in Europe, so we got used to it during our sabbatical. Never noticed a hum, but I’m not particularly sensitive to noises. The surface does tend to scratch, so you have to be careful.

    My strong personal preference is for gas, because you have more control over the heat. But induction is certainly easier to clean and generally looks better (in my opinion)

  7. Bardiac Says:

    I grew up with stainless steel counters (and sink) and I’d LOVE to have that in my house. It was so easy to take care of, and as kids, we did everything on the island top and 50 years later, it still looks great! It’s easy to clean to the point where you can just roll out dough right on it and such.

  8. Leigh Says:

    We are getting a new kitchen with our new place! We are super excited :D We went with quartz over granite for the countertops because it is easier to clean. It’s a light grey and then we have white cabinets in the perimeter with navy on the island. The light colored cabinets will play off of the 9’ ceilings and our airy light fixtures so that should help the space feel big.

    We are getting an undermount sink. We only had the options the builder offered us, which was a subset of Kohler’s offerings. We ended up going with an apron front white enameled cast iron sink – the apron front is narrower than a sink normally is in from the edge of the counter, which is really convenient for my shorter arms. (I can’t reach all the way to the far end of our current sink.)

    My husband fell in love with a very particular faucet we found at the Kohler store, which the builder turned out to not offer. So we went with the standard kitchen faucet after making sure they had the same mounting and will replace it ourselves.

    We are getting a gas range top and then a convection oven / microwave wall combo. We are really excited for the six burner range top! Our appliances are now about 15-20 years old and they may still “work”, but the level at which they work is questionable in cases. Like our oven, for example, doesn’t have a very even temperature so cooking frozen lasagna is impossible to get properly heated through. Induction cooktop seems cool too! That wasn’t in our list of options, so we didn’t spend any time thinking about it. We went with SubZero/Wolf/Asko for the kitchen appliances and we are really excited for them! We were told that if we could choose between KitchenAid and anything else, we should pick the anything else.

    We did all of our cabinets to the ceiling where we could and a white subway tile backsplash around the window to the ceiling too. We did end up doing a built-in wine fridge (though at the KitchenAid level not the SubZero level because we don’t love wine that much), mostly for the dual zone part.

  9. chacha1 Says:

    My top-of-mind thought on this is, yay getting rid of laminate. We put in a Formica countertop when remodeling our rental last year, and the surface is everything I need it to be, but we failed to consider the consequences of the proximity of the gas range to the end of the countertop. The finish strip has already partially delaminated from the heat of the cooktop. At some point, we’re probably going to be replacing that countertop with something that can handle the heat, because there’s nowhere else to put the range.

  10. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    I wish we had time to consider induction stoves when we were making these decisions. I adore our 6 range gas burner BUT it’s a ton of work to clean. I had zero time to do any research into induction and didn’t even think about it but these comments make me think it could have been awesome, esp with teaching JB to cook a little.

    We have quartz and I really like it so far!

  11. Lisa Says:

    We have a gas range and I would replace it with a fancier gas version (6 burner?) if we redo our kitchen. One of the things I like about gas is that it works even if the power is off. I worry about not having options in an emergency, even though such an event rarely comes along. For the same reason, I have concerns about replacing our wood burning fireplaces with gas. We can rarely burn wood under normal circumstances because our air quality is too low in the winter, but if the power was out for a few days, we could snuggle in the basement family room with a blazing fire to keep warm.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We have a fireplace that we never use and a really nice propane grill that we could use in the event of an emergency. Fortunately it never gets *that* cold here… though it can get pretty cold, it’s not midwestern-level cold.

  12. TSS Says:

    Try to find a way to use an induction stove-top for a few days before you invest in one. We have induction in the main kitchen of the co-living building where I work, and, at first, you will either love it or hate it. If you hate it (which I did), you may eventually come to a detente with it (which I mostly have … mostly), but you’ll probably never *love* it. Our first one was super-fussy, and the burners kept turning off for no reason–the quality-control issue is *real*–but the second one is only a little bit of a prima donna. Find one whose on/off mechanisms feel intuitive to you; our first one was very responsive, but the gesture to which it responded never felt natural to me, and I’d always try three other things before I remembered the weird thing that actually made it work. The new one is less counter-intuitive, and I am slowly coming around.

    If I moved into a place with a kitchen of my own, I’d still feel a little bit of a sinking feeling if it had induction, but I would probably come to terms with it eventually. This in contrast to my best friend’s feeling about gas stoves; when she has lived in a place with gas, she has grumbled about it every time she’s used it. There will be no detente–just simmering tension with occasional bouts of open warfare–mostly precipitated by the fact that the simmering tension *does not simmer low enough, why does this blasted thing not have an actual “simmer” setting,* what bloody idiot thought these stupid things were a good idea?!?!?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      DH says the gas stoves also have the quality-control issue. :(

      • Debbie M Says:

        I once got to test a bread maker before buying one, and it was a pain to clean, so I never did get one. So I second testing one first. I bet you have friends with one who would love to let you come over and cook them dinner.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        We do not have such friends. (Nor do I know anyone IRL who has induction…). #misanthrope #antisocial

      • gasstationwithoutpumps Says:

        @Debbie M, I’ve had a Zojirushi 2-lb bread machine at work for about 15 years. It is fairly easy to clean and pretty reliable (the failures have mainly been due to power outages or my forgetting to press the “start” button). If you are still contemplating a bread machine, check it out before giving up.

  13. jjiraffe Says:

    We thought about this a lot. My husband is a maximizer, so he did an insane amount of research on induction vs. gas. I will say it’s a tough call. We ultimately went with gas. This is a helpful (because it’s not crazy long) pros and cons list that I think is pretty accurate: https://www.remodelista.com/posts/kitchen-stoves-cooktops-gas-electric-induction-ceramic-glass-remodeling-101/

    Why we went with gas:
    – We didn’t want to replace most of our pans, and we didn’t like the lack of flexibility about pans in general with induction
    – The visual factor. We like to be able to control the temperature based on looking at the gas flame, it provides better control for us. YMMV.
    – The gas range is “heartier” – you don’t have to worry about banging down a heavy pot (see below)
    – My parent’s induction stovetop cracked, and it was a total pain to replace/took forever to come in once they ordered (NOTE: this influenced me, not my husband)

  14. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    We have a glass top electric stove. I want gas but the cleaning is definitely more work and, more importantly, there’s no gas line to the kitchen. The best thing is the “power boil” function which boils stuff really fast. If I had to do it again I’d get an all flat one which is easier to clean; I got knobs because it doesn’t break as easily and there are no competent local appliance repair people (hour away!).

    We have the world’s most blah granite but I love that I can put all the hot pots and baking sheets right on it. I’m about to replace the faucet with either a nice pull out or an all stainless “prewash” faucet.

  15. First Gen American Says:

    I have propane (because gas wasn’t available). I opted for. 30” range because I wanted the counter space…but sorta regret not getting the bigger 36” stove.

    If you are on the fence about induction, spend $40 on a plug in induction burner as a Xmas present for DH and have him try it out before forking out $1000 on a whole stove. I have a NUWave brand. I thought it would be great but It’s just ok. I still love gas. My portable burner periodically comes in handy when I am canning with big pots that all don’t fit on the stove. I also bring it with me to places that have bare bones kitchens. It does come in handy having an extra burner when I am cooking for big groups. That was my compromise.

    You actually have what appears to be a very good and functional kitchen layout. (Lucky). New counters and appliances will do wonders and I doubt you need much else. The big fluorescent light stuck out but you already replaced that so all is well in the world.

  16. yetanotherpfblog Says:

    We had an induction stove at work and I hated it. Scratched so easily. I personally love cooking with gas.

  17. Debbie M Says:

    I had a brown gas stove when I moved in. It worked fine until it broke in such a way that it wouldn’t turn off but would just get hotter and hotter. We turned off the gas and used it as an excuse to buy a Chambers stove, which is also gas and which fits right in with my 1955 house. I kind of wish I had a normal-sized stove so I could have more room for cabinets. Induction wouldn’t be good for me because I definitely don’t have the right pans, and I love my ancient Revereware just as much as normal people love their good pans.

    I’ve used gas and electric and can work with either. I used to prefer gas because it’s cheaper and burns cleaner than what most places use to make energy. But now with fracking I now wish I didn’t use gas at all. :-(

    We also have an induction burner for when my boyfriend wants to heat things to an exact temperature, and he has the right pans for it and loves it. We haven’t heard any humming noises, but it does have a fan.

    As for countertops, I’ve thought about it a lot and want to stay with formica. Mine is 60 years old and is still in good shape, though, sadly, very orange. (Maybe modern stuff is less durable because it can’t be made with carcinogens, I don’t know.) But I like how it’s soft enough that you can drop things on it and they might not break. With granite and ceramic tile, sometimes you can just touch a glass to it wrong and it shatters. I want glass glasses, so I like soft counters and flooring.

    I do have renovation thoughts. I want a dishwasher. I want to move the washer out of the kitchen into a currently non-existent laundry room of some kind so we can have more counters (where stuff doesn’t drip down into our top-loading washer) and another cabinet (full of drawers). I’d really like to add a few feet to the width by expanding the house, but that might be prohibitively expensive. We want black-and-white tile for the floor and haven’t yet decided on the other colors, but are thinking black counters (don’t know if they wear well) and red and/or white cabinets (maybe one color on top and one on the bottom) and white walls. I want all white appliances (or red or black; I hate stainless). I would keep my same beat-up cast-iron double sink because I don’t need everything to look new.

    I’m sorry your kitchen floorplan doesn’t work well. It’s a shame considering all the space it uses.

  18. Ewan Says:

    Amusing to see such heated (pun intended, sorry.. not sorry) opinions on cooktops. Mind you, I have one also :).

    I have cooked with induction at a few places, never for more than a week: I have spent all of those weeks cursing. Less responsive, less visible (a bigger deal than I expected – there’s no intuitive glancing “oh, yep, that’s the right level of heat” possible), and in my experience less controllable. The scratching issue several folks have mentioned is also my experience: truly insane levels of hoop-jumping required when cleaning. Gas, in contrast, just works and does what I want, when I want. We put in a 6-burner Viking when we built ten years ago: the two errors were (i) using a microwave hood rather than a real hood; not a huge deal but irritating despite outside venting, and (ii) the fact of only having one big burner, where I really need two (and I don’t need all four mid-range burners). Otherwise I have been very happy. Now, Jenny hates it because she finds the cast-iron grills too heavy to easily remove and clean; but she never cooks so oh well :).

    In reality, anything sensible is likely to be such an upgrade from your current (pun also intended) that it will feel swell.

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