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Selecting High-Quality Kitchen Appliances for Your Lifestyle


Kitchen appliances are like unsung heroes — not exactly the sexiest, but they need to be reliable. So while it’s easy for me to obsess over decorative lighting and color palettes, my wife (the cook in our family) reminds me that her wishlist is very different: tons of cabinet space, a pot filler, and new appliances that actually work. 

But when it comes to selecting high-quality kitchen appliances, how do you weigh the many options out there? Which features are worth the splurge? And which selections align with your lifestyle? Truth is, there’s much more to selecting kitchen appliances than you might think.

1. Understand the Quality Tiers of Kitchen Appliances

It’s important to understand the 3 tiers of kitchen appliances. Why? Because you need to know that if you settle for no-frills (like we did in 2013), you’ll wind up with stove burners that forget how to light themselves, an ice maker that turns into an ice-spewing machine gun, and a dishwasher who decided retirement was the way to go. Fun times.

Basic Appliances: When it comes to entry-level appliances, there is no way around saying this: they’re the budget option. Usually they come along with limited features and short-term durability. Think of these as the no-frills, practical choices for those who need to prioritize affordability.

Luxury Appliances: If you’re aiming for the top tier, high-end brands like Sub Zero and Wolf have you covered. These appliances offer exceptional performance and often come with advanced features. They’re the go-to choice if you’re crafting durable, upscale kitchens that leave a lasting impression.

Stealth Wealth: Brands like La Cornue  are sophisticated without the need to flaunt a brand name. These appliances are the epitome of understated luxury, perfect for those who appreciate the finer things in life without unnecessary showiness.

Photography by David Duncan Livingston

2. Consider the Practicality of Your Appliances

Ask the Chef: When it comes to designing a cooking oasis, it only makes sense to consult the person who spends the most time in the kitchen. Features like a handy pot filler or prep sink can make culinary ventures much smoother. Your primary cook’s input should steer your appliance choices in a direction that caters to their cooking style and understands their needs. Will they genuinely appreciate and utilize all the bells and whistles? If so, go for it.

Quantity Requirements: Splurging isn’t just about brand names. It’s also about quantity. Picture the convenience of having additional dishwashers, designated beverage fridges full of Pinot, or a loaded scullery (fancy pantry) during your next party. Having appliances that support these functions are like having co-hosts, lightening the load and making your life easier. It might feel excessive, but if you’ll use them, these are all great enhancements for your home that you won’t regret.

Photography by David Duncan Livingston

3. Balance Form, Function & Scale

Form & Function: Striking a balance between aesthetics and functionality is the secret recipe. Your appliances should look good and perform even better. In my own kitchen, I didn’t want to see the ice maker and water dispenser, so I opted for a hidden ice maker and added a discreet water filter faucet next to my regular faucet. Remember, it’s always possible to conceal those unsightly appliances with some creativity.

Scale: When it comes to scale, be aware if you purchase a 48” or larger range, you will need to put in a fan above it that is also gigantic. Do you really need that? For most people, probably not. Squeezing more than you need into a space just to account for a bi-annual holiday dinner? Overrated. I recommend designing kitchens for everyday use instead.

Photography by Vivian Johnson

4. Consider Longevity and Repair Costs

When it comes to investing in appliances, always think about the long haul. After all, who wants to find themselves back at square one because their oven called it quits after just 5 years? In addition to the lifespan, keep an eye on the potential repair expenses, especially if you live in a remote area. The availability of repair services can be a game-changer.

In my own kitchen, we didn’t choose Sub Zero for two practical reasons: we didn’t have a full year to wait for its arrival, and we decided to go with a paneled fridge so no one would be able to notice what brand we chose anyway. (Dacor, if you’re really curious.)

coddington-design-mill-valley-ca-selecting-quality-appliances-transitional-kitchen-designPhotography by Lauren Edith Andersen

5. Know Your Home’s Value

A $5 million-dollar home doesn’t deserve a basic kitchen, and putting low-end appliances in a luxury home (which can be defined as any home worth well over the market average) is actually going to hurt your property value. It’s like wearing Target brand clothes on the red carpet — they just don’t go together. This is where the Luxury tier or Stealth Wealth would be your best options. Something to consider.

Design your kitchen, your way.

From appliances to cabinets to paint colors, designing the perfect kitchen involves countless decisions. To avoid costly mistakes, overwhelm, and indecision, why not let us help? 

With our Designer on Demand service, you’ll gain access to our experienced team on an hourly basis. This means you can get as much (or as little) guidance and hands-on support as you need. Whether you’re looking for a full-scale remodel or support in a few key areas, we’ve got your back



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