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Appliances Installed

DCS DishDrawerOne of the final steps in a custom home build is installing appliances. Appliances are a major purchase, one that you’ll be living with for a long time, so making the right choices is essential.

After selecting our appliances, it was time to get appliance bids and compare prices. We purchased some of the smaller items at Amazon, eBay, and Overstock. We compared prices at Home Depot, Lowes, RC Willey, and many online retailers. We tried repeatedly to get a bid from Mountainland Design, to no avail. Ultimately we choose Gygi and AJ Madison because of their prices and selection.

GygiGygi Design Innovations

Gygi Design Innovations
3500 South 300 West
Salt Lake City, Utah

801.268.3316

Dwight Taylor was helpful and knowledgeable. He worked with us to get just what we wanted and to get the best possible prices. He found the perfect insert for our custom range hood, created a special order, and got it delivered in a timely manner.

About a year and a half ago, I wrote a review of professional kitchen ranges I was considering. This is a great exercise. In researching (and verbalizing!) the pros and cons, I actually talked myself out of my first choice (the Thermador) and into my second choice (the DCS). Dwight found a special offer for the DCS professional range I selected. I got a free DCS Double DishDrawer Dishwasher thrown into the deal!

Gygi was our source for:

DCS RDT485GDSSN Range

This 48″ pro-style dual fuel range has five sealed burners, a huge 26,000 BTO griddle, and two self-cleaning ovens. One oven is very large with great features like ball-bearing racks, and the other is a small oven (Monica calls it “the pie oven.)

DCS DD24DPT Double DishDrawer Dishwasher

This is our first experience with a drawer-style dishwasher. With a big family, the need for a small dishwasher doesn’t come up often, but even now breakfast and lunch can usually be handled by one of the drawers. So far, we quite like them. Each drawer is very roomy and, well, they are pretty cool.

Frigidaire Trim Kit FRD-DUOTRIMKIT

The trim kit works to make the separate Frigidaire refrigerator and freezer look like one, enormous unit. And helps align them correctly so that both door seal. Looks good and pulls together the built-in appearance. Easy to install. But, like other trim kits, it costs way, way too much.

Frigidaire Ice Maker FRD-IM501

The ice maker was something of a chore. First, the directions that come with the unit are incorrect. The unit cannot be assembled as described. A call to technical support was required to get the modified directions that actually work. Then, a valve was defective. Rather than call Gygi, we just called Frigidaire. The part was covered by warranty, so they shipped us a replacement. This took two calls as, apparently, the first replacement order evaporated into thin air. But when the replacement finally did arrive, the ice maker began working. Frigidaire might want to invest a little quality control into this item.

Ventahood VEN-B246SLDBL Wall Hood

We had originally selected a stainless insert, but then decided on the black insert instead. This not only saved money, but helped highlight the custom hood instead of the fan insert. We also got the less common version with fluorescent lights. We’ve had terrible luck with halogens. The get super hot, burn our frequently, and are hard to replace. This version is not easy to find, but a great sales rep like Dwight can get them for you.

AJ MadisonAJ Madison

AJ Madison is one of the largest online appliance dealers around. They have a huge selection and generally great prices. You might think that shipping an enormous, gazillion pound refrigerator or range to your house is going to cost you an arm and a leg, but it doesn’t. Why? Because one way or another, the appliance that ends up at your house was shipped from somewhere else to you anyway.

They always have special deals and discounts and often run free shipping promotions with minimum purchase.

We had some good and some bad with AJ Madison. The shipping was very slow and information about the shipping wasn’t forthcoming. The “tracking” leaves a great deal to be desired as it didn’t actually tell us anything until weeks after we placed the order.

We paid extra for “white glove delivery” (who wants their appliances dumped on the sidewalk?). Whene the appliances finally arrived we checked the boxes over (one of the Danby fridges had a battered box) and signed off on them. The refrigerator in the shredded box was fine. Unfortunately, one of the large freezer doors was damaged as was the back of the freezer unit. This damage was not apparent on inspection and seems to have been caused by the straps on the units. We didn’t notice it until installation.

When we did find the damage, I contacted AJ Madison, not sure what to expect. They promptly and without question ordered a new door. When it arrived, they scheduled a repairman to replace the damaged door with the new one. Absolutely no hassle with this repair. AJ Madison stood by their product 100%.

We purchased the remainder of our appliances online from AJ Madison. They were our source for:

Frigidaire FPRH17D7KF Refrigerator

In our last custom home, we installed a built-in refrigerator/freezer set. They cost a bundle (starting at about $3,000 for a comparable unit) and, frankly, had ongoing service problems — including a leaking water line that raised all the wood floors in the hall behind the kitchen.

This time around I found this counter-depth refrigerator/freezer combo. They look like they are built-ins, but cost about a fifth of what my old ones did. That’s not typo. And so far they are fabulous, very roomy and well-designed.

Frigidaire FPUH17D7KF Freezer

Ditto what I said above. Other than the problems with the ice maker attachment, this freezer is huge and perfectly icy cold.

Bosch SHE43P25UC Dishwasher

After having bad experiences with multiple dishwashers in multiple homes (they should really be called “dish sanitizers”), we scoured Consumer Reports for a dishwasher that actually worked. In our last custom home we replaced our nearly new junk dishwashers and purchased two of these highly rated Bosch dishwashers. They are the best dishwashers we’ve ever used. They actually, truly wash dishes. (Amazing!)

Danby DCR326BSL Compact Freezer Top Refrigerator

We purchased two of these mini-refrigerators, one for the office break room and one for the kitchenette. It’s one of the few stainless, under counter models that has a separate freezer compartment. These are already proving handy for snacks and lunch supplies. The freezer has it’s own door and it really does make ice cubes. It’s large enough for a tall cup to stand in it, so it’s not just for show.

Other Suppliers

Overstock

Waste King 8000: Last May I told you about my drop-dead bargain price for the best garbage disposer ever made. Now that I live with them, I’m even happier. They can handle anything and grind down to nothing. And they are the quietest garbage disposer I have ever used, bar none.

Amazon

Trim Kit TK-929SA: Trim kits pretty much tick me off. They cost almost as much (sometimes more) than the actual appliance. What a bunch of crock. But, yes, I shelled it out because it makes the unit look so much nicer and more integrated. Still, I’d like to respectfully ask appliance manufacturers to stop gouging their customers.

eBay

Panasonic NN-SD967S: We bought our main kitchen microwave from seller PCRush, through eBay. Prompt delivery and no problems at all. It looks nice, functions perfectly, and — so far — we really like it. Best of all, it’s enormous, so even our huge nacho tray not only fits, but turns around inside. That’s a first.

Kenmore 66339: We bought our two auxiliary microwaves — one for the kitchenette and one for the break room — on August 25 from seller rmortellaro, through eBay. When we moved in and installed them we found that one seems to work fine, but the other is broken. The keypad works and when you set it to cook, it clicks and counts down, but there is no light, no turntable, no cooking. I have tried to contact rmortellaro three times to date with no response. I’ll keep trying, but it’s very disappointing to say the least.

Existing Appliances

We had a high efficiency washer and dryer that we purchased for our last home. They are still in great working order, so we simply moved them to our new laundry room. The pedestals raise them to a comfortable height. These were about the best thing to ever happen to me in the appliance department.

The pantry is equipped with a spare refrigerator and freezer. We used appliances we already owned in this space. They are fairly old, so when they give out, we have designed the space to accommodate another Frigidaire refrigerator and Frigidaire freezer like we have in the kitchen.

Choose Wisely

So far we are very happy with all of our appliances except the broken microwave provided by seller rmortellaro. There are thousands of appliances to choose from and making the right selections can be daunting. My advice:

  • Take your time.
  • Read reviews.
  • Check Consumer Reports.
  • Buy from reputable sellers.
{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Tommissy November 12, 2010, 8:35 am

    Great appliance reviews. I really wish we’d taken the time to carefully research our appliances. We just took what the builder gave us and lots of it is crap. Had to replace the dishwasher in less than a year. The microwave stopped turning in about two months. The freezer ice thing leaks. One burner doesn’t work. Just a bunch of crap.

    Makes me mad just thinking about it.

  • Crandall November 12, 2010, 4:19 pm

    You got some great appliances. I looked at those integrated fridges. Wow, expensive. But yours looks really good.

  • RBD November 12, 2010, 4:35 pm

    Really nice. Are you going to post pictures of your kitchen? With that stove I bet it’s very nice.

  • James February 22, 2011, 12:44 am

    Some great reviews, thanks for taking the time to post these!

  • Alison Moore Smith February 22, 2011, 3:56 am

    Thanks for reading, James!

  • Daniel May 25, 2011, 1:06 am

    Great tips here – thanks. One big tip for you when adding new appliances is to make sure you take possible water damage into account. For your washing machine use metal braided hoses instead of those cheap rubber ones, and for water supply lines for ice makers, dont use copper, it breaks really easily.

  • HNY May 8, 2012, 4:01 am

    Its appliances that makes a home a home . And we all like it to be as low as the lowest price on market , but of course the quality is our top priority 🙂
    HNY recently posted…New York Heating ExpertsMy Profile

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