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Worth the Splurge? I Review, You Decide…

I decided to start a regular blog series titled Worth the Splurge? I Review, You Decide where I’ll review items that I view as splurges. I’ll list what I like and don’t like about it and you can decide if it’s worth it. So…what should be first? In one of my first blog posts, I mentioned that I would do a review on my kitchen appliances in a later post. I have posted a number of recipes in the past few weeks, so maybe my kitchen appliances deserve first honors.

Kitchen for the Win!

Our kitchen appliances were installed almost exactly a year ago. You can read the blog posts about the kitchen remodel HERE and HERE. I did several months of research and made countless visits to see cooktops before I chose my range top. The difference between a cooktop and range top is that a cooktop is flat with the knobs on top, and a range top wraps around like the top portion of a commercial range with the knobs in the front. The cooktop or range top, to me, would be the cornerstone appliance of the kitchen. Having a commercial-style range had been my dream for many years.


Our new home had the cooktop in the island, so we maintained that concept with the remodel. It was an electric cooktop, though, and my biggest desire was to have gas. I was really pleased when the contractor said they could make that happen.


Worth the Splurge

The Splurge

I consider the Thermador range top a splurge because it was about twice the cost of a regular 36” gas cooktop. There are two reasons why I choose Thermador over other brands like KitchenAid, Viking, Wolf, and GE Monogram. The first reason is that the burners are elevated, so they’re easier to clean under. That might not be a big deal to some, but my husband and I are messy cooks. The burners on our old stove top were really difficult to clean around. The other reason was that the star-shaped burners allow for a wider cooking area under the bottom of the pots and pans. The other brands had definite appeal. KitchenAid was about 2/3 of the cost, I loved the look of Wolf’s red knobs, and Viking was very similarly rated. But, the reviews of Thermador were very good. I was able to attend a lunch and learn event where I was to ask questions and sample food made on the very products I was going to buy, and they were offering their 1,2,3 Promotion.

So, what do I think after a year of use? Well, every time I see my range top it still elicits a sense of admiration. It is a beauty. And a workhorse. I rarely use the high burner setting because the flame is wider than most of my usual pots and pans. It is great for boiling water, though. My husband and I both use the X-LO (extra-low) setting regularly. The burner cycles on and off, and it’s adjustable for a longer or shorter cycle. At the lunch and learn I attended, they had a heavy-duty paper plate with chocolate chips warming on the X-LO burner.

The Good

Here are the top three things I like about it:

  1. It is so easy to clean. I’m still messy, but I just spray on a little Thieves cleaner to sit and it cleans right up. Same with the burner grates. It usually takes me just 5 minutes to clean the whole thing.
  2. It heats so quickly! Even a big pot of water is boiling within minutes. The oil in my cast-iron skillet is smoking hot in just a few minutes, as well.
  3. I didn’t even mention the griddle before, but mine has a griddle in the middle. It makes great quesadillas, toasts buns, pancakes and French toast, and heats tortillas.
Easier cleaning
The Not-So Good

Of course, there are a few things I’m not crazy about:

  1. The plain look of the stainless knobs. They sell blue replacement knobs, but they’re pricey.
  2. How long the griddle takes to heat up (it’s electric).
  3. When cleaning the top, which is black enamel, it is hard to avoid leaving streaks. I have taken to using Weiman cooktop wipes to leave it streak-free, though I’m afraid to look at the chemicals the wipes have in them.

    Blue knobs

So, it is Worth it?

What do you think? Yay or Nay? You Decide…post your replies below. Remember to subscribe to my blog! Once we reach 20 subscribers I’ll have a give-a-way to celebrate.

Our House – Kitchen/Dining/Family Room Reveal

A few days ago, I posted about last year’s remodel of the kitchen, dining, and family room. The biggest surprise when planning the project was the importance and cost of lighting! There is little natural light into these rooms, and only in the morning. They replaced and added to the ceiling lighting plus we added the post and wall sconces. I never thought I would spend over $5,000 on lighting, but it was well worth it.

Issues, You Say??

The demo took place in early April and the project was complete by late May. We had hiccups along the way – for instance during the appliance installation, we discovered that our lower cabinets were a little shorter than standard with wood flooring butting up to them. We had just assumed they were “normal” height, so when they were installing our slightly taller dishwasher and beverage fridge, they didn’t fit! After discussing the options, we wound up having the wood flooring taken up in front of each appliance for the installation and replaced. We were so thankful that the previous owners left us a partial box of wood flooring so that we could order more. We kept enough to do the same procedure if we need to remove either of those appliances. Here are pictures:

Taken after they put the appliances in, but before they had to chisel out the planks to replace them with new ones. See the top of the page a post-chisel pic.

Drum Roll, Please…..

Now for the Reveal


As you walk into the three room area. Speaking of lighting, I just realized that I forgot to turn on the lights under the cabinets and above the sink *shakes head*


Thermador 27″ Masterpiece convection steam oven and 30″ wall oven (top and bottom left) and Kitchen Aid counter-depth side-by-side fridge (right)


36″ Thermador Range Top with griddle



The former family room area is now a game room and bar area.



The bar area of the room. It is still a work in progress. I need to move our glassware (from the dining room buffet) into the lighted display area and we need to get the shelf for the alcohol display area.


Home Remodel
The dining room area. I did a post on the new rug recently.


In the design plan, this area – around the wall scones and above the buffet – is framed out with molding. We are waiting until we have the walls in the living room re-textured (in the next few months) to have them done a the same time.


In case you forgot, HERE is the before. I’ll be doing an appliance review on my Thermador appliances in a later post. My beloved 36″ Thermador range top with griddle was the one appliance I had to have. And, yes, that is a steam oven above the wall oven.

What do you think? Leave your questions and comments below. 

Our House – Before

When we relocated to our new city, we’d known for a few years that we would be moving here. My sister’ lives here and our daughters came here for college. We’d lived in a really small town before, so our girls loved how much a big city had to offer and they settled here after college.

My sister, Rachelle, was our realtor and we’d been very casually looking at homes during our visits for a few years. My husband and I started to get serious about looking in early 2015. Rachelle and I came together to look at this house first, and within 5 minutes, I knew my husband had to see it. He loved it as much as I and we put in an offer right away. The house became ours around Father’s Day that June. We didn’t settle in here full-time until November.

It’s Ours!! What Now?

As much as we loved our new house, especially our neighborhood and landscaping/outdoors, there were some things we didn’t like.The red paint against the cherry cabinets in the kitchen did not appeal to me. Several of the rooms had walls painted bright colors and I’m more of a neutrals colored person. We decided to do the kitchen modifications first – replacing the appliances, counter tops, enlarging the island, and repainting. We got a referral for a great interior designer, Tiffany, and decided to have her help us tackle the kitchen, dining room, and family room design.

Initially, our ideas were fairly simple, but as we got into actually planning it, the project grew (of course). We found a contractor to oversee the remodel and got started. These photos are of the kitchen, dining room, and family room when the house was listed for sale:

Kitchen, before


Island, before
Kitchen, before
Let’s Do This!

Eight months after we bought the house, the remodeling began. Here is the early demo (sorry for the poor lighting):



I really, really wanted a gas range top and I am so thankful they were able to run a gas line into the kitchen! You can see it in the pic below:

Well, that’s all for now. Look for more of the remodel and the “after” reveal later this week! What do you think so far?

Leave me comments below!