Giving the Perfect Gift: A Kitchen Makeover for Dad
I grew up in the dark ages where we only had one television in our whole house and a handful of channels from which to choose. I remember every Sunday night, we would sit down as a family and watch “This Old House” and Julia Child cook. I never developed a love for cooking but Bob Villa had an impact on me. Making something out of nothing fascinated me.
My dad could always make something out of nothing. I remember one year, while I was at a week-long summer camp, my dad transformed our attic space into a bedroom retreat just for me. Having my own space, removed from the rest of the house, was a dream-come-true to pre-teen me. We were always moving from one disastrous house to another and dad would slowly work his magic on each room. It wore down my mom always living in a construction site but she couldn’t deny the results of french-doored bathrooms with clawfoot tubs, refinished wood floors, and stylish wallpapered walls.
Being a drafter his entire life, my dad started to suffer from severe carpal tunnel in both hands. Doing home improvement projects became harder and harder and he spent more and more time just wandering the aisles of Home Depot rather than back at home actually constructing.
When I received an email from the Haven Conference team about pitching an idea for a collaboration, I immediately thought of my dad and that magical room he created for me. I wanted to give that magic back to him by redoing his dated kitchen. Decades ago, this kitchen was one of his last projects and the room in the house that gets used the most and was the one showing its age the worst.
I will never forget how excited I was when Home Depot contacted us to partner with them. Always ready for a challenge, Chica and I couldn’t wait to get started! As part of the remodel, we were able to choose all new appliances for the space.
It was a lot of fun taking mom and dad to Home Depot to shop for appliances. They had a list of requirements for their new appliances and the salespeople were great at helping us narrow down the choices.
Their old refrigerator was not energy efficient and did not have an ice maker or filtered water feature. These were in the must-have column as we shopped. They finally settled on the GE 25.6 cu. ft. French-door Energy Star rated in stainless steel. Dad was dubious about the drawer freezer at first but once mom showed him how easy it would be to organize frozen foods with baskets, he was converted.
The in-the-door icemaker is a favorite feature because it maximizes the valuable space in the fresh-food section. We also discovered that it has an advanced water filtration system that actually reduces trace pharmaceuticals from water and ice. The extra-tall dispenser on the door allows you to fill taller water bottles as well. A win all the way around for our family!
Mom and dad host many family dinners at their house including Christmas Day with over 25 family members in attendance! Their old oven just wasn’t cutting it when it came time to cook food for a crowd. They both really wanted a double oven feature and we found the perfect option with this GE 6.6 cu. ft. double oven electric range with self-cleaning and convection lower oven in stainless steel. When it is just the two of them, they can use the smaller, upper oven to save on pre-heating time and energy. The convection bake feature has evenly baked dozens of my grandmother’s special oatmeal chocolate chip cookies without a burnt edge to be found!
The cook top has 5 different elements and one that is a dual element for added flexibility. The other feature that really sold us on this particular model was the warming zone that provides a low heat area to keep foods warm while other dishes are finishing up! The digital control panel makes it easy to operate and you can even lock it to prevent a well-intentioned kitchen helper from messing with your backing settings!
My parents had actually been living without a working microwave for a few weeks. The only useful thing on the old one was the clock! They had already been searching for the features they needed and wanted on the new one so this was the easiest appliance to select once we were at the store. They needed an over-the range model and now wanted it stainless steel to match their other selections. The GE 1.9 cu. Ft. 1000-watt sensor microwave fit the bill. My parents didn’t have sensor cooking on their old model and were skeptical that it would work as advertised. Much to their surprise, it heats up a plate of leftovers perfectly every time.
Since it is over the range, it was necessary for it to have a venting system and this one delivers with a four-speed fan that quickly removes smoke and odors from their smaller kitchen. It is also a lot quieter so you can still converse while you cook.
One feature that they use more often than they thought they would is the weight defrost function. You can simply enter the weight of the food and it automatically sets the optimal power and time. Now, that is a must-have on all future microwave models!
It is a running joke in our family that my parents never use their dishwasher. They have multiple complaints with their old one, “it’s too noisy”, “it uses too much water”, “it doesn’t actually clean the dishes”. This leads us to usually having to hand wash all the dishes from family dinner. We told dad as we were shopping that he needed to select a model that we would actually be allowed to use!
Before heading to the store, we didn’t know that wash zones were an option. This feature, allows you to only wash either the top or the bottom rack, saving time and energy. The GE Top Control Built-In Tall Tub Dishwasher in Stainless Steel with Steam Cleaning has the feature and it was the main reason for selecting this model. The top rack even adjusts so that you can put plates into it if you are running the zone wash. For just the two of them on most nights, it’s the perfect solution.
Mom no longer complains that she can just wash the dishes better herself since it has a steam pre-wash that even loosens hard, melted cheese and the auto-sense cycle that uses just the right amount of resources to make sure your dishes get sparkling clean.
Whenever you order appliances from Home Depot, they come with installation. We weren’t quite sure what this would entail and my dad was a bit nervous thinking that he would have to help out with the moving or hookups himself. We received a phone call telling us when our appliances would be arriving and I will have to say, we weren’t ready for them yet! Since we were remodeling the entire kitchen, it was just a bad time for them to arrive. The scheduler was terrific by working with us to reschedule a more convenient time for them to arrive, even though the appliances were already loaded on the truck to be ready for the next day!
When the team arrived, they had to remove the front door to get the large refrigerator inside and haul it up some steps. They kindly moved the old appliances out to the downstairs garage and hooked up everything and made sure it was in working order before leaving. The team did an amazing, professional job and we couldn’t be happier with the experience.
In addition to all of the appliances, being replaced, you can see that we installed Shaker style grey cabinetry, quartz countertops, ship lap walls, and, my personal favorite, Lifeproof laminate floors. My parents are wanting me to install these floors in the rest of their house now! Although it was an easy floor to DIY, I think we need a break from all the kitchen construction before tackling our next big project!