Monthly Archives: July 2012

let’s cook!*

When it comes to cooking we are a bit nerdy. We like to keep it simple and fast but we use best ingredients and try out new cuisines. Our kitchen appliances had to be simple in design and everyday usage. We were also after high quality materials. We did our research and this post is about stuff that we ended with.

The kitchen isn’t very layout friendly. It has several niches and pantry. It wasn’t possible to insert the perfect kitchen countertop layout. Because of the chimney wall our fridge isn’t in line with the rest of the furniture so no built-in was ever considered. I wasn’t eager to buy the free standing fridge in stainless steel finish (which are super popular in my country). It might feel to heavy, too dark by those white cabinets. Steel ones are also more expensive and harder to clean and need polishing off fingerprints.

After careful research it turned out that the best refrigerators in Europe are made by a company that also makes enormous cranes, mining equipment and that kind of stuff. Funny thing, right? It is funny for me to work at the construction site and see the company logo on this monster and then go home and see it embossed on our fridge door.

We bought Liebherr CN 40130 Comfort. It has three drawers in bottom freezer, a lot of space in the upper part. It defrosts itself, we sometimes just clean up the shelves. We are supper happy with it and recommend the brand to everyone. On everyday basis it may seem a little bit empty but in holiday season it fills up nicely. The quality of materials is really high.

What I like the most about it, is the opening handles. Most fridges require you to pull the whole door, which is heavy and sealed. I takes a lot of force. Mine has this little tweak, pulling the handle does not just open the door directly. First part of handle pulling makes this simple mechanism unseal the door from the fridge and then you just pull the open door. It is super easy and effortless. I love it.

The dishwasher, the range and the oven are by SMEG. And I hate that dishwasher now. It washes really well, but the problem is with racks that are not very well planned. Plates are too close to each other and sometimes they come out not washed. Mugs and glasses tend to fall down inside while washing because of the slope in the upper rack. I may consider changing it in few years into something without cutlery basket but with a cutlery drawer at the top. It saves a lot of space. For now it works fine, the materials are also good quality, it’s just the pain in the ass with filling it up with dishes.

The SMEG’s electric oven is really nice, but kinda small inside. We bought it because of the design. Knobs have this retro-modern style and setting are really simple. First is the timer, second the temperature and the last one is for heating program. It has a tendency to give higher temperature than I set, but I got used to it and always turn it a little bit down when baking. It is easy to clean and the door handle suits my kitchen drawers’ handles in design.

SMEG’s gas hob has this awesome huge burners with three rings of wire. It is perfect for huge wok or big pot. I tend to use it the most as it is super fast for boiling water. Hob also has the retro-modern knobs. I might have some quality issues with this one though. Everyday cooking and heavy scrubbing does destroy the stainless steel finish and leaves scratches. Also, the steel on burners got darker and is almost impossible to clean it in “looks like new” style.

The range hood is simple, built in, rectangular Gorenje. It is not connected to vent system in the building, works on coal filters and makes so much noise that we hardly ever use it. The plan is to replace it along with the cupboard with something more elegant in design. But maybe later.

Small appliances like kettle or toaster are by Phillips. I’m about to be given a Kitchen Aid mixer and maybe blender on my birthday on December (I can’t wait for it!). We don’t own any coffee machine, our Bialetti coffee makers that we own in two sizes are enough for us.

I like to spend my weekends in the kitchen. Baking is my specialty, whereas my husband likes to cook meat. I always try out new recipes and incorporate new cuisines. I like my kitchen’s layout but still need some changes, like that dishwasher replacement and new Kitchen Aid mixer. When it comes to purchase of kitchen appliances, don’t get cheap, buy the best there is.

*and yes, we’re big Breaking Bad fans

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turn the heat on

Our heating system was kinda hard to obtain. I’ve mentioned our first, cold night at our apartment and all the perturbations.

So the main delay was due to my contractors. They had something more important to do elsewhere and no angry phone call to their boss would help. He kept reassuring me that someone would eventually come by and finish the job.

Their subcontractors had it all done eventually. Chimney-sweep inserted special metal inlay into the chimney flue, and two others guys mounted our furnace. They had very little space to operate, because I wanted the furnace to be over the fridge, quite up high.

.First, we had some hot water, and then we had to wait for radiators to be delivered from the factory. Our ‘super’ contractors brought us the usual, ribbed radiators home. And again it was time for me to become a bad cop as I ordered plain ones. They were much more expensive and not in stock. But I fought for them. Still, these guys were meant to look good for our lifetime.

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The good radiators came by two weeks later and they weren’t all good either. The supplier didn’t check that they come in only one side ribbed and one side plain. So it is important what side, left or right the valve is. The bedroom and living room radiators had valves on the good side, but the guest room and the kitchen didn’t fit. New guys were resourceful for the guestroom problem and knocked down more plaster, extended pipes, mounted new valves on the other side and it was ok. There was no room for adjustments in the kitchen though, so this is the only room with ribbed radiator. Well, it is only 60x60cm and isn’t very visible so I gave up on that.

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But I’m very glad to pay some more money to get the plain finish. Radiators look really good.

In the end it turned out that I didn’t have to obtain the building permit design for the whole gas thing because nobody ever asked me to show it, nor did I have any inspection come by. Some things can be done guerilla style in my country. Well, but it was safer for me and less stressful to have all the tenants’ consent and county permit as well.

It was finally warm in our place and we could crawl out of the wardrobe

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Well, when it comes to my husbands’ priorities, the sound system and CD’s on shelves are pretty important ;]

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The place was warm and finally felt like home. We had a ready toilet, bathroom, bedroom, floors and it was time to furnish the kitchen.

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grey area

Painting our bedroom was a in-between job. We were painting it while travelling back and forth to my mum’s house because it was too cold by night to sleep over at our place. By day it was sunny though and nice so the job took two layers in two days.

I longed for monochromatic bedroom for years. Grey walls, white furniture and linen. Everybody told us not to pick that darker grey tone from Dulux palette, but I wanted it dark for better contrast. And the room is quite big and bright (southern exposition) so it didn’t turn out too dark. I still need to put some stuff on the walls and new chandelier.

The background for the old radiator was left white for the contrast purpose. The steel still (sic!) had to wait for some silver paint and white pedestal. You can also see some heat gun testing on the door frame here.

We even mounted our new oak table to eat like normal people. But the bedroom window sill was our kitchen counter for a while.

As you can see there are no baseboards. We lived without them for half a year. Now they’re present, tall and white.

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