It’s been almost 6 months since we starting living in our home. I think I’ve used the kitchen every day since then. Now that I’ve had a chance to break it in and really use the fixtures and appliances I wanted to give you a review of the products we used. I’ve been getting a lot of emails, which I love (keep them coming), but I thought it would be helpful if I posted my thoughts on the blog.
The Verona range has an electric oven and a gas stove top. For the most part I like the oven. It's really the best oven I've ever had but this is my first professional range so I can’t compare it to a Viking or Wolf. I particularly like the size (great for thanksgiving turkeys), the overall sturdiness and the ability to get really high temps from the stovetop. I've used this thing almost every single day over the last 6 months with no issues. So far it's been a very reliable machine and a workhorse. Things that I would warn you about are that the oven door gets extremely hot when using the oven. The oven cooks slightly faster in the back than the front (that may just be my range, not sure if that applies to all Verona ranges).
If your electricity goes out then your oven won't work at all. Not even the gas stove top.
The dial to set the oven temps is very sensitive. If you are just a fraction past the temp you need then the oven may be over heated by 25 degrees. I have an oven thermometer, which I place, in the oven as a way around this issue. The temperatures listed on the dial aren’t set at the normal 350, 375, 400 etc. They are listed at 350, 390, 440, etc. which further complicates the issue and makes the thermometer absolutely necessary.
Also, you need to read the instructions for installation and usage. It's an Italian machine so hook up wasn't as simple as a standard American machine. I don't think the instructions were written by native English speakers so hang in there because there are a lot of little things that are explained which will make hook up and using the machine a little but easier.
If you were interested in a professional range because of the size and can put up with the little inconveniences then this would be a great buy. We purchased through AJ Madison, which we would recommend. They have great customer service and I'd definitely use them again.
Pot Fillers are a specialty item. You can’t find them in Home Depot or Loews, which were our favorite places to shop during the renovation. The employees at our local store actually knew my name. No joke. We found a few pot fillers at specialty stores but none fit our budget or style. Since I cook so often, it was something that I really really wanted for the kitchen but the prices of most pot fillers were over thousand dollars. That just seemed insane. At those prices we would need to remove that item from our wish list. We were totally dependent upon online retailers to find this item for our kitchen. Luckily we found a modern option for under $200 at Overstock. It was a risk. We weren’t sure what we would get for a few hundred dollars considering most were over a thousand. We weren’t sure why there was such a large difference in price. After using our pot filler for a few months, I’m still not sure why there is a huge price difference. It doesn’t have any bells or whistles but it fills pots so I’m pretty happy.
Oven hoods were another item that can easily cost thousands of dollars especially since the range was 36 inches. It took a little research but we found Zline 36 inch Stainless Steel Wall Mount Oven Hood from Amazon that was under $500 (similar here). It’s a little louder than I was expecting. I was also hoping that ALL the kitchen smells, smoke and grease would go right up the hood but it only sucks up about 50%. The vents are easy to remove and clean which is a huge plus because when you cook as often as I do they get dirty and greasy fast.
The sink is awesome. It’s sturdy and takes a beating. I use it every day and I don’t see a dent or scratch. It should have been installed so that the sink was under the counter. That’s more of a complaint about our contractors than the sink but I’m not sure how it will affect the sink in the long run.
I love the industrial look but the house is a little more traditional. I thought that this kitchen faucet was the perfect fit as it brought my style into the home. It was the right scale an style. It was another purchase from Overstock so we weren’t sure what we were getting when we made the purchase. I wish the neck of the faucet was a little more sturdy since it gets used every single day but it’s not leaking or causing any problems at this point. The handheld faucet on the other side is very sturdy and solid. It will definitely hold up to the beating that it will most likely get in our kitchen.
This is the only decision that I regret making during the kitchen renovation. The cabinets are cheaply made and won’t last as long as the rest of the kitchen. We were trying to save money and our contractors were pressuring us to order the cabinets so we ended up picking the wrong vendor. We had a bad feeling but didn’t trust our instincts. In addition to the pressure from the contractor, we were commuting back and forth between LA and San Diego and trying to make major decisions during the weekends when we were available. I think we ignored all of the red flags because we just ran out of steam and wanted to end our search for cabinets.
Our previous fridge was cabinet depth and French door style so we knew that we wanted a standard size fridge for this kitchen. We looked for a standard size fridge that had the largest interior space we could find. Clearly, I like to cook so our fridge is always packed and we really felt limited with our previous fridge. I’m very happy with having the freezer on the bottom. There are drawers so that you don’t have to dig around and end up elbow deep in frozen peas just to find the chicken stock. The refrigerator space is great as well. That added depth really helps with large roasting pans or big turkeys. You don’t need to clear the fridge to make them fit.
We really love modern design so we wanted to make sure that was somewhat incorporated into the home. The home is a little on the traditional side so we knew we couldn’t go with concrete floors and lacquered cabinets. I’ve had a bit of a crush on this style of light and searched everywhere for something affordable. It’s super modern, which adds an interesting element to the room. I was thrilled when we found this one on super sale at Lamps Plus. It does require special (hard to find) bulbs and the glass surrounding the bulbs is very delicate. We tried to change a bulb and the glass shattered very easily.
Kitchen Island Lights
We loved the look of these lights. They are a classic style but with a modern material. This style is widely available but we happened to find them at Home Depot for under $100 a piece. Besides the can lights these gets used quite a bit and we’ve never had a problem. I wish I could share the source with you but I don't see them available on the Home Depot site anymore.
While we found one of the more affordable folding doors, it was still a major investment. One of the perks of going with Cantina is that they offered a screen. We previously lived in a home without screens on any of the windows or doors and it was a nightmare. Since we live in southern California and it’s always sunny, we leave our windows open constantly. We ended up having crickets, spiders and all sorts of insects take over the house. It wasn’t fun and we weren’t interested in inviting the bugs in this house. We also live in a somewhat rural area so open doors could mean rodents. A screen for all windows and doors were a must. The door has been great. We love having the living space flow into the backyard. The screen is an accordion that is on a track. It works and I have no complaints but I’m a little concerned how it will hold up with kids or pets. I think the true test will be when there is a toddler and a dog pounding the window and scratching the screen.
We specifically used Virginia Millworks Autumn Hickory Wood Flooring for our entire first floor with the exception of the kitchen and laundry area. We decided to use wood composite because we had such a large area to cover. Real wood was just too expensive. Out of all the options at Lumber liquidators, this one was the one that most resembled real wood. It was also on sale, which made the decision a little easier. It’s held up really well. Contractors, furniture and children stomp all over it and I’ve only see a few scratches. To hide the scratches, I usually just color the scratch with a black sharpie. It works since the wood is so dark and has various colors.