Appliances are a large part of any Kitchen design, and as a professional Kitchen Designer you are in the best position to help your clients choose the best ones for their project.

With the almost infinite choices available to your clients, you need to help them sort through the options to meet their cooking, storing and cleaning needs, their investment figure, and their decor style.

This VESTA Blog will walk you through a case study on choosing appliances for a mid-priced Kitchen renovation.

The Project

Vestabul Design was contracted to design a Kitchen remodel for homeowners that had recently retired.

They wanted a functional space with a classic aesthetic that would serve them well for many years.

And of course they wanted to keep costs in check.

You can read more about the evolution of this design in the VESTA Blog: Rental Revitalization.

The Design

After conducting a needs assessment and providing some options for my clients, the above floorplan was chosen.

The next step was to finalize the appliances for the space.

Here is the criteria I provided my clients for appliance shopping day.

  • Let the appliance sales representative know your budget
  • Provide the rep with your appliance functional requirements
  • Decide on the “focal point” appliance
  • Choose a main supplier for the Kitchen’s refrigerator, oven and dishwasher
  • Select a specific series from this appliance brand
  • Be open to suggestions from the appliance representative

As part of my design services, I arranged an appointment with a trusted appliance representative for my clients.

Prior to their appointment I had a chat with the rep to give her some insights on the Kitchen layout, the decor style, the clients target investment figure, and timing.

I then provided the clients with these renderings to bring with them for appliance shopping.

By giving direction to both the appliance sales rep and the homeowners, they came back with a great package.

Based on suggestions from the appliance rep, the homeowners choose an induction cooktop and added ice and water to their refrigerator.

Here is the appliance packages that was purchased:

  • Kitchen Aid French Door Refrigerator model #KRFF507E
  • Kitchen Aid 30″ Convection Wall Oven model #KOSE500ESS
  • Kitchen Aid 36″ Induction Cooktop model #KICU569XLB
  • Kitchen Aid Dishwasher with Cutlery Tray model #KDTE234GPS
  • Faber 36″ Chimney Hood Fan model #SYNT36SS
  • Panasonic Microwave model #NNSE996S
  • Panasonic Trim Kit model #NNTK932S

As recommended, they chose one main brand for their appliance package and in this case it was Kitchen Aid.

They also made the decision on the Faber chimney hood as their focal point appliance.

And finally they went with a stalwart microwave brand, choosing Panasonic with a matching trim kit.

When the transaction was complete, they stayed on budget and provided me with a great appliance package to work with.

Integrating the Appliances into the Design

With the appliance package and specifications in hand, I was now able to integrate them into the design.

My goal was to make these appliances shine within the overall design of the space.

Hood Fan & Cooktop

To ensure that the hood fan took center stage in the Kitchen design, it was placed on the back wall with equal sized closed door cabinets either side of it.

Working with the contractor to get the venting exactly centered on the chimney styled hood produced a seamless installation.

The tile backsplash was specified to go to the ceiling providing an easy clean surface around the hood and reinforcing the focal point.

While checking the specifications on the cooktop I discovered it was fairly thin, so I specified a shallow drawer between the cooktop and the pots & pans drawers.

The homeowner loves this drawer. It houses frequently used utensils and her oven mitts for easy retrieval while cooking.

Microwave & Wall Oven

The microwave and wall oven were stacked and located to the left of the cooktop.

While developing this design, I chose this location for a couple of reasons.

  1. Almost all hinged microwaves hinge left, so placing it with landing counter on the right is the most ergonomic.
  2. An open oven door can be a safety concern, so placing it beside this short full height wall protects anyone coming around the corner from the hall from running into a hot, open oven door.

Also, it was a great recommendation from the appliance rep to suggest the Panasonic microwave and matching trim kit to line it up with the oven for a cohesive look.

That choice also helped the homeowners come in on budget.

To make this area as functional as possible, vertical tray dividers were installed in the cabinet above the oven stack for cookie sheets, baking tins and trays.


Recommending that the wall oven, refrigerator and dishwasher all come from the same brand and series ensures these units all coordinate.

It is a little detail, but having the handle on the dishwasher match the other appliance handles gives a more upscale look to the kitchen.

The logical placement for a dishwasher is beside the sink, and this dictated the placement of it in this design.

To make things convenient for the homeowners, the cutlery drawer was placed perpendicular to the dishwasher allowing the special cutlery drawer in the dishwasher to be pulled out and unloaded directly into the cabinet cutlery drawer.


The refrigerator purchased was not a counter depth model.

The carcass was almost 30″ deep and the doors & handles added an additional 7″.

To provide a built-in look for this model, I recessed it into the pantry, placing the doors proud of the side wall to ensure the doors open fully to access the interior crisper drawers.

A cabinet pantry, exactly half the width of the refrigerator, was specified to bring balance to this area making all the upper cabinet doors equal sized.

This type of attention to detail provided a custom look even with the modular cabinets we used for this project.

The completed Kitchen was a huge success for these homeowners.

The choice of appliances met their functional, aesthetic and budgetary needs, promising to work for them for many years to come.

As stated, appliance choices are a very important part of the Kitchen design process.

If you would like to learn more about appliances, register for my FREE Appliance webinar coming soon.

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Founder Vestabul School of Design, Jan Rutgers

Jan Rutgers has been designing kitchens and products for over 25 years and is a recipient of Kitchen & Bath Design News’ Top Innovators in 2020 for the Kitchen & Bath Industry. She has designed more than 1000 kitchens learning valuable skills with each one! Her experience in Kitchen Design, Millwork Manufacturing and Product Development has led her to create VESTABUL SCHOOL OF DESIGN where she educates and mentors people passionate about the Kitchen Design Industry.

2 Comments on “Case Study: Choosing Appliances for a Mid-Priced Kitchen Renovation

  1. Love how you incorporated the full depth fridge and our Faber Synthesis Chimney Hood Fan. Looks amazing and I learn a bit from each of your blogs.

    • Thanks Peter!
      Little tricks like how I incorporated the full depth fridge can go a long way to elevate a design. Also, love the Faber product. I think I need to do a blog on those hoods specifically. I’ll be in touch! Jan

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