My Kitchen & Pantry Appliance Conundrum Solved (For The Most Part)

Well, hey there! It’s been quite a slow week over here. I feel like I’ve just been waiting and waiting for things I’ve ordered to arrive so that I can finish my kitchen and breakfast room. The good news is that it’s really looking like my breakfast room will be finished..as in completely finished…by the end of next week. My kitchen, on the other hand…. *sigh*. I’m so frustrated. My cabinet door order for the five doors that I need to finish my kitchen is still showing “pending,” meaning that the doors that I ordered on April 5th haven’t even been started yet. All I can do is wait.

So in the meantime, let me tell you what I’ve decided about my appliances. For a while now, I’ve been trying to make a decision about my kitchen and pantry appliances. And I think I’ve finally figured out exactly what I want and where I want them.

So let me back up a bit. Very soon after we moved into our house, I selected the GE Artistry appliances in white. I selected them specifically because of the retro look, and at the time I thought I was going to decorate this house with a kind of vintage/cottage/farmhouse look. Then I went a different direction with my decorating and design of this house, and those appliances looked out of place in the green kitchen.

kitchen after - refrigerator wall

But when I finished my kitchen, the appliances were only a year old at the time, and there was no way I was going to replace them so soon. So I lived with them.

Fast forward two-and-a-half years, and my kitchen looks a bit different now. The appliances look much better in my current kitchen…

teal kitchen cabinets - range and refrigerator wall

…but I’m still not happy with them.

My main issue is with the refrigerator. Matt and I eat almost all fresh fruits, veggies and meat. We very rarely eat anything pre-packaged out of boxes or cans. That means that after grocery shopping each week, almost 100% of our food for the week has to go into the refrigerator, and our refrigerator isn’t big enough to hold everything. So I decided a while back that I want to sell this refrigerator and get a full refrigerator (i.e., all refrigerator with no freezer) to go in the kitchen. My options are limited since I have limited space, but this Whirlpool Sidekicks Freezerless Refrigerator is just the right size…

Whirlpool Sidekicks freezerless refrigerator

Unfortunately, the door swing can’t be switched, but I’ve made my peace with that.

If I’m going to sell my refrigerator, then it just makes sense that I’d also sell the range and the dishwasher with them, right? They’re a matching set of appliances.

So that kind of brings me back to square one with appliances. If I’m going to replace my refrigerator and sell my current appliances as a set, then I need to replace my range, my dishwasher, and I also need a freezer. The freezer will go in the pantry. (We talked about that a while back in this post.)

My range situation has been solved. I had a very kind and benevolent reader (a fellow Texan) contact me a couple of months ago and tell me that she is wanting to remodel her kitchen. The kitchen currently has a GE Cafe gas range, which was there when she bought the house a couple of years ago. It’s not what she wants in her new kitchen, so she said I was welcome to have it if I could come pick it up (it’ll be about a six hour round trip drive there and back) and pay the plumber to disconnect it and connect her new range.

Ummmm…yes, please! 😀

GE Cafe Gas Range

So my brother and I are going to take a road trip to east Texas sometime very soon to pick this up. She said it works perfectly and looks brand new. I’m so excited!

That brings me to the freezer in the pantry. I had originally planned to just get the matching Whirlpool Sidekicks freezer that matches the refrigerator I want to purchase. But the more I think about it, the more I think that’s probably a stupid decision. This past week, I’ve tried to take note of just how often I actually open and use something from the freezer.

Two. Two times.

That’s how many times I’ve opened my freezer in the last seven days, and both times were to get ice. And this wasn’t an unusual week. Most weeks are like that. Everything I cook is fresh and comes out of the refrigerator. Sure, we have some stuff stocked in the freezer just in case I don’t buy enough ground beef or chicken for the week, but I don’t keep enough on hand to warrant spending $1300 on a nice, new, separate freezer with 17.7 cubic feet of space for the pantry. My brother has a small chest freezer (probably between 6 and 10 cubic feet, and my current freezer is 6 cubic feet) that he said I could have, and I think that will be just enough freezer for us.

But the main drawback to having an all-refrigerator in the kitchen and a chest freezer in the pantry is the lack of an ice maker. I don’t use ice from home often (although Matt would like it if I’d drink less Sonic iced tea and start making my own at home, in which case I’d use ice from home every single day), but after living without an ice maker in the condo for seven years, I vowed to never be without one again.

So I’ve been looking at several options, including countertop ice makers. If I’m going to buy a countertop ice maker, the only one I’d consider is the Opal, which makes nugget (i.e., Sonic) ice.

opal nugget ice maker

At $500, it’s probably the most expensive countertop ice maker I’ve seen, but it’s the only one that makes Sonic ice, and it’s a fraction of the cost of freestanding nugget ice machines, which can cost thousands of dollars. And if you figure how much I’m currently spending on Sonic iced tea, and if I have the ice at home and start making tea at home, this thing would pay for itself in 100 days. (Ask any Sonic regular why they get their drinks at Sonic, and I can guarantee you they’ll mention the ice. I have no idea why this ice is so much better than other ice, but it just is.) If I go this route, I’ll keep it on the countertop in the pantry.

Another option would be to get an under counter built-in ice maker and have it in the kitchen. Where, you ask? Well, under the peninsula just opposite the refrigerator. Yes, I’m talking about where the dishwasher currently is.

I can hear you now. “What?! No dishwasher?!” Yes, I’m considering replacing my dishwasher with an ice maker. 🙂

To be quite honest, I don’t use a dishwasher. Since I finished the kitchen remodel in 2014, I think I’ve used the dishwasher three (yes, three) times. That’s it. I wash our dishes by hand. So even if I don’t put a built-in ice maker there, I won’t be replacing the dishwasher. I’m not spending hundreds of dollars on an appliance that I use maybe once every nine or ten months.

If I use the countertop ice maker, I will replace the dishwasher with pull-out baskets where I can keep my onions, tomatoes, and other fruits and veggies that shouldn’t go in the refrigerator. Something like this…

Now THAT is something I’d use every single day!

And even if I do the built-in ice machine, those are only 15 inches wide. The space for a dishwasher is 30.5 inches wide. So I could actually do a built-in ice machine plus three narrow pull-out baskets for my fruits and veggies that I access daily.

EDIT: Oops! A dishwasher is only 24 inches wide! So if I do the built-in ice maker, that won’t leave much room at all for basket storage. Ugh.

I know it sounds crazy to most people to get rid of a dishwasher (just like it sounded crazy to some of you to put a TV in a dining area), but I’m trying to design this house around how we live, and not around rules and general expectations. We watch shows while we eat meals, so a TV in the breakfast room makes sense for us. I wash all of our dishes by hand, so a dishwasher is a complete waste. (And there’s strong evidence that hand washing builds immunity, which is a bonus!)

So I’ve got pretty much all of the appliances figured out. New refrigerator, free range, free chest freezer, and no dishwasher. Now I just need to decide between a countertop nugget ice maker or a built-in non-nugget ice maker. That’s a hard decision for me, to be honest. One is very convenient and does its thing all on its own without needing daily attention from me. The other makes the best ice known to man, but will need to be manually filled with water in order to do its thing.

I’d love to know if any of you have countertop ice machines and how you like them. Is it worth the extra effort if it means that I’ll have the perfect nugget ice at home any time I want it?


My pantry is finished! Want to see the entire project from start to finish? You can find every single post about the pantry build right here…

Or you can skip to the end and see how it turned out. Here’s a peek of the finished pantry…

Butler's pantry remodel with dark teal lower cabinets, floating corner shelves, and whitewashed wood countertop

You can see more pictures on the before and after post right here…



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  1. I realize things are bigger in Texas, and maybe yours is different because of the style, but aren’t most dishwashers 24″ wide? Just thought I would mention it in case it sways the decision.

    1. I just recently began following your postings and appreciate everything that you’re sharing. My I suggest looking at either an 18″ wide dishwasher or a dishwasher drawer as options to conserve space in your kitchen.

  2. Good solid reasoning for all of the changes in appliances. I don’t know what kind of room you have in your pantry but it might be possible for you to store a free standing dishwasher in there for the few times you have large gatherings if you decide you want one later. I love the idea of making your own tea and having access to ice in the kitchen plus those produce drawers are a great idea.

  3. Kristi,

    I have a built in under cabinet ice maker. We love it! However, I will say it does make the surrounding cabinet warm. It took me quite some time of trying to figure out why my produce, which sat on top of the counter, was spoiling so quickly. There is just enough heat produced, that I think any storage drawers next to it for produce would ripen and spoil your produce too quickly. Just a thought!

  4. I think replacing the fridge with a door that cannot be reversed is a BIG mistake. Your white appliances look so lovely in there now. Wouldn’t it make more sense to leave everything in the kitchen as is and just buy a full fridge for your pantry for all of your over flow? Seems like the easiest option too. No need to make a 6 hour trip for a bunch of mix matched appliances. And I think you’ve mentioned you don’t like full on ss appliances?

    You said you only got in the freezer twice, so I don’t imagine you store too much in there to begin with? A deep freeze may be overkill in the pantry, so the existing fridge/freezer combo “should” be just fine in the kitchen. You could use the full fridge in the pantry for things like drinks, dairy products, condiments, etc. and the combo one in the kitchen for everything else. And you could still get your ice maker.

    Oh, and the slide out veggie holder thing would look awesome in the pantry too!

    1. Sounds like the perfect solution! You may have “made peace” in your mind with the door swinging the wrong way, but you’ll have to “make peace” over and over every day. This is where you store ALL your food.

      1. Yep. I would state strongly that I would never be able to have peace with a fridge that opens toward the wall. Ever. 🙂

        1. I could be wrong, but in looking at the pictures, it seems like the fridge she has now opens toward the wall, and the new one would open toward the cabinets. Or am I thinking of it backwards?

      2. Yeah, I gotta say that would drive me insane having the fridge open towards the wall. I would be cursing and swearing every. single. time. I had to open it.

        That’s a decision I would rethink.

    2. I agree with Mara. I was thinking the same thing. We have an extra fridge outside the kitchen in the garage. It is perfect for overflow and extra food prep for company. No disruptions to the kitchen with minimal cost to the overall design.

    3. No, there is no scenario in which my current appliances will work for me. It’s hard to put every single bit of information in a post without it becoming long and drawn-out and boring, but the fact is that there are several issues with my current appliances that just aren’t working for me. There’s not enough storage in the fridge. That’s the main thing. But one reason I don’t use ice from home more often is because of the poor design. The ice machine is at the back of the top shelf in the freezer, which is at the bottom. In order to get ice, I literally have to get down on my knee to reach back there. And if I pull the ice drawer forward so that I can access it easier, ice falls behind it so that I can’t push it all the way back in, and then any new ice that is made gets dumped right behind the ice container. It’s an awful and inconvenient design.
      My range doesn’t work for me either. I cook from scratch twice a day, and since Matt’s diet is so limited (A.I.P.), I very often make one meal for him and another for me. That means I need all four burners to be usable at once. Since I have a free-standing range that has the panel at the back, I can’t fit three of my pots/pans directly over the burners at once, and four wont’t fit at all. It’s incredibly inconvenient to have burners that I can’t even use. I need a slide-in range that doesn’t have that panel at the back taking up space so that I can actually fit four pots/pans on the stove top at the same time.
      It doesn’t make sense for me to have a separate refrigerator for things that we don’t use often, because we don’t have those things. We don’t store drinks in the fridge we don’t use dairy products, and we have very little in the way of condiments. I’m speaking literally when I say just about 100% of the items in our fridge are bought fresh every single week and used up completely during the week. I’d much rather deal with the inconvenience of a door that swing the wrong way in the kitchen than have things that I use once or twice a day being stored in a fridge in the pantry.
      The chest freezer that my brother has is one of the smallest chest freezers. I think it’s about 7 cubic feet, but definitely under 10. My current freezer is 6 cubic feet, and it’s completely full (granted, a large part of the bottom shelf is filled with ice that has fallen behind the ice maker/storage and fallen to the bottom shelf, which is such pain!), so I don’t think one to four more cubic feet is overkill.

      1. Is your husband, Matt able to get around in the kitchen.
        Will he be able to get into frig. With door opening against the wall, .
        seems to hard to do.

      2. Hi, Kristi!

        I love the idea of a stand alone refrigerator and it sounds like that is exactly what will work best for you and Matt. I must say that as soon as I read that you had “made peace” with one that opens in the wrong direction, I literally said out loud,”No, no!” When you compromise on your design concepts, it rarely works. And, I really fear that if you compromise on this functional matter, you will not be happy. As someone said earlier, since you are using it so often, you will literally have to make peace with that unit everyday. I know how you go about decisions so I’m sure that you have done extensive research and explored all options that would fit. But I would still caution against this inconvenience that you would encounter multiple times a day. Perhaps you can contact the manufacturer? And, good for you getting rid of the dishwasher especially if you’re not using it! And, I really hope you get your Sonic ice maker! And, I love the produce bins. In fact, been looking at those for our home, too.

      3. Hi! Doesn’t the refrigerator door hit the wall when you open it anyway?
        For this reason my dad switched his so he could fully open the door when needed and it doesn’t hit the wall. I think you might like the ice machine that makes the ice you love so you can have it whenever you want it and save yourself a trip to sonic.
        Also from how much you eat fresh-those baskets would be so convenient and it looks great too!

    4. I so agree with this idea! A fridge that opens the ‘wrong’ way looks awkward and you will find that it is irritating! The pantry is the perfect place for your extra items that need to be refrigerated.

    5. I agree. It makes sense to keep the appliances as they are & put a full fridge in the pantry. We handwash our dishes but I sure am glad to have that dishwasher when we have company over for dinner! Also, In an effort to save money we often will freeze our produce for fall & winter or buy meat in bulk or on sale & the freezer is handy for that reason. There are just 2 of us in our house & I often wish we had room for a second fridge. I have no knowledge re ice makers

  5. I have an extra refrig in my laundry room and use it all the time for overflow items. As the person above indicated this might be a better option for you.

  6. I’m too lazy to do any research since it’s not an option for me, but some produce should not be stored in the same area – one affects the other adversely. Probably gases emitted. I know that I no longer store my onions near my potatoes. Just one more thing to consider in your planning.

    1. Just because of the way my space is organized I do keep my onions and potatoes in the same drawer. However, I keep my potatoes in those plastic produce bags to keep the off gassing to a minimum.

  7. I love nugget ice; at least I think we have that in our break room. No Sonics near me…
    I vote for the nugget ice maker. I wish I could buy your fridge. I think you said they’re not made anymore.

  8. I agree with Mara…..your overthinking the process. You could always move your dishwasher to the pantry if you really wanted a different use for that space but I would live with it for a while and see if it is really that important. Anxious to see your new work space get created.

  9. I would seriously reconsider that fridge with the door that can’t be reversed. Having lived with a similar situation in the past, I can tell you this will be a mistake. I loooove the way your white appliances look against the new cabinets. They’re so different and beautiful. Have you considered just getting an extra fridge/freezer combo for the pantry? From an outsiders perspective, that would be the best option (cheaper and a lot less work). I have two fridge/freezer combos (one in kitchen and one in garage) and that works perfectly for me for overflow.

    1. I agree. I had the same set up where the swing on my fridge door wasn’t wrong and it was beyond horrible trying to load everything in or get something out. When that fridge died, I was never so happy to replace an appliance.

      You may not use a dishwasher often, but I strongly suggest keeping it. I totally get that this is your forever home and you are building it around how you live. But you just never know what life has in store, and if for any reason you had to sell, people will want a dishwasher. (Said from experience as my forever home turned into a 6 year home due to job relocation.)

      The under counter basket storage, the over flow fridge, the ice maker – these are all amazing ideas that will make that pantry a beautifully organized workhorse space and let your kitchen shine as it will be free from all of that stuff.

      Just one last thought if you are considering stainless steel: Frigidaire Pro has worked with several bloggers now on kitchen remodels. They have come to the rescue with new Pro appliances, which have a full fridge option (though I don’t know if the door swing can be changed). Why not see if they would sponsor you? It can’t hurt to send an email and see if they’d consider it. They are a beautiful option and are smudge proof.

  10. I vote for the ice maker that makes the exact same ice you love – it’s worth the extra money!!! esp. if it keeps you from buying the drink outside, but instead make it at home. that way you can also control what you put in it – I guess that iced tea in the US is as overloaded with sugar as it is over here? you might want to experiment on that over time.
    I think it’s smart that you decide on what you need rather than following some obscure rules… While I would not want to do without my dishwasher I can perfectly well understand that you don’t need one if you simply don’t use it 🙂 the one thing I would reconsider is the fridge with the door opening the wrong way – it would drive me nuts to have to do that again and again and again … but if you’re sure you can live with that, it’s of course up to you!! and I simply love the range you get as a present (so considerate and nice of that reader!) – I have 5 flames on mine and love the versatility of it! have a great weekend!

    1. I actually drink unsweetened tea. I know people think that Texans only drink sweet tea filled with sugar, but this Texan doesn’t like sweet tea with sugar. 🙂

      1. We have gone from sweet tea to unsweet around here, I do miss my sweet tea at times though. 🙂 I have found it is so much more convenient to make unsweet tea at home and have it ready. I make a gallon container at a time, and it keeps in the fridge for the few days it takes for the two of us to finish it off. Although, I’m usually up for a Sonic run!

  11. Sara from ourbestbites has a nugget ice maker. I know she loves hers, but I’m pretty sure it’s actually hooked up to the plumbing. I know it was by the people who invented nugget ice (scotsman), but I don’t know the price. She has written about it on her blog.

  12. I used our countertop ice maker once and it was very slow , somewhat noisy , and it was a pain to refill it with water.

    1. I agree! Mine was noisy and the constant refilling with water was a pain. I’m an “ice connoisseur” and Sonic ice is the best. I’ve debated on buying the ice machine you mentioned, but the price… I once had a built in and plumbed ice maker and it was the best.

      Glad to hear you’re as picky about ice as I am – I thought I was the only one!

  13. My 2 cents, lol…if you’re going to go for an ice maker, ya gotta (!!) go for the one that makes Sonic ice. What’s the point otherwise?? 🙂

    I totally agree with you about the dishwasher…I never use ours and would much rather replace the space with more cabinets or a wine fridge or something that would actually get used all the time.

    As for the refrigerator…I’m so torn for you on the door opening the wrong way. Having lived with a similar situation in a previous house, I can tell you that it’s super annoying and will irritate you every time you use the door. But, you’ll be the one that has to live with it.

  14. I agree with the comments about keeping the fridge and putting the full fridge you want in the pantry instead of a full freezer. We have an additional fridge in our garage for drinks and overflow and it is much more useful than when we had an extra deep freezer in the garage. I also agree with you about the dishwasher. We NEVER use the dishwasher, as we wash all of our dishes by hand. I should probably take mine out too! I have an icemaker built in to my standard side by side fridge, but I still would LOVE to have that sonic ice maker…and if it wasn’t so expensive, I already would!! I think you should go for the ice you love. Like you said, it would pay for itself pretty quickly!! You wouldn’t have to constantly fill it. I would let it make ice, and then dump it into your freezer tray in your kitchen until that’s full, and then only use it when your ice gets low. So, I would think you would only have to fill it up every few days or so and you would still have access to ice in the kitchen. 🙂

  15. I love the look of your current appliances with your current cabinets, etc. And I get why you are rethinking things, but I do agree with some of the comments above. That being said, do what you think will be best for you and Matt. 🙂

    As for me, the house we bought last year came with a french door fridge over pull out freezer, a side by side fridge freezer (in the garage) and a standing freezer (in the garage). I HATE the french door fridge over freezer that is in our kitchen. It vents such that at least 20% of the food in the fridge freezes each week. I’m so frustrated by it. Anyway, I’m very much looking into the idea of getting a stand alone fridge for inside the house, getting a counter top icemaker, and then just using the outside fridge/freezer and freezer for frozen items. If you get a chance, can you share links for any of the other stand alone fridges and icemakers that you might have considered?

    1. Theresa, it sounds like there may be a problem with your refrigerator. Just the fact that it is a french door style shouldn’t cause the problems you are having. I have been using a French door refrigerator for 10 years now and it works great. I love having the freezer on the bottom because we don’t open the freezer every day but we use the refrigerator several times a day. It’s just my hubby and I and this works very well for us. I never have things freeze in the fridge section. Have you experimented with the thermostat? If so, you probably need a service call. I can understand why you would be so frustrated.

      1. I’ve played with the thermostat. Each time I adjust it more than 1 degree at at time, the crisper drawers freeze entirely. I’ve had 2 service technicians come out. They tell me that the temperature is “just fine”, but the the items near where the vents are will tend to freeze. 2 different techs have told me that this model has problems. I’ve also read online reviews stating the same thing. This specific model has a vent from the freezer to the fridge up high, near the ice-maker, and down low, behind the deli and crisper drawers. I’ve lost lots of fruit and veggies in the crisper drawers. Basically the only way I can prevent freezing is by having the fridge FULLY stocked. But that is crazy. I hate going to the grocery store more than once a week. It’s super frustrating. I’m going to try adjusting the thermostat again, slowly, one degree at a time. And I’m going to try pulling it out from the wall a smidge. But, I’m not hopeful. Ugh.

    2. Theresa, what brand/model is your refrigerator? I always like to know of potential issues for clients!

        1. Thanks. Yes, it’s amazing how much models change from year to year. I always tell my clients to check Consumer Reports because this year LG might be horrible, and next year it will get 5 stars. I’m sorry you have such difficulty with yours – it’s a true pain with stuff like that!!! And appliances are so expensive – no one should have annoyances (and expensive annoyances, too, if food is ruined)!

          1. Thanks for mentioning Consumer Reports. Kristi likely has done that but from some comments about fridges and ice makers that I’ve seen, it certainly bears repeating. I love how this blog helps both Kristi and the readers learn from each other.

            1. Kristi has the best readers. I learn a lot from Kristi but I also learned a lot from reader’s posts. Thanks guys!

          2. We replaced a 30 year old Amanda side by side that worked perfectly with an LG french door over freezer model about 3 years ago. We’ve had three n out 3 times for the new one–most recently because the compressor went out completely on Easter Sunday (meaning neither the fridge nor freezer worked. Luckily we had an extended warranty, unusual for us. The other two times were because the ice maker dispenser in the d freezes up and jams. I asked the repair guy about LG refrigerators. He said he has to repair a lot of them and doesn’t recommend them. He said he recommend GE or Kitchen Aid. We are in the process of renovating/remodeling a house we plan on moving into in a couple years. I’m going to be looking at those for the kitchen in that house. I don’t think Amanda’s are made anymore, but they had a great reputation when we first bought that one.

    3. Losing food is frustrating and costly, too. I have a Samsung French door bottom freezer with which I have a love/hate relationship. I love that I don’t have to bend over to get at the fresh food which is mostly what we eat. But I hate that we had to shut off the more convenient bottom freezer ice-maker and use the harder to get at bucket for the door ice-make in the top section because the bottom one would drop ice down behind the interior pull-out drawer and that would prevent the whole bottom drawer from closing completely. A freezer that won’t close it pretty much useless.

  16. Hi! Love the blog. You may have mentioned this, but have you thought of just moving that current fridge to the pantry since it appears to be enough freezer space?

    Also if you are going to build for the way you use the house then go with produce drawers and countertop icemaker.

    I cannot get over how absolutely talented you are……you did this all. Mind blown.

    1. And I really should have read some of the other comments b/c they make some very valid points about the fridge situation. These readers are smart cookies.

  17. I am with you about dishwashers that is. I / we just wash the dishes and have for years so when the dishwasher died it did not get replaced.

  18. We’ve had a counter top ice maker before and it drove us nuts re-filling it every time we wanted ice…and it was slow. We eventually put in an under counter ice maker and we LOVE it! It does give off heat to surrounding cabinets, but it’s worth it and we have unlimited Sonic ice. It’s also great to fill up coolers for trips.

  19. I’m with Mara also. We do have a full upright freezer, which I agree would be overkill for you. We have a bit of a farm here though, so there is a times an entire pig there, as well as the fish & Game officer that lives in town as called us when there is deer hit nearby. Plus we can, dehydrate, and freeze a lot of the fruit & veggies we grow here. I think the appliance you have there now look great with your new cabinet color. Believe me you will quickly regret a fridge that opens the wrong way.

  20. I know you’ve thought about it, but would the refrigerator door issue be a hindrance to Matt? I don’t know how often, if ever, he gets in the frig himself. Just thinking out loud. Loving your renovations and I always look forward to your updates! Thanks for inspiring us.

  21. Go for the sonic ice!! You won’t regret it; rather, with every glass of tea you make, it will make you happy!
    And I found plenty of all fridges with a left swing door, so maybe getting a different brand is the way to go.

  22. Kristi,

    I love, love, love that you design your home for the way YOU live! My husband is also in a wheelchair. Learning to reconfigure our home around this has made me aware of how often we do things just because that’s how we grew up or how it’s “normally” done. I’m consciously making an effort to make our home into a convenient, happy, efficient haven for US. For example, this post made me realize that I settle for regular ice cubes at home. I am going to order myself some nugget-like ice cube trays off amazon ASAP! Maybe this would work for you also???

  23. I actually purchased the GE Nugget Icemaker a year before it was produced! I, too share your love for the Nugget ice. I’ve had mine for about 6-7 months now and I love it! It is a bit worrisome to have to keep refilling the reservoir and the monthly cleaning is not fun but I’d rather deal with those minor issues than NOT have my favorite ice! My biggest complaint would be the noise level of the machine, but we have ours on the counter in our pantry so that’s not a real issue either. I researched other built in icemakers that make the Nugget ice and nothing even comes close to the deal of this one! Good luck with your kitchen/pantry issues!

  24. I bought the Opal ice maker when it was an item on Kickstarter two years ago. It was a project offered by GE so we felt comfortable investing early. It was finally delivered in December 2016 and I must say it was well worth the wait. I would recommend buying the Opal if you love nugget ice. As a bonus, it makes ice very quickly and was a lifesaver after a recent injury. I had to keep ice on my foot and the Opal made ice fast enough that we did not have to buy ice from the store.

    Also thought that I would place it in a lower cabinet, however, I changed my mind once it was delivered. You fill the ice machine with water by sliding out the ice basket and I decided it would be a pain have to bend down several times a day to refill the water. The second thing to consider is cleaning the machine. The manufacturer recommends weekly cleaning (we do monthly cleaning since it is just two adults and we always use the ice scoop. I think I would do it weekly if I had kids with their grubby hands in the ice basket.). The machine needs to be at the sink to drain the water. It’s a pretty heavy machine so the counter top works best in my opinion.

    My husband told me he read something that GE was going to start installing the Opal as an option in its refrigerators. You may want to do some research to see if that is true.

  25. I just want to say that I think installing a refrigerator that opens in the wrong direction is going to be a hugely annoying issue for you! If you ever want take large trays of food in and out, it will be a problem, but more than that, it will just be a problem on a daily basis. As a kitchen designer, this would be the first thing I would fix in a kitchen remodeling lol! I liked someone’s suggestion that you put another refrigerator in the pantry, rather than the chest freezer. You could go with a small apartment size fridge, even, which would give you more “fresh” space but very little new freezer space, although certainly enough for some more ice. Or, since you’re not liking the current style (wish I was closer – I’d buy it!!!), move the exisiting to the pantry and get a new st.st. to match the new range. I do really like your idea of planning the kitchen to fit YOUR needs, and not necessarily the norm, but maybe you’re making it more difficult than it has to be 😉

  26. Can you switch your current refrigerator door to open a different way and see how that works for awhile? I would do a trial run of that before I bought the new fridge.

    1. That’s a great idea! Then Kristi could know for sure if the “wrong” door swing would bother her or is too hard to use. And it wouldn’t cost her anything either. Hard to believe a big company would make a refrigerator that you can’t change the door swing. Hope Whirlpool is listening.

  27. Does your current refrig allow you to change the door swing? If so you might want to do that to see if you can live with a refrig door opening the “wrong” way. Personally I know it would dry my batty in short order especially if I was in it often.

    1. Mine is supposed to be able to be flipped but in actuality it requires a part that they don’t make. So I had to learn to live with mine. I hardly notice it now. Odd how one can adapt. Guests find it wonky, but they go home eventually. LOL

  28. I have an counter top ice-maker which makes both nuggets and reg cubes. Adding the water is a pain but necessary. If you use ice frequently get an ice-maker installed with the water source so its always ready. I loved the nuggets ice at 1st but it melts very fast and changed to cubes. LOVE the drawers for veggie storage! Do what you love!

    1. I noticed in the ad that the nuggets looked kinda melty. Wondered about that. Maybe it depends on how often one opens it to get ice.

  29. I think all your decisions are sound ones. Go you! Function over expectations. 🙂

    You really shouldn’t put the root veggie drawers directly next to an appliance, anyway, since most throw heat and that will greatly shorten the life of the veggies. You want them cool and dark. Same goes for spice cabinets. Those little thin slide-outs next to the stove are actually the worst place you can put spices, even if they’re really cool-looking and convenient.

    Since you have so much cabinetry (including on the other side of the island), what if you sacrificed one of your lower cabinets for the veggie drawers? This would let you have your cake and eat it too.

    I know I’d personally prefer a direct-plummed model ice maker. I’m kind of surprised the countertop model doesn’t work both ways. Usually, when you get into that price range, they can do either-or. If you go with the under-counter model, can you still get the nugget ice?

  30. I’m posting this not for Kristi, who prefers handwashing, but for other readers who might have other reasons to debate this issue. We depend on a well for our water supply, and handwashing (contrary to popular belief) uses more water than a dishwasher. Thus, we have a dishwasher. We’re in Central Fl which is suffering an extreme drought, so water conservation is even more important right now.

    1. Thanks for posting! I’ve read the same thing re: dishwashers vs. handwashing and water use. I’ve been in FL for 11 years now and subject to water restrictions from time-to-time. It’s definitely made me more conscious of my water use!

      1. We’ve are in California and have the same water conservation issues most years (we replumbed our laundry and bath to irrigate with grey water and installed a 2gallon water heater under our kitchen sink to reduce the need to run water to get it hot, which wasted 2 gallons-I measured it). Texas also has water supply issues. I know the state engineer there. Thanks for bringing this issue up, because you’re right. New energy efficient dishwashers Doberman use less water than hand washing. I’m going to look at dishwasher “drawers” the next time I need one.

        1. I catch the water that would have gone down the drain in gallon milk jugs while I wait for it to get hot. Then I water my garden with it during dry spells. Should replumb but this is way cheaper. I have more time than I have money. LOL.

  31. I have no preferences when it comes to ice at all. In fact, I rarely use it, so my suggestion may be completely ridiculous, but what about a refrigerator with an ice maker in the door?

  32. I know you said you made your peace with the fridge opening the wrong way but I sincerely think you will regret it. I stayed in a hotel for a month that had a fridge that opened to the wall. So inconvenient in every way. Have you imagined standing at your kitchen counter preparing a good comeback sauce and not being able to choose from all your condiments at one time, having to walk around the door for each one? Hated it. It also says to me “this frig wasn’t purchased for this space”. If it were me, I would keep the current frig, put a second one in the pantry for drinks and snack items and install the nugget in there. Keep items for cooking in the kitchen. I love the produce drawers for the kitchen.

    1. I so agree with Jamie’s remarks about the refrigerator opening the other way. And I see several others feel the same way. It’s your house to do as you choose but I think it would be a horrible mistake. Jamie’s remark about the condiments really got me thinking. I was thinking about if you take one big item out and also need another, there is no counter there to temporarily sit a cold food item. I hope you can search for and find a refrigerator you love that does have the opening on the correct side. I do love your new color scheme.

  33. I have no opinion on the ice maker, but just a warning on the chest freezer. Ours produced enough condensation on the insulation to slowly drip on our wood floors and ruin the flooring. The only reason I even realized was because I was rearranging and had to move the freezer. I don’t know if they make pans to go underneath freezers, but I would recommend it.

  34. That is my range and I love it!!!! The bottom drawer is actually a full electric oven (kind of slow, but nice when you have to bake something small at a different temp as the main oven. It does have a loud fan that comes on when the oven is on. My husband wanted a range with controls in the front (he hates the thing in the back of most ranges with the controls) and I wanted a single range with two ovens. We also wanted a gas range. It limited us tremendously when looking for ranges, and this was the only one that fit the bill. I love it though.

    1. This is my range, too and I love it so much! We got the gas cooktop and electric convection oven but the fan is silent. I love the ability to bake 5 sheets of cookies at a time during the holidays! I also have the Cafe dishwasher and Cafe French door fridge and have been super happy with this line.

  35. I’ve had a refrigerator with the door opening towards a wall and I was unable to fit many items in that I wanted to place on the shelves. A large tray for entertaining or a platter would not fit in due to the shelves that protruded from the door and that meant you needed to slide items in at an angle. It just didn’t work and actually someone did not purchase our home because of it. I wanted to suggest a drawer dishwasher. Small and convenient for the few times you may want to use it. Love the ice maker idea! Good Luck!

  36. The Sonic where I live sells their ice in a bag. I think it is something like $1.50 a bag. You can just go through the Drive-thru and ask for a bag of ice and pick it up at the window. It is a regular sized bag of ice like you get from the grocery store.

    1. Though I’ve bought the bagged Sonic ice, it fuses in the freezer and doesn’t have the same crumbly consistency.

      1. It does that if you let it start to melt before you put it in the freezer. If you have a cooler of some kind & put it directly in there when you get it, it stays nice and crumbly.

    2. I used to do that, but had the same issue that Robin did. During Texas summers, even if I go directly home and stick it right in the freezer, it’s still going to melt some on the way home and freeze solid once it freezes again.

  37. Hands down, you have a strong case for the Opal. That ice is very important to you! Why bother with saving a couple of hundred dollars on a different type when the ice isn’t going to satisfy you? You’ve worked the math as well. I love that you’re tailoring this to how you and Matt function and not the norms. Thumbs up!

  38. I found a Scotsman under the counter Nugget ice maker ten years ago and my life has been exponentially improved. I love this thing! We found it used on EBay for $500 and drove four hours to Little Rock, AR and four hours back just to pick it up. I’d do it again in a heartbeat! My water intake is 99.9% through chomping ice. Best decision ever!

  39. I’m in agreement with so many others here when it comes to the fridge door opening wrong to your kitchen. I had that for a few years before I could replace mine, and I cussed it daily! I HATED it! It’s always in the way of getting things out of fridge and trying to sit something on the counter!
    It’s your home, it’s your decision, but I truly think you’ll hate it down the road, JMHO.

  40. My 2 cents…..my next door neighbor has an under the counter ice maker and we love running over there and borrowing ice, but in the 15 years I have live next door, she has had problems and replaced at least twice. She loves it and uses every day. Same story with close friends of ours, loved having one but finally gave up when it went out for the second time. Counter top is a cheaper option.
    Good luck~

  41. I had NO idea that there was such a thing as “nugget ice” as I have never patronized a Sonic.
    ? Have you contacted Scotsman to ask if there will be issues with low-volume usage? 80 pounds per day is more than you and Matt would use.

    If you installed a “sliding shelf” in the DW “hole” the Opal unit would have plenty of air circulation as to not impact ice production and it would be located conveniently. Just a thought.

  42. So I don’t know how “non-plumbable” the Opal ice maker is, but when we renovated my husband’s espresso station in the garage (grinder, espresso maker, built in knock box… it’s his thing), the machine wasn’t designed to be plumbed, but there was a small notch in the lid for the resoirvoir that a small bit of tubing fit through. So my husband added a small faucet nearby (no sink) that just had a line that ended in the plastic tubing that goes into the espresso machine’s reservoir.

    I’m not sure if I’m explaining it right, but it ended up being pretty cool so he didn’t have to bring a jug over from the sink every time he wanted to fill it – just had to open the faucet, let the reservoir fill up, then close the faucet again.

  43. Stove donor here! You are going to love this stove, Kristi! It bakes cakes so perfectly and has special broil/cooking temps and settings you will love.

    I have been given things by others that I treasure and appreciate so much. I sold a large house that I could no longer afford a few years ago and moved into a rental. I did not need my refrigerator, washer and dryer for the move and would have had to pay for storage. So I called a few churches, and one passed the info on to a man who took in foster children and had suffered a devastating home fire. He was so grateful to get my donation, and I felt so good about it.

    A year later I found a much more suitable, smaller and less expensive house that I could afford. I love my new home so much more than the large, expensive home I sold out of desperate frustration. I only had enough cash to buy a new refrigerator. My neighbors gave me a like new, barely used washer and dryer free of charge. Eventually I learned about home renovation and realized this great gas stove is disproportionately large compared to the kitchen footprint. Even thought it is 30″ across, it is a large stove and I couldn’t figure out why it drove me crazy to see it jutting out. I researched stoves and I learned that some models are designed to end where floor cabinets end and the look is more pleasing in a small kitchen like mine where inches count.

    I just love your progress on the kitchen and breakfast room, and I can’t wait to meet you and show you my cute little house when you pick up your stove!

  44. Sears sells a freezerless refrigerator with a reversible door. It would also match your stove.

    Frigidaire FCRS181RQB 17.9 cu. ft. Commercial Food Service Grade Refrigerator – Stainless Steel

  45. Kristi I’m with you about Sonic ice nuggets! Whenever we have gatherings I insist on Sonic ice for our guests. I never heard of a counter top nugget ice maker but it sounds wonderful! Based on experience I wouldn’t go with the under counter as the one at my old work died on us two or three time a year. Even though there was plenty of air space the repairman said the motor was still in an enclosed space which overheated the motor. Plus I had to squat or get on my knees to clean the darn thing. Being in my 50’s I just wasn’t that happy with it. Hope you get the Opal so you can post your experiences. Thanks for being such a great home dec writer. I enjoy all your posts.

  46. Gonna bypass the whole appliance drama and give kudos for the “cooking fresh” news. Congratulations for kicking that junk food lifestyle! Reminds me, you haven’t done a “new eating lifestyle” (as opposed to “diet”, ugh) blog in ages. We’re due an update! What is A.I.P.?

  47. Our breakroom has the under-counter ice maker below that allows you to choose the size of the cubelet. I never thought much about ice until it was installed but I really like it! The space for it is about 15″ wide. I tend to gravitate toward a more clean look in a kitchen so less stuff on the counter is always my choice. But you are going to have an awesome pantry and the countertop model could live in there without taking up space in the kitchen. I look forward to your posts every day and draw inspiration from your work…successes and failures.


  48. I agree with others the fridge door will be very irritating. Why not move it into the pantry and buy a regular fridge/freezer with an ice maker, and quit using the ice maker in your current fridge since it’s irritating. The two freezer spaces (of the 2 fridges) should fill your freezer needs, and you would have plenty of fridge space. We have an extra fridge in the basement and I couldn’t live without it. We eat lots of fresh stuff too. I would definitely reconsider a chest freezer. A big pain in the rear to defrost – do you like standing on your head? LOL. One other suggestion – ice tea pot. So simple and I use ours every day. I know it’s hard to find a fridge to fit a small space anymore, they are just getting bigger and bigger. We actually had to cut down some of the cabinet trim above when we purchased ours.

  49. I LOVE, dare I say LOVE sonic ice and we actually buy two bags from them at least 3 times a week which is about $20.00 a week in ice alone. I am also interested in this counter top ice maker that makes the SONIC ice because I bought another brand that was much cheaper and I was not happy with what we got…..It was a $100.00 Black Friday special but it served its purpose but we actually burned the motor up using it so much. We have a French door refrigerator that just does not make enough ice in the door freezer so that is why we purchased the counter top one.

    The unit that makes the sonic ice that is an under the counter maker is extremely pricey and so I could never afford that one.

    Please keep us updated on this topic as I am very interested in your decisions concerning the ice maker.

    Good Luck! Everything looks gorgeous and you work amazing miracles with your handy person attitude and insights!

  50. You may think you can live with a fridge opening away from the wall, but believe me you will regret it after a week. I have one and it is a pan in the ass every time I open it. I have NO other place to put a fridge in my kitchen, unless we remodeled the whole room, which isn’t going to happen, therefore I am stuck griping every single time I have to get into it. If you can switch the door on the one you have, I highly suggest you do it now and see if you can live with it before investing in a new fridge.

  51. I have the Opal nugget ice machine. I’ve had it for about 3 months. I would/will redesign my entire kitchen around it. It’s the best $500 I’ve ever spent. I had a sonic ice addition also and was always running to get a sonic tea or water but since I purchased this machine I rarely go. I love having it and don’t know what I would do without it.

    If you’re taking your dishwasher out anyways, you could always make a shelf to put the ice machine on and then put drawers underneath for your fruits and vegetables.

  52. I understand your ice dilemma completely. A few years ago I purchased a new counterdepth refrigerator and did not want the ice or water dispenser on the door. My husband could not bear to think of having his gin and tonic without crushed ice. Our simple solution, since we have a refrigerator in the garage, is to dump the filtered ice from the kitchen and crush it using the one in the garage. I keep two bins (one for regular and one for crushed in the kitchen freezer).
    Go for the ice you love!
    Never had Sonic ice and now am afraid to try it for fear of loving it!

  53. We have a Twin Eagles outside ice maker. Everyone raves that it makes Sonic style ice – never been to Sonic so I can’t speak first hand but you might consider it as an option. It is under counter style.

  54. I realize that you’re home with Matt most of the time, but if you aren’t for some reason, I can’t see how he would be able to open the fridge being confined to a wheelchair. Just one more bit of independence lost.

  55. Just a thought to throw in the ring…what about buying a freezer drawer for the pantry? Very small andcwould work perfect for your needs. I know there are kind of expensive but a great solution to consider.

  56. Unless you can get a really GOOD price for your current fridge, put it in your pantry to provide extra fresh produce storage and a small freezer. It doesn’t make sense to sell cheap and buy new and expensive if you can avoid it. Then you can get a regular fridge for your kitchen that will cost much less and have a door that opens from the correct side.

  57. When my parents remodeled there kitchen they were left with a 6 inch gap between the dishwasher and the cabinets. My mom put a hinged panel on the opening that matched the cupboards and used the “secret” space to store her valuable jewelry. What thief would think to ransack a kitchen for jewelry. Just a suggestion for extra space if you do ditch the dishwasher.

  58. Makes perfect sense to me to choose the things for your kitchen based around how you use your kitchen. I couldn’t get rid of a dishwasher but if I used it that little then sure!

    Since you are thinking of using bins for veggies in that place, could you leave the hook-ups in place behind them in case your situation changes somewhere down the line and a dishwasher is more attractive?


  59. Kristi,

    As always, follow your gut! Do what works for the two of you it’s that simple. I built my first house in 2003. I was single and had no other person (roommate) living with me. I told the builder to build it without a dishwasher. I would have never used it. When I told this to friends/co-workers they laughed. “You built a house without a dishwasher” was a common comment. Guess what, when I sold that house it sold within 24 hours of going on the market. Guess it’s not that big of deal after all. Most people get so caught up in the societal norms that they can’t see outside the box. Ignore them and do as you please! You rock!!!!!!!!!

  60. I have the GE cafe range and love it. We didn’t want to rip out cabinetry when remodeling and wanted a more built in look. It looks very high end. Our fridge is a Fisher and Pykel counter depth with a large single door and freezer beneath. Because of its simple interior, we can store more fresh food than in our old Kitchen Aid full depth. Not all square footage is the same. If u can, go to a bigger town and to a large appliance center and see what’s there. It’s hard to shop appliances on line.

  61. I am loving everything about your home!!! Love your eye for design! I also love that you design for the way you live. I too have a TV In my breakfast room, got rid of my dish washer because I wash my dishes by hand, and never really thought about before but my refrigerator opens on the wrong side and it never has bothered me. I can’t wait to see your kitchen when it is done.

  62. Definitely the opal ice. There is just something about those little nuggets that make your beverage just perfect. I’m checking out reviews now, and hoping to purchase one myself. Thanks for sharing all you do!

  63. so happy that things are working out for you. Except for that free chest freezer. I am 5 feet tall and we have had a chest freezer for the last 40 years or so. I’ve almost fallen into it when trying to reach in for something. When I turn 68 in three weeks, I’m going to revolt and go out and buy an upright freezer! Happy for me.

  64. I have a countertop water filtration system that I manually fill every night. And while I love love love it, filling it gets super old. (It takes several pitchers to fill it for the next day.) Just a thought. It does get old, but its worth it for pure water. And it may be worth it for you to have great ice too. 🙂

  65. I totally understand designing your home for you. When we bought our home, I had the disposal removed because I don’t like them. People thought I was crazy but it’s my home. We love Sonic ice, too and buy it from them by the bag! We keep it in our freezer.

  66. That ice maker is 10.5 by 15.5 by 17.25 inches, that’s a lot of counter top real estate but maybe you can design the perfect spot for it in your pantry? It’s not too late to consider a water source in there, is it? While you’re at it, consider a small dishwasher in there too. Then you can have your veggie drawers. Good for you for maintaining a healthy diet! We have an all-fridge in the house (we are about to change the door swing) and an upright all-freezer in the garage, it works for us. I love that range and I think you will too! We took out a drop in cooktop and had the cabinets remodeled to accommodate a good vent fan and slide in range and we love it.

  67. Kristi,
    Do what works for YOU. Life is too short to live up to other’s expectations. No dishwasher – no problem. I learned that what I want in my kitchen is not what everyone else wants. Hey tough s*@t er umm… too bad, you are the ones living with it. Consider advice that is thoughtful and brings up good/new points.. otherwise do what’s best for you! I am currently designing my next home from the perspective of what we want – not from a resale perspective.

  68. Are you concerned about the handles not matching on the stove and fridge? I feel like we have similar perfectionist personalities and this drives me nuts. The house we just moved into has all different brands of appliances and I can’t wait to replace them all. And I second others on the door handle. I lived in a kitchen with it backwards and it drove me crazy.

  69. I didn’t read through all the comments but if nobody else mentioned….. Sonic (at least in FL) sells their nugget ice in huge bags. It makes the best Mojitos! And if the comments are correct and it is loud and a pain to fill then it’s definitely worth getting the bag once a week. Also, I have to echo everyone else on the fridge dilemma…. But I also get that sometimes you just do what you want. Like I did in my bathroom but I have finally had to be honest with myself………it’s just not working. Thankfully that’s just paint.