Are You Smarter Than Your Refrigerator? The 12-Year Kitchen

The display panel on our new fridge speaks for itself.

We are so close to finished I can almost taste the ice. It's been more than seven months since this project began, and although conventional wisdom is that it's smart to do a kitchen in the summer, when you can barbecue, hot weather without a freezer handy can be a challenge. Even as we moved into autumn, I think what I missed the most was the tinkle of ice cubes in a glass.

But now… oh, now things are about to change. Twenty-eight cubic feet of sheer joy await us in our new fridge. It's got variable temperature-controlled vegetable and meat compartments, adjustable shelves in both the main fridge and the doors, and an in-door ice and water dispenser that takes up almost no space inside. It has a bottom freezer below the French door refrigerator, with tilting door, adjustable divider, and extra ice bucket for storage when I'm in the “ultra-ice” mode.

It also has a 60-plus-page owner's manual, replete with the usual warnings of what could go wrong (I promise I won't stick my fingers up the ice crusher or let my children crawl into the freezer drawer) along with instructions on how to power down this majestic piece of equipment when we're on vacation. (Vacation? We've spent so much on this project there won't be a vacation any time soon!)

I happily skipped over the installation instructions, glad that our delivery guy and our contractor had taken care of all that. But learning to live with it will be a bit like getting used to a new laptop-gratifying in the end, but completely mystifying in the beginning.

Our beautiful new refrigerator is a Kenmore Elite, with a slim ice- and water-dispenser in the door. We were planning to skip the in-door option, since they generally cost you a lot of space in the left-hand door. But the Kenmore's slim design takes very little away from inside storage, and still provides the convenience of ice and cold water without opening the door. (Once we get the kids to stop playing with it, that will surely save on energy.)

Any day now…

The bottom freezer begs the question: why did we ever have freezers on the top? It makes so much more sense to have everyday items at eye level, with frozen foods down under. The freezer is so capacious we'll probably be able to unplug our basement freezer chest-we won't have any overflow with this big baby in the kitchen.

The electronic panel in the door stopped us, well, cold-at least at first. Surely this was not lit up and working in the showroom-neither one of us actually remembered ever seeing it before. A calendar feature, freshness tips, memo/notes mode, and of course cube/crushed ice options- this beauty can do almost as much as my smart phone can do. (If only it would synch with Outlook I'd be in heaven!)

But even better than my phone-this fridge can chill the bubbly in anticipation of that day (soon, really really really soon) that this will all be over. And oh, man, will that cold drink taste terrific!

Next: Make Room for Mud

For more on kitchen remodeling and appliances, check out the following articles and videos:

Choosing Major Kitchen Appliances

The Green Kitchen

2011 Kitchen Trends