Appliance selection can be fun if you are a gadget freak like I am. Before you start, decide which appliances matter to whom. For example, if the husband loads and unloads the dishwasher the most, he should have a lot of say in which dishwasher is chosen. The same goes for all of the other appliances.

For our new home, I asked my bride what appliances she wanted with which features, and then I set out on a mission to find the best appliances to meet her needs and desires.

A lot of appliance research can be done on the web, but eventually you will probably want to go to a store to look at the equipment. Here is a list of places you can research appliances:


  • ConsumerReports.org — This is a great place to start your research. Appliances are rated by professionals for performance, usability, and reliability. The current online subscription rate is $24 per year or $3.95 per month.
  • Epinions.com — Appliances are rated by consumers for ease of use, durability, ease of cleaning, and style.
  • Thermador — Offers cooktops, built-in ovens, microwaves, barbecues, ranges, ventilation, warming drawers, and dishwashers.
  • Kitchenaid — Offers dishwashers, ovens, refrigerators, disposers, washers, cooktops, washers, dryers, hot water dispensers, ranges, warming drawers, microwave ovens, ventilation, trash compactors, ice makers, and wine cellars.
  • U-Line — Makes ice makers, bar refrigerators and freezers, and wine captains for residential, marine and RV installations.
  • Sub-Zero and Wolf — Sub-Zero makes the best refrigerators and freezers available in all different shapes and sizes. Wolf makes cooktops, ranges, warming drawers, outdoor grills, and ventilation equipment.
  • DCS Appliances — A quality source for indoor ranges, cooktops, wall ovens, warming drawers, microwaves, ventilation, woks, and dishwashers. They also offer an outdoors line that includes grills, warming drawers, refrigerators, beer dispensers, and patio heaters.
  • Dacor — Offers wall ovens, warming ovens, cooktops, ranges, ventilation, microwaves, and outdoor grills.
  • Vent-A-Hood — They have an awful-looking website, but great ventilation systems featuring the "Magic Lung"
  • Whirlpool — Products include washers, dryers, combination washer/dryers, ranges, cooktops, built-in ovens, microwaves, dishwashers, air conditioners, dehumidifiers, air purifiers, disposers, hot water dispensers, hoods and vents, compactors, and ice makers.

Our selections


For the refrigerator, we chose a Sub-Zero 601R. The 601R is a cabinet-depth (24") all refrigerator with a 19.9 cubic foot interior. It is available with either a stainless steel door or an overlay door panel to match your cabinets. Since there is no freezer on the 601R, we also used the Sub-Zero 601F freezer. Its exterior is the same as the refrigerator, but the interior is 19.3 cubic feet. We actually put the freezer in our adjacent utility room.

The great thing about this combination is that you get a combined storage of over 39 cubic feet as compared to about 27 cubic feet for a large combination refrigerator/freezer.

There is no built-in icemaker or water dispenser on the 601R and 601F units. To compensate, we added both to our nearby wet bar, which will be covered later.

Click to EnlargeFor a cooktop, we chose the Thermador SGSX365ZS. It is a 36" stainless steel gas cooktop. The cooktop uses sealed star burners with a range of 200-15,000 BTU's. It uses an electronic single-point ignition. The cooking surface accommodates cookware in multiple shapes and sizes simultaneously, while allowing for optimal ease of movement on continuous, cast-iron grates.

Click to EnlargeWe used a 48" Ventahood Emerald SLH-18 with 900 CFM. The Ventahood 900 CFM blower can easily handle the cooktop we chose. Our Ventahood has a stainless steel backsplash, warming lights and shelves, and halogen lighting.

Click to EnlargeWe chose to use two single ovens, side-by-side. The Thermador SC301ZP is a 30" stainless steel convection, self-cleaning oven with a professional handle. Both ovens in our kitchen are under-the-counter height. Above one we have a Thermador WD30XP 30" stainless steel warming drawer and a Thermador MBYS 1100-watt 30" stainless steel microwave oven.

Our dishwasher is the Kitchenaid KUDS01FKSS. It is a stainless steel model with a hard-food disposer and a tall tub with 24% more usable capacity.

Wet bar

Our wet bar is the primary drink preparation area. It includes a water chiller, icemaker, and under-counter refrigerator. Let's take a look at the particular models.

For the water chiller, I chose the Elkay ERS1. It will cool 1.3 gallons per hour. Our wet bar sink has a one-handled cold water only faucet that is supplied by the water chiller.

For an undercounter refrigerator, we liked the Sub-Zero 700BR. It is a two-drawer refrigerator-only unit with 5.3 cubic feet of storage. We'll use this for holding bottled water and canned drinks.

Our icemaker is the Kitchenaid KUIS185JSS. This 18" stainless steel icemaker can make 50 pounds of ice cubes every 24 hours and has a 35 pound capacity lighted storage bin. We installed a floor drain under the ice maker so that we did not need the model with a pump.

Utility room

Click to EnlargeOur utility room has both Whirlpool laundry equipment and our Sub-Zero 601F freezer.

We used the new Whirlpool Duet washer and dryer combination. The washer is front loading. This allows you to stack the dryer on top of the washer to save space. It allowed us to have two dryers– one beside the washer and one stacked above it. This is very useful because drying always takes longer than washing. If you want this configuration, make sure you order the mounting brackets for stacking the units.

Front-loading washers save 67% energy and water savings versus traditional top-loading washers. They can also be used to clean pillows and other hard-to-wash items.


Outdoors we have a Thermador CGBD36RX. It is a 36" drop-in char-glo barbecue with a heavy-duty rotisserie, gas-powered smoke chamber, external temperature gauge, and double-u shaped burners for 60,000 BTU. It has a 12,000 BTU infrared for browning and a one-touch electronic ignition system.

For the Ventahood, we used the same model as in the kitchen, but with 1200 CFM and no warming shelves or lights. One mistake we made that we will correct when we can afford it is the depth of our Ventahood. The barbecue unit has a lid which folds up and back. It tends to make the smoke go toward the front of the unit. Our Ventahood does not reach far enough out to get all of the smoke. Make sure you design this correctly.

Lastly, we used the DCS warming drawer because it is UL-approved for outdoor use. This warming drawer can be used to keep food warm when you are cooking for large parties.

Balthazar Custom Homes

If you are looking for a great custom home builder in Dallas, check out John Balthazar of Balthazar Custom Homes. He is fair and knowledgeable. His quality is first-rate. He uses great sub-contractors.

You can contact John at 972-618-7653.





























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