Classic Kitchen: Give and Take

Giannetti Velvet and Linen built in refrigerator looks like French cabinet

When you embark on a kitchen remodel, you know there are going to be a lot of decisions to make, but weighing the cost benefit can be a challenge. Let’s face it, I want it all. I’ve never had the luxury of doing a full kitchen remodel, let alone custom. 

One thing Chris and I both knew we wanted was built-in panel ready appliances. Little did I know how much additional that would cost. A built-in refrigerator is double to triple the cost of a stand alone refrigerator. Being panel ready {the ability to accept a cabinet panel to blend in} is an additional thousand or two for a refrigerator and nearly doubles the cost for a dishwasher and wine refrigerator, not including the cost of panels themselves. Brooke Giannetti, author of Patina Farm disguised her refrigerator as a beautiful wood cabinet by utilizing a panel ready built-in refrigerator. We had originally planned to do the same, but I’m still weighing the decision of how it will be built-in.

panel ready built in refrigerator | Velvet and Linen Patina Farm

Still, we remain committed. Sometimes life’s a game of give and take. Here are the appliance decisions we’ve made so far:

A microwave drawer – if you’re not familiar, you still see the microwave {it’s not hidden in a drawer}. It’s built in for a very clean look. Rather than opening a door, you pull it open, placing whatever you want to warm inside. The panel is concealed and flips out so that you don’t have to bend to see/program.

The built-in refrigerator. I’ve compared countless photos and admired friends’ kitchens with built-in refrigerators and since it’s new location will put it in direct site from our living room Chris and agreed if we could make it work, we’d go for it. Give: we may forgo the water and ice dispenser on our refrigerator to make it fit our budget shaving $1,300 off.

The dishwasher feels the most frivolous, but I love how it streamlines the kitchen. Less than 2 years ago we replaced our dishwasher {with the majority of the expense to our home warranty} and I love it. It’s so quiet we weren’t sure it was working at first. We are purchasing the same dishwasher, panel ready and having the vent painted to match our cabinetry. I love how seamless it blends into this DeVol kitchen.

disguising a dishwasher as a cabinet

I’ve been unable to find the panel ready wine cooler I fell in love with online and can’t get too excited about the $1,800 or $2,900 options, so, I’m going to give and settle for a nicer wine cooler that’s stainless with wood panels on the interior. 

A French range. I can’t wait to share more!

A Zephyr vent – it’s almost silent and collects oil so that it doesn’t build up in the kitchen.

We have a few other decisions to make this week, okay, a lot. Here are a few things weighing on my mind as the countdown to the build date of our cabinets is just 3 weeks away:

Hinges or hidden hinges. This is something I completely overlooked and never really invested any thought into. So, after our cabinet maker left I turned to my Pinterest board to find a commonality. Most of my favorite kitchens have hinges, but I do appreciate the clean aesthetic of hidden hinges. At almost the same cost, this decision comes down to a matter of personal preference. What do you think?

Finished panels at cabinet ends. I love the clean, polished look of finished panels and without a doubt will do them at the end of the island. If our budget permits, I’d like to do them on the cabinet ends as well, but it adds an additional $1,500. What do you think? I think it really finishes the cabinetry below. 

learn about kitchen cabinet styles | inset, partial overlay and full overlay

We know we’re doing inset cabinetry, but I had originally dreamed of this beautiful detail from Anne Decker Architects. Given the cost, I may scale back to another of my favorite styles, which also pairs well with our custom doors – shaker with flat front drawers. TBD, but they’re both beautiful, so it’s hard to justify the additional expense. Which do you prefer?

I am so excited that you’re coming along with me for the journey and really appreciate your input. Deep breaths.

entertaining expert and lifestyle blogger Julie Blanner


  • Robin Fink says:

    We have a Miele dishwasher, and panel ready was not more expensive. You are so smart to prioritize where to spend, and where to save. We have high end appliances (I have a french stove- cannot wait to see your pick), but no microwave or wine refrigerator- both unheard of living in Europe ( but so is a clothes dryer!!). I love your asthetic, and I am sure your kitchen will be beautiful.

    • Julie says:

      So interesting! It or $700 dishwasher is $1299 panel ready, fridge was $3,000 more. Which French stove do you have? I wish us American embraced less is more a bit better…it’s an inspiring lifestyle!

  • Robin Fink says:

    My dishwasher was more than that- top of the line Miele. Best investment EVER! I do not have to rinse, the dishes ALWAYS come out clean, and dry. Totally worth it. I have a LaCanche stove- this is my second, as a had a LaCanche in my last house as well. I also have a Novy hood- made in Belgium, which is the hood LaCanche recommends. If this is what you are looking at for a range, I have some tips. I am looking forward to following your renovation.

    • Julie says:

      I would LOVE them! I already purchased. 😉 I love the Miele as well, but ours does the same and I don’t hear a peep, so it was a great place to save. I would love to see photos if you have a sec – it sounds beautiful!

  • Robin Fink says:

    Did you purchase a LaCanche? If so, which one? I will try to send photos…

  • Sharon says:

    We are remodeling our kitchen as well and are planning to use a La Cornue range. We are in Cape Girardeau. Where did you look at French ranges? I’m headed to St. Louis Monday and planned to spend some time looking then. I planned to go to Brooksberry. Did you look anywhere else? Thanks!

    • Julie says:

      Those are so beautiful…Williams Sonoma carries them as well. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see my range in person, but have had several praise the Lacanche. We purchased from Slyman Brothers. Callier and Thompson is another great option for appliances. I highlyrecommend a Zephyr vent…I had the opportunity to see their showroom in the fall and you can’t hear them! It’s incredible. I’d love to hear about your decisions!

  • maureen graham says:

    I’m doing a kitchen myself and understand about the seamless look of built in fridge. Don’t compromise on that one!
    Bosch offers some panel ready dishwashers that are reasonable, as well as a fridge that I’m buying because I saw it in a Paris apt! It was wonderful: tiny kitchen, 24″ built in panelled fridge …so cool…

    Panel the ends of your cabinetry!

    have fun!

  • Leslie says:

    Panel ready appliances are so beautiful but definitely expensive. I’m very interested in the microwave drawer. Our kitchen is so old and sad. It’s fun to live vicariously and see how other people make decisions with their renovations. Whenever we get the chance to do our own, I know these posts will come in handy.

    • Julie says:

      I really wanted to hide a microwave in a cabinet, but my cabinet guy said it’s just really not safe {insert sad face}. The drawer is pretty discreet.

  • Sharon says:

    Hey! Thanks for your info on where to look at ranges on St. Louis. Can you tell me what swayed you towards Lacanche? I’m just curious. I’ve been planning this kitchen for about 3 months and my head has been swimming trying to decide on the range! We rarely eat dessert and I really only bake our whole wheat bread, muffins occasionally, and a turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The stovetop is what’s most important to us. I am intrigued by the French top- which Lacanche has and La Cornue doesn’t. I just do t know if I want to wait as long for the Lacanche and you can now add a French plaque to the La Cornue. Anyway, enough rambling. I’d love to hear why you picked what you did.

    • Julie says:

      I’ve heard nothing but praise about them and was enamored with the style. I had considered La Cornue as well but couldn’t find as much on them and worried about a few of the reviews I read, but know people often only write when they’re dissatisfied. I didn’t realize that La Cornue didn’t have a French top. I’m writing a post Sunday about my range/hood decisions, I’ll ask my readers to see if they have any insight.

  • Sharon says:

    To clarify, the La Cornufe doesn’t have a French top. The regular La Cornue ranges have a French top as an option.

  • Jamie says:

    I LOVE my drawer microwave in my island but I wish I got a panel door dishwasher. I’m still contemplating upgrading it one day. I find it’s such an eyesore. Love this post!
    Hugs, Jamie

  • Tatty says:

    Take it from one who knows. NOTHING looks as good as debt-free feels. If you can truly affford it, go all out. Otherwise …… Truth is in 10 years most kitchens look outdated no matter how much they cost.

  • julie says:

    Im seeing it more and more where people are putting their fridge in the pantry, if its close like ours will be it makes so much sense. and saves a ton of money because it doesnt have to be as nice looking. Chrislovesjulia did it with their freezer but I love the whole fridge and freezer being in there and the microwave. Just wanted to share the info just in case. Love what you do and look so forward to your next posts.

    • Julie says:

      I do like that, but prefer a little more convenience and we’re limited on space. I oririnally wanted to hide our microwave in a cabinet as well, but it’s not up to code where we live. Thanks for sharing, I truly appreciate it! I’m hoping we can make ours look like a French cabinet – fingers crossed!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.