The appliance hunt begins

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Saturday turned into a long and fairly tedious, but useful exploration of what is available locally. We started off hunting for what I call ‘graded’ appliances, which is called “scratch and dent” here. First up, and the most surprising thing for me is just how expensive large appliances are here.

I get that fridges, which here tend to be much, much larger and have double doors and ice-cube-makers and water dispensers, and tell you your fortune, and perform predictive analytics on your stock holdings, they I understand (slightly) the greater expensive. But ovens. Ovens are crazily expensive.

And finding a ‘nice’ oven that’s used is almost impossible. Part of that is undoubtably the greater distance between locations. In the UK, if you want to buy a used, or a graded appliance and have it shipped, it’s cheap. The distance it has to go isn’t far, so it’s worth flogging this stuff online. And even if you don’t want to ship your used oven, then buying one a few cities away and hopping in your car and grabbing it is perfectly acceptable.

548 miles, a boiler, an oven a cooktop…and I think some other bits and pieces.

Here, that’s not nearly so doable. The oven we wanted is in NYC. Hardly a ‘just pop and grab it’ affair.

But the base-price is also something that screws you here. I guess this comes down to Europe’s generally more design focused culture. We’ve probably all caught it from the Danes, but there’s something in Europe about having beautifully designed functional appliances which just isn’t the case here. There’s an argument to be made about function over form, but the problem is I’m a European to my core.

Lefty, liberal, and very design focused. And my beloved also has a similarly strong design ethos.

So when we looked around the local stores, we did find a few appliances that were ‘fine’. There was an oven that was perfectly adequate and while it was painfully expensive ($1500 for an oven that in the UK you’d pay maybe $500), it was just dull and somewhat ugly. At least to my eyes.

But we dutifully treked around the stores. There was, obviously, the Miele and Bosch sections of the stores that had things that were nice, but far out of our price range. There were a couple of fridges that have a nice, simple design and are small enough for our tiny kitchen, and one place had the one we’re now thinking about as a Scratch and Dent.

We were talking about Haier for the fridge, but the one that fits our needs size wise felt really cheap – and the plastic was just too thin to be something that’ll last in use.

The advantage of this, though, was to really drill into us that it doesn’t matter how much we think an oven should cost (also skewed by the fact that I got an oven for free, then paid 99p for the second one, I think); nor that our Smeg range in the UK cost us under £800; we are just going to have to suck up the cost.

(I did seriously think about the fact that I could order a Neff Slide and Hide from the UK and have it shipped here for less than the cost we’d pay for an oven here).

Still. We sat down and did our due dilligence and came up with a Samsung oven that is available that we didn’t feel was butt ugly, and once we’d factored in Scratch and Dent would come to around the same price as the locally available ones. It also had some nice features that we could at least get excited about.

It has steam bake, which is cool. We thought it had the ‘split oven into two different heat zones’ option, but it turns out that’s the model above. Which I’m slightly disappointed about.

It’s not a slide and hide though. *grumble*.

We also bought a used Miele dishwasher. It’s apparently a lightly used one from a hotel suite, so I’m hoping that it’ll be good.

And then we sat down, poked at the internet, and settled (we think) on a fridge. All of this is definitely positive. And it’s quite exciting. And we settled on a finish for our cabinets, so we’ve e-mailed beechtree woodworks to say “yes, we’d like a kitchen from you”. Kathryn did her magic and found us a custom kitchen for very little more expense than an Ikea one, because she just has a sense for finding these things.

And it’s quite exciting. The drywall (you knew it’d come back to this) is proceeding. Not exactly apace, but reasonably quickly.

We actually have a finished room (walls wise, anyway):


The sheet around the top of the door was an absolute nightmare, and took us 3 goes to get right. The unsquareness of the wall combined with the pitch of the ceiling made for a really difficult shape – and then we put the screws in at the wrong height so they didn’t line up with the shims and cracked the edge of the board.

All in all, not a raging success. So we ended up stopping that day, taking it down on Sunday and redoing it. It’s now better. Not fabulous, but better.

And we have now made a start on the not-spine spine wall.


In a day we can get around 4 boards up, which is a marked uptick on the 2 boards on the ceiling. Thankfully, once the top row is up things get a bit less complex, but cutting the boards to match our uneven ceiling is a challenge that involves a lot of shaving some off, lifting it into position, then taking it back down again, shaving some more off… repeated ad infinitum.

There’s quite a lot of shimming to do up at the north end of the house to correct for our dreadful framing, so that’s the plan for this afternoon. This morning I’m off to go and collect a door. Our front door.

Which will be a nice step forward. Getting the front of our house closer to finished is something I’ve been looking forward to for a while, which has been waiting on us ordering the door. Now that’s done and it’s ready, we need to paint it and install it, complete the wrap around the porch, and then I can begin the infinite fun of putting up thin strips of cedar again. But this time they’re really small and fiddly!

Yay! ;)

What’s that about a rod for our own back? Sounds lovely.


Kate's a human mostly built out of spite and overcoming transphobia-racism-and-other-bullshit. Although increasingly right-wing bigots would say otherwise. So she's either a human or a lizard in disguise sent to destroy all of humanity. Either way, it's all good.