Back in November when we first learned that the bank had accepted our offer and we had an official closing date for the new Florida house, I went crazy brainstorming furniture layouts, design schemes, and home improvement ideas. Over Thanksgiving, Chris’s mom, an architect, advised us to paint and then put in new floors before moving our furniture into the house, and she loaded us up with floor samples to take back with us. Echoing my MIL’s advice, my mom kept asking what paint colors we were planning to use throughout December.
One thing led to another, and by closing day, I was mentally and emotionally exhausted instead of being blissfully excited. When Chris said we needed to finalize the paint colors so that we could get our paint ordered before the sale at Sherwin Williams ended, I could feel myself beginning to hyperventilate like Julia Roberts’ character in Runaway Bride. Paper bag. Now. I realized I was feeling painted into a corner by paint I hadn’t even purchased yet. We decided to put on the brakes and didn’t buy anything home-improvementish for the house in December or January (Chris did get a mower through Craigslist, though).
So what’s the takeaway here? Any professional will tell you that painting before putting in new floors before moving your furniture into a house is a good idea. We agree. However, it is never sensible and smart to make hurried decisions that you may live to regret, especially ones that involve dropping a considerable chunk of change. For some people, $1k to paint a whole house at one time is no big deal, but for us it is because we are currently funding two separate residences (one rent, one mortgage, two sets of bills) on one income + student stipend for a few more months. Shelling out another $10k for floors made us positively queasy. We also needed to build our savings back up after making our down payment in December at the same time as Christmas travel + presents for lots of people. We chose to save instead of splurge a la Dave Ramsey style.
As soon as we decided not to buy paint and floors, I could feel my blood pressure dropping and the chest pains subsiding. Plus, after a couple of months of saving, we were ready to consider less expensive purchases, such as a gas stove. The house came with a functional electric stove in extremely good condition, so why replace it instead of buying paint? Look closely. Very closely.
I spy with my little eye…that’s right: more little eyes. Three little eyes and only one big eye, to be exact. While the electric range has been serving Chris’s needs quite well during the week, cooking on it during the holidays was frustrating for me when making meals to share with a large group, and I knew this would drive me nuts sooner or later. Most likely sooner, given my proclivity to cooking large batches of food to make meal prep during the week faster. It also took the oven FOREVER to bake things. We’re talking 40 minutes for pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, folks. Waiting the typical 25 minutes for their yummy deliciousness to be ready is already hard enough, but double the time? Talk about delayed gratification.
When the gas company turned on our gas in December, they gave us a free installation coupon for any one appliance, good through March. Since they also gave us the happy news that we have a ‘gas nub’ behind our oven, we knew we’d want to switch to gas at the earliest opportunity. When we found out that it would be $140 regularly for them to install a gas range (and you have to pay $60 for installation if you get Sears to do it), we decided that purchasing our gas range during Sears’ Presidents’ Day sale (35% off Kenmore appliances + additional 10% online purchases + free delivery) and getting free installation would be a better idea than buying paint.
After doing some research, reading Consumer Reports (strongly recommend a subscription if you are making big $ purchases) and product reviews until our eyes rotted in their sockets (not really), and discussing our needs/wants, we narrowed our choices down to three Kenmore products. We’ve had great experiences withKenmore appliances in the past, so we were comfortable/confident going with another Kenmore product. After weighing features and prices, we selected the Kenmore 5.6 cu ft. Gas Range with True Convection Stainless Steel with Stainless Steel top as our winning gas range. We actually chose not to get a Kenmore Elite or Kenmore Pro, primarily due to price but also because the regular Kenmore met all of our needs/wants. See it here: http://www.sears.com/kenmore-30inch-freestanding-gas-range-w-convection-oven/p-02274343000P?prdNo=3&blockNo=3&blockType=G3
Unfortunately, the range we selected wasn’t 35% off, presumably because of the beautiful stainless steel top. Womp, womp. We decided to get the $350 cheaper-but-same-model Kenmore 5.6 cu ft. Gas Range with True Convection Stainless Steel with Black top that was discounted, and we’re more than happy to be saving even more money that can go towards other things.
In the end, we saved $500 on the range and got free delivery, thanks to the awesome sales and two coupons/promotions we were also able to use towards our purchase. Major score for us. We also Craiglisted our electric range and recouped $150 for it.
The gas range installation went rather smoothly, with only one small hiccup: There isn’t a regular electrical outlet behind our stove, so we had to plug the range into a wall outlet on its left (I know you’re thinking: Wait? I thought the original range was electric, so how is there not an outlet behind it (or how did they not notice this before)? Answer: There is a special outlet at the bottom of the wall that was perfect for the electric range but not for our new gas range.)
It’s a bit awkward-looking to say the least, but that’s something we can remedy in the near future, thanks to my dad who happens to be an electrical engineer and rather handy with home repairs and fixes in general.
Best part? It looks more high end than it actually is and cooks like a dream. The burners light instantly (no repetitive clicking and hoping, for those of you familiar with older gas ranges), and all the special burners (simmer, turbo boil, etc.) perform their respective functions exceptionally well.
My husband inaugurated the oven by baking yummy cookies, but unfortunately (for me) I was in the city at the time so did not get to enjoy them.He used soy-filled chocolate chips, so none for me anyway. After eating some of his cookies, he decided my soy-free chips taste better. #foodallergies #smartman
On my ‘spring break’ this past week, I joined Chris in FL and baked some of those pumpkin chocolate chip muffins again. They were easily done in 20 minutes and could have probably have been taken out earlier than that–faster than the time range given in the recipe! As for all those people who say that gas ovens don’t bake well, think again. Double-fisted muffin eating may have happened in our household. Evidence, you ask? They were devoured so quickly I didn’t even have time to snap a good pic. Next up? My favorite pound cake recipe that hasn’t ever worked in an electric oven yet turned out perfectly every time in a gas oven. Pound cake + fresh berries = Supreme Deliciousness.
Overall, moving more slowly down the path of home improvement is allowing us to savor every minute instead of sweating every dime and decision. We’re enjoying the calm and contentment of knowing we will get around to doing things when the time is right. After all, we’re on
island beach time here, and we’re good with that.