Refrigerator Styles to Consider

Buying a refrigerator can be a difficult decision, considering all the sizes, styles and prices available. But most importantly (after making sure it fits), the refrigerator you choose should reflect the way your family uses your kitchen. Learn more about the different refrigerator styles and cool features to consider.

Top-Freezer Refrigeratorsstainless-steel-refrigerator

Top-freezer refrigerators position the freezer at eye level while the refrigerator compartment offers wide shelves, making it easy to store large trays of food and allow access to items in the back of the refrigerator.

Side-by-Side Refrigerators

side by side black refrigerator

Side-by-side refrigerators feature the freezer on the left and the refrigerator on the right. Side-by-sides require less door swing clearance, perfect for kitchen layouts with narrow walkways or an island.

Bottom-Freezer Refrigeratorsstainless-bottom-freezer-refrigerator

Bottom-freezer refrigerators are today’s most popular refrigerator style. The refrigerator is opened nine to 10 times more often than the freezer, so it’s convenient to locate the refrigerator at waist or chest level.

French Door Refrigerators

four door french door refrigerator

French door refrigerators, the industry’s fastest growing style, is like a bottom-freezer but with French doors (side-by-side) opening from the center. The symmetrical styling allows easier installation with less door clearance to impede a walkway or island. Wide refrigerator shelves easily store large party trays.

samsung french door refrigeratorSome models, like the one pictured above, come with a fourth drawer. Depending on the model, the fourth drawer is a second refrigerator compartment or a second freezer compartment. However, as is the case with the Samsung refrigerator pictured to the right, sometimes the fourth drawer offers more temperature options (think chilling wine versus storing meats) than you’d probably select with your main fresh food compartment.

Cool Refrigerator Features

• A Dual-Compressor System cools the refrigerator and freezer separately. This preserves food substantially longer, better retaining the food’s natural internal moisture.

• Chilling Drawers brings air directly from the freezer into a sealed refrigerator compartment to, for instance, cool a warm beverage to ice cold in 15 minutes!

• Hidden Hinge extends door heights to cover hinges and create a more built-in look.

• Gallon Storage Door Bins hold large milk and juice jugs in the door to free up precious shelf space.

Cabinet-depth models provide a sleek and seamless appearance. The shallow 24” depth aligns with surrounding cabinetry, again, offering a more “built-in” look.

Tip: A common mistake when buying a new refrigerator is not properly measuring the maximum height, depth and width of the space it will fit into. There is no “standard” in refrigerator. However, if your opening is 36” wide and 70” high, you will have a wide selection of models to choose from. As a rule of thumb, you should allow 1” of clearance on each side of the refrigerator for breathing room.

Colored Appliances that Trump Stainless Steel

In recent years, stainless steel appliances gained ubiquity in kitchens throughout Minnesota. Heck, I’ve switched out all of my outdated, white appliances from the last millennium to a stainless steel refrigerator, range and dishwasher.

But despite — or perhaps because of — stainless steel’s popularity, not everyone is looking to replace colored appliances with stainless.

In fact, some publications hint that white is the new stainless, bolstered by manufacturers’ efforts to modernize a color recently associated with outmoded kitchens.

Whichever camp you fall into, here’s a selection of neutrally colored appliances that no one will call mundane.

GE Slate

GE Slate looks similar to stainless steel, but is darker and more matte. Not only is it a visually a departure, but hey, fewer fingerprints to clean off!

geslatekitchenset

Because I appreciate using a thesaurus to cure writer’s block as much as GE’s writers apparently do, I’ll re-publish the official copywriting about Slate:

Welcome GE’s new fashion-forward finish, Slate: a color that is just as stylish and sophisticated as stainless steel but with a strong, earthy feel. Sophisticated, modern with a twist of verve, and a dose of stunning. It’s a timeless new finish that beautifully blends in, to help you truly stand out.

I don’t know about you, but that sure inspires some design FOMO in me. My kitchen certainly lacks earthy, twisted verve. To Warner Stellian I go!

Jenn-Air Oiled Bronze

Personally, the first time I saw Oiled Bronze in a showroom, I thought that someone ironically paneled the fridge using plywood found on 1970’s basement walls. But in the right application, as you’ll see below, it’s truly something.

cJennAirOiledBronzeAppliances

Jenn-Air’s Oil Rubbed finish, featured in the hood, ovens and refrigerator.

GE Artistry

GE Artistry Series Black

GE Artistry Series Black

Though they look like a throwback, GE Artistry appliances were designed for the millennials, specifically first-time home buyers. GE said it felt this modern generation (my generation) would appreciate the reinvented retro look and the “entry-level” price tag of mid $2000s.

geartistrywhitekitchen

GE Artistry also comes in white with stainless steel accents.

Whirlpool Ice Collection

WhirlpoolIceBlackAppliances

Whirlpool Ice Collection in Black

Whirlpool modernized its colors from textured white or textured black that was so bumpy, you could cover imperfections with glorified nail polish known as “touch-up paint.” Whirlpool Ice Collection however, is impeccably sleek.

From Whirlpool: “Our contemporary form flows into modern colors elegantly energized with metallic finishes and subtle textures.” So, supposedly the handles are energized but I think they just mean “shiny.” Oooh pretty! Whirlpool Ice comes in White Ice, Black Ice appliances and yes, Stainless.

whirlpool-ice-white

Whirlpool Ice Collection in White

Check Out These Cool Refrigerator Options

Remember when refrigerators were just a cold spot to keep your milk? Well, a few brands are recognizing the changing tastes of Americans and the growing role of the kitchen in today’s home with innovations that are convenient and just plain cool!

If you’re like me, you might start second guessing your current model and cursing it for not anticipating your every beverage or grocery shopping need.

Samsung SodaStream refrigerator

samsungfridge462x347_feature2For others like me who like a little pep in their water, the idea of a sparkling water-dispensing Samsung refrigerator is amazing.

You may select up to three levels of carbonation for sparkling water using the same control panel you would use to select water or ice. The sparkling water dispenser uses a standard SodaStream 60L CO2cylinder that rests in a small, concealed area inside the left refrigerator door, which is easily accessible to change when empty.

No more taking up precious fridge space with bottled and canned sparkling water nor creating all that packaging waste; now water dispenses on demand. In addition, you’ll ultimately save money (ultimately…) because sparkling water gets pricey and the cylinder refills aren’t that bad.

GE hot water dispensing refrigerator

gefridgeJust as easily as you can have cold water at the touch of the button, the GE hot water dispenser fridge means no more microwaving water or heating it on the stove for common needs! Think baby formula for gosh sakes. You’ll pour hot, filtered water from your fridge dispenser in minutes. How easy is that?

With four pre-programmed settings for the most common food and drinks, hot water is dispensed at a perfectly accurate temperature every time.

hotwater_temps

Simply select your temperature setting, then use the knob to dispense up to 10 ounces of perfectly heated water.

Plus, water is purified through the only refrigeration filter tested and verified to remove 98% of five trace pharmaceuticals* from water and ice, offering added peace of mind for your family.

The refrigerator comes in both standard-depth and counter-depth styles to suit your kitchen.

LG WiFi LCD screen fridge

lg-refrigerator-lfx28995st-large01lcd-food-management465x265Don’t you hate it when you’re at the grocery store and you think you have sour cream in your fridge but how old is it really? Wouldn’t it be sweet to access that information and an inventory of all your fridge’s contents from your smartphone? (Answer: yes, it would be sweet).

This LG French door refrigerator uses a 10″ WiFi enabled LCD display to manage calendars, check the weather, download recipes from The Food Channel, leave digital notes (“stop drinking out of the milk carton!” or “save that cake for Saturday’s party!!!”) and display family photos. Oh and yes, the “food management system” will help you remember what you have and how long it’s good for. From there, you can create shopping lists that can also be accessed via your smart phone. Super smart, right?

Baking Tips: How To Soften Butter

microwaving-butter

Betcha didn’t think Christmas cookie baking could be improved with your microwave.

This weekend, the ladies in the Warner family attempted to start a tradition of Christmas cookie baking.

Baking Christmas cookies takes a lot of planning and shopping and measuring and mixing and of course, baking (which includes cooling and sometimes rotating, if your oven lacks convection).

My soon-to-be sister-in-law chose to make these Russian Tea Cakes for the first time ever. The recipe calls for a cup of softened butter, but because we were making 6 dozen instead of 4 dozen, we needed a cup and a half of softened butter (that’s a lot). And although I am  horrible baker, she asked me a question I could actually answer:

How do you soften butter without melting it?

Because of our early morning start, the butter I brought to my mom’s was still refrigerator-hard. So we needed to intercede.

Perhaps your experience with softening butter in the microwave involves you — nose pressed up against the glass — nuking the flavorful fat ingredient in short intervals and praying it doesn’t melt.

Softening gone wrong

Softening gone wrong

But that’s not how it’s supposed to be at all.

Soften a stick of butter by microwaving it for a minute at 10% power.

Soften a stick of butter by microwaving it for a minute at 10% power.

To soften our cup and a half of butter, we microwaved each stick for a minute a piece at 10% power.

Based on your microwave, you might want to amp up to 20% and adjust the time or even use the defrost setting (which is 30% power).

Later, we also adjusted our microwave power to soften cream cheese for Peanut Butter Balls (which are amazing, by the way).

Microwave power levels can also come in handy for reheating foods, I’ve found. Foods like pizza and French fries revive less soggier when microwaved longer at lower power.

Try it out!

Share your tried and true baking tips in the comments section below. 

What Is the Best Dishwasher?

According to Google, inquiring minds want to know: what’s the best dishwasher?

Well, if you read “leading consumer publications,” you already know.

Bosch Ascenta dishwashers top the Consumer Reports’ dishwasher ratings list.

And the cool thing about Bosch dishwashers is all that performance comes packaged in an award-winning design that also is recognized for its excellence in conserving water and energy.

>> see Bosch’s full trophy case here

Bosch likes to think that all its consumers enjoy these awards, because of the daily rewards they represent in dependability and simplicity and all that good stuff.

And did we mention these dishwashers are quiet? Babies love Bosch. Don’t believe us?

Bosch dishwasher

Shop Bosch dishwashers at Warners’ Stellian.