Monday, June 25, 2012

To buy or not to buy


Is it getting cold in here, or is it just me? There's nothing I love more than shopping for refrigerators on a hot, summer day, so the clients I worked with last week (when it was a sticky 99 degrees outside) quickly became very, very close friends.  To their shock and awe, refrigerators are as diverse as the people shopping for them, so I find it useful to walk clients through stores that offer many brands, shapes and sizes.  In our neck of the woods Home Depot and Lowe's happen to be those air-conditioned havens for the appliances on our list, so we headed there with critique sheets in hand.  Because shopping for appliances can often feel as daunting as choosing the right school for your kids, I often call in the big guns by popping over to our local bookstore to purchase Consumer Reports.  Later that evening, after a long day of shopping, we chatted about the endless possibilities in refrigeration while sipping on cool vodka tonics.  If you asked most people what kind of refrigerator they wanted, chances are the response would be STAINLESS STEEL.  But, did you know there are over 50 shades of grey in stainless steel?  If you have little kids, do you really want to see finger prints all over your beautiful, new refrigerator? And what kind of refrigerator do you freezer, bottom freezer, side-by-side, single, french-door, under counter drawer units, built-in, ice-maker or not?? Are you brand-specific...GE, Maytag, KitchenAide, Frigidaire, Ikea, Miele??  What is your price-point? $800? $5,000?? Budget usually dictates where the search begins and ends, but that still leaves many questions unanswered.  The key to any big purchase (and, yes, I see a refrigerator as a big purchase) is to do your research, kick some tires (play with them at your local retailer) and ask your friends.  Do you really want an ice maker, for example? Do you know how much maintenance can go into them when they break, how much room they eat up in the freezer, etc.?  Bottom line, before you buy it, research it!
QUICK TIP:  For kicks and giggles, here is a link to the pilot I shot for HGTV called "Buy It" where I walk a couple through the tedious process of choosing items to buy for their laundry room makeover.  (copy and paste link to your browser, or visit my youtube channel by going to and entering "paulhechtdesignsphd" in the search field).