Decorating With Appliances: My Love/Hate Relationship

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Last week my dishwasher touch panel started acting up. On Friday – it died.  You know what that means, don’t you? Something I hardly ever have to do –

I had to wash and dry ALL the dishes, pots, and pans we have used since then by hand!

It has been life altering.  :)

I don’t even have a dish drying rack in my house, that is how much I take my dishwasher for granted. It is always there, I never even think twice about how much easier it makes my life.

White-Kitchens Decorating Ideas

So instead of working on fun projects over the weekend, Ed and I were in a “lets see if we can fix it” mode.  Ed is very handy and can usually fix things – not this time, though – gotta call the Maytag repairman today.

This is where the hate part of my relationship with decorating with appliances comes in. Will it just require a new part, say for $170 dollars, plus labor $100 – $150 an hour for the in-house service visit? A few hundred dollars later – Cha-ching…cha-ching!  This scenario gets me to thinking, Will it be more cost effective to just buy a brand new dishwasher and save the frustration of having to pay for the service visit, just to have the repairman say – “Can’t be fixed, you will need a new one.” Double cha-ching!

Decisions decisions…

It has been a long time running this love/hate relationship with my household appliances.  I am sure you know what I am talking about. We love them, since they make our life easier, but hate them when they stop working or start looking dated as the cha-ching factor can be quite steep.

When we first moved into our house – I picked out a nice Tappan range that was in our budget.   I remember after about 14 years of living with it, I starting to navigate to the shiny appliance aisles at Lowes and Sears just to see what was new in the way of oven/ranges.  I was dreaming of a new stove, but with two college educations to pay for, it was just a fantasy since the classic white one I had worked perfectly fine.

Then one day, around 6 months later – it stopped working – just like that, honestly I did nothing to it. Ed tried to fix it and when I heard the words come out of his mouth, “We are going to have to get a new one” – I did a happy dance – literally,  time to celebrate –  Oh! happy, happy day – I could finally have the shiny new oven I was dreaming about.  This is the Love part of the relationship.  I polished it every day, took photos of it, got special cleaner to keep it shiny and new.   Life was good.  I still love it. It is a GE.

Painted Kitchen Cabinet tutorial

My friend Debbie has lived in her house about 3 years longer than I have in mine. Both our homes were brand new when we moved in, so all the appliances were bought at the same time. I remember her saying around her 12 year mark, that all of her appliances started to stop working – one after the other.   It is like they have an internal time bomb program placed in them that says after 12 years – start acting up and/or stop working.

About 3 years after hearing Debbie’s appliance break down woes – like clockwork my Kitchen Aid microwave went first, dishwasher next,  then the oven, washer and dryer, and now the dishwasher again.

How to Clean a Refrigerator

The only appliance that has hummed along happily without any problems (I hate even writing it here, as I don’t want to jinx it) after the 19 year mark is our Whirlpool refrigerator. It is the only original appliance left in our house.

To thank her for her years of fine uninterrupted service, I decided to give her some love over the weekend. She is not quite vintage, but after 19 years, she is getting a lot closer to being included in that classification. Her gaskets still seal the doors tight.  She is doing remarkably well.

Kitchen-with-white-painted cabinets

supplies needed to clean a refrigerator:

My refrigerator cleaning tools of choice that have helped me to get all the crud, dried spills, and other gunk off the tight and recessed surfaces.

  • toothpicks
  • razor blade
  • scouring pads


I removed everything, tossed all the sauces and bottles of stuff I bought to make a new recipe and never used again. Washed the glass shelves in the sink, scrubbed the outside, and vacuumed the underside.  Top to bottom she got the best cleaning she has had in a long time.

Cleaning a refrigerator

She runs smoothly, but has a few blemishes – a rust spot under the water dispenser. Fixed that with some appliance touch-up paint.

Rustoleum Appliance-Touch-Up-Paint

There is also a crack in one of her door shelves – nothing some duct tape could not fix. Wish I still had some Herringbone duct tape left – could have fixed her in style.

Uses for Duct-Tape

She is shiny, shiny, shiny now inside. If my girls were home, they may think we got a new fridge – she is so shiny.


I keep opening her up, just to see the efforts of all my scrubbing.  It makes me smile to see her so clean.

Now I have to make some love happen on the other side of the kitchen.

Affordable Kitchen Decorating Ideas

I am going to call Maytag after I post this and see what the repair is going to cost for a 6 year old dishwasher. I know it will be at least a few hundred dollars.  Love/Hate – which way to go.

Will keep you posted.

What is the oldest appliance in your house. Any over 19 years?


Related Posts:

How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets


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  1. 21 year old house—21 year old Whirlpool refrigerator. Still doing a good job. Always was too small for a family of five. It’s not the one we ordered when we built this house in 1992. Our cabinets were built so that that they are just a bit too small, so the larger refrigerator we ordered had to go back to the store the day we moved in.

    1. Hi Betsy – Same thing with our Whirlpool fridge. Luckily the contractor on the site had some extra time and took out the cabinets above the fridge and refitted them so the fridge would fit. If he was not willing to do that – I would have had to send it back and choose a new one, too.

  2. In our neighborhood, dishwashers are the first to go and only last about 5 years. Since our houses are all about the same age – 25 years, we enjoy comparing how long things last. The only original I have left is our Kenmore dryer. It has lasted 23 years and through 3 kids. We replaced the refrigerator when the gasket tore and it was 75% of the cost of a new refrigerator to replace it.

  3. Gosh, I know whatcha mean! I bought my house 3 years ago. It had a brand new fridge. The double oven & cooktop are about 12 years old, so now you have me worried – lol! Listen to this: the dishwasher is….28 years old! I looked it up based on the serial number. It actually works better than any dishwasher I’ve ever had, but it sounds like a jet engine when it’s running! I tell everyone she has a butter face – ugly, but her body works just fine. :)
    PS – Just discovered your blog recently & I’m really enjoying it.

  4. My mom’s fridge is, I believe, as old me – so that would be 36 :) It still keeps lettuce better than any fridge I’ve ever had!!! I really don’t think they make things to last like they used to.

  5. Our oldest appliance in our house when we moved in was the washing machine and dryer. We’re pretty sure they were original to the home, so 30 years! They were so worn, that all of the writing on them was worn off, so it was often hit or miss if my clothes got clean. We used it for about a month before I made my husband do the laundry one day. The next day, we went shopping for shiny new ones!