We ended up having to purchase several new appliances for this house. These ended up being rather interesting.
First of all, we knew we wanted to find some kind of washer and dryer for the place. It didn't come with laundry facilities, and given the frequency with which the three of us go through clothes and with which the cats throw up on things, we didn't want to deal with the major hassle and expense of a laundromat. On the other hand, the only place to put a washer was in the kitchen; that's where the water outlet pipe is... and there wasn't really room in the kitchen. So after Tom secured the house with Bob, our landlord, he started looking at ads in the Daily Hampshire Gazette. And we got lucky, because he quickly found a Malber 1000. This is an Italian-made, compact, energy-efficient washer/dryer combo. By "combo" we mean there's only one place to put the clothes; the machine first washes them and then dries them. It has no dryer vent. Yeah. The previous owner had bought it from a local store called Manny's Scratch and Dent, so it's not in perfect condition. But the owner had only used it about 10 times, and was asking for $300 for it, whereas these things sell new for over $1000. Tom made arrangements to pick up the Malber after moving his belongings from Andover to Topping Hollow (and thus have the help of Tom's friend John and the moving truck). We don't look forward to having to move it again, however, as Tom and John discovered that there is literally a concrete block attached to the bottom of the appliance to help weigh it down during the super spin cycle. It's a heavy beast! The only downsides to the Malber have been (1) it leaks water a little bit, (2) it takes a long time to dry things (up to two hours for a full load), and (3) we can't wash thick blankets or comforters because the drum is compact along with the rest of the machine.
Then, after moving into Topping Hollow, we discovered that the refrigerator and stove were not very usable. First of all, the fridge was not in the kitchen. It was in a corner right outside the kitchen. Why? Because it couldn't fit through the kitchen doorway! Hmmm. That was merely annoying, but the fact that there was only one shelf in the fridge made it quite unusable for the three of us. Later on we learned that something was wrong with the stove. Bob had warned us that the stove might be iffy, but only when Sean tried to make scrambled eggs one morning and found it took 30 minutes for the range burners to heat up did we realize that something needed to be done. We had to start looking for a used stove and fridge to buy.
We found an ad placed by someone who had two refrigerators to sell, one a 21 cu ft. side-by-side and the other a 14 cu ft. regular fridge (a Sears Coldspot). Both were very reasonably priced---the owner had just bought a house which came with these appliances and just wanted to get rid of them. Tom had hopes for the side-by-side, but thought the Coldspot would be too small. When sarah-marie and Tom arrived to check out the appliances, it was immediately apparent that the side-by-side was not suitable. The freezer space was huge and the normal fridge space way too small, not even wide enough for a carton of eggs. (In fact, the refrigerator compartment was marked as 14 cu ft.!) This left us without much hope for the Coldspot, but we agreed to look at it anyway.
The owner led us upstairs to a small apartment above the main house which had its own kitchen. It took our breath away. The kitchen looked like it had been designed in the 1950s with art deco splendor. The counters were a shiny bright bakelite yellow with steel trim, and the cabinets (which had large concave silver knobs) were still perfectly aligned. The double sink was spotless white porcelain, and its counter had fold-away extensions, also made of that shiny yellow countertop. And the whole thing looked like it had been installed into an existing space, as if it was portable. The appliances were equally impressive, as you see on the kitchen page. (We wished we could have bought the whole kitchen.) The owner only wanted $75 for the refrigerator. We thought it was worth more than that merely as a collector's item, even if it didn't work. The kitchen also had an oven, an old Kenmore which was in perfect condition and looked like it had barely been used. We asked if the owner would be willing to sell that too, and she said, "Sure! $50." Oh yeah! After checking to see that the burners heated when turned on, and waiting a day to see that the fridge would get cold, we agreed to buy the fridge and oven.
Getting these appliances to Topping Hollow was another adventure. We had to ask a friend with a truck to help us out, except it turned out she didn't have a truck at her disposal, but her parents did, so her parents helped us out. (Some people are so nice!) And getting the fridge out of that small apartment was a real chore. We first tried to get the fridge door off, but this wasn't easy because it has a narrow, oddly-shaped bolt which our vise-grip kept sliding off. So we gave up on that and instead removed the apartment doors from their hinges. But they still weren't wide enough for the fridge to slide through! (Yes, typical old New England house...) So Sean tried attacking the refrigerator door again, and after much sweating (that upstairs apartment had very little ventilation) managed to remove the pesky bolt. Then came the challenge of navigating the fridge down the narrow flight of stairs, which of course had a 90 degree turn half-way down. We first tried using the hand truck our friend's parents had brought along, but this wouldn't make the 90 degree turn. So we dragged it back upstairs and decided to just slide the fridge on the stairs' carpeting. This, amazingly, worked, but we were lucky to neither hurt ourselves nor destroy the bannister on the stairway. In comparison, the stove was a piece of cake. After re-hanging all the apartment doors back on their hinges, we drove our prizes to Topping Hollow and were able to fit them into our own kitchen doorway without trouble. Yes, it was a huge pain, but these two appliances have improved the kitchen tremendously.
Wait! You think that's the end of the story? Ah, but we also had to remove the old useless stove from the kitchen and get the old shelfless fridge into the mudroom. As mentioned earlier, the refrigerator that came with the house lived just outside the kitchen. It turned out that, despite the wide doorways we have to get out of the house, we still had to remove the door of this fridge to get it out. (Although we would have had to remove it anyway, since it's now being stored, unused, in the mud room, and by law the door of a refrigerator must be removed when being stored in this way.) And, of course, it still wouldn't fit through the narrow doorway from the house to the mud room, so we had to carry it outside and then enter the mud room from the rear entrance. The old stove was much less trouble, and we were able to just bring it outside to the stone patio.