In fact, today we took another preparatory step and picked up our new dishwasher from the appliance warehouse. Our current dishwasher is fairly large and the kind that you roll over to the sink on casters when you need to do a wash. We wanted to get a built-in washer, and we also needed one that was more compact so that it would fit in a spot next to the sink.
First, we looked on the Flex Your Power website to see what rebates might be available (looks like a $30 mail-in rebate from SoCalGas is what we'd get). Next, I headed over to the Energy Star website to find out what compact dishwasher models were energy and water-efficient enough to qualify. They have a nice search function on the Energy Star site, so it was easy to find what I was looking for.
After poking around a bit on the Internet, we decided on a Fisher & Paykel model. It's a drawer-style dishwasher with two washing compartments that each hold six place settings. You can choose to run one or both drawers, depending on what you need to wash. Each drawer uses less than 2 gallons of water per wash cycle, and it has a delay-cycle function, so we can wash dishes in the middle of the night when other power use is low.
We got the model that allows you to make your own custom fronts, so Dakota will make fronts for the dishwasher drawers to match our cabinets. You'll barely be able to tell the dishwasher is there. And, it'll be right next to the sink for easy loading.
This dishwasher wasn't cheap (although we found a good deal), but since Dakota is doing all the labor himself, and because we have aquired some other materials as gifts or trades, we won't have to spend a lot of money on anything else.
If all goes according to plan, the only other major expense, besides the wood for the cabinets, will be a new faucet. We analized that situation today, and I think we're leaning towards something from a company called Hansgrohe. I'll let you know what we decide.