Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Shallow Depth Refrigeration Part 4

Last week and earlier this week, we covered the three styles of shallow depth refrigeration: Regular, professional and integrated.

But what do the space starved urbanites consider? LG used to manufacture a 24 inch 11 cubic foot bottom freezer, but not in stainless. Look at this stainless bottom freezer from Germany, Blomberg. This is a very good alternative for consumers who actually have no alternatives(other than to demolish their kitchen and start over)

Great replacement piece.


The Joys of Being an American Consumer

As trade becomes more global, we become more dependent on other places(duh). As a consumer, China and Europe should be areas of concern for very different reasons.

The Euro is now 1.5-1 to the American dollar, which means European vacations, Swiss Army knifes and Gucci purses now cost 50% more. In the appliance business, Electrolux, Bosch and Miele have announced price increases. Miele is actually quite significant at 13%

China has the opposite problem. They have overstripped their capacity to produce. Factories have been idle, because of a lack of power. Plan on more lead time for basic commodities.

It should be interesting especially around Christmas....BTW, word of advice: Join our mailing list before next Wednesday.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Geminis and Double Ovens

A 30 inch oven is pretty easy to understand. There is a backguard, burners and storage drawer. Flash back 8 or so years, and the then independent Maytag company built the revolutionary product...The Gemini. Its a fancy name for a simple product. Instead of a storage drawer, Maytag added a second oven. Unfortunately, they also placed the knobs on the surface, so you have less area for the burners

Have a look:


Frigidaire and GE have since redesigned the range with the burner controls on the face. The GE has better features, but Frigidaire at $1289 (less rebates) is the best buy.

The Green Kitchen....Final

Lets return to this new Green Kitchen. First, there was an article in the Wall Street Journal about the construction lagging on for 484 days. Actually the duration for us was less than 6 weeks. For review this kitchen is totally sustainable from the bamboo floors and pendants to the marble.

Have a look(again)...This time look at the lighting in particular

New green kitchen

Now guess how many watts...I threw in my whole lighting presentation from Innovation 08 for no extra charge. The actual Green Part is only the first few slides

Total wattage is 240 watts....Incandescent equivalent is 1342.


Bulb replacement: Incandescent 7 months, fluorescent 7 years, LED 20 years.

Heat output: Incandescent 300 degrees, Fluorescent 100 degrees, LED zero heat.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Shallow Depth Refrigeration Part 3...Integrated

Integrated is the last of three posts dedicated to shallow depth refrigeration. An integrated refrigerator is totally hidden by the cabinets. The doors in other shallow depths will protrude.

In other words, an integrated refrigerator will disappear behind a cabinet. You can also buy these units in columns in different dimensions and place these products at point of use(appliance term for wherever you want). The main brands are Thermador, Bosch, Gaggenau and SubZero.

Have a look:

Pro Versus Integrated

Pro v Integrated

An interesting video explanation..(interesting is always a relative term)

Monday, May 26, 2008

The EnergyStar

Look at this Bosch washer:

Bosch Washer

Now guess how much it costs to operate?

Bosch Washer

You are probably thinking...Yeah, but it is way smaller than my present top loader. Wrong thought. The new Bosch 24 inch front loaders are 3.2 cubic foot in capacity. Your top loader is 2.4-2.5 without the agitator, uses about $100-150 more in electricity, 30 gallons more water and requires more detergent as well. The Bosch spins at 1200 RPM as opposed to 400, so the clothes require less drying time.

One last note: The Bosch is gentler on your clothes, because it does not have an agitator.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Shallow Depth Refrigeration..Part 2

As we said in Wednesdays post, there are three types of shallow depth refrigerators: Regular, professional and integrated. Todays' post is professional style shallow depth refrigeration.

Pro style really just refers to the compressors being on top. In this way, it just emulates a commercial refrigerator. Most of these products are similar in function to a regular refrigerator. SubZero is the exception with 2 compressors instead of one, magnetized crispers and a vacuum seal.

Typically, this product becomes the focal point of a kitchen, as it is 84 inches tall. The most common brands are SubZero, Viking, Monogram, Thermador and KitchenAid Have a peek:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Change Of Styles

Have a look at these two pictures

Wolf Kitchen

Wolf Kitchen

These pictures are snapshots of the same Wolf kitchen in our store. We changed the display last week. Although traditional woods are not exactly my taste, a couple of interesting conclusions can be drawn from this display

1. Stainless steel matches everything

2. Lighting defines the space. You are looking at Hudson Valley chrome pendants and white beehives and Juno low voltage bronze recessed lighting.

3. Today's' style is eclectic....In other words, traditional and modern elements can be used in the same space effectively.

A few more pics...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Shallow Depth Refrigerators Part 1

First of a three part series on shallow depth refrigerators. Shallow depth refrigerators have become the standard in upscale kitchens, because the chassis of the refrigerator does not protrude in the room. This leaves a more linear look in the kitchen.

Lets simplify the category and segment as well. Shallow depth refrigerators are available in three styles: Regular shallow depth, which is a basic refrigerator only shallow, professional or refrigerator with compressors on the top and integrated which is totally hidden. Lets review what I call regular shallow depth products in todays post.

The regular shallow is the least expensive and most popular of the three and is available in a side by side and French door. Brands available are Bosch, GE, LG, JennAir, KitchenAid, Viking, Dacor, Frigidaire and Electrolux

Some pictures for your viewing pleasure:

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Andy Warhol Hoods?

The Eco-Green post probably wasn't enough for the typical Yale blogger, so how about some interesting vents.

A Campbell's' soup can as a vent...Not sure the reason of why this constitutes art, but it is a fun piece.

Tomato Soup

Knives are less of a stretch, but again art seems to be in the eyes of the beholder.


Eco Yale

Part of being a truly Green company is eliminating toxic cleaners and cleaning solutions. We have effectively accomplished this as well as buying more recycled paper, cups etc.

The one problem is stainless cleaner. Stainless is tough to keep looking clean. Traditional cleaners cannot maintain stainless without streaking, but stainless cleaners tend to have a lab full of chemicals.

After much research, we found a totally Green stainless cleaner...now known as Yale Eco Clean. It is actually 40 wipes and prevents staining and corrosion.

Yale Eco-Clean

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Worlds First Induction Range

As you know from earlier posts, I am a fan of induction. Electric is 55% efficient, Gas 60% and induction is 90%, and this has ramifications in kitchen planning. Less residual heat means less venting required.

Induction is also the fastest to boil, easiest to simmer and child safe. Unfortunately, induction has only been available in a cooktop until now

Behold, the new Diva 36 inch induction range. Just as a FYI, the 5 induction burners are the equivalent of a 90,000 BTU top or a 6 burner professional cooktop.

Diva Range

Great post on the benefits of induction.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Innovation 08 Part 3

It should be a good weekend to shop for appliances. We have chefs, workshops and 0% financing to name a few reasons. There are tons of new products, and most of them are affordable...But lets look at a few new products.

Bosch stainless dishwasher starting at $449.

Bosch Dishwasher

$500 Rebates off select Electrolux packages.


$100 instant rebates on all KitchenAid and JennAir french door refrigerators(that is on top of some other package rebates from the factory.)

NXR professional ranges starting at $1999.

NXR Range

NXR Range

How about some cool hoods.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Green Kitchen....Almost Done

I love big sales events. All the projects for Innovation 08 have to be completed by Friday at 5 PM, so it is fun to watch the mad scramble. Although we have revamped 3 displays, hung about 75 new fixtures and added about 40 new appliances, my favorite is this Green Kitchen.

Have a look:

Green Kitchen

I like it, because the lighting creates the environment. The bamboo pendants look great and they use 13 watt fluorescent bulbs. The recessed is 12 watt LED instead of 100 watt incandescent. This Boston kitchen dispels the notion that fluorescent is ugly or LED is too dim. To encourage people to embrace this new technology, we will be selling any fluorescent or LED product at 10% off this weekend.

Just for fun...Look at this kitchen in stages.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Chinese Pros

Part of what people will see this weekend at Innovation 08 are prototypes and brand new products unseen by consumers. NXR is the first professional range imported from China. It seems to have good specifications and an unbelievable price at $1999.

Because we are the servicer provider, I am concerned about initial quality. At a 20-30% discount versus competitive products, NXR will certainly not be the last company to manufacture in China

Have a look

NXR Range

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Innovation 08: Outlet

As most know, we have a pretty liberal return policy. We do not charge restocking fees, if a consumer makes a mistake. Of course, this adds a piece or two per day. We are now dedicating the first floor of our store to these open units.

The Yale Outlet will be open on Saturdays only from 9-11 starting this Saturday...Have a look.

Innovation Carbonation

In our zest to display the latest and greatest for this weekends event(dubbed by our GE rep Innovation 08)....We bring the worlds first and only carbonated beverage dispenser. My girlfriend drinks carbonated water, and I am not a fan.

The Everpure is different, because the water is fresh, light and tasty.

Have a look...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Run Some Track

For task applications, there are really only two applications; recessed and track lighting..For years track was the less attractive of the two. In the late 80s, manufacturers started using the smaller low voltage(MR) bulbs, so the actual fixtures are more streamlined and a lot less bulky than their earlier counterparts.

Then a company named Tech Lighting started accessorizing with stainless rail and multiple colors and pendants, so track became almost an art...Have a look.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Green Kitchen Stage 2

Look at this almost completed kitchen. As I have said
in previous posts,
this will be a totally Green kitchen....But what is involved for a kitchen to be called Green?

Lets look:

Green Kitchen

Counters: Marble chip or recycled marble.

Green Kitchen

Tile: Actually recycled sea glass.

Green Kitchen

Cabinets: MDF particle board with a wood laminate front...Looks pretty good.

Green Kitchen

Floor: Bamboo..as I have said in the last post bamboo is sustainable and grows back in about a year.

Appliances: Bosch Energystar

Lights: When installed, the fluorescent pendants and LED undercabinet lights will emit about 50 watts...Not bad when you consider the incandescent equivalent will be about 600 watts.

Friday, May 09, 2008

How to Buy Appliances...Part 9

Look at this person for a second:

If you are shopping for a new kitchen, you are about to have a 3-6 month relationship with one of these people. He/She is your salesperson(or about to be).

You are not shopping at Sears, Lowes, Best Buy or even Yale. You are shopping with this person. He/she will recommend products, interface with your builder, contractor, electrician and cabinet person, schedule your deliveries and straighten any issues. He/She is the face of your experience.

A few questions to consider before placing an order(that is the best time to ask).

1. Are they knowledgeable? With the internet, consumers have become better informed, but everyone needs help form an informed and neutral third party...which brings us to the next question.

2. Are they actually neutral? There are some heavy direct incentives being thrown around, especially by lesser known companies. So if you are being steered...it is a reason for concern...(we do not carry unknowns or allow extra direct payments to our associates. In these cases, we will cut the price by the extra incentive).

3. How good are they at returning calls? But wait there is more...If they are off, do they have someone to assist? You will have plumbers and electricians in your home. Waiting around for a return call will cost you money.

I could delve into dress and overall deportment, but that might be unfair. Personally, I think salespeople should dress and behave in an overall professional way towards their guests, but most people think I am somewhat strict.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Electrolux Part Three

I already posted a review on this range, but it is particularly note worthy.

Electrolux Range

18,000 BTU(if your range is 8 years or older, then this range is twice as powerful). convection, two ovens, an incredibly low 450 BTU simmer and really intuitive controls.

The rest of the line for now:


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

French Provincial Ranges

Lets have a post about something other than stainless steel. The Europeans actually have different styles of products...For simplicity , lets call them French Provincial.

Perhaps the most famous is AGA. It is also English. Designed for farmhouses in Northern England, this range also serves as a heater as well. AGA employs natural convection instead of fans and is actually a great stove to use. Then again it is $20,000 and up, so it should be part of the expectation.

AGA Range

But what if you want the look of French Provincial without spending the money. AGA manufactures a lesser featured range as does Bertazzoni. Two great options in the upscale, but not stainless steel market.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Aesthetic Value of LED Lighting

Have a look at this cornice.

LED Tape

LED Tape

The difficult part about ambient(aka up lighting) has always been the fixture. The idea is easy. However, lights require bulbs, which require fixtures and so on..Typically unless there is a lip, you will see light and the fixture, which is aesthetically unpleasing.

What if there could be light without a fixture? In our previous posts, we have discussed the energy efficiency of LED. It is more efficient than any other light source. A 3-5 watt LED is about as efficient as a 50 watt incandescent bulb. LEDs also do not emit any heat and are cool to the touch(the outer skin of an incandescent will heat to 300 degrees)

But look at the design options of having a light without a housing....

Start saving on LED home lighting at our Boston Lighting appliance store

Monday, May 05, 2008

The True Cost of Appliances

The answer to that question is: I don't really know anymore. One of the minor benefits to any economic downturn is pricing becomes more flexible from manufacturers to consumers. In our industry, this is manifested in rebates. Even car companies are not as bold as appliance manufacturers in rebating products.

Even a brand like Bosch is not aloof anymore. Have a look at the pictures below.

You are looking at a double oven with convection, integrated dishwasher, over the range microwave hood and gas cooktop. What was $5,200 last year is now $3,999 after rebates.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The Best Gas Slide In ranges

Slide in ranges were once dominated by JennAir and Frigidaire...Frigidaire for price and JennAir for quality. In the last few months, there seems to be many more choices including a brand new Electrolux range as well as GE Cafe.

But which one is best?

I look at this 2 ways. Which range has the best features, and then the best overall kitchen package

Frigidaire: Still the best price with power burner, warming drawer and convection. Great rebates depress the price further when adding more pieces, but choices for refrigeration are limited

JennAir/KitchenAid: Still great names with great features. Although they are not the newest and therefore the "hottest", JennAir/KitchenAid have great kitchen packages with very good dishwashers, french door refrigerators and tons of rebates.

GE Cafe: Great specs with 4 burners, a griddle burner and finally some very good complimentary pieces. GE does not have an especially robust rebate program, however, and is more expensive than comparable pieces.

Bosch: Great name, but the range is just ok...However, Bosch has never been more affordable.

Electrolux: Great style and great features...18,000 BTU burner with the best simmer and 2 ovens. However, a tough range to package in an overall kitchen. Still this is a product worth considering.

Bronze Vs. Stainless

Same JennAir kitchen...two pictures.

Stainless has become the high end finish, and this picture illustrates the reason. It is a brighter, cleaner match than white, black, bisque or almond. The proprietary finishes like Viking Blue, Wolf carbon or Bertazoni red are too limited to become the standard.

What do you think?