Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Yale Home Show...A Yale PSA

The 9th Annual Yale Home Show sponsored by Electrolux February 7-16

If you have never been to a Yale Home Show, it is well worth a visit.

Each weekend, we have some of New England’s best chefs cooking in our 9 kitchens showcasing different cooking techniques on all the major brands like Wolf, Viking, GE Monogram, Miele, JennAir and Electrolux. This is our best lineup yet with Ming Tsai of Blue Ginger, Jay Murray of Grill 23, Paul Turano of Tryst, Steve Brand of Upstairs on the Square, and Nelson Cognac of Kouzina.

We will also concentrate on newer technologies like LED lighting, speed cooking and induction. We will teach you how to plan recessed and track lighting for your home. Vendors from every manufacturer will be on hand to answer any questions.

If you want to see how appliances really operate, need some technical expertise for a house plan or are just looking for a great deal, The Yale Home Show is a great place to start or finish your project.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Free With Purchase.

You remember Cracker Jacks. Back in the day, I would buy boxes of that stuff just for the free prize (still love caramel popcorn).

Anyway, in a recession manufacturers have two solutions to declining sales. They could build more compelling products, which is a long range fix.

In the short term, however,they could package current products and bonus an item at no charge. Have a look...

Dacor..Buy a wall oven and a cooktop, and the $1300 warming drawer is yours for no extra charge.

Thermador...This company seems to have a whole bunch of promotions. For simplicity sake, buy any 36 or 48 inch professional stove, and receive a integrated $1300 dishwasher with their compliments.

Starts in February....

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


So you are buying, thinking of buying or have purchased a new dryer. New dryers with the moisture sensors will save you a ton of money, but how about replacing the duct. The duct is that slinky looking thing in back of the dryer.

That duct probably has a number of years of lint inside, which can decrease the efficiency. Lint can also be ignited at worst case.

How much to buy and install this little package of prevention?...about $30

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Yale Home Show

Years ago, we were in the Home Show at The Bayside for years. As we upgraded and enlarged the showroom, it seemed like a good idea to have a home show in the store

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Trouble With Style

So I was talking to Ken and Dave yesterday. They were buying a professional range and wanted a triangular or chimney style hood. That should not be a problem in our store, we only display about 20 of them....

Unfortunately, chimney hoods are a European creation, and typically kitchens across the pond do not have professional ranges. Thus, they are only 19-21 inches deep, which is too shallow for properly venting a professional range.

Their only choice is a BEST K4236. Best is 24 inches deep and 1100 CFM.

Small tip for proper ventilation:

1. Decent motor. Measurement is CFM or cubic foot per minute (how many cubes of air are passed through the hood in 1 minute)

2. Capture area. In a pro application, minimum 24 inches depth.

3. Duct Run: Straight runs are measurably better as bending duct decreases efficiency.

4. Duct Size: Minimum 6 inch round...The larger vents require 8-10 inch round.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Short Ceilings

Lets see...we have covered angled ceilings for recessed, small spaces for appliances, so how about short ceilings for fans.

Paddle fans can save money by lowering the perceived temperature across your skin like a wind chill. The opposite is true in the winter as the air will be recirculated when the fan is reversed.

For shorter ceilings, buy a ceiling "hugger" (actual industry term). Ceiling huggers are mounted on the ceiling itself without extension poles. This shortens the fans by about 6-12 inches and allows them to be placed in shorter applications..Best manufacturers for selection are Minka, Modern Fan and Casablanca.

Have a look...

Remember fans create wind chill, not actual lower temperature, so shut them off when you leave the room.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

You Need These

So your ceiling is sloped, and you want task lighting. You can suspend track on cable (expensive) or you can buy recessed lighting.

With recessed, you need to buy a specific sloped ceiling housing. There are actually two depending on how radical the slope.

Pics (at no extra charge).

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Equal Yet Not The Same

Have a look at some compact (24 inch) laundry...

One should stand out. The Bosch WAS2016 is 3.2 cubic feet or almost a cube bigger than the others.

The set is also the cheapest at $1499.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dallas Lighting Show

Twice a year, the lighting buyers from around the world descend to the Dallas Trade Mart to purchase new products. Its a cross between fashion and hardware. And guess what?

Its dying.

Back in the 1980s, lighting manufacturers started outsourcing their production and designs to China. 20 plus years later, half the brands look the same as the manufacturing is centrally sourced. Now add an economic downturn, and there are real problems in this industry.

Retailers also deserve part of the blame. Lack of training (does anyone know anything in this industry) and investment in display and infrastructure have doomed the lighting store as a destination.

Together, their industry lobbying group (ALA) has lobbied against banning the incandescent bulb and have failed to aggressively promote energy efficient products like LED.

Still, open enough clams and you will find some pearls. Out of 300 plus displays, there are maybe 15 relevant product lines. A few of tomorrows pearls...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Wall Ovens On The Fly

Have a Look

We must have 20+ of these units on display. All have convection oven (fan forced heat for more even cooking)

Brief marketing differences:

Wolf: Two convection fans for more even cooking, reversible control panel and pizza stone.

Miele: Best, most intuitive control panels, rotisserie.

Bosch: Style and price.

KitchenAid: Decent controls and price point.

Electrolux: Great racks and wave touch control panel.

Viking: Pro look.

Gaggenau: Side opening(easier access) and ultra modern style.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I was startled by our latest survey. 26-1 people said price was more important than financing. We may have no choice anyway. The free cash era is pretty much over.

The key to acquiring financing is asset basis. For consumers, the key asset is your home. With real estate appreciating, banks were willing to take risks(boy were they ever). With an uncertain real estate picture, banks are becoming almost too conservative. With pendulum swinging in this direction financing has becoming increasingly difficult.

So don't feel bad if you cannot acquire credit, because cash is king almost by default

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Great Lighting...Part 8

The YaleBlog is probably 70% appliance related. In this sequence, you will see a SubZero integrated refrigerator, Wolf cooktop, Bosch dishwasher, Franke farm sink, Best hood and Bosch dishwasher in an island setting.

Looks great.

Now look at the lighting. As I have posted previously, task lighting can be accomplished with recessed or track. In this slope ceiling application, we used bendable monorail track with cable supports and track heads with custom color accessories.

In an upscale environment, lighting sets the mood.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Your Choice...Seriously

I will occasionally work on the sales floor to sharpen my dwindling skills. What I would buy seems to be the question Du jour. So lets look at this GE Advantium as a case in point.

The GE Advantium will cook 4 times faster than a regular oven. It has simple preset cooking programs, so it is easy to operate....My question to you (and you to yourself)

Would you use it? (assuming it fits)

If the answer is no, then spend $300 less for a simple microwave.

If yes, does it fall within you budget...If not, look above.

If yes, certainly consider it. (don't worry, we will show you how to use it)

Monday, January 12, 2009

Draw it

There seems to be tons of appliance related drawers in the market these days. This seems to be novelty worth a post.

Have a look:

Refrigerator (as well as freezer and in some cases wine) drawers are currently manufacturered by SubZero, Electrolux, Marvel and Uline. I actually see the value in an island especially for children. The prices are $1500-3400, so you will be paying more.

Dishwasher drawers are produced by Fisher-Paykel, who in turn manufacturers the product for KitchenAid. The product is worthwhile ergometrically. You do not have to bend for smaller loads, but at $1400, Miele and Bosch are better products.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Small Spaces Part 2

How does a guy have 10 tacos, 3 rum drinks, an enchilada, pork dumplings, chips and salsa, part of 2 desserts and then call me wondering if the restaurant may have served tainted food?

What Dave lacks in culinary restraint is compensated by his ability to maximize a small space. Lets look at an upscale application to solving the space issue.

The key to maximizing space is the island. He places his bar refrigerator and compactor in the island. I also like this kitchen for its eclectic style. On one hand, you have contemporary stainless steel pro appliances blended nicely with traditional glass jar pendants.

Want more?

Living room...Once again, a nice blend of style, crystal fixtures and sconces in a contemporary setting. Dave is Proforma construction (phone 289-9100)..Just don't join him for $2 taco night at Tremont 647.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Perils of Growth

Want to hear an interesting story? Bosch is pretty much a new company to the US, having entered the market in the early 1990s. Their dishwasher was the first to be both quiet and affordable. They were the first to introduce style into the industry.

Bosch internal average growth projections was 62% per year. Think about that. Its like doubling your volume every 14 months. I think of the logistics, customer support, repair, warehousing and can only think of one word....chaos.

Somehow they managed. Until 2008. Now how do you grow in a shrinking market.

You cut the price....Have a look.

This is $3699 after $1100 in rebates....a savings of 23%.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Small Spaces For Less

Meet Dave Kiley. Dave serves many purposes. He is (the best) part friend and part customer. Dave is also my next door neighbor and is a nut about home improvement, especially lighting and appliances.

He is also extraordinarily talented and perhaps the best contemporary renovator in Boston. Look what he does in a small space.

Samsung French door refrigerator, Miele dishwasher, Bosch cooktop, Thermador wall oven and Best hood.

Dave is a style conscious, upscale guy. In a $4500 per month rental, it is somewhat expected...but lets spend less and still have a great look.

By replacing the Thermador with a Bosch oven, Zephyr for Best, Bosch(or GE Monogram) for the Miele and LG for Samsung, we can save about $3500.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Bath Lighting Part 7

Most of the time, there are no wrong ways to renovating with lighting...The only exceptions would be in true task applications like kitchens and bathrooms...

You can err big time with improper illumination.

Case in point...The Hotel Agua in Cancun, Mexico...Have a gander.

One recessed is placed in the center of the mirror, which creates a shadow effect. You can use recessed over a bath mirror...Just place one on either side of the mirror. Otherwise the place is really nice(had to throw in the view)

Lets look at a better application:

This awful pic is actually my bathroom....Note the lights on the side. This is the proper application for makeup, shaving, etc.

Now lets light it for under $200 (yes for two).

Friday, January 02, 2009


Hard to believe it has been 599 posts and two years since the YaleBlog was started in late 2006. Every 100 posts or so, I like to affirm our mission. Not surpriseingly, it has changed somewhat since the inception.

When we first started, the blog was about honest comparisons between products as there is conflicting information on the web.

Now as times have changed dramatically, we have emphasized being cost efficient and using products to distinguish your project/house versus your neighbors

Either way, we will always be unbiased and impartial in our reviews

Have a good weekend