Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Countess of Cakes

Behold the best cake I have eaten (I had 2 pieces for dinner and 2 more pieces for breakfast). Yellow cake, vanilla frosting with homemade lemon curd in the middle.

This cake was made by scratch by Moms friend, Sally. We looked at her kitchen a couples of months ago. Curiously, she baked it in my mothers stove.

Rather than her own (a 48" version of this)

Mom has a 30" dual fuel. Sally has a gas convection. Perhaps this may be a good time to post simple differences and understand the reason why Sally chose to bake in her neighbors range.

Electric: Slower, less responsive top (except induction), but a more even bake, especially in convection. Broiler is not as good.

Gas: Faster top, better broil...bake is not as even as electric, even in convection.

Dual fuel: Best of both, combining the speed of the gas top and the evenness of electric baking. The electric broil is not as good, and the price is more expensive.

Induction: Better than the best. Top is way faster than gas, and the bake is better. But like the dual fuel, induction ranges have electric broilers and are more expensive.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Whats Hot...Whats Not

No, this is not tabloid journalism. Its interesting to see what people are buying and what they are not. From a merchandising point of view, you want to show desirable items.

From your point of view, you do not want to buy a dog especially if you are reselling

Hot..Viking Designer Series.

I am somewhat surprised, because Viking blew the launch 5(?) years ago, but they have redesigned the aesthetics and lowered the pricing to truly market this as a less expensive Viking. This microwave, wall oven and warming drawer is $3999.

Not...GE Single Double

I love this product. Its 2 ovens in a single oven footprint. Actually blogged about it as the next new thing. You do not like it either because you want one bigger oven or two real double ovens. Mea Culpa. The display now exists in outlet at 30% off.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Go Team Yale!!!!

A little blog extra...Congratulations to Team Yale: Danielle Novo, Darcy and Dennis Macdonald and Patty Cherella for completing the Breast Cancer Walk.

60 miles walking.....wow

LED Pendants and The Rose Kennedy Parkway

Captain Ahab had his White Whale. We have been searching for 4 years to find LED pendants people want to purchase for their home. For some reason, the secret is to find LED pendants with good color rendering, actual light output and not for a bazillion dollars.

LED lasts 15-20 years and emits zero heat. Right now, there are only a couple worth buying.

The two latest contestants aren't half bad from WAC Lighting...

Ah, the Rose Kennedy Parkway. For our out of town readers, this was affectionately known as "The Big Dig". What once was an awful, rusty double-deck highway is now a beautiful green space. Cost prohibitive as it is/was (and will forever be until 2037)...it does beautify our fair city immensely.

The pathway lights.....you guessed it...LED.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Kitchen Of The Year...Part 2

Welcome to Monday

Part 2 of our renovation of the House Beautiful "Kitchen of The Year" (video below). In part 1, we specified the best. In part 2, we deliver a very nice kitchen on budget.

Have a Look:

House Beautiful: JennAir JB36NXRW
Yale Beautiful: Bosch B22CS30

Ok, its a side by side...but the Bosch B22 is attractive, counter depth and stainless. At $1700+ after rebates, this unit is around 5-6,000 cheaper than the JennAir.

Wall Oven
House Beautiful: JennAir JJW2830
Yale Beautiful: Bosch HBL3550

Bosch does not have gadgets, just stainless steel and convection. At $2300, it is also $3,000 cheaper than HB.

House Beautiful: JennAir JED3536
Yale Beautiful: Frigidaire FPCC3085

Lets see, ours is 2 burner induction...Theirs is not. Our vent is easier to clean and way more powerful.

House Beautiful: No idea
Yale Beautiful: Majestic M24 and Franke NAX110

Simple, popular D-shape sinks...If I had to guess, you would save probably $3,000-5,000 between this and the HB.

House Beautiful: German import
Yale Beautiful: Tech Lighting canopy with your choice of pendants...

I have been thinking about this one all weekend. Ok, part of the weekend. Look at the canopy and combine it with any pendant to customize your own light.

House Beautiful video

Well, we are at least $15-20,000 less expensive than House Beautiful.

What do you think?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kitchen of The Year Part 1

At the bottom is the video for House Beautifuls "Kitchen of the Year" which is being shown outside Rockefeller Square.

How about a nice long post on how to do this differently?


House Beautiful: JennAir JDB36NXFXRW
Yale Beautiful: SubZero Bi-36

The House Beautiful (HB) is a one-compressor bottom mount. The Yale choice has two compressors and vacuum seal for evenness of temperature. SubZero also has an air scrubber, which scrubs the air keeping food fresher for a longer period of time. It is available in stainless or panelized as shown

Wall Oven:
House Beautiful: JennAir JJW2830
Yale Beautiful: Miele MasterChef

Both have computers, but the Miele has multiple, advanced settings for almost every food imaginable, and is very simple to use.

House Beautiful: JennAir JED3536
Yale Beautiful: Thermador(or any induction cooktop) with a componentary downdraft unit

This is no contest. JennAir is a radiant with downdraft in the unit. We employ induction technology(faster, less heat retention, child safe, etc) with a more powerful and separate downdraft unit...You can almost pick any induction. I like the Thermador or Bosch with the powerful burner in the middle.

House beautiful: No idea
Yale Beautiful: Majestic M33, M2433

Have to admit the island one with the flushing system was cool. Ok very cool, but spend your money elsewher. Island sinks are for veggies, etc...You dont need a flusher. Majestic is big, square with a 17 gauge and cheap.

Decorative Lighting:
House beautiful: The German thing you can not buy in the US
Yale Beautiful: Holtkotter

Kind of torn between a whimsical shaded light and an adjustable LED light...so why not both? BTW, ours are German as well, only you can buy them...here

Overall, the Yale Beautiful has a better, more functional set of appliances, sinks and lighting. Yet it is also more expensive.

How did we do?

Part 2, we will do it again only for way less money.

Track Tunes!!

Want to see something really cool...Have a look.

Look again...

You are looking at a wireless speaker from Tech Lighting (PDF link) which can be plugged into monorail track or monopoint canopy. It can wirelessly be integrated with your iPod, radio, satellite radio, computer etc...

Two speakers, wireless kit and remote control costs $432...additional speakers are $172. We will have 10 in the store by next week.

Tomorrow will be interesting as we look to critique and improve House Beautiful's "Kitchen of The Year".

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New Lighting

I used to think art, architecture and residential products define a period of time. For lighting, it was polished brass in the 80's. Distressed colors like bronze, etc in the 90's. Vibrant colors in the last decade.

Looking at this....It seems we are struggling for a defining style.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Dont Jump

I walked into Yale on Friday and found:

This is in addition to the rebate programs already active for Frigidaire. In other words, some Frigidaire products are way more than 10% off through July 31.

Then again, almost every company has a rebate program, even the venerable brands like Sub/Wolf are offering up to $2500. Even Miele, famous for saying nein, is offering free dishwasher installs and extended warranties.

So when stores are advertising 10 or 20%, in effect the offer is for a rebate program offered by everyone.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Win a Bosch Kitchen

A Saturday Extra (I don't usually post on weekends) at no extra charge.

So we have this contest whereby you can win a kitchen full of Bosch appliances. Now, part of my day is spent looking at landing pages trying to deliver a better user experience.

I didn't think it was important until I attended a few seminars. People instinctively read information in a certain way, or so I thought.

Which one do you like better??

Contestant A

Contestant B

Did an A/B test through email and the answer will not surprise you.

BTW, we only have 29 entrants to win this.....so you have a 3% chance of winning versus .000000000000003% chance of winning Megabucks. Contest ends July 31, 2010.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Capital Range

Short history on Capital Range Corp:

These are the same guys who started DCS and were bought out by Fisher Paykel. Evidentially, F&P forgot to have them sign a non-compete clause, because they have returned with a range whick looks like....DCS. Go figure.

Have a peek at this 30 inch and look for something unusual:

Look harder

OK, look here

This is a 25,000 BTU burner. The range you are cooking on is probably 12,000. The average professional range burner output is 16,000 BTU, so this is over 50% hotter...Good for Woks and lobster pots and people who dont have time to waste, I guess

Just dont put one of these over it (micro with vent) as you will probably melt it...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Frigidaire French Door

Frigidaire has finally marketed a french door refrigerator. This is good for consumers in general. Since they are a quality, yet low price producer, other companies will suddenly re-market their products at lower prices.

Have a gander:

Frigidaire 28 cubic foot french door...

Is $300 cheaper than a Bosch 26 cubic foot...

and $600 less than this GE profile unit (GE does have the cool touchscreen)...

Unfortunately, Frigidaire chose the wrong segment to attack first. Most consumers by the french door smaller or counter depth. Hopefully, they will be on the market soon.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

More Track Lighting

As you know, there are are four elements of illumination: Accent (highlighting objects), ambient (uplighting), decorative (visual jewelry like chandeliers) and task lighting.

Task lighting provides the main illumination for a space. Typically track and recessed lighting provide this function. Recessed has been the preferred application, because track has been bulky, boring and cumbersome.

Or is it?

Track, especially rail has been reinvented with a slimmer profile and literally 1000's of options for pendants and heads.

Need some inspiration? Check out any cool commercial space and look up.

Chances are the illumination is track.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Truth About Tiffany

Once upon a time, we actually displayed an original Lewis Comfort Tiffany for a couple of weeks. I had to keep it in a glass case as it was worth $250,000. I still like Tiffany for its color and informality.

Now there are so many decent tiffany knockoffs, like this one...

Or these...

I am not the guy from Antique Roadshow, but here is how you tell the difference...

1. Real tiffanies are manufactured with glass not plastic, so the colors are more brilliant.

2. The knockoffs are usually bounded by copper. Run your finger underneath. Tiffanies are sautered not bound.

Still, other than expense, it is incredibly hard to distinguish between the two.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Do This OR That

Hope everyone had a nice weekend. I was away in Kennebunckport and saw some blog worthy material. Last couple of years I have focused on renovating more cost effectively. This post will be a continuation....Have a look.

The SubZero 600 series. You have to love the vacuum seal, self sealing crispers and overall fit and finish of these units. Then again at around $11,000, these units should be pretty good.

We show them panelled. Stainless built-ins look like this together (different units than the 600 series).

At The Captain Lords Inn in Kennebunkport, there lies a pretty good alternative. The Frigidaire Commercial Series, complete with wheels at the bottom. Nice looking and under $3000 for the set.