Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Ah Crystal...It is no longer an heirloom in your grandparent's formal dining room .

Now there is modern...

As well as different styles of traditional

Here is how to buy:

1. Handcut vs machine cut: Handcut is more expensive and more limited, because of the technique.

2. Lead content: The sparkle in an individual crystal is caused by a higher lead content.

3. Forget brands: You will probably say Waterford is the best, but the factory has been closed for years. Stick to the above.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A Review

I am on vaction right now....wonder if I am having a good time? Anyway, have a look at this pic:

Viking professional 30 inch gas and induction ranges are side by side almost begging the question: Which is better?

Simple answer:

Induction by far. It is faster to boil, faster to simmer, less heat retentive and more childsafe than gas or electric.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Post 999

Hard to believe, I have been able to find 998 different topics about this industry. It's certainly been an eye opening 3.66 years for probably everyone.

We shifted the blog focus accordingly from latest and greatest (although we still do that) to more value and how to accomplish home improvement in a budget. Add a few green tips, a few how-to's and comparisons and all of a sudden 3 plus years are gone.

On the Yale front, I am lucky. We have survived because of our reputation, and there are some really good people maintaining that image. I guess Post 999 should be a thank you to our people and clients.

Without question, we will be around for another 999....and then some.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Never Change(That Much)

See this old KitchenAid range

This was state of the art 12 years ago. It had convection conversion, a power and simmer burner, as well as a warming drawer.

Which means it is very similar to this years product...

Only this one has better grates and different controls. There lies in the issue, because this is what you are buying:

Ranges with 5 burners, different controls and a second oven like these...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

In With The New

I saw this in my travels yesterday in a lunchroom...

This is the old JennAir C101. It is burners, which can be converted to a grill and an integral downdraft system. This is one neat little package, and a popular product in the 80's.

Yet you are not buying it or it's more streamlined version today.

Here is why:

1. Better looking hoods....They are actually really nice. Look for companies like XO, Zephyr and Best.

2. Better cooktops...more powerful gas and induction options from Electrolux, Bosch and even Frigidaire

3. Better Downdraft...The downdafts(or vents)are up to 4 times stronger than the current version of this product. Look for Broan, Thermador among others

4. Failure of this company to understand market trends and improve existing products. I used to love this company, and now its not even displayed at Yale.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Other Side

There is a restaurant on the wrong of Newbury Street called The Other Side. It is an eclectic place (nice word for strange) specializing in vegetarian and vegan fare. They also have a great brunch and serve a wicked (Mass. word for great)omelet.

But what do they use to create said wicked omelets?

Induction...you see this more commercially, not just because it is faster than gas, it also emits way less heat than a commercial (or pro) range.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Filter it

I will never understand this...

These bottles belong to my neighbor and friend, Roger. Rog will be flying home on the red eye and will be greeted by these 3 bottles. Upon unpacking, he will have to bring these down 20 stairs into a tight closet where the cooler currently resides.

Instead, he can buy one of these filters and have filtered water on demand

My favorite (as I have posted before) is the Everpure PBS-400, which filters 3000 gallons for $379 or 12.6 cents per gallon

At least Rog wont have to go to the gym later...

Friday, August 20, 2010

New LED Products

I have posted the tremendous potential of LED tons of times in this blog. It is 7-8 times more efficient, lasts 20 times longer and emits almost zero heat (incandescent heats to 300 degrees).

Since there are almost no standards in the lighting industry, there are issues with inferior LED bulbs, especially with poor color rendering.

Still when its good...its really good. Have a look at the new Kowa desk lamp.

It uses all of 4.5 watts...

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Electrolux Vs GE Cafe

You are looking at two of the best brands in the industry. They have actually benefitted from the recession since consumers are not spending money on the premium brands.

But how do they compare?

Gas Stove:

As I have said in previous posts, the Electrolux induction is the best stove in terms of performance...but what about gas?

GE Cafe CSG9800

Electrolux EW30GS65S

Both are great products with convection and 2 ovens. I like the Electrolux intuitive controls, but GE has a fifth element with griddle capability and a 17,000 BTU burner. I would call it a draw or a slight GE advantage.

Shallow Depth Refrigerator:

Electrolux EW23BC


Both good products and virtually the same price, but Electrolux has 3 models to GEs 1 and is 2 cubic feet larger. Electrolux advantage.


Electrolux EID610

GE Cafe CDWT9800

I like Electrolux better to be blunt. It has better racks, more options and a great interface.

Both manufacturers have designed great lines, so this is a good choice. The prime consideration would be style with the Cafe looking more professional, and the Electrolux being more European.

Electrolux does have a significant advantage in the overall, since they have a significant induction offering

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Bosch Kitchen Contest

We want to thank everyone who submitted an entry into the Bosch Kitchen contest. The time and energy put into the entries was overwhelming and we are very glad that we did not have to choose the winner.

That being said, let's find out who won!

First the runner-ups...

Ralph & Judianne sent in a video demonstrating their old oven's ability to melt butter on contact....from the outside.

Clarinda sent pictures of the work going on in their kitchen.

The grand prize winner received a suite of Bosch kitchen appliances (drumroll please)

Laurie shared her amazing story as well as a look at the appliances she inherited from the previous owners.

Once again we want to thank everyone who entered and wish the winners the best of luck with their new appliances.

More Sinks

As we have posted before, more people have stopped installing double sinks like so:

But people have opted for single sinks for bigger pots and pans. It is hard, however, to find a single sink within the most common 30 inch sink base.

Until now....The M30. This is the largest sink within those dimensions. At 17 gauge (the amount of nickel within the sink), it is a better composition than the standard 18 gauge sink.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Bosch Kitchen

Winner will be announced tomorrow. Sorry for the delay. BTW, I saw the entrants, and it was very competitive to say the least(good thing I did not have to pick)

Anyone who did not win the kitchen will be sent a $50 gift card for their effort

The Truth About Brass

A word about placing ordinary brass anything outside your house: Don't.

Brass oxidizes with the elements and tarnishes, then corrodes, then rusts, so that beautiful lantern looks anything but in 3-5 years time. You can, however, buy brass with an electrostatic coating which is impervious and guaranteed against weathering.

Companies like Designers Fountain and Baldwin manufacture weather resistant brass as shown above.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Shallow Depths and Thank Yous

First, Tax Holiday was a rousing success. A big thank you to our customers and to the sales, warehouse and customer service people who made it happen. You are a great group.

Shallow depth refrigerators are the number one keyword (or product of interest) according to Google Analytics for the Yale Blog.

Let's exclude SubZero's and integrated refrigerators like Thermador, Miele and Gaggenau for a moment. A regular shallow depth refrigerator is 24 inches plus the door. As such the cubic footage drops from 26-28 cubic foot to 20-25, and you will pay $500-1000 more for what is less.....

Have a look at why: Same refrigerator....


Regular refrigerator

The regular depth will protrude another 6-8 inches into the kitchen. Although this is not bad at the end of kitchen, the shallow will look far better with an island or in the middle.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Renovators Dilemma

Have a look at this $3900+ Viking

Now look at this $1400 Maytag

They are actually the same refrigerator, but the viking has nicer doors, sides, etc. A few years ago, Viking launched their more affordable strategy to try to compete at lower prices with Electrolux and Thermador.

Here is the dilemma: The Viking name is better for resale, unless people know there is no difference.

If they know there is no difference, will they be more or less inclined to consider your property?

Or am I over thinking?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Credit Cards

For Tax Weekend, many of you will shop now and leave your information with the store to process over the weekend. Although this a smart way to dodge the masses, do not leave your credit card information unless the store encrypts the information.

TJX ran into that problem a couple years ago when their customers information was leaked. If the information is written down and not encrypted (password protected), you run the very real risk of identity theft.

Ask how the store safeguards your information. It is not worth the risk if they do not encrypt

Pro Electric Alternatives

Lets go back to the Wolf Gas/electric (Hi George) DF304.

As said in a previous post, this is a great range. But what if you only have electric? You can bury a propane tank in your yard and convert the range to propane.

There are, however,better alternatives in actual electric as follows:

Electrolux EIS65JS

Repeat after me: Induction is faster than gas. Seriously. It also simmers better and is virtual childsafe. It also requires less ventilation, because it emits much less heat into the room than gas. With that in mind, Electrolux is a great range with intuitive controls, convection oven and yet another oven below. Price is $2500 less than the Wolf.

Frigidaire FPCS3085

Frigidaire is Electrolux Light. This unit has 2 induction burners, convection oven and a warming drawer underneath. At $2049, the Frigidaire is $1150 less than the Electrolux and $3150 less than the Wolf.

Buy an induction range...and bury a pool in the yard instead of a tank.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pro Alternatives

Ah...The Wolf dual fuel DF304

Wolf is one of my favs. Each burner has 15,000 BTU at its high yet simmers at 500 BTU. It has electric convection for even baking. In short, this is a great range, but at $5599, it should be.

Unlike in years past, there are good lesser-expensive alternatives.

GE Cafe C2SG9800

I like the Cafe. It has five burners with one at 17,000 BTU and one dedicated simmer at 5,000 BTU. It also has an electric convection oven and yet another oven below. Price of the Cafe is $2599 (in dual fuel as described).

Frigidaire FPDS308K

Frigidaire is a great value brand. For $1729, this range has a 17,000 BTU burner and a dedicated simmer with an electric convection oven and a warming drawer below.

Wolf still has a better top as all their burners have power and the ability to simmer, but for $3000-3800 less, there are other choices to consider.

Tomorrow, we will look at electric...

Monday, August 09, 2010

How to Survive Tax Weekend

So it is the Tax Free weekend again August 14-15th.

The State Tax Weekend allows an exemption of products $2499 or less for personal use. In theory, a consumer can purchase an unlimited amount of items under $2499 without tax.

Following is a few tips on how to survive the crowds and the aggravation thereof:

1. Do your shopping now before the weekend.

2. Generate a quotation on the items you wish to purchase.

3. Either tell the salesperson to process the order on TaxDay or call/fax or email that weekend.

4. If you want to shop that weekend, head out early to your prime destinations. By prime, I refer to the big ticket items. If you're waiting in line 3 hours for a $20 item, you may find that your time is probably worth more.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Pendants...The New Chandeliers

It still amazes me how much lighting has changed since I started at Yale 25 years ago. Back in the 80s, we sold chandeliers...a ton of polished brass chandeliers to be exact.

Now its pendants...

And more pendants...

As I have posted previously, there was a shift from kitchen/formal dining room to one great living space usually with an island or peninsula in the middle. Thus, a chandelier becomes out of proportion and multiple pendants become more symmetrical and proportional.

How do you pick a pendant? We have 10 different kitchen environments with 10 different pendant styles at Yale. Pendants are more about visual decoration then light (look up task lighting, recessed and track on this blog).

My best advice is to find your style and choose. Have a look at contemporary and traditional adaptations...

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Tax Day August 14-15

The Governor has signed this bill, so items under $2500 will now be tax free. I will post a tax free survival guide next week to optimize your shopping experience(not just here)

Whats to a Sink?

I love sinks. There dont leak and require little service. A few posts ago, I posted about my mothers rusty sink, and thought today would be a good chance to review.

Couple of Points:

Undermounts: The sink is mounted under the solid surface. I like this adaptation. It looks better and its seamless design is easier to clean.

Apron Front: Basically a sink finished in the front.

Gauge: My mothers sink is rusty, beacuse it is an inferior gauge. Gauge refers to the amount of nickel within the sink itself. 18 gauge is considered good, with lower numbers being better. This is the Franke Orca, which is a 18 gauge.

My Favorites:

The Majestic M30 is the largest sink that fits within the standard 30 inch cabinet.

Majestic A: Nice look for under $1000