Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Go Shallow?

Look at this refrigerator:

Which is oddly similar to this one. This one offers less cubic footage for $400 more. This is a shallow depth refrigerator...lets look at it in a kitchen

You are paying more for less protrusion (product sticking out) into a room...Nicer yet more expensive.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Slide-Ins (Again)

Now this range is the same as that range. Similar controls, convection with two ovens...

Yet this one is $400 more....Why would you spend the money?

For a more linear look and the ability to see more of your custom tiling, perhaps...

Monday, March 29, 2010

Cash For Clunkers...Yet Again

I always sound like an illiterate during an interview. Hard to know the root cause(never mind the obvious conclusion that I am an illiterate). Back to Cash For Clunkers for a quick post. The rebates are $250 for a qualified dishwasher, $200 for qualified refrigerator, $175 for a qualified washer and $50 for a freezer during this promotion.

This is a big deal for the people within Massachusetts. For example, Tax Day is the biggest retail holiday beside Christmas. The tax rebate is 6.25%. In Cash for Clunkers, however, a $250 rebate on a dishwasher is at the very least 20% and more realistically 40-50% of an average dishwasher purchase

Additionally, nearly all the factory and utility rebates apply, so a $350 dishwasher can become $49 after rebate.

My suggestion: Go to www.Masssave.com/residential, and be the first to register. That is the key. We will publish the best values factoring in all the rebates by April 8. You will have 2 weeks to shop, then register and take advantage of some very good prices

BTW, the aforementioned article


New Lighting

Spring hopes eternal...and so does the lighting industry. Decorative lighting, as I have said before, is unique to the individual like clothing.

Before, we used to size a chandelier 12 inches less in circumference and 24 inches off the table. Now with pendants and other different applications like islands and peninsulas there is no all-encompassing size.

Have a look at the newest, latest and a few that could be the greatest...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Street And I

Its grill season again (unless it rains). The grill business was pretty self explanatory. You buy a grill based on size, BTU output and whether you want side burners. Then the pro sear element (quickly charbroiling the meats, after all who has the time?) and smoker were introduced.

Then this happened:

You are looking at a 53 inch Viking grill, warming drawer, refrigerator, beer tap, garbage chute and side burners all enclosed in stainless. Hence the outside lifestyle was born...Now you can accomplish any type of cooking outside, which was formerly done in your kitchen.

Of course real estate values play a huge part, and hence the outside kitchen is on the decline. Jason Notte of The StreetThe Street asked me about this and was kind enough to include me in his article.

The other guy sounds better, doesn't he?

I will post my How To Buy Grills next week...

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

How To Buy a $49 Dishwasher....Cash For Clunkers

I have been following Cash For Clunkers for quite some time. Cash For Clunker rebates are as follows:

$250 Dishwasher
$200 Refrigerator
$175 Washer
$50 Freezer

The government has allocated $6.25 million for this program. In order to qualify either logon to MassSave.com or call 1-877-MA-SWAP1 on April 22. The program runs until May 5.

The key for qualification is speed. Register first at 12:01 am on April 22. Seriously.

A few other points:

You have to register 4 times for 4 different products.

The product must be delivered from an eligible Massachusetts dealer.

The program ends when the money is gone.

The eligible models must be tier 3 EnergyStar..In other words, not everything qualifies.

I haven't fully comprehended this program, but we will be selling dishwashers starting at $49, front load washers for $199 and 17 cubic foot refrigerators for 199 as well.

Did I mention to start early?

If you want to be kept updated by email please join our Cash for Clunkers email list.

2 Minute Training...LED

LED is certainly the buzzword. It will become more affordable, but the argument is still compelling versus incandescent. As you have read many times, LED will last 20 times longer than incandescent, emit almost no heat versus 300 degrees for incandescent and is 6-7 times more efficient.

Now we will explain the different types.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Basic EnergyStar...Refrigerators

I actually think Cash For Clunkers is a good idea. Old appliances use a ton of energy, especially refrigerators and washing machines.

For example, lets look at this basic 21 cubic foot $500 refrigerator.

Using average utility rates (then double it if you are in Massachusetts)...Your ten year old refrigerator will cost about $130-160 a year to run.

How about the EnergyStar...

$100 a year in savings...easily.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pro Ranges

I noticed these three pro ranges are almost identically priced at $5499...so it seemed like a good post.

Viking: This range is eerily similar to their first range produced back in 1990. Probably because they haven't changed it and have offered upgraded models. I still like this range. Burners aren't sealed, but you can't lift the whole pan to clean unlike their sealed competitors. The BTU's are basic at 15,000 with a 700 BTU simmer. As a reference, a 10 year old range has one 12,000 with an average simmer of 1,000 or so. Unit is available as a 6 burner, 4 burner grill or 4 burner griddle.

Wolf: Wolf became interesting when SubZero purchased the company. Unlike the previous regime, they actually invested money in the company. This unit has semi sealed burners with a 16,000 BTU and simmers well at 500 BTU. Semi sealed means burner is mostly sealed (more than the Viking), and the trays can lift off for cleaning. Unit is available as a 6 burner, 4 burner grill or 4 burner griddle.

KitchenAid: I actually like this unit. Unlike Wolf and Viking, it is not available with grill and griddle, BUT is self-cleaning and has clock and timer. KitchenAid also has 2 20,000 BTU burners.

Friday, March 19, 2010


As of April 1, 2010, we will recycle over 95% of our garbage. With technological advances in cost effective Green technology and just plain common sense, our carbon footprint is a fraction of recent years.

Wonder if we could eliminate it completely?

Couple of suggestions to employ in your workplace:

1. Change your bulbs to LED or at least compact fluorescent
2. Use motion sensors in frequently unoccupied areas
3. Remove old appliances and replace with energystar
4. Recycle. Companies will pay for the trash or at least remove for minimal cost

Its good for the environment, but these measures will save money in the long run

Have a good weekend

Thursday, March 18, 2010

New Induction

The next induction range was finally shipped and displayed yesterday. The new Electrolux slide-in has a cool control panel, convection and two ovens.

Have a gander:

At first, with a price over $3000, I was a bit disappointed..But then you compare this at $2999...

It doesn't seem like such a bad deal....Hopefully, it is the beginning of more induction products with more affordable prices.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cash Fore Clunkers...Part 3

As you know from our last email, the Massachusetts Cash for Clunkers program is set for April 22- May 5 of 2010. We now have the rebates:

$250 Dishwashers
$175 Clothes Washers
$200 Refrigerators
$50 Freezers

We are almost there in terms of information. There will be a registration website and process as well as qualifying models, which has yet to be finalized. There is roughly 6.25 million for this whole program. Early registration will be the key to secure the rebate

Hopefully, we will have that information shortly...

If you want updates on Cash for Clunkers emailed to you please click here.

Water Math

Lets look at this bottle of quality V water purchased at the airport for $2.49. Its 25oz so 5 of these are a gallon (I looked it up on Google).

Now lets assume that a better deal is available than this airport V water...Lets say $1.25, so the price of a gallon would be $6.25 or 1 bottle every 5 days. So the price of buying 3300 gallons would be $4,917 plus for one bottle of water per work day at $1.25.

If you look under my sink, you will understand why I do not drink bottled water (unless faced with interminable delays at the airport).

This is the Everpure PBS400. It filters through the cold water line, so no additional faucets are needed. The system costs $349 and the filter is $130 for 3300 gallons or $4500 cheaper than bottled (it then becomes just 150 per year for the filter).

Most bottled water is just that. Its municipal water filtered through large filters. Seems much cheaper to simply buy a filter and do it yourself

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


A little blog extra: Would you buy a faucet like this. We did. Then again, we will have a place just for this....which we will unveil next month. Faucets such as this have their origins in commercial kitchens. The top nozzle is used for larger pots and commercial pans. If you dont like this 19 pound behemeth, then check out KWC and Franke for similar designs

Monday, March 15, 2010

Stuck in Florida

Evidentally it is raining in Boston, so without a showroom I will blog about my parents new kitchen. New is an operative term, because they had cabinets without the granite for probably 6 months. Probably the first good lesson about kitchen design is hire good people

My folks have managed to accomplish good and bad within the same space.


The Good:

I like the Tech Orbs on either side of the sink. Small, unobtrusive yet decorative.

LED undercabinet...uses 10 watts per strip instead of 170 with halogen based undercabinet.

The Bad:

5 inch recessed on a short ceiling. It would have been neater with a smaller can like a 4 inch or a low voltage.


The appliances aren't actually new, but are decent: Shallow depth refrigerator, electric slide-in, over the range microwave with a Miele dishwasher being the splurge.

Overall, not bad.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Return Of The Swedes

What was the first European dishwasher in the US? Don't say Bosch. It was actually Asko in 1990. They have always been an interesting product with the lowest water usage, sturdy graphite racks and really quiet insulation.

In many ways, Asko changed the way you buy a dishwasher. With open floor plans, now you want a dishwasher quiet, and Asko was the first to provide it. Price was always their biggest problem with their decent models selling in the $1200-1400 range

But that has all changed with this model at $799

Now that it can compete with Bosch and KitchenAid....will it?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Fans To Buy

A few months ago, I wrote a post about the demise of Casablanca Fan. Their products have become too expensive and too stodgy for today's market. So if they are out, who is in?

The answer is Minka Aire. Company is the polar opposite of Casablanca. They simply manufacture stylish, yet affordable paddle fans.

Have a look:

Quick reminder about the basics of fans:

1. They lower perceived temperature through wind chill not temperature reduction
2. Reverse the fan in the winter to disperse the heat and spread through the room
3. Since it does not lower the temperature, always shut off the fan when leaving the room

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Stainless interior dishwashers can dry by 2 methods. You do need JetDry to properly dry the dishwasher. But some dishwashers like this KitchenAid add an extra heat element...Whats the difference in efficiency between using the heating element at $40-50 per year and shutting it off.

20%, 30%, 50%?

Try 1.4%. This KitchenAid will efficiently dry 98% of the dishes just using JetDry and 99.4% using Jet Dry and the heating element....so save the $40-50 an shut off the element.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Portable Induction

I received a memo asking me if this product could sell. Its a portable induction from Frigidaire. Portable is 110 volt as opposed to 220v, which is faster. I have always been intrigued by the product as it could be great for boats, RVs, etc.

A number of companies most notably Franke and Viking have tried and failed with this product. Frigidaire has one notable difference...

A $199 price tag versus $595 for the others.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Cash For Clunkers Part 2

We know the dates of this furtive promotion, April 22-May 5. The qualifying models, rebates and procedures are still a state secret. I plan on sending an email as soon as I know so you can plan accordingly.

Click here if you want said email...

Practical Applications

I have shown you photos of solitary products in appliance store settings...Now lets look at some of these in a residential setting....

Look at the guy on the left, his name is Joe Casserly, and he has built some of the nicest houses in the area.

One of the most frequently asked questions is how to up light different areas like cornices and on top of cabinets lets see what Joe does (look at picture number 2 and 4.)

Nice House to say the least.

Lets look at 1/3 of the kitchen...(my iPhone is somewhat limited)

LED undercabinet lighting.

Wolf rangetop with island trim and Best in cabinet blower pack. Island trims allow the backsplash to be highlighted by eliminating the backguard...Joe accentuated the cabinets by placing the motor inside the cabinet itself rather than buying a stainless hood.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

The White Range

The white range is the staple of the appliance biz. You probably have, had or will have a white gas range in your kitchen. They haven't changed much through the years. The clock was a huge innovation back in the 50s, then self-cleaning, pilot-less ignition, sealed burners (gas) or ceran (electric) tops...

Then the big style change was adding all white styling. Seriously. We have placed a man on the moon faster than developing the everyday range.

Today's iteration of the ever popular range is much improved. Back in 1986, the range was $599-699.

Today's: $299....I guess capitalism and competition works?

Have a look:

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Thermador is Back

Thermador started the upscale rebate stampede last year. Evidentally, they must have been successful or imitation is the highest form of flattery (or both).

The program is different, because it involves free product instead of cash back. The minimums are lower than the other programs and the percentage of discount seems to be better as well.

Here is the explanation:

Buy a professional range or wall oven and cooktop...

...And receive a free dishwasher

Add a refrigerator...

...and receive a free hood (as well as a dishwasher).

The Next Thing?

As I have said, residential trends start either from the commercial sector or Europe. You have probably seen this light in your favorite restaurant. Its called a drum shade and it provides even lighting, and as a bonus, ambient lighting as well. Ambient is a fancy term for up-lighting, which is a necessary yet overlooked part of a lighting plan.

Now its the next "thing" in residential lighting...Have a look.

You should have fun with decorative lighting. Decorative is just an outward manifestation of your own personal style. Speaking of style, I have recently read through some decent blogs from designers who focus on style, accessories, etc.

Should be helpful

Monday, March 01, 2010

The Stainless Range

If you are want to see emerging trends in residential product design, look in the commercial/restaurant space or travel to Europe.

The stainless range is no exception. Someone once looked in a commercial kitchen and thought...I wonder if this would work in my house.

Thus the pro range was born. The pro range has the high heat of a commercial with insulation, so it can be situated next to cabinets. It also wont burn your hands by touching it...a necessary perk.

Then of course, stainless became a nascent (good word, admit it) trend. Frigidaire was the first to see it 15 years ago and now every manufacturer markets a bunch...Add the competition to another recent trend, the recession, and you have the next fad (a short term trend)...called the price drop.

This stainless self-cleaning range is now under $400 or $300 cheaper than its original price...