Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Question of 3(.25%)

I am apolitical. Typically I support the candidate rather than voting with the party. Question 3 intrigues me, and I am not being selfish. If we are not 6.25% more compelling by now, we don't deserve the business.

That being said, Question 3 or bringing the sales tax from 6.25 to 3% is pretty volatile. On one side, we lose 2.4 billion dollars out of the budget at the worst possible time. Budget would basically be blown up, etc. Some of this is frustration at government, but this is not a healthy way to vent

However, as the other side points out, lowering the sales tax would increase volume considerably and create infrastructure especially at the border and thus more jobs. Jobs create more revenue and thus more tax revenue. Stores would likewise reinvest in Mass because the internet and New Hampshire would be a non-issue at 3%. So by deducting we would actually be winning.

The central question is whether our state can operate at a 3% tax if that volume does not add needed revenue. Some say our infrastructure would disintegrate, others say it would create a more responsible government

Guess I don't really know

Extreme Decorative

Walked by Long's Jewelers and snapped a couple of pictures...

Have a look:




The crystal chandelier is actually a Schonbek Trillian, which is sold between $5,000-8,000 (depending on the lead content of the crystal)...They have 6 of these in the store.


But do they need them among the hundreds of recessed lights as well as the lights in their jewelry cases?

The answer is complicated. Decorative lighting in a proper lighting plan does not actually light the room, the recessed does. Decorative lighting does provide depth, personality and visuals to the room.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Friend Robs' House

My friend Rob runs a hockey school in Walpole, and lives nearby. He was actually the guy in the famed Chuck Liddell spots we ran in 2005.

His house is a study in home improvement....Lets look at a couple of his rooms.

Chandelier


I actually like the fixture yet hate the light. Rob is smart enough to place compact fluorescent lights in most of his fixtures. However, the light would not be as harsh if he chose a fluorescent with a Kelvin temperature of 2700-3500 rather than the 5000 degree units in place.

As I have posted before, buying a fluorescent with lower Kelvin temperatures will provide a softer light.

Outside

This is truly awesome. Rob is a popular guy, but his outside cooking area is the reason behind the popularity of his summer parties. Have a look (went last night, sorry for the bad pics).

Unbelievable...Outside Marvel refrigerator (you should buy these units manufactured for the outside, because they are weather resistant).


53 inch Lynx grill with access doors


Outside keg refrigerator


Sink and faucet...If you place "wet" appliances outside, you have to shut off the water so the pipes don't crack during winter.


Great house...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

How to Buy Appliances...Part 10

There are two schools of thought when purchasing appliances.

1. Buy what you like: Typically in the super premium category, you would find a SubZero, Viking or Wolf range, Miele, Bosch or KitchenAid dishwasher and a Best or XO vent.

2. Buy the same brand: You may compromise slightly. However, in the new economy, most companies are offering package rebates which could be up to 20% (Bosch will have 30% in rebates from October 2-12).

There is another reason...Have a look at a few branded kitchens:

KitchenAid


Frigidaire Professional


Viking Designer


When you buy within the same brand, the look is homogeneous.

You can do both. First step is always to budget properly. Second step is to ascertain order of importance. For many people, it is cooking, and for others it is refrigeration. With budget considerations, you would spend less on a dishwasher, microwave and laundry.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Cover it....

So many dishwashers


So many more


Buying a dishwasher is a relatively simple comparison of American vs European.

The American (GE, Frigidaire, KitchenAid, Maytag and Whirlpool) have evisserators or shredder rings inside for food disposing.

Europeans (Miele, Asko, Bosch and Electrolux) have filters, heat the water hotter and tend to be a bit quieter.

Which is better depends on price, rebates and matching style with other appliances. There is one notable exception, however. If you are panelling your dishwasher, the Europeans do not protrude past the cabinets, whereas the American dishwashers will stick out another 1.5 inches...thus ruining the integrated look.

Have a look at the Bosch...

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Great Steve Shipley

The chef program at Yale is perhaps one of our best ideas ever. Idea is simple: Chef uses new appliances in the store to show how to cook and use said appliances. We have had Lydia Shire, Ming Tsai, Jasper White, Yan Can Cook, Gordon Hammersley and Andy Husbands grace our establishment.

But this guy cooking on Sunday could be my favorite...


Steve Shipley from Johnson and Wales is unbelievable. His demo is 12-3 Sunday October 3 sponsored by Bosch.

Join our Cooking Newsletter for invitations to private cooking events, monthly recipes, cooking tips, products and demonstrations.

Front Load vs Top Load 2

Since our blog debut in January 2007, we have posted about the relative superiority of the front load washer versus the conventional top load. It is 40-100% larger, can use 1/3 less water, 1/2 the energy and has 3 times the spin, so your clothes finish much drier.

Now there is a new generation of top loaders with no agitators using less power and energy.

Have a look at the $769 Fisher Paykel...



Now look at the $769 Bosch...



Although the capacity is now similar at 4.5 cubic feet, front loaders still are superior in energy and water useage. However, in terms of repair and customer satisfaction, there is a huge difference. Front load is far superior....Google it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Beautiful, Beautiful Lights

Why do we not sell these lights...other than they are too big and probably too expensive (Euro is at $1.21). Italian fixtures like these are hand blown in Murano.

These fixtures are hanging in hotels, churches and The Spanish ruler in Sardinia. No how-to's today....let's just gawk.




video


If you want to import this type of light, you would have to rewire for 120v electricity

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pro Ranges

Every once in awhile, I like to compare the top companies in a category. Today is 30 inch pro ranges.

Wolf DF304

Like: Great simmer capability, great clock interface, dual fuel (industry term as electricity is not a fuel), two convection fans, self cleaning.

Dislike: $5599 is the highest price, but still Wolf is an excellent unit.


Viking VGCC5304BSS

Like: Great name, product works

Dislike: No special features for a $4389 unit, not even self cleaning. To clarify, the unit has 15k burners, which simmer ok and has convection...but nothing else


Capital GCR305

Like: $3399, 25,000 BTU venter burner(competitors are 15,000), 5 burner top, convection

Dislike: Unknown commodity to some degree, no self cleaning

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Art Light

Welcome to The Colonnade in Sardinia. I love this place. They have their own art gallery, among other amenities.

Have a look:


Now look at the light...


They use LED. Throughout this blog I refer to heat exfiltration, which is a fancy way of saying incandescent throws 300 degrees of heat. You can't touch an incandescent bulb for this reason. I have always mentioned this as an additional cost to your HVAC.

Over time, low voltage, incandescent will also discolor artwork, because of the heat. LED emits very little heat, and is thus the bulb of choice in most galleries.

So be careful of how you illuminate art and other objects.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Galley Green

We will be featuring respected local designers, builders and projects, which may help you in designing your own space....This is a good one.

If you had a galley kitchen 20 years ago, you were either forced to spend a ton of dough on a professional fridge or relegated to buy regular-depth non-matching products.

Most of us have standard refrigerators, but in a galley, this is an issue of space. You have to walk around the fridge to access the rest of your kitchen (if you have an old galley, your refrigerator is in the back right corner).

As Melissa Hammond of Hammond Design (plug intended and deserved) shows us:


  • Refrigerator is shallow, so there is plenty of room
  • Bosch matching suite...buying one brand homogenizes the handles, so all units look identical

But wait there is more on the lighting side

  • The undercounter lights are LED, so they use about 5 watts each and have a 20 year life
  • The overhead is color rendering CFLs, so the total kitchen has an equivalent of less than 30 total watts
  • On the right a pass through was designed to allow natural lighting during the day and allow for easy serving to the eating area
  • Cabinets are locally sourced....Thus finalizing a Green kitchen
Kitchen is affordable and state of the art efficient.

That's how its done.....nice work.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Night Light

I never really authored a post on landscape lighting. It is a simple and inexpensive way to enhance the beauty of your home and provide a bit of safety at night.

You don't have to do this (underwater, water-tight)...


But more simple applications...






How to:

1. Pick a cast/metallic light especially if you live in harsher (read snow) climates

2. Have a plan

3. Highlight the main objects for effect & task light the areas around walkways for safety

4. You do not have to spend a fortune for a decent plan

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

New Lighting

Walked into Yale this morning and saw this:


Yikes, then I remembered the new lighting from the January show is now on display. Have a look:




Buying decorative lighting is like buying clothes. Everyone has their own style. Decorative lighting should not be used for task lighting or be responsible for lighting the room like recessed. Its part of an overall plan, so if you have ambient, task and accent elements, then my advice for buying decorative lighting is:

Buy what you like.

New Stuff

Hard to believe another new products show is over. The highlight of the appliance year has passed...

Here are the showstoppers:

Heartland...I like the look unsure about the niche.


New Bertazzoni wall oven with an iPod-type panel.


New Weber grills with wok burners and islands...very like-able. (Does this company dominate or what?)



Maytag 4 door refrigerator...reasonably priced.


Samsung.




Capital Range 5 burner commercial 30 inch top.


Liebherr through the wall wine coolers....nice but expensive.


Kind of disappointing......

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Question of Samsung

Samsung is currently one of the most popular brands of appliances. It is highly rated, stylish and has niche products.

Have a look...

Highlights:

33 inch shallow depth refrigerator


3 fan convection ranges....if 2 is better than 1, than 3 must be better than 2



Very, very interesting laundry



The question of Samsumg to me is simple. Does it work? Does it create service issues? Guess we will find out together...