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RE: Has anyone used or known about Porcelanosa's venice marfil or (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: mommafox on 03.24.2013 at 10:19 am in Bathrooms Forum


I am in the middle of a bathroom remodel. I chose Porcelanosa's Carrara Blanco for floor and walls. It has not been installed, yet, but I can tell you what little experience I have had, so far.
I purchased full size samples before deciding. They were shipped promptly and arrived well packed. The tile is substantial. When I ordered, Lilian, in the Boston showroom, was very helpful. Not so much the folks in the Greenwich, CT showroom.
Order was, again, shipped promptly and arrived undamaged. The one thing Lilian did tell me was that if I used Porcelanosa's thinset it would be guaranteed for life.
They should be ready to set the tile in the next week or two. If there is something specific you would like to know just ask and I will try to help.


clipped on: 05.03.2013 at 01:41 am    last updated on: 05.03.2013 at 01:41 am

for Peke - pics of undersink drawers (Follow-Up #21)

posted by: carolml on 03.05.2013 at 02:53 pm in Kitchens Forum

Hi Peke,
Home again. Here are the photos I promised you. As you can see, the main sink, which is quite deep, has two drawers, one shallow one - note the small cut out at the back to accommodate the drain, and a standard 12" one below. The counter is 27" deep, so the drawers are full depth.
The prep sink has a very shallow cabinet - only 21" deep because of a book case built in the gable behind it. The drawer here is only just big enough to fit my trash, compost, bird seed and a few cleaning products. We have put it on a servo drive, so the door glides open with just a touch. It is fantastic when preparing food on the adjacent counter. The cabinet maker built a shelf to raise the level of the compost bin so that it comes just under the sink bowl and does not require bending to deposit green material.
There are also photos with the drawers removed to show you how the plumbing pipes are pushed against the back of the cabinet.
We love this set up. For the first time ever, the undersink area is fully functional. Hope this helps.
main sink photo P1020085_zps22f8e4ff.jpg
shallow top drawer photo P1020086_zpse3d7ff68.jpg
plumbing photo P1020088_zpsc0d4c5d9.jpg
prep sink photo P1020090_zps4c7c5406.jpg
compost and trash photo P1020091_zpse9b1cd25.jpg
plumbing photo P1020094_zps1802b6bf.jpg
shelf photo P1020095_zps0a37eb0c.jpg


clipped on: 04.02.2013 at 02:41 pm    last updated on: 04.02.2013 at 02:41 pm

RE: Bathroom vanity P-trap Location (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: gtrshop on 03.02.2010 at 08:42 pm in Bathrooms Forum


It's far from finished, but it is fully operational..running water and the ability to get rid of same.


Because of the limited space below the vanity we chose this sink - somewhat of a cross between a vessel-style and a counter level basin. The extra inches above the top made for an easier fit underneath.

Here you get a good idea of the unique construction of this dresser that made for an easier installation. Notice the space where the p-trap is located...unused space behind the drawers. You can also see - right under the sink drain - a rail on either side for the smaller upper drawers. Another unused interior space, we routed supply lines here. Easy access for drain.

Another interior view. bottom of basin is visible between two upper drawers.

This scrollwork sits on a maple veneer 5" spacer between the two drawer fronts. Nice detail on the outside - you can see how convenient this is when you compare to location of drain fittings.

Still needs a bit of refinishing work, but the whole idea is it looks well loved! We couldn't believe how well it turned out.



clipped on: 03.19.2013 at 12:30 pm    last updated on: 03.19.2013 at 12:30 pm

RE: faucet install for vessel sink (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: mydreamhome on 11.19.2012 at 04:58 pm in Bathrooms Forum

We have a round vessel sink with the offset faucet. To help with splash, wait to drill the hole for the faucet until you can set the sink on the counter and mock it up. Try to position the faucet spout so that the water falls just shy of the drain. You can also reduce the amount of water coming through the water supply valves so you have a lower volume of water flowing which will also reduce splash.

Like you, we didn't want a modern look. Delta makes their Victorian faucet in 2 different styles--a traditional and an open top. We went for the open top as it looked more "rustic" & went with the antique pewter finish to give it that aged look. Very happy with our choice. I've attached a couple pics below.

Hope this helps & good luck!



clipped on: 03.19.2013 at 12:26 pm    last updated on: 03.19.2013 at 12:26 pm

Bathroom vanity P-trap Location

posted by: gtrshop on 02.28.2010 at 11:32 pm in Bathrooms Forum

I'm going to install a sink (Kohler "Serif") in an old reconditioned sideboard/dresser - that will become our new vanity. This particular dresser has a nice space between the top 2 drawers that will allow me to route the incoming water and the drain through. It also has a 4" (if not more) space behind (the drawers do not go full depth) the larger full-length middle drawer that I could use for other plumbing details if necessary.

Looking at the sink and the drain sitting in place in my dresser I was pondering over where "exactly" the P trap has to be located. Must it be directly connected to the drain (with appropriate adapters, of course)or is it possible to angle the drain flow via a 45degree elbow fitting to locate the p-trap further back in the dresser? All P-traps I've ever seen are immediately under the drain they serve, as inconvenient as that it to the use of the under counter space. I am just trying to figure out if there is a reason why I couldn't "nudge" the drain's flow with a couple 45 degree elbows and a very short piece of straight ABS. There will be no horizontal flow off the drain - even though that would make reworking the dresser drawers so much simpler and convenient.



working drawers in vanity
clipped on: 03.15.2013 at 11:41 am    last updated on: 03.15.2013 at 11:41 am

Calacata Sllver porcelain - photos!

posted by: blondelle on 01.15.2013 at 09:00 am in Bathrooms Forum

Has anyone seen this in person? It's by Porcelanosa and they make very good quality tile. I'm not sure how long this has been out but it's stunning. Also comes in Calacata Gold which has softer veining. There's also a small square matching mosaic that's reasonable. They come in 23 X 23 and 17 X 17, and I think there's also a rectangular size with a matching honed floor tile.

The original photos showed the veining a bit darker in color. What do you think?


clipped on: 02.16.2013 at 11:22 am    last updated on: 02.16.2013 at 11:22 am

RE: timer to control just fan or fan and lights? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: mongoct on 02.12.2013 at 10:54 pm in Bathrooms Forum

Look at this switch from EFI.

Turn the switch ON, it will turn the light and fan on. Turn the switch OFF, the light will turn off but the fan will run for a set amount of time, you set the "DELAY" so the fan can run for up to 60 minutes after the switch is turned off.

If you don't want the fan to run for it's timed DELAY cycle, then cycle the switch ON then OFF and the light and fan will turn off.

It also has a "VENTILATION" function that you may or may not want to use. That function turns the fan on for a set amount of time per hour. You can set it to zero.

EFI also offers this switch, which is slightly different than the one above in that it doesn't have the VENTILATION function.

I prefer the first switch, though I almost always have the VENTILATION function set to zero.

EDIT to fix link

This post was edited by mongoct on Sat, Feb 16, 13 at 0:08


clipped on: 02.16.2013 at 11:19 am    last updated on: 02.16.2013 at 11:19 am

RE: Bathroom Reno - Questioning the Contractor (Follow-Up #9)

posted by: zmusashi on 02.10.2013 at 10:08 pm in Bathrooms Forum

Tile board is not waterproof, although it is of course far far better than sheetrock, and sheetrock was used in showers for many years. Some bathrooms I've seen tiled on sheetrock, including my own 1960's home, are holding up fine. Many have not held up that well. We are simply arriving at better techniques to avoid the problems that many bathrooms did have over the years. A waterproofing layer applied on top of the tile board will diminish the chances of moisture getting through, into insulation, framing and so on, causing mold. Its become an industry standard.


clipped on: 02.15.2013 at 07:22 am    last updated on: 02.15.2013 at 07:22 am

RE: More affordable *quality* sectional -8 way hand tied etc... (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: rmanbike on 12.04.2012 at 11:25 pm in Furniture Forum

As well as CR Laine, other better quality upholstery manufacturers; Taylor King, Temple, Wesley Hall, Our House Design, consider Karges and Caron who specializes on custom size sectionals with a unique twist on their coil spring seating.
Im not sure that Rowe makes Pottery Barn, As Pottery Barn is a division of Williams-Sonoma and which the upholstery is built in their Sutter Street Plant in Claremont NC.
I would stay clear of Rowe, btw.


clipped on: 02.07.2013 at 12:03 am    last updated on: 02.07.2013 at 12:04 am

RE: More affordable *quality* sectional -8 way hand tied etc... (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: CharlotteHome on 12.03.2012 at 11:25 pm in Furniture Forum

CR LAINE is superb and I couldn't say enough about how nice the upholstery comes out. I think it's a hair better than Lee. I sell sets to my clients and everyone loves it. About 20 different craftsman touch each piece. I think you can get under $6,000 for a nice sectional. If you work with a designer, let them know your constraints and if they are like me they will make it work for you.

A rules of thumb to avoid cheap or mass produced upholstery: High quality upholsters always offer highly customizable pieces (since they are bench made and are not pre-fabricated). It's a good sign when there are 3-4 options for cushions and cushioned backs and many finish options. Remember to ask who makes pieces since companies change the names to re-brand. Restoration Hardware for example has a lot of import upholstery. Crate and Barrel is Lee or Michael Gold typically. Pottery Barn is Rowe. CR Laine beats all of these. Another designer brand that's fabulous is TCS but it's only sold through designers.


clipped on: 02.07.2013 at 12:00 am    last updated on: 02.07.2013 at 12:02 am

RE: More affordable *quality* sectional -8 way hand tied etc... (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: sas95 on 11.25.2012 at 08:21 am in Furniture Forum

Depending on how big a sectional you need, if you hit Stickley on sale you might be able to come in around the $7000 range. I spent not all that much more last year for a huge sectional, so if you're not looking huge you could probably get into your price range. Provided you hit them at major sale time.

Another significantly less pricey option is Carolina Chair. I bought a sofa from them, 8 way hand tied, kiln-dried frame, etc. and the quality is excellent. No one who sees that sofa can believe what I paid for it. They are a pleasure to deal with, too. They have limited style options, but if you find one you like I highly recommend them.


clipped on: 02.06.2013 at 11:58 pm    last updated on: 02.06.2013 at 11:59 pm

RE: Turbochef owners, please give me feedback! (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: l1234 on 08.31.2010 at 04:58 pm in Appliances Forum

I bought one of the first Turbochef ovens in the country. I showed it back to them after the Thanksgiving country wide Turbochef snafu. I gave them the list of changes that they need to do in order to make it in the marketplace. One of the most important was that in the original issue (you can still see it in their literature) they made it impossible to use plain microwave function. This year they made it available as the Favorite.
Back then one of the major issues was that during the Thanksgiving great many TC ovens blew the little fuse. In order to change that fuse it was required to remove the oven from the wall. The double oven weights over 400 lbs (some 186 kG) and requires 3 -4 strong men to handle. Imagine having to change the fuse after the warranty. Turbochef's stupidity caused them to commit to only 1 year warranty. Today they still did not learn their lesson, even though they lost a lot of market and were bought up by a British company. Sure they do not sell it in Europe as they would have to give a minimum 2 year warranty by law. I wonder why they do not sell it there as I know plenty of people in Europe with enough money to burn.
Otherwise the oven is very loud and does the heating even when you only want to look at the menu. It is loud but it does wonders. Back in 2007 our 13 lbs turkey was done in 41 minutes and it was the best done turkey in 30 years of trying.
If you decide to buy - make certain that you are buying at least 2nd generation Turbochef - you can recognize it by looking at the Information screen -- if the version number is 02.04.xx - it is 2nd generation oven. If it is it is the one you do not want to buy.
Current firmware is 02.04.01 and it still has bugs in it.


clipped on: 01.03.2013 at 12:45 pm    last updated on: 01.03.2013 at 12:46 pm

RE: Toto Washlet: best value/features? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: mongoct on 04.01.2012 at 11:40 pm in Bathrooms Forum

If I can intrude, let me point you to the Biobidet 1000 as well.

We have both the Toto S300 and the BB1000, we both prefer the BB1000.

It has seat warming, water warming, the drying function, all the bells and whistles, with the controls located on a remote.

Mt wife loves all of the bells and whistles. She says the BB has a more convenient and usable spray range than the Toto. Me, the biggest plus is the handheld remote for ease of use.

The BB is about $500 for the elongated version, which is what we have. We've had it for two years with no problems.


clipped on: 10.21.2012 at 03:57 pm    last updated on: 10.21.2012 at 03:57 pm

RE: RTA Cabinet Help (Follow-Up #31)

posted by: daveinorlado on 12.04.2010 at 10:45 pm in Kitchens Forum

Fabuwood is pretty good. I have put kitchens in my last store I was partner in for most of thier door styles. Stay away from their islands they are a nightmare to put together. Their were 3 consistant weaknesses of their product. The drawer front does not come attached to the interior drawer box.

1 The factory fails to pre drill a hole to make it easy to get it to line up right. You end up making a bunch of measurements to get it right and do it yourself. Can be frustrating if you only put them together 1 time. There is a learning curve to getting it right.
2. The painted white cabinets all had peeling paint on the plywood boxes. I do not know if that has been resolved. I have not assembled a painted white box from them in about 6 months. They looked similar to clay that shrinks and cracks after getting very wet and drying up.
3. The drawer glides of the 100 or so cabinets I have personally put together are not as smooth in the ball bearing mechanism as JSI.

If you are in the North East the dealer can order them assembled for you for. Dealers recieve a 5% discount if they order the cabinets in the box unassembled. If you live close enough to the Warehouse of Fabuwood where your dealer gets them delivered by a Fabuwood truck then they can be ordered assembled. I would go that route. Now make sure you compare possible prices each way and that you are not being ripped off by large mark up. The going rate for cabients being assembled by companies that ship out that way is $15-$18 being charged to the dealers with accounts to these companies.

JSI has great finishes. I do not have an acount currently with them. I still get all the emails from them for promotions and orders of my last partnership. The business was mine orignialy and foolishly I gave up ownership in exchange for capital for investment. I realized I handed over the keys to a person who would close up the books and all I could do was walk away or deal with it. Lost everything I had worked for to date! AHHH! Anyhow I am not interested in adding them untill I am more invested in displays of some American companies I want. I will add JSI in the coming months again. Back to the point. I never liked the Arlington Antique White. It was way to pink like a salmon color. It is supposed to have been adjusted to a more antique tanish white color. It that is the case it should be an imporvement. I also felt the glazing was weak as well. I was able to smear it by accident a few times durring handling them in the past.

JSI's finish other then that is very consistent. The Georgetown door styles is by far their most popular. The sturbridge is a reverse raised panel that is a great shaker door style. Fabuwood V groves the intersection of the stiles of the shaker doors and I think that is cheesy. Just my personal taste.I also do not care for the brandy color it is not a rich looking red to me.

Fabuwood is a glue and staple cabinet that anyone who knows how to operate a compressed air staple gun can assemble. The drawer header is the only thing that is a pain. If you put a dovetail drawer together yourself few people tell you to squeeze it together with a bar clamp or something similar. That is the way to do it right. Many people pound them together with a rubber mallet. A clamp is much easier and the joint will remain clean and crisp. Beating them together will tend to create areas of wood that do not fit and you get a splinter effect. All of JSI drawer boxes are factory assembled in China. They are perfectly crisp and clean. I would say the polyurethane or like finish on the drawerbox of a JSI drawer is much better then most of the RTA cabinets available.

Fabuwood has 2 series of cabinets the better series with the more expensive door styles uses plywood rails that go down the sides of the plywood box of the cabinet. That stiffens the box against the plywood trying to warp. JSI uses plastic corner blocks instead which is not as good also used by the cheaper doorstyles by Fabuwood.

Fabuwood has matching woodhoods the only company I know of in the RTA market that offers those. That is a big plus if you want a high end look on a low end budget. They are not Stanici if any of you are familar with those but it is a step up from your typical RTA.

Fabuwood also has more pantry cabinet widths and depths then most other RTA cabinets. I do not have my book here but I am pretty sure that they have some 12" deep pantrys and 12 or 15" witdths. I think they also have a 30 or 36" width. Most RTA companys only offer 18 and 24.

JSI pantrys come in 2 boxes for all sizes. This means you set one box on the other to create the whole cabinet. I hate that. You have a horizontal joint you have to trim if the side is exposed. I would definelty order a plywood panel to skin the side of all JSI pantry and oven cabinets. The oven cabinet is sold in 84" to get a 96 you have to set a 12" box on the top. Cheesy to me. They are the only RTA company I know of that decided to import their tall cabinets this way.

The roll out trays of Fabuwood cabinets are adjustable in height. It is a pretty simple way they do it. I had a hard time figuring it out the first time and had to call to ask how to do it. I think this is more functional then the JSI method where you have to screw the rails into the side of the cabinet to install it. If you move it you have holes to fix. JSI roll out trays are shipped pre assembled. Fabuwood you have to put them together yourself.

Lastly you can find the plastic cam lock systems inside the cabinets of JSI. This means a know it all jerk you are all ready annoyed durring your Christmas party can figure out you have RTA cabinets in your kitchen and complain that you got poor quality things. With a Fabuwood cabinet this is not possible to figure out for sure.

The builder series of Fabuwood cabinets allow upgrade to soft close on the drawers. The drawers are also solid wood dovetail in the builder series of door styles which is a rare. You will not find that on most american products that are close to chinese price point. Although truthfully the dealer cost to upgrade to soft close rails is $30 that makes them more expensive on the base cabinets then some other RTA cabinets which would be full overlay instead of standard or what is referred to as 1/2" meaning the door when shut is 1" wider then the opening behind it as it overlays the face frame by 1/2" on each side. A full overlay door typically overlays the face frame by 1 1/4".

When you look seriously at RTA cabinets you need to find out which cabinet lines offer the sized cabinets you are looking for. Some offer wine racks some do not some have the width pantry you want some do not. Some have soft close some do not. Some have plate racks some have light rail molding some do not. Some have full depth base shelves some 3/4 depth (Fabuwood) some have 1/2 depth (JSI) Some soft close rails allow for adjustment to ensure the drawer is paralel with the face frame behind. So if the cabinet is racked durring install for some reason you can adjust the drawer so you can not tell. Some of the soft close drawers release by handle underneath (Fabuwood) some the rails are screwed to the drawer and take more time to remove from a cabinet(JSI) Some use a full 1/2" thick back panel. Other use a 1/8" back with a picture frame plywood structure that makes the border of the cabinet 1/2" thick and the center section only 1/8.

If you want to be educated and you are sold on the best price. Order a door sample. If you still are happy order a cabinet you need in base and wall and put them together. If you still feel good about it order everything and you will be happy.

Everyone will tell you there are different things that make the quality of the cabinet better or worse. Beyond the captain obvious items most dealers do not have the technical data to back up claims of which is superior to what. It is not common knowledge where the wood comes from and what species it truly is. No dealer knows in great detail what grade the plywood is in veneer qualites and methods of adhesive to each layer. Most dealers including myslef could not tell what chemical type is used for finishing the cabinets in domestic made or RTA. That is hard to find out for every cabinet you may be considering.

Also JSI is weak in my opinion in accesory trim. They do not offer angled fluted fillers. Or fluted fillers 96" long I forget the maximum length but it seems like it is 60 something. Never understood that one. If I remeber corretly JSI has the interior finished to match the exterior of all but the Arlington cabinet. Fabuwood I believe is natural interior finish.

This is just a comparison of 2 product lines. I have accounts with 11 RTA compaines and know of several more. This could go on forever. Each has different ways of importing the cabinets and what is available and what is not. It is very tricky if you do not have the help of someone to sort it out with you.


clipped on: 10.02.2012 at 06:39 pm    last updated on: 10.02.2012 at 06:39 pm

RE: Creama Marfil for Countertop (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: MichelleDT on 02.24.2012 at 09:41 am in Bathrooms Forum

We have crema marfil (polished) in our guest and powder room and love it. But as the previous poster said, you have to be hands on during the install due to color variations. We bought double what we needed (Flor and Decor at about $3.50 sq. ft.) and I sorted all the tiles prior to install to make sure we had consistent color tones and then returned the yellow/orange toned tiles. We installed in 2009 (floors and counters) and have had no etching or staining.


clipped on: 08.17.2012 at 10:42 pm    last updated on: 08.17.2012 at 10:42 pm

RE: Shower Glass Surface Treatment - Clearshield or Showerguard (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: cat_mom on 04.03.2012 at 09:41 pm in Bathrooms Forum

The company we got our shower door from uses Clear Shield. According to them, they used to use Showerguard, but had problems with it (?).

We also used starphire glass. This shower door is in our guest bathroom. The shower is only used for one or two weeks a year generally, during my parents' visits. DH and I did use that shower exclusively for a few months while our other two bathrooms were being reno'd. After showering, we spray the tile and glass with a daily shower spray, and then use a squeegee. We had them add the Clear Shield as added protection. So far, so good.


shower glass
clipped on: 04.10.2012 at 11:24 pm    last updated on: 04.10.2012 at 11:25 pm

RE: Steam Shower - Mr. Steam? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: polonyc on 04.02.2012 at 01:11 am in Bathrooms Forum

WE have Thermasol. Went with them few years back. Easiest system to install and best warranty. Controls look great.


Steam shower
clipped on: 04.02.2012 at 05:51 pm    last updated on: 04.02.2012 at 05:57 pm

RE: Toto Washlet: best value/features? (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: anemone2000 on 04.02.2012 at 04:02 pm in Bathrooms Forum

nycbluedevil - it looks like you are correct that the S300 may possibly use more electricity. Besides the sourse of hot water, the other differences seems to be in the types of sprays and their adjustment.

Either one would be great, it just depends on your preferences.

Toto Washlet comparison chart below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Toto Washlet Comparison


clipped on: 04.02.2012 at 05:46 pm    last updated on: 04.02.2012 at 05:46 pm

RE: Checklist For Granite Installation? (Follow-Up #23)

posted by: divastyle on 07.25.2007 at 09:56 am in Kitchens Forum

When deciding on a fabricator:
-  See the installer's work, especially the seams;
-  Talk about what they do to make the seam really tight and smooth.

-  Post pictures for the TKOed of your slabs!
-  Be present for the template process.
-  Be there when they place the templates on your slabs, but if you can't be there then have a lengthy conversation about seam placement, ways to match the movement, and ways to color-match the counters that will be joined at the seam;
-  Double check the template. Make sure that the measurements are reasonable. Measure the opening for the range.
-  Be sure you test your faucet for clearances not just between each fixture, but also between the faucet and the wall behind the faucet (if there is one). You need to be sure the handle will function properly.
-  Make sure that the cabinets are totally level (not out by more than 1/8") before the counter installers come in. Saves big headaches.
-  Make sure they have the sink/faucet templates to work from.
-  Check how close they should come to a stove

-  if you have wood floors--especially if you're in the process of staining or finishing them--make sure that they don't spill or drip granite sealer on the wood floors. Apparently the sealer interferes with the stain or finish process. Possibly considered brown kraft paper to protect your floors.
-  Make sure that your appliances are protected during the installation process.
-  Make sure you have a pretty good idea of your faucet layout--where you want the holes drilled for all the fixtures and do a test mock up to make sure you have accounted for sufficient clearances between each fixture.
-  Somewhere you will have a seam by you sink because they cannot carry the small pieces after cutting out for you sink without breaking. Ask them to show you where it will be and if you are ok with it. Should be covered in the appropriately colored caulk.
-  Check the seams for evenness and smoothness.
-  Make sure that the seams are neat and clean.
-  Make sure that the seams are not obvious.
-  Make sure that there are no scratches, pits or cracks
-  Make sure that the granite has been sealed
-  Ask which sealer has been used on the granite.
-  Make sure that the sink reveal is consistent all the away around
-  Check the gap of the granite at the wall junctions.
-  Keep an eye for inconsistent overhangs from the counter edges
-  Make sure that all your edges are identical
-  Make sure that the laminate edge (if you have it) is smooth.
-  Check for chips. These can be filled.
-  Make sure the seams are butted tight.
-  If a cut-out or a seam is worked on OVER a drawer, be sure to remove the drawer and tape the glide. There have been instances where the granite dust destroyed the drawer glide.

-  Make sure that the top drawers open and close
-  Make sure the stove sits up higher than the counter
-  Make sure that you can open your dishwasher
-  Make sure that you have clearance to all of your appliances.
-  Make sure that you have the appropriate clearances for your appliances.
-  Make sure all you cabinets are still in the right place.

-  Watch when they apply the sealer, so that you know how to do it later.

Post Installation
-  Post pictures for the TKOed
-  Enjoy your kitchen!


clipped on: 08.01.2007 at 07:06 pm    last updated on: 08.01.2007 at 07:06 pm

Biondanonima - Answers about UC Lighting

posted by: mad_p67 on 07.18.2007 at 05:54 pm in Kitchens Forum

Hey Bionda,
My Juno Xenon Pro undercabinet lighting was just installed today and I played with it in order to answer your questions about it.

I bought different sizes of the lighting fixtures in order to have it under certain cabinets that are not placed at the same height. So anyways, all the undercabinet lighting is on a single dimmer switch. However, each individual fixture has a "high", "low" and "off" position. I can have some on "low", others on "high" and yet some of them "off". So I'm happy about that. This would satisfy your requirements, I believe. To boot, no separate transformer.

Also, the light does not appear yellow to me and my cabinets are white.

Let me know if you have any other questions.


clipped on: 07.18.2007 at 07:42 pm    last updated on: 07.18.2007 at 07:43 pm

RE: Cleaning floor grout.......anyone used steam? (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: weed30 on 06.29.2007 at 10:49 pm in Kitchens Forum

Once you get it clean, seal it! Aquamix Sealer's Choice Gold seems to be popular among the pros. Available at Home Depot, not sure about Lowe's. Buy the applicator with the wheel on the end - great little tool! I found mine at Home Depot right next to the sealers.

NOTE: Absolutely DO NOT USE "Stand 'n' Seal". Hopefully all of it has been recalled, but in case you run across some, pass it up. It can cause very severe respiratory problems.


clipped on: 07.01.2007 at 09:48 pm    last updated on: 07.01.2007 at 09:48 pm

RE: Stainless backsplash behind range? (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: brunosonio on 06.10.2007 at 03:45 pm in Kitchens Forum

I second the "what?", LOL. I put one in behind our Wolf rangetop and hood, love it. It cleans up easier than anything out there, and only cost my $98.

If you do this, do not buy it from your appliance dealer. Go to a metal fabricator shop, have it custom made. I went to one in the part of our city (Seattle) that services the Alaska fishing fleet. They did one for me about 42" x 38" for that price. It comes with a protective plastic film on the side you want not remove this until after installation.

You also want to ask for the brushed #4 finish. That is the standard SS appliance finish.

Make sure it's about 1/8" smaller than the widest point...for us it was the Wolf 42" hood. This will give you a better transition from hood/stove to backsplash. You do not need any fancy mounting boards, unless you want a more 3D look.

I didn't want any screw or nail heads exposed, so we used one of the Liquid Nails high heat/metal products to glue it to the wall. We propped it into place with wood blocks, and taped it to the wall until it dried.

We then installed the hood and rangetop. I extended the backsplash about 2 inches behind each appliance.

For cleaning, use SS Magic. First you wash down the backsplash with a bit of Dawn and warm water to remove manufacturing oils. Then apply the SS Magic heavily, spraying it onto the soft cotton cloth, not the metal. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, then buff off, again with a soft cotton cloth, buffing in circles to spread the product evenly.

Cleanup is a breeze after this. The SS Magic leaves a protective coating...spray some SS Magic on the cloth again, then wipe the grease off. It comes off immediately with no streaking, no fuss, and no heavy buffing.

I do this once a week to clean the backsplash. We do very heavy sauteeing and wok cooking, so there is grease everywhere, but the backsplash still looks completely new.

We love the SS backsplash...the rest of the kitchen is heavy on unstained cherry cabinets and wood floor, so all that SS doesn't look cold and clinical. And it's well lit from the light of the hood.


clipped on: 06.10.2007 at 05:01 pm    last updated on: 06.10.2007 at 05:01 pm

RE: For Those With Electrical Outlets on Island... (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: gizmonike on 04.06.2007 at 12:32 am in Kitchens Forum

We have outlets on both of the long sides of our island, which is 12' long & 5' wide. On one side, it is a normal electrical outlet, mounted where we don't have drawers. On the other side, we used the space where normally we'd have a drawer above the trash/recycling pullout. Instead of a drawer, its front can rotate up & push back at the top, exposing a bank of outlets.


clipped on: 04.08.2007 at 09:44 am    last updated on: 04.08.2007 at 09:44 am

RE: Custom drainboard in granite counter? pros and cons? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: zelmar on 02.04.2007 at 10:28 am in Kitchens Forum

We had a drainboard cut into both sides of our sink. Our stone is a schist rather than a granite but seems very similar to granite in many ways. The photo below was taken after it was in use for some time--no ill effects. I originally wanted drain "lines" (runnels?) cut into the stone but ended up with the entire sides sloping down. I love it. It's subtle, it doesn't affect the use of the counter at all. I wish I had done the same thing on both sides of our prep sink. I love that I can set down colanders or anything that just came out of the sink and not worry about water pooling and eventually dripping down the cabinets onto the wood floor. I don't recall exactly, but I believe each side cost us $100. The slope is shallow enough that the counters seem completely usable for all other purposes.

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clipped on: 02.05.2007 at 07:53 pm    last updated on: 02.05.2007 at 07:53 pm

RE: How do I remove the curse from my house? (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: pharaoh on 01.27.2007 at 06:44 pm in Kitchens Forum

make a garland from green chillies (thai or serrano) and limes (1 or 2). Hang it at the entrance of the kitchen. It is supposed to ward off evil spirits :)
If nothing else, it will remind workers to be extra careful!


clipped on: 01.27.2007 at 08:22 pm    last updated on: 01.27.2007 at 08:22 pm

Nine Months and counting

posted by: sombreuil_mongrel on 01.26.2007 at 06:18 pm in Kitchens Forum

Aging rapidly as I write this. This obsession has taken the place of my life and I'm ready for it to be over. It's been fun, but the good times are killing me, to quote _Modest Mouse_.
I waited around all day Thursday for the applicance deliveryman to bring my fridge. It's a cool one.
Here's my recent progress:
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The soapstone quarry called while I was hanging around to ask how I wanted the stone prepared for transit; it's almost ready! Wind me up and away I go...


ceiling line
clipped on: 01.27.2007 at 12:55 pm    last updated on: 01.27.2007 at 12:55 pm

RE: Pictures of tumbled marble backsplashes please! (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: charlie123 on 01.23.2007 at 08:41 pm in Kitchens Forum

Here are pictures of our backsplash which is a honed carerra (whites and grays) marble subway tile (2 x 4). We're very happy with it.

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clipped on: 01.23.2007 at 09:03 pm    last updated on: 01.23.2007 at 09:04 pm

RE: Looking for Insta-hot info (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: tech0010 on 11.15.2006 at 08:51 am in Kitchens Forum

I just put an ISE insta-hot in my new kitchen. If you decide on ISE had the best price I could find on the GN series faucets.

Here is the one I got.


clipped on: 01.14.2007 at 01:24 pm    last updated on: 01.14.2007 at 01:24 pm

RE: Want to brag about how you saved money in your new kitchen? (Follow-Up #28)

posted by: ramses_2 on 01.13.2007 at 12:14 pm in Kitchens Forum

Great post Live Wire Oak! And I'd like to stress that having to keep an eye on funds can be the the greatest, almost idiot proof way to ensure that your kitchen is one of a kind, creative, and dare I say it? Undated. Undatable?:)(What I'm trying to say is that things bought on closeout can't be easily copied)

When we first started our addition we naively thought we could have gold plated everything. I had pages and pages of magazine pics depicting that old world/tuscan style...I wanted it all, slavishly copied right off the pages. My architect thought of a few more.(A grotto like shower in the master)Then we had a few reality bombs lobbed our way. The grotto was unworkable and if it indeed were ever made workable it would need the Medici's fortune to build it. I can't even begin to give out the quote without laughing and twitching at the same time. Another misc. 8,000 job became 40,000, thingies needed doing to the old house infrastructure that I wasn't even aware existed so periously lo these 100 and some years. It looked like by the time we got to the kitchen I would be using plywood as counters and builder's grade everything else.

I distinctly remember the day I threw the pics in the trash and turned to the internet. Hey, if Thomas Jefferson could scour the world for his house why couldn't we? First came the Kitchen forum. Wow, a treasure trove. We then purchased our sink and Lady Grohe from, the copper tub Fergusen's had for 6,000 we got online for a little over 2,000, the stone and marble used throughout the addition came from, the bath fixtures from Hudson and Reed,the stone mosaic came from Lebanon, after buying a soso vanity, we bought two chests online and made our own. The glass mosaic backsplash came about because I was researching something for another poster and Maestromosaics offered me a great deal.(Lesson learned, call, ask, it can't hurt)

We rewired found old lights, made pendants from plug ins, chandeliers from lanterns. Counter stools and other things were bought on clearance sales.(A 600.00 mirror for 85.00 because it had a scratch) Hardware was purchased at a antique store for about 15.00.(Lots of elbow work needed however)

Cabinets were made locally, custom iron railings were as well.(We ended up paying about 4,000 for the railings as opposed to the 15,000 and up quotes we were getting and that included brass handles and details)

In the end we had a kitchen/addition that is 100% us. There are no pages and pages of glossy magazines out there that look like what we have. And because we had to watch over every little step, and often times do things ourselves, we ended up connected to the house on a much deeper level. I understand why carpenters leave their names tucked somewhere in a project, when a project is done right it's such a burst of creativity. It's a part of you, it truly becomes your own. And that's waaaay better than ripping out pics and handing them to your GC.


clipped on: 01.13.2007 at 05:38 pm    last updated on: 01.13.2007 at 05:38 pm

RE: Matte finish crackle subway tile? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: sweeby on 01.13.2007 at 11:39 am in Kitchens Forum

The following tile lines would be where I'd look for them:

Dunis Studios (They say the have them)
Walker Zanger
Ann Sacks
Ken Mason
Jeffrey Court
Meredith Art Tiles
Sonoma Tilemakers


clipped on: 01.13.2007 at 04:40 pm    last updated on: 01.13.2007 at 04:40 pm

RE: LED undercabs(Pics) (Follow-Up #38)

posted by: ramses_2 on 01.11.2007 at 06:15 pm in Kitchens Forum

John, DH says that within each cabinet section, separate light strips are daisy chained together, then for each section a single low voltage wire run inside the wall into the basement.

In the basement, the low voltage wires are connected in parallel to a single transformer plugged into a line outlet (which is controlled by a switch in the kitchen).


clipped on: 01.12.2007 at 10:28 pm    last updated on: 01.12.2007 at 10:28 pm

RE: Any Walker Zanger knock-offs? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: fluke67 on 01.11.2007 at 05:00 pm in Kitchens Forum

I have the Grazia Rixi, and paid about $10/sq ft for the subway tiles. It's really pretty, watery, pearlescent crackled glaze similar to WZ Mizu. In my case, lead time was about three months (I was told 6 weeks when I ordered).

Grazia's Essenze line may be more similar to Grammercy Park. I think the square essenze tile was around $7/sq ft.

Grazia makes a beadboard tile too - I think it's called Boiserie, or something like that. Don't know if it's crackle, though.

Here is a link that might be useful: Grazia Boiserie


clipped on: 01.11.2007 at 10:24 pm    last updated on: 01.11.2007 at 10:24 pm

RE: Do it Yourselvers: Did You Use a Kitchen Designer???? (Follow-Up #13)

posted by: trubee on 01.02.2007 at 08:45 pm in Kitchens Forum

we had such a good experience with Lyndi, our KD, who took an architect's boring routine layout and made the space the kitchen we wanted. And totally from long distance (we have never met!) One of the things I especially like is the pantry/clean up room off the kitchen. Instead of a straight walk in pantry off the side, she turned that room (which is small) into a fantastic and functional pantry/clean up room which also houses a steam oven and microwave. The clean up aspect is great because we have a very open floor plan and that lets me get the dishes out of the way without messing up the entire look of the house! She spec'd all the cabinets. What I did not have her do was the interior design (we did that ourselves) -- instead we paid her to do the overlay (overall design), spec'd the cabinets and worked with the cabinet maker in a way I would not have had the knowledge to do, placed the appliances I wanted (and advised me what she felt was best but did not at all dictate. It was the perfect match for what we needed and well worth the $100/hr she charges.

Feel free to email me for her email - I hesitate to just post it broadly. And for those of you who asked for some photos, I took these tonight (we just moved in)

Here is a link that might be useful: Kayenta Kitchen


clipped on: 01.10.2007 at 07:32 am    last updated on: 01.10.2007 at 07:32 am

RE: Line or Low voltage, xenon or fluorescent undercab lighting (Follow-Up #37)

posted by: rococogurl on 12.19.2006 at 11:23 am in Kitchens Forum


I had a similar issue with my electrician who had never heard of the lv xenons.

The lighting expo focused on them and on the leds but was geared for commercial installations (though that never bothered any forum folk I met!)

Here's a link to the led company with the lowest profile fixtures. Mind, these bulbs never need changing so these fixtures are expensive upfront. See if they're dimmable and if they might suit.

I can post a link to the photos of the expo with all the info on Thursday.

Re the Luche -- I leave mine on all the time and have never changed a bulb yet (2 years). I'd call Task and talk to them. They have pretty good customer service.

Once my electrician saw the Luche strip he installed it very easily. The transformer went into a deadspace between two cabinets.

Here is a link that might be useful: Io Led Lighting


Transformer goes into dead space between cabinets
clipped on: 01.07.2007 at 02:04 pm    last updated on: 01.07.2007 at 02:04 pm

RE: LED undercabs(Pics) (Follow-Up #24)

posted by: organic_donna on 01.03.2007 at 03:21 pm in Kitchens Forum

My lighting guy's name is Andy Lipman, his #312-243-1199. To give you and idea of the cost, I have 67" and they were $600.00. No sales tax of course. They are worth the money. I think the installatin was complicated though. My contractor, who is excellent said it took more time than he thought to install them. It is a very thin metal strip about an inch in depth and 1/2 inch thickness. It sits at the back of the cabinets. The lights are spaced about 6" apart. They make a dimmer, but it was expensive and I didn't want the extra cost. I have to tell you that I would not use the dimmer anyway, I like the brightness of the lights the way they are. He has two colors of light to choose from. A blue light and a warmer "yellow" light. I thought the blue lights had a fluorescent cast to them. I chose the warmer lights and against my blue granite it looks good.
P.S. ramses, I didn't mean to hijack your thread, sorry.


LED undercabinet light source for custom sizes.
clipped on: 01.03.2007 at 10:46 pm    last updated on: 01.03.2007 at 10:46 pm

Thank you Alku!! More pics.. (Follow-Up #19)

posted by: sharb on 12.26.2006 at 10:16 pm in Kitchens Forum

Alku, that was so easy, well I hope you can see them. I did not know to e mail to myself! Thanks!

I've included a few "before" photos. We removed a major wall to open up the kitchen to the living room. It actually worked! People sat in the old living room area on Christmas Eve for the very first time I think in 33 years!

I've avoided photographing the fireplace area, it's pretty ugly at this point.

Flyleft, thanks, we're in So Cal.

Let's see if it works!

Here is a link that might be useful: My Almost Finished Kitchen


clipped on: 01.01.2007 at 05:17 pm    last updated on: 01.01.2007 at 05:17 pm

RE: sliding vs french doors for patio (Follow-Up #12)

posted by: Nancy_in_Mich on 10.30.2005 at 03:22 pm in Renewable Energy Forum

Hi PattyLou,
I looked at Lowes yesterday, and Reliabilt will make the french doors swing inward or outward, with one door or both doors openable, with blinds insidethe glass (I plan on these) and with grilles inside the glass.


clipped on: 12.16.2006 at 12:53 pm    last updated on: 12.16.2006 at 12:53 pm

RE: Monogram Advantium and Convection Ovens (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: mom6 on 09.15.2006 at 10:16 pm in Appliances Forum

There is a new Monogram convection oven, I think it is ZET1SL, that does not have the Hatbox. It is sitting in my garage with my advantium 120 waiting to be installed. From what I understand it is a big improvement over the 938.
I agree that with those 2 ovens there is no need for trivection.

I just can't wait to have them installed. Demolition starts next week so hopefully it won't be too much longer.


clipped on: 09.23.2006 at 06:42 pm    last updated on: 09.23.2006 at 06:42 pm

RE: Medeterranian/Tuscan/French Country feeling kitchen (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: basketchick on 09.07.2006 at 05:01 pm in Kitchens Forum

I think that the 3 have similar feelings, but different "textures" to them. Decorators often caution against doing Old World or Tuscan styles on your own as they are difficult to bring together successfully and tend to be more high-end. Also, may people mix the styles with each other and Mediterranean, and they end up being a mish-mash. I didn't really believe that and I sort of tried to go Tuscan. But with the cabinetry I really wanted and needed for storage purposes (as well as budget) and quartz countertops DH insisted on, it isn't really working, so I may have to agree with them. :( Still trying to accessorize and have to paint to bring it more back to Tuscan. I hope!

I think wood floors can work fine with French Country or Tuscan. For Mediterranean, tiles are more the norm. French Country often has painted cabinets - and often in multiple hues. There are several pretty palettes to choose from in French Country design depending on the level of formality and region you are trying to attain. I've seen some stunning Blue/Yellow Provencal kitchens.

Tuscan is the more rustic of the three and often has stained, distressed furniture pieces as opposed to cabinets. Sometimes painted (or two finishes) and often dark. Countertops, backsplashes and flooring should use natural materials (or look alikes!)- slate, tumbled stone, etc. Use muted metals for lighting & plumbing fixtures, cabinet hardware, accessories - coppers, rusts & bronzes are nice. Wall finishes are important and should look old - faux finishes work great here. Colors tend toward very earthy warm tones - terracotta, butternut yellows, golds, greens and reds. For accessories, use Majolica Pottery, tall glass jars of pasta, oils, vinegars & decorative bottles of spices, fruit. Simplicity rules in Tuscan design.



clipped on: 09.12.2006 at 05:33 pm    last updated on: 09.12.2006 at 05:33 pm

re: url for ikea sink (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: signe on 09.12.2006 at 11:01 am in Kitchens Forum

I'm posting a link to the IKEA sink. The photo does not show that the inside front surface is slanted and ribbed - sort of like an old-fashioned scrub board. Very nifty.

Here is a link that might be useful: Numerar sink


Laundry room sink w/built in washboard
clipped on: 09.12.2006 at 05:22 pm    last updated on: 09.12.2006 at 05:22 pm

RE: Can Anyone Recommend Honed Granite? Soapstone? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: dmlove on 09.05.2006 at 04:36 pm in Kitchens Forum

I have Nordic Black Antique granite on my island and I swear by it! It feels silky smooth, cleans up with hot water and a dry cloth, seals well so everything just wipes right off. I love it. And it's an inexpensive granite, to boot (I think the wholesale price for the slab was around $14 per sq. ft)


clipped on: 09.06.2006 at 04:58 pm    last updated on: 09.06.2006 at 04:58 pm

RE: Brushed Granite- anyone have any experience with this? (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: candlernc on 08.20.2006 at 01:02 pm in Kitchens Forum

We have just installed brushed, enhanced, Absolute Black granite which is exquisite! The key is "enhanced" which is a coating they put on before the sealer which darkens the granite. It has a dark black/gray appearance and does not show anything! No fingerprints, rings, dust, etc! Perfect! As far as cost, I don't think it differs much from the polished - we found the difference in pricing was strictly based on who quoted it. We got prices that were incredibly different and in the end, (hard to believe), the cheapest one was the best - they did an excellent job! Everyone comments on the countertops more than anything in our remodel!! Not a negative comment either.


clipped on: 08.20.2006 at 09:10 pm    last updated on: 08.20.2006 at 09:10 pm

RE: Vent hoods: baffles vs. mesh filters (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: trailrunner on 08.09.2006 at 02:58 pm in Appliances Forum

I have the 54" Tradewind liner and we have the 1400 cfm Thermador roof mount fan. All the duct work is in but the install will be another week or so. We have the baffles , as for "extras" you can at least look at the Tradewind website and see ,they didn't matter to me .


clipped on: 08.09.2006 at 07:37 pm    last updated on: 08.09.2006 at 07:37 pm

RE: what would you put in your dream kitchen? (Follow-Up #20)

posted by: denise54 on 08.05.2006 at 05:11 pm in Appliances Forum

I remodeled an older 80's style kitchen (all white on white and GE appliances) into a "dream" Tuscan style kitchen with a Viking 48" range, Bosch DW, Thermador microwave and 42" Sub Zero, Shaw farmer's sink, Herbeau faucets, Bertch custom cabinets. Guess what? Sold the house in May and will start construction in September on another "dream" kitchen. Would NOT do the 42" SZ again.Instead will do integrated 700 series. No range this time, will instead do cook top (not sure yet, probably Blue Star or Wolf) and wall ovens (also not sure yet). Didn't like bending down to look in the oven and didn't like the second, smallish oven in the 48" range. I'd skip the grill and griddle too as we never used them. We have an outdoor behemoth called a Kalamazoo Grill which is great. Would probably do the Thermador Microwave again and loved the Bosch DW, but sort of lust for FP Drawers. Would NOT get the mixer pop-up thingy - dumb gimmick, vibrated like crazy. Be careful what you use for flooring, make sure it's easy on your feet. I had travertine tile and felt it was too hard, but easy to clean.

Bottom line...ask lots of questions, look in lots of magazines and books and trust other folks on websites like this who seem to have experience and have used the products. Sales people are often not cooks - ask them.


clipped on: 08.05.2006 at 06:59 pm    last updated on: 08.05.2006 at 06:59 pm

RE: reviewing est with contractor - what should i ask? (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: jerseygirl06 on 06.15.2006 at 09:18 am in Kitchens Forum

I wish I had discovered this board before I signed my contract. Now we are adding lots of little costs to our overall estimate. I wish I had insisted that the contract be more detailed with exactly what is and is not covered. For example, here is what I am being charged extra for...
-extra days of demo labor due to four ceilings and three floors discovered in kitchen - wish I'd requested details on demo time upfront
-$5K for plumbing diastsers discovered upon demo (though I don't see how the contractor could have known this, so am not as upset about it)
-over $200 to hang a door that I bought that was not pre-hung (note that our contract never specified that I had to buy a pre-hung door)
-plus they are trying to get me to pay for the extra work the tapers have to do b/c the demo caused some wall & ceiling issues in the dining room (I am fighting this one tooth and nail)
-a LOT of extra money for tile work - contractor claims the estimate was for 12x12 tiles (NOT written in contract) and that my small tiles will cost more to install
-etc etc
-and I am still a little unsure about how much I will have to battle for them to cover other repairs in the house (hall light mysteriously not working, basement ceiling destroyed, etc.)

I would suggest that you double check EVERYTHING you buy with your contractor to make sure there is not going to be some issue with installing it. I don't think I got enough guidance, and this is my first time doing renovations so I had no idea what I was doing. I find that these people expect you to read their minds and speak their languang - very frustrating!

BE NIT-PICKY!!!! Insist on knowing EXACTLY what is and uis not included!


clipped on: 07.31.2006 at 04:03 pm    last updated on: 07.31.2006 at 04:03 pm


posted by: msbookworm on 07.27.2006 at 08:53 am in Kitchens Forum

Has anyone dealt with this company. They advertise through Ebay and the prices are really good, no shipping and no sales tax except in New York?


clipped on: 07.27.2006 at 09:05 pm    last updated on: 07.27.2006 at 09:05 pm

RE: Is a 10-1/2' x 5' pantry big enough? (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: celticmoon on 07.24.2006 at 04:43 pm in Kitchens Forum

Yes, plenty big enough. But plan the space well.

I think it would be nice to have deeper shelves below a long counter and shallow shelving above. Below can go soda cases, paper towels, extra plates and serving pieces. Appliances could go on counter, plugged in even and ready to go. Cans, boxes, cereals, etc all on the upper shallow shelves. As shallow as 6 to 8 inches is plenty deep, some set close together, e.g. just one can height. I'd consider using the blank wall just for hanging table linens on long bars. And I'd consider partitioning off the farthest 2 feet to make an enclosed utility for brooms and cleaning supplies - just to keep that all that stuff separate from the food and table stuff. OK, broom on back of the door if you need it handy.

The worst is to have too deep shelves ceiling to floor, set too far apart. (Guess who has 18 inch deep shelves floor to ceiling set 16 inches apart? LOL)


clipped on: 07.24.2006 at 08:11 pm    last updated on: 07.24.2006 at 08:11 pm

Gaggenau Appliance Test Drive Report - Long

posted by: beaverlake on 04.03.2006 at 03:47 pm in Appliances Forum

With many thanks to the local Gaggenau (Bosch,Thermador) distributor I had the opportunity to test drive the following Gaggenau appliances last week. The context is the kitchen in a new home. We have the luxury of having 60-70" of counter space for cooking surfaces, plenty of wall space for ovens and refrigerators, and access to both gas and electric. I started this test with a predjudice in favor of induction and an interest in the steam oven - and the need/desire for a grill (not a grill pan). Since we plan to mix various types of cooking "engines" I ended up thinking "modules" - which pretty much means Gagg, Meile, or Wolf. We chose to pursue Gagg because of the Teppan Yaki plate, the high powered induction (although spendy), the steam oven, and past positive experience with Gagg.

Units Tested: the latest models of the following -

27" Oven - rotisserie, pizza stone, finishing seard meat
Convection/Steam combi oven - short ribs, reheat pasta, bread, cookies
Induction - boil water, simmer, stir fry
Teppan Yaki - boil water, simmer, searing lamb rack, chicken breasts, salmon
Gas cooktop - simmer

Short form:
1. Gagg gas burners need a better simmer design
2. The steam/convection oven is larger than you think and is, IMHO, worth the price and is a good choice for a second oven (could be a first for some)
3. Induction - it's the bomb, but IMHO Gagg needs to get their pricing more in line. Their unit DOES offer some advantages: full adjustment from simmer to sear, takes up to 11" pans w/auto adjust, has residual heat indicator, looks great. Cooking permformance was excellent.
4. Ovens - as good as the comments on the forum have indicated. Really like the rotisserie and the pizza stone with embedded element.
5. Teppan yaki plate - versatile option, good looking, a bit spendy but on the buy list.

Some final comments/caveats listed at the end of the post.

Simple things first:
1. Gas cooktop - considered a Vario 400 series as an option for one of the modules. No longer a consideration. The simmer setting uses just a small, "finger sized" center burner. I had a thick tomato sauce in a Staub cast-iron pot and at the lowest setting the heat pattern produced a small boil in the center of the pot. The heat was too concentrated. Too bad since the general performance of the unit was good and the SS is high quality.

2. Convection oven:
Rotisserie - did a small marinated pork roast. Figuring out the icons on the control took some doing the first time out, but I didn't read the manuals for anything and once I was told which icon was correct all was okay. Selected the convection broil setting and turned on the rotisserie. With so much cooking going on I was more than a bit sloppy about watching everything. When I remembered the roast I figured it was overdone. Then I was taught a new use for the temp probe in the oven (obviously you can't use it on a spinning piece of meat). At the suggestion of the rep, I plugged in the probe, pushed it into the roast and pushed the probe button - in about 10 sec it showed the temp - Handy! It also showed I had overcooked the roast (it was at 167 before resting). The good news - rotisserie cooking produces good results even when the cook isn't paying attention. After sitting for about 10 minutes the roast was still juicy with a nice carmelized exterior. Interestingly, clean up was simple since the unit has an oven pan underneath and the heavy enamel made clean up easy. Home-made could be as convenient as Costco for chicken...

Pizza stone with integrated heating element: I had to use frozen Rhodes bread since I didn't have time the night before to make my own dough. I had very low expectations given the dough and the amount of time I had to work it. I made a simple pizza margahrita with a not-too-thin crust and preheated the stone for about 10 minutes at 450 (probably should have listened to the repa and set it for 400 or 410). I used my wooden pizza peel with some yellow cornmeal on the peel to slide the dough off easier. Much to my surprise the pizza came out wonderful. The crust was baked through, the bottom was a chewy-crisp yellow-gold and the cheese was melted and just browning. The rep acutally removed the pizza - I would have left it in another minute or two. But the results were impressive. I usually use a consumer-style pizza stone in a very hot oven with good results, but having the heating element embedded in the stone clearly produces better results. I'm sold on this option even if it is expensive. If you make a lot of pizza or bread (see comments on combi oven) this option is worth it.

Finishing Seared Meat - no surprise here, the oven lived up to its reputation for consistent heat.

Induction - single unit, pots up to 11", settings 1-12
For anyone still on the fence regarding induction, jump. I brought a huge pot of water to boil for pasta in less than 10 minutes (sorry, didn't measure the amount of water, but it's a commercial-sized pot with a pasta insert). Not only was it fast, but the rolling boil clearly came from the entire bottom of the pan, not just a part of it (I've seen this phenomenon on some gas cooktops where the flames don't heat the bottom evenly - flame pattern, drafts/airflow, etc.). When I turned the power down to avoid boil-over the change was instant. I put the Staub pot with tomato sauce on the unit now turned down to 2 and then varied it and the sauce "just sat there" at temperatures varying from 130 to 160 depending on the setting (I had waited to let some/most of the residual heat in the glass dissipate). Amazing simmer control. Later I stir-fired some veggies in a Costo-purchased Nordic-ware flat-bottomed wok. I turned the unit up to 12, turned away to get my oil and the prepped veggies, then checked the surface temp with my infrared thermometer (yes, I'm a kitchen gadget geek). The induction unit was already cycling on an off since in less than two minutes the surface temp of the pan was over 500 degrees. The veggies cooked up with no trace of the liquid extraction/steaming that can happen when there is not enough reserve heat to keep the temp up. In fact, I had to turn the temp down a notch. I even tempted fate by pouring in a few ounces of wine (I was testing the gear, not cooking for taste) and the wine boiled off in about 15-20 seconds. Amazing. The unit is somewhat unique when considering the output range (keep warm - simmer - blazing heat).

Teppan Yaki
For those of you who haven't seen this in person or on the web site, this unit shares characteristics of both a griddle and a "plancha" (?) that's on some of the high-end french ranges (not to be confused with a french top). Unlike most griddles, this unit is a very thick slab of hard-chrome-plated stainless steel - the chrome plating makes quite a difference. It can be cut on with virtually no damage - I chopped up some shrimp "Benny Hana" style to prove it. The rim is sealed so liquid cannot drain through around the edges making clean up very easy. After all my cooking we left the temp at about 300 and took a lemon juice-water mixture and "deglazed" the top. We then scraped the bits with one of the included spatulas and used kitchen tongs with a costco bar towel to wipe up the remaining liquid. Overall it took about 5 minutes and the unit looked good as new. This unit has a large thermal mass and provides a very steady heat. I did all the cooking with both elements turned on and set to 300 degrees. There are two control knobs, one for "front/rear/both" and one for temp. The temp control only controls the "active" element, or both - you can't set different temperature for front and rear. I flattened two chicken breasts to about 1/2 inch, seasoned with salt, pepper, olive oil and little italian seasoning, then cooked/seared each side for about 2 minutes, drizzling some fresh lemon on the meat while cooking the second side. Both sides were done with a nice uniform golden brown carmelization and they were not overcooked. It was all too easy. Same with the salmon filet (about 1 lb, thick end). I couldn't find any salmon steaks, and I probably should have used the combi oven to steam the filet, but I thought I'd try the teppan yaki. I had seasoned the salmon with salt, pepper, and dill, then rubbed wit olive oil. I cooked the skin side first. Using a metal spatula, the skin came up easy and I flipped the salmon to complete the cooking. Again, no surprises since the plate has a large thermal mass and two x 1500 watt elements. I'm not a big fan of griddles, but this unit has the mass, surface area, and heating reserve (3Kw total) so it can be used in a variety of ways - searing plate, griddle, or french top. This will stay on the "buy" list. Great temperature control, consistent heat output, and it looks great after repeated use.

Steam-Convection combi oven
Having read a number of recent posts I was really intersted in this unit. My first dish was pork baby back ribs I had marinated overnight in beer, garlic, salt and pepper. I cooked them 75 minutes, 310 degrees, 100% humidity. After resting for about 5 minutes I went to cut the ribs and the bones just pulled out. Tender, moist, flavorful. I then baked some cookies (Rocky Mountain pre-made dough; peanut butter chocolate chip), 350 degrees, 30% humidity, can't remember how long - but I took them out when the tops were golden brown and crusty and it was under 10 minutes. The centers stayed moist and chewy even the next day. Very quick, very nice combo of crispy/chewy. Took some leftover Rhodes bread dough, pinched it into three "rolls" and baked at 350, 0% humidity. After 10 minutes, then every 5 minutes or so, "injected" steam using a button that shoots some cold water into the bottom of the oven. This "steam injection" created a tasty chewey thick crust on three lumps of what had been "cheap" frozen bread dough. Finally - left the penne pasta I had boiled on the induction unit sitting in the colander for about 2 hours and thought I'd challenge the steam oven. I spread out the now partially dried, stuck-together lump of pasta on a 1/2 sheet pan (they fit) and put the whole thing in the combi-oven for 5 minutes at 220 degrees and 100% humidity. The pasta came back to life in it's al dente form. Once again, amazing. I also like the fact that you can use standard 1/2 sheet pans by sliding them in on the TOP of the ovens rack glides. Same goes for other standard sized commercial pans (check to make sure) - you can save some $$$ and have a lot of pans. Plumbing and drain add to convenience (and, of course, total installed cost).

1. Obviously Gagg equipment is not for the financially faint of heart.
2. Make sure you have 240v to the teppan yaki. We had 208v at the showroom and it showed in heat-up time and temps. As a result, I didn't "test" the fact that this unit has two elements (front/rear) with some "combo" useage. This is a device that needs 10-15+ minutes to preheat. No surprise given the thermal mass.
3. The induction unit prooves that this type of "engine" is an incredible tool. I'd love to have one of the gagg units and I'd also like to have a 2-"burner" unit as well. But Gagg (like Kupersbusch) has to be more competitive on price and gagg needs to offer other configs. I'm sure others like me will pay some level of premium for aesthetics, but when you can purchase both a 24" and a 12" Diva unit (neither one a price leader) for the same list price as the gagg induction unit - well, you get the idea. Great features, great performance, on the spendy side IMHO.
4. Steam/convection oven. Larger than it seems - actully much larger, but costly. Needs a drain and a water hookup. Lightning fast preheat. Takes a half-sheet pan so it's deeper than it appears (its easy to assume microwave depth because of the narrow front).
5. 27" Ovens - took in a 17" square piece of pizza cardboard from Costco tae-n-bake. It fit in the oven of a free-standing Bosch range, it fit in the non-convection Thermador oven. However, it needed to be folded back about 2" for the Thermador convection oven and about 3" for the Gagg. In otherwords, you give up oven depth for convection capability. Not a revelation, but a reminder to those like myself who thought he couldn't live without a 30" oven and a reminder to test oven size based on your cookware/bakeware (i.e., if you don't buy take-n-bake pizza from costco does it matter if the rack is 17, 16, 0r 15 inches deep?).

Overall a productive day for me. Once again, my thanks to the local distibutor. We'll purchase the combi oven, the Gagg electric grill (didn't test, not on display), and the teppan yaki plate. Jury is out on gagg induction because of a) cost and b) only a single "burner" but would buy if performance was main (only?) criteria with aesthetics second. Will probably purchase the oven(s) as well although may go Meile if we can sort out whether or not their baking stone has an integrated element (same for Wolf, but very a distant third).

Hope this helps some of you. Email me directly if you have questions/comments that aren't geared to posting or if you'd rather call with questions.



clipped on: 07.23.2006 at 10:50 pm    last updated on: 07.23.2006 at 10:51 pm