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RE: Wolf Combi Steam Oven questions (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: mjocean on 10.16.2013 at 09:19 am in Appliances Forum


My steam oven is installed under the counter by itself so I can't help regarding installation with other ovens. I do love using the steam oven. We've had it ~4 months now and still learning how to use it. It is fun to experiment and 99.9% of the time we're pleased with the results.
Best of luck!


clipped on: 10.18.2013 at 12:53 am    last updated on: 10.18.2013 at 12:53 am

Build too much?

posted by: mommyto4boys on 03.16.2009 at 10:08 am in Building a Home Forum

We have been in our 4200 sq feet custom (with another 2500 yet to finish in basement). We have 5 kids, but still feel like we overbuilt. We are considering another build, scaling down more and keeping the square foot at 3000 and an additional basement. Our home just seems too big, too expensive, too much too clean, etc. Just wondering if anyone else has regretted building too much home? Thanks for your thoughts!


clipped on: 07.20.2009 at 08:47 pm    last updated on: 07.20.2009 at 08:47 pm

Modern House Update

posted by: billyc on 08.06.2008 at 11:24 am in Building a Home Forum

Hello all,

It's been a while since we last posted, and the house is really starting to feel like ours. For those who haven't seen it before, it's a modern barn-style house in upstate NY. Have a look...

View of house from backyard

View of house from woods (unfortunately left the garage door open for the picture)

Entry with sliding walnut closet doors (these also serve to close off the den when open) - bench will go in between the closets


Kitchen/Dining Room (view out to backyard before pool was finished)

Living room fireplace (photo is kind of dark)

Master bedroom with custom walnut plank bed

Guest bedroom 1

Guest bedroom 2

For more pictures and floorplans, check out our blog at

Thanks for watching!


clipped on: 07.20.2009 at 10:39 am    last updated on: 07.20.2009 at 10:39 am

My analysis of the costs & benefits of energy efficiency systems

posted by: swampwiz on 07.13.2009 at 09:20 pm in Building a Home Forum

I've just done a thorough cost benefits analysis of an energy efficient system, so I'd like to share it with the community, and get any feedback.

It seems that the financial decision to install an energy efficiency system (i.e., either insulation, or alternatively, a solar energy system, which would have the same net effect as insulation, or the difference in the capital and maintenance cost of a higher efficiency HVAC unit) is really a put option on the relative rate of energy cost increase vs. the rate of interest (i.e., either the cost to finance, or the rate or return on an investment.) There could also be the side effect of the relative rate of the cost and resale value of the installation of the energy efficiency system, and the difference in the capital and maintenance cost of a larger capacity HVAC unit.

When considering the installation, there are 2 different scenarios:

[1] Don't install the system, and just pay the extra costs of what would have been saved in the future.

[2] Install the system, and pay the interest on the costs of the financing of the installation (or forgo the return on the investment of the amount that instead was spent on the installation.

The general idea is that the savings due to the energy efficiency system must be greater than the financing cost of the installation. For example, if the system were to cost $10K, at 5% interest (tax neutral), the yearly finance cost might be something like $650. For this to make economic sense, the annual energy savings should be at least this $550, or it would have been better to simply pay the extra energy costs rather than the interest.

However, it is not the actual interest cost that should be measured, but rather the interest rate relative to the rate of increase in the cost of energy, since the savings would be worth that much more in actual terms.

So, while the interest rate and rate of return could be known and locked in (either by a fixed rate loan or bond), it is anybody's guess as to how expensive energy cost are going to be in the future. Obviously, the cost is at least going to go up with the general rate of inflation, but with the situation of Peak Oil and its side effect on the price of natural gas (which is the main way that electricity is generated for my area), and the unknown effect of mandated limiting of carbon emissions, who knows how high energy cost can go up!

I suppose that in the general, an energy efficiency system always makes sense if the savings outweigh the payments on the financing, so long as the cost of the system is not expected to go down in cost in the future (e.g., even if a solar power system makes sense now, if it is expected that the price of the system will drop significantly in the future, it may make sense to forgo the net savings to save the capital cost in the future.) If the system does not have a net savings at present, and the system does not have any extra cost for being installed after construction vs. during construction, then the proper action is to simply wait until such time in the future when there is a net savings to do the installation. For example, if a solar power system costs $20K, with a financing cost of $1010/yr, and with present reduction in energy costs being $500/yr, it would not make sense to do the installation. If however, 5 years from now, the cost were $12K, with a financing cost of $660/yr, and the reduction in energy costs being $700/yr, then it would make sense.

However, there is the situation with insulation such that the cost of installation is much higher after construction than before. In this situation, the decision to wait is not an option. A determination must be made that the current net loss (i.e., using the installation cost at construction) with respect to the installation cost at construction will be balanced by the future net gain. For example, extra insulation may cost $10K, with a financing cost of $550/yr, and only save $300/yr now, but save $700/yr in 20 years. So long as the net savings balance out over the long term (with the investment rate of return factored in, since the early savings of not installing the system could be invested to produce savings themselves), it would make sense. Thus, for this situation, the rate of interest should be modified such that it is relative to the rate of increase in energy costs.

Now for some math.

factors in analysis:

i = interest rate

f = rate of increase of energy cost

d = f - i

J = cost of system installation

E0 = current energy cost savings due to system

R0 = E0 / J

N = time period

then, for small D, a system installation system the financial equilibrium (i.e., break-even) point - i.e., where it starts to make financial sense - is, after a lot of math, and approximately:

with Y = exp(N * d) - 1 // exp(y) is the natural logarithm base e to the power of y

R0eq = d / Y

if d is negative, and d * N is large, then Y -> -1, so:

R0eq = :d:


N = 50, d = .02: Φ = 1.7, R0eq = 0.012

N = 50, d = -.02: Φ = -.63, R0eq = 0.032

N = 50, d = -.05: Φ = -.91, R0eq = 0.055

N = 1000, d = -.03: Φ = -1, R0eq = 0.03

So, in the case of this R0eq = 0.032, an energy efficiency installation of cost $10K would break-even over the 50 year span if the current annual energy savings were $320. (The annual savings 50 years from now would be much more.)

So the net result is that for the situation in which the interest rate is higher than the rate of increase of energy cost, the break-even point is a little higher than the difference of these rates. If the interest rate is lower, then the break-even point becomes much lower.

That's it. So what about a guess for what the price of electricity will be for the next 50 years?


clipped on: 07.18.2009 at 10:21 am    last updated on: 07.18.2009 at 10:21 am

Peanut Butter Texas Sheet Cake

posted by: pat_t on 06.12.2009 at 09:37 am in Cooking Forum

This recipe may have already been posted here before, and if so, I apologize in advance.

I got this recipe from another board I'm a member of. My interest was piqued so I made it yesterday afternoon. Mom and I couldn't wait for it to cool off, so we grabbed 2 forks and started eating it right out of the pan! Folks, I gotta tell ya, it is to die for!


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup water
3/4 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter (may use creamy if you prefer)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup evaporated milk
1 Tblsp. butter or margarine
1/3 cup chunky peanut butter (may use creamy if you prefer)
1/2 cup miniature marshmallows
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a saucepan, bring water and butter to a boil; stir in peanut butter and oil until blended. Add to dry ingredients; mix well. Combine eggs, buttermilk and vanilla; add to peanut butter mixture. Mix well.
Pour into a greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan. Bake at 350� F. 16-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
Meanwhile, combine sugar, milk and butter in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat; stir in the peanut butter, marshmallows and vanilla until marshmallows are melted. Spoon over warm cake and carefully spread over the top. Cool completely.

Recipe from Paula Anderson at Mimi�s Cyber-Kitchen.

**My notes: I made this in a 9 x 13 pan and baked it for 35 minutes.


clipped on: 06.23.2009 at 11:44 pm    last updated on: 06.23.2009 at 11:44 pm

RE: No luck searching carmelized onions in crock pot (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: pat_t on 06.19.2009 at 09:37 pm in Cooking Forum

Here's the recipe:


6 Vidalia onions (approximately 2-1/2 pounds), about 3- 4 inches in diameter, stem and root ends sliced off, peeled and left whole
1 stick butter (8 Tblsp.)

Place the onions and butter in a slow cooker and cook on low 12 - 24 hours until the onions are deep golden brown and very soft. Different slow-cookers will take different amounts of time - it's almost impossible to overcook this.

Use the onions and liquid to flavor soup, stock, or stews. They make a wonderful addition to risotto, a perfect pasta sauce and the world�s best pizza topping (drain off the liquid first).


clipped on: 06.23.2009 at 11:10 pm    last updated on: 06.23.2009 at 11:10 pm

Buttermilk Oatmeal Pancakes

posted by: ann_t on 06.22.2009 at 07:56 pm in Cooking Forum

Moe declared these the best pancakes he has ever had. I found this recipe in the March 1991 issue of Bon Appetit. I finally decided to part with my collection of magazines. Some date back to the early 1970's. I'm going through them a box at a time and tearing out any recipes that I might actually make.

Rather than add the berries to the batter as the recipe calls for I just served them on the side. The pancake is good enough on its own without the berries.

Home Cookin Chapter: Recipes From Thibeault's Table

Blackberry Oatmeal Pancakes
Source: Bon Appetit March 1991

2 cups rolled oats
2 cups buttermilk

2 eggs, beaten to blend
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of ground nutmeg
pinch of salt
vegetable oil
2 cups fresh blackberries or forzen blackberries, thawed, drained
warm maple sryup

Mix oats and buttermilk in large bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Whisk eggs and butter into oatmeal mixture. Mix in flour , sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Heat griddle or heavy large skillet over medium-high. Lightly brush with oil. Ladle batter by 1/2 cupfuls onto griddle. Sprinkle some berries over. Cook
until batter bubbles and bottom is deep golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn pancakes and cook until second sides are deep golden brown. Transfer to plates. Repeat with remaining batter and berries. Serve with warm maple syrup.

Here is a link that might be useful: Thibeault's Table


clipped on: 06.23.2009 at 10:35 pm    last updated on: 06.23.2009 at 10:35 pm

RE: How high for decorative Border (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: bernice44 on 08.07.2008 at 08:58 pm in Bathrooms Forum

Updated Pics of the progress on the link below Still a few weeks before the shower glass comes in, we need to Grout, finish lights, mirror, hang door, steam generator install and Grohe Aquatower 3000 to be installed. Whew.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bernice Bath Project


clipped on: 02.22.2009 at 12:37 pm    last updated on: 02.22.2009 at 12:37 pm

RE: placement of mirror & light? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: thetews on 12.23.2008 at 06:03 am in Bathrooms Forum

It's all really personal preference, and on the size of the mirror.

For me - I like the mirror placed so that the top third is above my height - 5'8". But I also want the mirror to be at least 2 or 3 inches above the backsplash - or 4 to 5 inches above the sink top, if there is no backsplach.

I like my sconces to be pointing downward and for the glass part to be at about my face level - about 5'5" or so. This would mean the elec boxes are higher than that - how high depends on the size/shape of the lights.


clipped on: 02.22.2009 at 12:25 pm    last updated on: 02.22.2009 at 12:26 pm

My finished DIY calacatta/glass bath. So many thx to the forum!

posted by: callieandkarin on 10.05.2008 at 12:26 pm in Bathrooms Forum

After many long months of thinset, dust and sleeping in the guest room, my new bath is finished. It was 100% DIY after work and on weekends, and we could have never done it without the design,tile and plumbing help from this forum.

The room is small and narrow (14'x 5.5'), carved out of the master bedroom of a 1910's era house some time in the 1960's. They never demo's the old walls, just piled in the plumbing and the new walls inside the old plaster. Needless to say, demo-ing down to the studs was a nightmare. We removed a bathtub and went with a big walk in shower instead. The design attempted to be modern and eclectic, with some traditional touches to nod to the original era of the house.

Here are the materials we used. Thanks again to everyone for their help.

Wall Tile: Artistic Tile Calacatta Oro Marble 4"x16" and chair rail and Opera Glass 1"x2" in Puccini Purple accent tile
Floor Tile: Ann Sacks Savoy pennyrounds in rice paper
Vanity: 48" Kraftmaid Venecia
Shower and Faucet Hardware: Jado IQ
Rainhead: Grohe
Towel Bar and Trainrack: Restoration Hardware Albion
Countertop: Statuario Marble (1/2 the price of a calacatta slab, matches very closely to the tile)
Sink: Toto Lloyd undermount
Toilet: Toto Soiree ADA
Medicine Cabinet: Robern
Overhead light: Hubbardton Forge Kakomi
Radiant Heat: Nuheat

Here is a link that might be useful: Karin's master bath


clipped on: 02.19.2009 at 06:29 pm    last updated on: 02.19.2009 at 06:29 pm

Please help ID the mosaic & subway tile ~ PICS

posted by: kawfeeaddict on 09.21.2008 at 05:04 pm in Bathrooms Forum

Has anyone seen the mosaic tile used in this shower? We are looking to do something similar in ours.
I think the vanity top is calacatta marble and the pencil tile is from Sonoma Tile. Any suggestions for any of the components, including the subway tile will be appreciated! I think the floor should be whiter.

Thanks :)


clipped on: 02.19.2009 at 06:11 pm    last updated on: 02.19.2009 at 06:12 pm

Guest/Kids bath finally done!

posted by: lauraella on 09.01.2008 at 07:07 pm in Bathrooms Forum

It is finally done! Here are a few pics, I don't have too many befores, just picture standard builder oak vantity and 4x4 white tile. Floor was peel and stick faux slate.

Here is the after:

New outside pocket door:
New whirlpool bath/shower combo with granite niche
added plug to back corner of vanity for DD's hair accessories
granite vanity with onyx backsplash
storage over toilet
new door hardware

Vanity, mirror and storage cabinet - Lowes Allen/Roth Line
Vanity top - Golden Hill Granite top from HD
Whirlpool Tub - Jacuzzi Espree - Lowes
Price Pfister Marielle Tub/Shower fixtures -
Pegasus 9000 Series Sink Faucet -
Door hardware - emtek

Hope you like it, we do!




clipped on: 02.19.2009 at 06:05 pm    last updated on: 02.19.2009 at 06:06 pm

RE: Tile around mirror? (Follow-Up #11)

posted by: houseful on 02.17.2009 at 09:01 pm in Bathrooms Forum

This first one is mine and the others are from model homes. It helps to draw everything on the wall first.


clipped on: 02.19.2009 at 12:40 am    last updated on: 02.19.2009 at 12:40 am

RE: Mixing calacatta marble with glass tiles? (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: southernalbertahomes on 10.29.2008 at 11:26 am in Bathrooms Forum

There is a product where it is already mixed up on a sheet. We are installing it in our ensuite but it won't be ready until mid december so i can't post any pictures. They have about 6 options of tile/glass to choose from.


clipped on: 02.18.2009 at 06:27 pm    last updated on: 02.18.2009 at 06:27 pm

Your Bestest Pot Roast?

posted by: maggie2094 on 01.18.2009 at 10:29 am in Cooking Forum

Crockpot? Dutch oven? I have done both and okay but nothing spectacular. If I am doing crockpot I should get moving - LOL.



clipped on: 02.18.2009 at 01:08 pm    last updated on: 02.18.2009 at 01:08 pm

How Would You Cook This?

posted by: shaun on 11.04.2008 at 07:53 am in Cooking Forum

A Boneless Rump Roast.

Bought one yesterday and I'd like to make it tonight.

What's your favorite way to make it? Crock Pot it? On the Stove? In the Oven?

Please share your cooking method and recipe?


clipped on: 02.11.2009 at 12:23 am    last updated on: 02.11.2009 at 12:24 am