Manufacturers have been developing combo appliances and all-in-one kitchen units for years now and many homeowners have been thankful for the dual or triple functions these space saving units can provide.
This seven feet tall by six feet wide maple cabinet appears to be just a beautiful storage piece, but when the doors are folded back, it reveals an entire kitchen unit. Complete with stainless steel sink, microwave with hood, 2 burner cooktop, refrigerator/freezer combo, dishwasher, and of course countertop space and shelving for any pantry items, this unit is an incredibly efficient, self-contained kitchen.
The Armoire Kitchen is refreshingly simple and clean, and offers a wonderful way of saving space without compromising on features or functionality. The starting price for this cabinet is around $9,300.00, but considering how much each of these appliances would cost separately, it’s a pretty good price. Plus, it’s portable so if you need to move, you can take the Armoire Kitchen with you.
When most homeowners think of Smart Homes, they think high-tech electronics, sophisticated security systems and high installation costs. While this is generally true, many smart appliances can achieve smart home goals without breaking the bank.
Large Smart Home upgrades can require major restructuring to the home’s electrical system and can cost between $10,000 - $250,000, depending on how ‘smart’ the home is. But homeowners can begin converting to a Smart Home simply by purchasing Smart Home Appliances.
These appliances range in features and cost, but can offer homeowners convenience, more control, peace of mind, independence and even help save on monthly bills. By upgrading in small steps, homeowners can receive the benefits of a Smart Home without breaking the bank.
1. Beyond Internet Coffee Maker
It seems like a very small place to start, but even a coffee maker can be the first step towards a Smart Home. The Beyond Internet Coffee Maker merges with the internet to give homeowners control over when they want a cup of coffee.
It has a built in ‘Grind and Brew’ like most other coffee makers, but it can be programmed and rescheduled to brew coffee from any web browser. This luxury means fresh coffee will be ready when you are instead of having to drink old coffee that has been sitting in the warming mode.
2. Fisher and Paykel Active Smart Refrigerator
The Active Smart Refrigerator from Fisher and Paykel may look like a regular fridge but it offers much more than that. The main feature of this fridge is the Active Smart System which has two variable speed fans to provide faster cooling and heating throughout each level of the fridge and freezer. The system continually adjusts the flow of cold air based on daily use; making sure the temperature is at a safe degree for food freshness.
The Humidity Control System allows you to customize the humidity for each crisper drawer and the Variable Capacity Compressor allows for greater energy efficiency. The door also comes with an alarm to alert homeowners if the fridge door has been left open; another way to help reduce wasted energy and lower monthly bills. Everything can be controlled using the External Electronic Interface.
3. Whirlpool Centralpark Refrigerator
During CES 2008, Whirlpool unveiled their concept for an intelligent refrigerator that they believe will help unclutter consumers’ kitchens and maximize efficiency.
The Whirlpool Centralpark Refrigerator has a plug and play platform for consumer electronics that clears countertops and clutter from the front of the fridge. With the centralpark connection, homeowners will have an interchangeable connection point where they can connect their cellphone or photo frame. Homeowners can also connect iPods or digital music players, for music on demand while they are busy in the kitchen.
Beyond photos and music, there are several other add-ons available such as the Cozi Family Organizational Software that can help families manage schedules and tasks, as well as the Quartet Qnote Message Center by Acco Brands that offers a superior dry-erase writing surface that’s completely customizable.
4. Multimedia Hoods
The Imago+ Multimedia Hood from Faber worries less about energy efficiency and more about added convenience and entertainment. This steel/glass kitchen hood houses a 19-inch LCD TV with a 1,440 x 900 resolution and 850:1 contrast ratio. This TV has an analog and digital tuner, on board recipes, Internet, video call, multimedia player, webcam and USB input.
ILVE has their own version of a multimedia hood called VELA. It only comes with a 10-inch LCD TV built in, but also has a remote control and a RCA input/output for hooking up a cable box, DVD player, or game console.
With these multimedia hoods, homeowners can watch their favorite cooking show, receive a video call and keep an eye on their children in the next room.
5. The Ultimate Kitchen Combo
Rather than focusing on improving just one home appliance, John Lewis has decided to tackle them all and create the Ultimate Kitchen Combo. This combo is a 4-in-1 system that includes a wall mounted coffee machine, an electric oven, a steam oven, and a 19-inch LCD TV.
This kitchen-in-1 provides all the basic cooking necessities and surprisingly, looks incredibly sleek and uncluttered.
6. Demy Recipe Reader
For the homeowner who can’t afford purchasing new major appliances, the Demy Recipe Reader by Key Ingredient can still add intelligence to your kitchen. This 7-inch display touchscreen has storage for up to 2,500 recipes, three kitchen timers, a measurement conversion calculator, an ingredient substitution dictionary and USB connectivity for syncing with a PC. It’s also guaranteed ‘kitchen-safe’.
7. Verizon Hub Home Phone
Verizon Wireless has just launched an intelligent home phone called the Verizon Hub that’s designed to replace old fashioned home phones with a sophisticated home communication system that merges landline and wireless connectivity.
The Hub comes with a 7-inch touchscreen display that has the ability to sync your calendar, traffic, weather reports, and of course, contacts. The Hub allows for texting from your home phone for those text addicts and can even order pizza, provide maps and directions, and preview trailers for upcoming movies. The Hub uses your existing broadband connection and will work with current Verizon wireless subscribers.
8. Smart Meters
New to the US market, Smart Meters are an advanced electrical meter that will offer homeowners an entirely new way of managing their electricity use and monthly bills. Smart Meters will record the total household electricity consumption hour by hour and then send this information real-time to the utility company.
By doing this, Smart Meters will provide an economical way of measuring this information and allow price setting agencies to introduce new prices for consumption based on time of day or season. By billing customers based on how much electricity they use at certain times of day, it will force them to adjust consumption habits and be more responsive to market prices. These meters will also help control the rapid increase of electricity prices and reduce the need to purchase energy from higher priced sources.
Currently California is looking to install 5.3 million Smart Meters between 2009 and 2012. It’s also hoped that this same process can be applied to natural gas and water consumption.
9. Smart Thermostats
Smart Thermostats are interactive ‘communicating’ thermostats that can ‘talk’ with each other and help reduce unnecessary use of the home’s heating and cooling systems. They can manage and adjust the home’s energy consumption based on current prices and necessity.
Smart Thermostats can even be programmed to allow homeowners to create heating and cooling schedules based on time of day or if the home is vacant or occupied. If you have zoned heating and cooling, these thermostats can be programmed to heat certain areas of the home at certain times.
By programming a Smart Thermostat to work around your schedule, homeowners can save as much as 30 percent annually. These thermostats also use the home’s heating and cooling more efficiently which has a positive impact on the environment and on the homeowner’s monthly energy bills. EcoBee’s Smart Thermostat promises to pay for itself in energy cost savings by the first year and a half of use.
10. Smart Home Lighting
In the US, home lighting accounts for 20% of all electricity consumed and 50% of that is wasted on inefficient light sources, such as unoccupied rooms. By using Smart Home Lighting, homeowners can use indoor and outdoor lighting more efficiently which will help conserve energy and save them money.
One of the most common and easiest forms of Smart Home Lighting is a dimmer switch or a dimmer module. By programming dimmer switches to turn on and off only when needed, they can potentially save up to 60% more energy and make your bulbs last up to 20 times longer. Homeowners can even add motion sensors that automatically turn off the lights when no one is in the room for increased efficiency.
There are several areas homeowners can use Smart Home products to improve their life, and Smart Appliances are only one part. The home automation market continues to grow every year and new products are being developed that are more affordable, more efficient, and more convenient.
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In 1921, Stephen Poplawski put a spinning blade at the bottom of a container to make soda fountain drinks. Tada! The blender was born. Smoothies, salsa, and frothy beverages have never tasted so sweet (or spicy)! Of all of the incarnations of the basic blender, we listed 9 of the most pimped out models to be developed.
The Food Processor
This ostentatious appliance towers over its blending predecessors with interchangeable blades and disks; the food processor takes on solids and semi solids to deliver kneaded dough or baby food in a whir of powerful chopping, mixing or grinding action. Think you’re never too old to be tricked into eating your peas? You better be careful with this bad-boy in the kitchen. Who knows what will get thrown in there next. Yipe!
Juicers aren’t just for dieters, hippies that only eat raw food, or old people that can’t go regularly. The hard core Acme Juicer is the ideal appliance for real men, using a gyroscope and clutch to deliver sweet, crisp nectar. The blades turn 60 revolutions per second, proving that if Bond needed one at a moment’s notice, this would be his juicer of choice. Whether your juicer has a gyroscope or a Jack LaLanne signature, make a toast to your health! The inventor of this brilliant machine lived to be 108!
The Salsa Blender
Things get spicy when you add fresh peppers and garlic to your homemade tomato salsa. Or try mango or mint salsa and add some ole to your entertaining style. This speedy Gonzales among salsa blenders not only crafts incredibly smooth or chunky salsa, it whips up icy beverages, such as pina coladas and daquiris. Who doesn’t love a fiesta?
The Margarita Blender
You don’t need tickets to a Jimmy Buffet concert to understand the popularity of this drink! Ever seen a “jumbo” Margarita glass in a Mexican restaurant? They hold more water than any toilet bowl! Margarita blenders are unique because they have a chamber for crushed ice at the top of the blender console. It’s like two blenders in one! Just don’t handle the blades for cleaning after having a few.
The Smoothie Blender
The Smoothie Elite, debuted in 2003, after smoothie specialty shops, such as Jamba Juice, had struck trendy, cold gold. It features a stir-stick to break apart air pockets and a practical dispensing spout. It’s arguably the most efficient and most difficult to clean smoothie appliance available.
The Magic Bullet
Aunts and Grandmothers everywhere were delighted to unwrap Magic Bullets from Santa last Christmas. This upside-down blender loaded with accessories packs a punch; crushing and stirring at speeds that Granny had never witnessed before in her own kitchen. The accoutrements, 21 altogether, include blades, plastic mugs, filters, and a “10 Second Recipes” book.
Your kitchen will become Sno-Cone central with this ice-stomping blender. The ice-crusher is a timesaving tool for smoothies, frappuccinos, and your favorite frothy alcoholic beverages. If you’re like me and don’t like standard cubed ice from trays, crushed ice is a major upgrade. Use it to freshen up your guests’ drinks or to make a calorie-free, hydrating snack.
The Hot Cocoa Maker
Aztec emperor Montezuma drank 50 golden goblets of hot chocolate daily (as he believed it to be an aphrodisiac) and he paid Aztec prostitutes in cocoa beans. Now if the thoughts of drinking an aphrodisiac don’t get you into a tizzy, a recent study conducted by Cornell students proved that the antioxidants in cocoa are three times more active than those found in green tea. No marshmallows? This baby can turn a flat cocoa (or latte, or chai tea) into a lathered, frothy libation that won’t disappoint on a brisk, wintry night.
The Coffee Grinder
This barista “must-have” was a hand-crank machine in its infant years. With thousands of varieties on the market today, anyone who enjoys a morning joe can choose from the total spectrum of coffee grinding glory, from Turkish to Espresso, for paper or metal filters, and from drip-brews to french presses.
Appliances are typically one of the most expensive items to replace in the home, so for potential buyers, seeing run down, damaged or ugly appliances can mean more expenses for them and fewer offers for you. Buyers like to see newer looking appliances in the home they want to buy, so use this checklist to spruce up your appliances and help close the deal.
1. Scrub all appliances down with soap and water to remove any dirt and grime.
2. Deep clean any gooey, ground-in dirt on your appliances by using products like Goo Gone. Clean appliances always look better than dirty ones.
3. Check each appliance for any nicks or scratches in the paint. Appliance touch-up paint in the appropriate color will hide any scratches.
4. Check the inside and outside of your appliances for rusted areas. An appliance rust remover will get rid of those stains.
5. Clean your oven’s elements and drip bowls thoroughly. You can purchase element cleaners if necessary. Replace any elements or drip bowls that are too worn or damaged.
6. Replace any missing or broken parts, for example, dishwasher utensil holders and tines, refrigerator end caps, or any broken knobs and handles.
7. Update old-looking knobs and discolored handles. This is a relatively inexpensive way to give your appliance an instant make over.
8. Replace dented or worn front panels and footplates on your appliance. These parts can be a bit more expensive to purchase, but it’s cheaper than purchasing new appliances and is well worth it if it means selling your home.
9. Ensure your appliances are level without the aid of scraps of wood or old catalogues. Purchase new leveling legs if necessary.
10. Fix any problems with your appliances that you may have been putting off, like funny noises or leaks.
Prior to starting any repairs, you should make a list of all the parts and touch up products you’ll need to buy and see if it makes sense to fix up the old appliance or swap it out for a new one. Most times, if the appliance isn’t really old, it is well worth it to update a few parts to help sell your home.