Designing Kitchens, Bathrooms and Bedrooms – Summer Holidays 2016

Design 1 - 110 Range

We like to think we finally had some breathing space last week, as Leicestershire got their head start on the summer holidays and most people like to take advantage of the pre-school-holiday prices. But in reality, we have lots of customers coming in this week and next to see the designs we have been working on in their absence, and we want to make sure that every design ticks as many boxes as possible. We have a few major designs going on at the moment, and we’ll give you an insight into the process behind three of them.

Mrs P

We designed and fitted Mrs P’s elaborate yet understated new bathroom for her last year, so we’ve been given another chance to impress with her huge kitchen.

Elongated but with cute alcoves and features, the open plan kitchen / diner / sitting area looking out onto a gorgeous garden is an exciting challenge for any designer. When we started meeting Mrs P about her kitchen, we discussed whether she would prefer modern or traditional, form or function, whether glazed or solid doors were preferable, and many, many other topics of conversation relating to Mrs P’s kitchen preferences. Fortunately for our creative side, Mrs P is open to all ideas, but particularly loved our Austin (real ash, painted shaker) door in our showroom.

So, to begin with, we used ArtiCAD to create three different designs which all utilised the adorable little alcove which you will see on the rendered image below. The first placed a lovely 110 Range cooker in the space with cupboards and spice racks either side for immediate access to anything Mrs P may need when cooking.

The second incorporated a bank of tall larder units framing Mrs P’s American Fridge Freezer, with a lift up top box above the fridge itself for maximum utilisation of space.

The third is completely different, turning the alcove into a cosy window seating area with incorporated under-seat bookshelves, allowing us to move the Range cooker to another wall where we can put a mantle over it, which is always a fabulous statement in any kitchen. So far, Mrs P has eliminated option 2, which means we can focus on other elements of the kitchen. It may sound strange, but we like to show our customers designs even if we do not think they will like the design in particular. It means that when you have finally chosen your design and had your new kitchen fitted, you’ll never have any doubts or wishes that we had designed it for you in a different way.

Before Mrs P left our showroom a couple of weeks ago, we discussed the idea of a beach-themed kitchen, making full use of our brand new Windsor Blue doors, complemented with Ivory or White Cotton wall units. We all got quite excited about designing this, and let us tell you, it looks fantastic. However, we can not show you the designs until Mrs P has seen them first – sorry! Keep checking our News page for updates and we might let you have a sneak peek!

 

[Source:- greenstone-kbb]

 

Wessex Garage Doors – New for 2017

2016 saw extensive investment by Wessex in the migration of doors to a chassis based build method for both its ¬up and over and side hinged garage door ranges. The culmination of that effort is a new brochure and price list showcasing the new ranges for 2017.

The new build has proven to be a winner with customers, creating a strong, corrosion protected steel chassis that provides a protective “picture frame” edge all around the glorious G.R.P. door panel.

The highlights:

  • Standard size pricing bands for 7’0”, 7’6” and 14’0” wide doors in 6’6” and 7’0” heights for up and over doors.
  • Made to measure now in 5mm increments
  • Re-introduction of Gothic & Tudor designs
  • New one-piece Lymington with windows design
  • Insulated roller door option

 

[Source:- doorindustryjournal]

38% off REC TEC wood Pellet Grill and Smoker – Deal Alert

pellet  grill

The laptopcontrolled REC TEC wood pellet grill averages 5 out of 5 stars on Amazon from almost 250 clients (93% charge it 5 stars – examine opinions) and guarantees to alternate the manner you devour. The grill starts with the push of a button and correctly continues temperatures between one hundred eighty and 500-tiers, in fivediploma increments, by self-feeding from a hopper of real hardwood pellets available in apple, oak, pecan and greater. This precision device is built with high temp long lasting powder coat end, stainless-steel handles, and functions a 40-pound capacity hopper for long lasting grill or smoking sessions, and a huge 19.5×36″ grilling location. To assist win your self assurance they provide an “unmatched” 6-yr confined guarantee. With a normal list charge of $1,598, it is presently discounted by means of a whopping 38% to $998 making it an attractive option, if you‘re inside the marketplace. research more approximately the discounted REC TEC grill at Amazon.

Devolo Home Control Starter Pack review – smart home for the masses?

Devolo Home Control Starter Pack

Devolo is best known for its range of Powerline Homeplug networking products, so it was a surprise to see the German company launch a range of smart home kit. The core Home Control Starter Kit contains a control hub, a door sensor and a plug adaptor for controlling electrical devices such as lamps. Other optional components include a smoke detector, motion sensors, thermostats, wall switches and key fobs. Surprisingly, given that most household lights in the UK are fitted into ceilings rather than free-standing lamps, Devolo doesn’t sell compatible lightbulbs.

The control hub connects to your router either via Ethernet or Powerline – oddly, there’s no Wi-Fi option. It communicates with all the other components using Z-Wave, so basic functions will continue to work in the event of an internet outage. It should be compatible with non-Devolo Z Wave smart home products, but I didn’t have the chance to test this.

The control hub has to be set up using a web browser on a desktop or laptop, and you have to create an online Devolo account. After that, everything can be configured and then controlled remotely from the web interface, which was easy to use despite the occasional bit of stray, untranslated German. Alternatively, you can also use Devolo’s respective iOS, Android and Amazon Fire My Devolo apps, but these weren’t quite as well organised as the web interface.

Devolo Home Control Starter Pack kit

The setup wizards for the home control components include handy streaming videos illustrating how to setup and install each one, although these can be very superficial for the simpler components such as the key fob. In most cases, it’s simply a matter of pressing a button or pulling out a plastic tab to turn the component on and waiting for it to register with your control hub before fitting it in the position of your choice. Most components can be fitted to walls and frames using either screws or double sided tape, both of which are included with each component where applicable.

Once everything is configured and in place, it’s easy to set up rules enabling your various home control components to work together automatically. I quickly created a rule where opening the front door would automatically turn on a radio plugged into the plug adaptor. I also created a rule where any movement detected by the motion sensor (£56 from Broadbandbuyer.co.uk) near a window automatically turned on a lamp plugged into the plug adaptor and sent an email notification. In another example, lights plugged into the plug adaptor were configured to turn on automatically if the smoke detector goes off, providing valuable illumination of your escape path in the event of an actual fire. You can also set rules to run on a schedule.

The plug adaptors keep track of power usage, so you can also use them to monitor any ruinously power-hungry appliances. Many of the components also measure temperature data, which you can track on a graph in the web interface, so you can easily identify hot or cold spots if you’re worried about your unevenly insulated home. Oddly, many of the components can also track brightness but this is shown as a meaningless percentage figure rather than something more useful such as lumens or nits.

Devolo Home Control Starter Pack adapter

The four-button key fob (£40 fromMoreComputers.com) and the wall switch (£43 from Kikatek.com) can be set up to manually run rules when pressed. The wall switch is a rocker and can be configured as either a single or double rocker switch using the included plates. These can be prised off gently using a small flat head screwdriver if you ever want to change the plate or need to change the battery.

One of the suggested use cases for the wall switch – mounting it on your bed frame – elicited much derisive chortling in the Shopper offices, but this can still be useful for turning on or off multiple devices plugged into plug adaptors without having to get out of bed, which is handy if you’re forgetful or have mobility issues.

The smoke detector (£56 from Broadbandbuyer.co.uk) was reassuringly loud and it’s tamper resistant, too – attempting to remove it from its mounting bracket or prise open the plain white plastic casing will cause the alarm to sound. Disappointingly, though, there’s no convenient way to silence the smoke detector, such as through the app, during false alarms – you’ll have to prod the small button or waft a tea towel instead.

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This general lack of real intelligence also extends to the thermostat (£89 for the wall mounted room control version and £67 for the individual radiator version, both fromBroadbandbuyer.co.uk). Although I couldn’t test it extensively as our test home already has a Nest smart thermostat fitted, it doesn’t have any comparable learning features. While the ability to control the temperature remotely or easily schedule it are still useful given the generally poor state of thermostat interface design, the lack of more advanced capabilities shows that Devolo’s smart home kits feel more like improved versions of the home automation kits I’ve had for years rather than true smart home gear.

Another overarching issue, albeit shared with other connected home kits, is the lack of compatibility with rival smart home systems such as Works with Nest, Apple’s HomeKit and Google Brillo. Devolo does say it’s looking into compatibility with Nest and HomeKit, but for now smart home kit is still for early adopters willing to risk buying into a system that might not be popular enough to have a wide choice of compatible components a few years down the line.

A more immediate concern is Belkin’s comparably priced ZigBee-based Wemo smart home system. As well as having compatible light bulbs (albeit ones with screw rather than bayonet fittings), this system also works with IFTTT for more complex rules. Devolo’s Home Control Starter kit is still good, but I’d think carefully about what you want to achieve with it before purchasing.

SPECIFICATIONS
OS SUPPORT Windows 7/8/10, Ubuntu 14, Mac OS 10.7+, Android 4.0+, iOS 5+
TRANSMISSION SPEEDS Ethernet 10/100, Powerline networking 200/500
CENTRAL UNIT RANGE 30m (Powerline, Z-Wave indoors), 200m (Z-Wave outdoors)
WARRANTY Three years RTB

 

 

[Source:- Expertreviews]

Gtech AirRam K9 review – the cordless that thinks it’s an upright

AirRam K9 intro

The original AirRam first came out in 2013 when cordless vacuum cleaners weren’t as fully established as they are today. It was lightweight, compact and, in many ways, a big improvement over more conventional cleaners. However, unlike Dyson’s popular handheld cleaners, for instance, the AirRam kept things simple with its traditional upright design.

The new Gtech AirRam K9 is an upgraded version of that original model. On the surface, it looks practically identical, but inside it’s been decked out with more durable metal components. There are also built-in fragrance inserts to banish bad smells, plus a redesigned brush to better handle pet hair. Gtech reckons its pretty tough and gives it a two-year warranty to support that claim.

Design

The AirRam is very simple to use. There’s one button halfway down the device for on-and-off and that’s pretty much it. However, I do wish there were a few more controls to make it more practical. For instance, there aren’t any additional power settings to help conserve battery life or reduce the amount of noise it makes.

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The latter would have been particularly useful, as the K9 is pretty noisy. It doesn’t make the shrill whistle that some cordless designs make, but the throaty, slightly mechanical roar definitely isn’t very subtle. In terms of battery life, you’ll get around 40 minutes of cleaning out of it, but it then takes four hours to fully recharge the battery, equating to roughly an hour for each 10 minutes of use.

AirRam K9 battery

It charges from a compact plug-socket charger. The cable isn’t terribly long, but you can always remove the battery from the bottom of the vacuum and charge it separately if you prefer. This is a nice touch, as it means you carry on vacuuming with a spare battery, which costs around £40.

The design means it stands up unassisted like a regular upright, and you put your foot on the top and pull the ergonomic handle back to move it into the right position for vacuuming the floor. However, vacuuming floors is about the only thing you can really use the AirRam for, as Gtech doesn’t make or supply any additional accessories.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is strange when most cordless devices are designed for spot-cleaning and flexibility. To be fair, it does a pretty good job of getting into the edges of your floor, but there’s no attachment to get into nooks and crannies, no way of vacuuming upholstery or curtains, and you definitely can’t use it in the car to give it a quick spring clean.

Performance

If you’re only looking for good carpet cleaner, though, the AirRam K9 does a pretty good job. I gave it a serious test both at home and in our labs, and it picked up hair and fluff without a problem, rarely requiring more than a single sweep. If this covers your vacuuming needs, then you’ll be more than pleased with the K9, but it’s worth noting that it did have a horrible tendency to belch out dust as it began reaching full capacity. In a way, it’s a useful indicator of when you need to empty the K9, but it’s still rather alarming all the same.

However, the K9’s lack of flexibility showed up in our more demanding tests. These involve fine powder and cat litter to really put a vacuum through its paces. On a hard surface, the AirRam K9 tended to push the powder around as much as it sucked it up. It’s not an easy test, but other cordless devices we’ve seen have coped better than this.

AirRam K9 tile test before

^ Before (above) our hard surface powder test, and after (below)

AirRam K9 tile test after

The cat litter test was equally taxing for the K9. This test takes place on a carpeted floor, and while most of the litter went in – after quite a bit of effort on my part, mind – some was kicked out the back of the vacuum while I was moving it. Then, more fell out when I put the K9 away, which isn’t great.

Due to the design of the vacuum, I wasn’t able to perform our usual suction test, which measures the level of suction when the vacuum is full and empty. However, it was clear that the K9 had plenty of power during our tests, and this didn’t seem to diminish as it filled up.

Handling

At just 3.8kg, the AirRam K9 is a lightweight compared to other upright-replacements, which are often 5kg or more, but it’s still considerably heavier than a typical Dyson cordless, which are usually nearer 2.2kg depending on the model.

In terms of handling, the K9 was a bit of a mixed bag. It’s very light and there aren’t any cords to contend with, but I found it really likes to glide and shoot forward, with the powerful brush gently pulling it along as you go. Likewise, when you try and move it back and forth over a tricky spot, it can often feeling like there’s too much resistance. It’s not a big deal, but it just felt a bit unpredictable at times.

The base part of the vacuum is around 100mm high, so it won’t fit under anything lower than that, but its flexible handle, which almost tilts right back down to floor level, means you should be able to get the K9 under most sofas. To lie it completely flat, you’ll need to twist the handle to one side, but this makes using the K9 much more awkward than it needs to be.

Emptying

The AirRam is very easy to empty. Lift off the top panel and you’ll immediately see the dust tray underneath. You then simply take that tray out, tip it in the bin, and put it back again. There aren’t any clips or catches either, as everything just pushes firmly into place. The capacity isn’t huge, so you might find yourself emptying it a lot if your carpets are very fluffy, but the same could be said about many smaller cordless devices.

AirRam K9 filters

The filters sit in the top panel, and these can be removed and washed when needed. The vacuum also comes equipped with a fragranced filter, that can be topped up with scented refills, which are also supplied in the box. It’s a nice touch for those who like a bit of air freshener, but personally I wasn’t that keen.

Conclusion

Like the original AirRam, the K9 is a rather specialised device. It works just like a regular upright, but it’s much lighter and it’s great at cleaning carpets. It’s also easy to empty as well. Many people will consider it a huge upgrade over their ageing, socket-bound upright, but it doesn’t provide the same flexibility you’ll find on a handheld cordless. Other devices are better on hard floors and with grittier substances, and we’re also not entirely convinced by its handling either. It will no doubt be good for some, it simply isn’t a good all-rounder.

 

[Source:- Karndean]

Dyson Pure Cool Link review – hands on with Dyson’s connected air purifier

Dyson Pure Cool Link lead

When you think about the concerns around air quality, many people immediately think of Asia and, to an extent, that’s with good reason. One quick glance at the real-time air quality visual index map and there’s a worrying amount of red labels across the known trouble spots of China and India.

But alongside the problems faced halfway across the globe, Dyson believes that air quality is just as much of a concern in the UK. As such it has developed its Dyson Pure Cool Link air purifier, the first of its Wi-Fi connected devices to be launched here. ItsDyson 360 Eye robotic vacuum is set to be the next and should be with us in the first half of the year.

Speaking at the launch of Dyson’s Pure Cool Link purifier, Dr. Bruce Mitchell, a clinician and immunologist, stated that we breathe 250 million litres of air in our lifetimes and complacency around air quality is something we should avoid.

Dyson Pure Cool Link front close

Dyson believes that air quality can be five times worse indoors compared to outside. Considering we spend an average of 90% of our lives indoors, this is potentially a lot of time to be exposed to allergens and pollutants. The problem is exacerbated by the manner in which homes and buildings are designed. Modern buildings are made to keep heat in and noise out, creating a sealed environment for allergens and pollutants accumulate. Allergens and pollutants can be anything from mould and bacteria, textile fibres, chemical fumes, pet hair, and gas from cooking. But it’s chemicals from deodorants and cleaning solvents that are the most common indoor pollutants.

Dyson Pure Cool Link desk

Dyson’s Pure Cool Link, which is available as either a desk (£350) or tower (£450) fan, is designed to capture 99.95% of ultrafine allergens, odours and pollutants, all the way down to 0.1µ (microns), trapping them in its filter. Its design isn’t a drastic departure from its existing desk and tower fans and humidifiers. The filter is located in its base, which uses a 360-degree glass HEPA filter. This contains 1.1m2 of constructed microfibres, which when unfurled amounts to about six metres. The filter has been pleated over 200 times to help it trap more minute particles. Once the air has been passed through the filter, it’s projected back out through the amplifier loop fan above. Each filter will last for around 180 days of constant use and replacement filters will cost £50.

Dyson Pure Cool Link filter

There’s no filtration performance difference between the desk and tower variants. Aside from the obvious change in physical size, the only difference is in the performance and air distribution of the fan itself. The desk version can also be tilted for more targeted airflow.

Dyson Pure Cool Link smoke test

I had a quick demonstration of the purifier’s performance with the filter component sealed inside a glass box that was then filled with smoke. The Cool Link was then turned on and after about five seconds all of the smoke had been passed through the filter and clear, smoke-free air was projected out of the top fan. It was an impressive visual display the Cool Link will require more rigorous testing before any performance conclusions can be made. For what it’s worth, Dyson states that it tests its purifiers in real-home environments and it has been through 350 prototypes before ending up on the model on shelves today.

Dyson Pure Cool Link app history

With its vacuums, the distinctive clear bins were a way for Dyson to clearly show off the performance of its patented suction and bagless design. Air quality isn’t something that can be as easily visually represented. That’s where Dyson’s Cool Link app that is available on iOS and Android comes in. As I mentioned earlier, the Pure Cool Link is the first of its Wi-Fi connected devices and, therefore, has a companion app. The base of the purifiers not only houses the filters, but also a number of sensors and these detect changes in conditions. These then relay the live air quality information to the Dyson Link app, so you can instantly get an air quality reading as well as see when the filter needs replacing.

Dyson Pure Cool Link air quality

The app can also be used to control the Cool Link purifier and you’re able to set a target air quality level, adjust fan speed or enable functions such as the night mode. This dims the indicator lights and ensures the fans remain on the quieter settings while still maintaining target air quality. The app gives you historical data for air quality so you can easily monitor changes. Having used the app, everything was logically laid out and being able to set schedules was useful. Changing basic settings, such as fan speed, was also instant, which isn’t always the case with Wi-Fi controlled devices where there can sometimes be lag. Multiple Cool Link purifiers can be controlled from the app. A physical small remote control is also included if you don’t want to constantly be reaching for your smartphone or tablet.

Dyson Pure Cool Link remote

The Cool Link app is integrated with BreezoMeter, an analytics company that provides real-time air quality from thousands of sensors around the world. This means you will have both indoor air quality readings from your Cool Link purifier, but outdoors, too. How useful this will be, for anyone but the most ardent hypochondriacs remains to be seen.

The Dyson Pure Cool Link is available from today in either silver or blue finishes. We’re expecting a review sample in shortly and will be sure to put it through its paces.

 

[Source:- Expertreviews]