5 futuristic home lighting solutions starting at just $15

Home Lighting Ideas

You don’t need to be a millionaire to step up your home decor, and creative lighting is one of the best ways to make a big impact on your guests without making a big impact on your wallet. It’s something most people don’t think about often enough, but “smart lighting” is still new enough that even simple solutions can feel futuristic to your guests — and to yourself! From something as simple as a Philips Hue bulb to a very cool solution that emits a soft glow from underneath your bed when you get up, you’ll find five cool and creative lighting solutions to check out in this post. Seriously, I can’t tell you how many “wows” I’ve gotten thanks to my $15 HDTV backlighting kit. You’ve got to check it out!

Under Bed Motion Activated Lighting

  • THE SMART LIGHTING FOR NIGHT-TIME: Now with our motion activated LED light, you can safely navigate across any room you install it, safely. No more bumping on furniture or searching for the light switches! As soon as you place your feet on the ground, the smart motion detector will light up, allowing you to see without being too bright or too dim
  • MOTION ACTIVATED: Built-in human body passive infrared (PIR) motion sensor light with automatic shut-off timer. Automatic Turn on and Shut off by human induction in the dark environment. Inductive range: 3.6m (11.8feet), 100°
  • ADJUSTABLE TIME: Motion sensor Auto shut-off timer can be set from 30 seconds to 6 minutes. Continue Triggerand System to keep the light on and automatic turn off within 30 secs- 6mins after leaving.
  • SUPER EASY SET UP: Our smart night light kit, might be advanced technology, but it will take you only several minutes to set the whole thing up! Easy to read and follow instructions and 3M adhesive tape are already included to make your life easy
  • MULTI PURPOSE — Safely guide you through the dark. Can be installed in anywhere you need extra light. Not only act as under bed light, but also covers a wide range of home applications like stairway, cabinet, cupboard, sofa, furniture etc.

    EveShine Neon Accent LED Strips For HDTV

    • Relieve Your Eye Strain – Quality Bias Lighting can help reduce the eye strain cuased by long exposures to TV screens and monitors in dark rooms. It can also help make the grays and blacks on your screen seem richer.
    • Easy Installation – 35.4” Strip + 46.45” USB cable + A Spare 3M Adhesive Tape , High brightness 30 quality LEDs, Cut the Led Strip with Scissors On the Cut Marks (White Lines), NOTE: Don’t cut the light too short, it should be long enough to be placed in the middle of the back of your tv, Please refer to the 4th image!; Remove the adhesive backing on the strips. Firmly Press the strips to the rear of your tv approx. in the center between top and bottom, then connect the USB TO USB port.
    • Super Sticky Adhesive -The 3M 300MP adhesive(it has better viscosity than 3M 200MP) provides secure and strong installation without worrying about falling off. Attention: Be careful when you remove the adhesive backing tape on the strips, only tear off the Yellow Tape. Don’t peel off the Adhesive Sticker with the Yellow Tape together.
    • Control the Light with Remote – Come with 17 key mini RF remote, has 20 colors for you to choose. You can use the remote control change the color, the brightness as well as different lighting modes. Wireless range: 50ft.
    • Fit your mood – Customized light kit for 32 to 46 inch HDTV. ( NOTE: This Led Light Strip is 35.4inch and Comes with a Spare 3M Adhesive Tape for your convenience). Use the LED Strip to light up or create festive lights on your monitor, TV, or furniture. Choose from solid colors, strobes, or cycling colors to fit your mood! You can easily swap between colors and lighting modes using the remote control.

      Philips 464487 Hue White and Color Ambiance A19 Single Smart LED Bulb

      • Choose between millions of colors and shades of white light to light your home, wirelessly control with your smartphone or tablet, and sync your light immersively to music, games, and movies.
      • Requiring the Hue Bridge (sold separately) for the full Hue experience, this bulb fits standard-size table and floor lamps. Enjoy richer shades of green, cyan, and blue with improved design.
      • Install the LED light as you would install ordinary bulbs, then pair them with the Hue Bridge, which allows you to control smart-bulb-equipped lamps and overhead lights via the Philips Hue App.
      • Easily expand your lighting system with accessories (sold separately), such as a Hue Dimmer Switch, Hue Tap, or Hue Motion Sensor. Pair it for automation with your existing Nest or SmartThings system.
      • This box includes one Philips Hue color A19 standard light bulb, manual, and three-year warranty.

        WenTop Led Light Strip

        • This is a standard kit. The adaptor is UL listed.and they can only load 32.8ft. Please don’t increase the strip light. Come with RGB LED strips, remote controller,UL listed AC adaptor and control box. No more accessories are required.The ventilation must be ensured.These lights need an excessive amount of airflow for cooling.
        • The led will not dim if you connect them from each output of the ir receiver.(like main pic)44key controller contained a DIY fuction , Press “DIY” botton and then just long press one of the arrow button to set it.Also it have dimming and brightness control.
        • Cuttable and linkable. Color changing LED Strip Lights can be cut to every 3 leds, its 5M adhesive tape backing can be fit many dry flat surface.
        • It’s can be change the color via the controller.A lot of color option.Very suitable for indoor lighting and decor. Such as kitchen, under cabinet, dining room, bedroom, party, wedding…..All indoor use .
        • Remarks: Comes with a full 12 month warranty, 30 days money back guarantee.If the power adapter or other accessories do not work, please contact us for help. Connect the load and power lines, make sure all connection right before power switched on; Insure there is no obstacle between the IR controller and the receiver when operating; Take off the plastic sheet of remotes battery before using.

          WenTop Led Light Strip

          • This is a standard kit. The adaptor is UL listed.and they can only load 32.8ft. Please don’t increase the strip light. Come with RGB LED strips, remote controller,UL listed AC adaptor and control box. No more accessories are required.The ventilation must be ensured.These lights need an excessive amount of airflow for cooling.
          • The led will not dim if you connect them from each output of the ir receiver.(like main pic)44key controller contained a DIY fuction , Press “DIY” botton and then just long press one of the arrow button to set it.Also it have dimming and brightness control.
          • Cuttable and linkable. Color changing LED Strip Lights can be cut to every 3 leds, its 5M adhesive tape backing can be fit many dry flat surface.
          • It’s can be change the color via the controller.A lot of color option.Very suitable for indoor lighting and decor. Such as kitchen, under cabinet, dining room, bedroom, party, wedding…..All indoor use .
          • Remarks: Comes with a full 12 month warranty, 30 days money back guarantee.If the power adapter or other accessories do not work, please contact us for help. Connect the load and power lines, make sure all connection right before power switched on; Insure there is no obstacle between the IR controller and the receiver when operating; Take off the plastic sheet of remotes battery before using.


Ultra-modern glass home in Minneapolis offers inside-out living

Larry and Cynthia Holtz are native Minnesotans who have never lived in California. But the modern glass house they built in south Minneapolis could easily be at home in Laurel Canyon, the desert in Palm Springs or on the beach by the Pacific Ocean.

Our cold northern climate can’t rival that of balmy California, but the Holtz residence, designed by Peterssen/Keller Architecture, effortlessly flows between indoor and outdoor living from its perch on a skinny sloped lot in the city.

The flat-roofed boxy dwelling is an amalgam of stark white stucco, dark stained cedar and black metal accents.

After stepping inside, you still feel like you’re outside. That’s because walls of glass — some that slide open — maximize views of the lush green landscape, punctuated by the cool blue swimming pool. And from their second-floor bedroom, Larry and Cynthia can see Lake Calhoun, filtered through the treetops.

The couple’s friends often point out that the home’s design is more West Coast than Twin Cities.

“It does feel like a California house,” said Larry. “But ironically, it’s the most beautiful outside in the winter when it’s snowing.”

Going modern was a dramatic departure for Larry and Cynthia. The couple had always lived in traditional homes, most recently in Edina’s Country Club neighborhood, where they raised their four children.

Once they became empty-nesters, they yearned to live in a walkable Minneapolis neighborhood where they could jog and walk their dog Leo around one of the urban lakes.

After quickly selling their Edina home, they decided that Calhoun was the lake where they would downsize and build new, rather than renovate an older house.

“We liked the openness of Lake Calhoun and all the activity around it,” said Larry.

But a piece of land for sale by Calhoun is a rare occurrence. Larry drove around neighborhoods for two years until he spied a white flag on a lot; by the end of the day, it held a “For Sale” sign.

Narrow lot

The narrow L-shaped lot in Linden Hills was on the south side of Lake Calhoun and backed up to a condominium complex with lots of privacy trees.

A rundown 1970s duplex on the lot would be torn down before a new house went up. The Holtzes closed on the property, and their builder, Nate Wissink of Elevation Homes, referred them to Peterssen/Keller, known for architecture with a clean contemporary aesthetic.

“Modern design has a simplicity to it and a certain calmness that appeals to us,” said Cynthia.

The couple had seen other infill modernist architecture in Linden Hills and knew a thoughtfully designed home could blend with older traditional housing stock. In fact, Jim and Donna Pohlad’s ultramodern abode is just two doors down.

But Ted Martin, the project manager, knew the Holtzes’ lot posed challenges. “How do we design an indoor-outdoor house that works for the odd-shaped site, captures the views — and yet has privacy?” he said.

The solution was an innovative structure composed of three pavilions linked by glass-enclosed sunken gardens.

Pavilions 1 and 2 contain the side-entry garage and the main-floor public living spaces. Pavilion 3 holds the second-story master suite, which is positioned perpendicularly so it projects out toward the lake.

The design team used 3-D computer modeling to determine the best window placement for the best views — including the vista of the downtown Minneapolis skyline from the second story. “You can place yourself inside the model to see the views,” said Martin.

Inside, the wide-open interior is a composition of warm walnut, white-streaked Aster stone on the fireplace and birch-tree leaves from the indoor garden.


3 home tech ideas for your tiny space

So, you got that tiny house. Or that compact one-bedroom apartment for which you endured a frightening co-op board interview. Or you and your partner moved into a studio that is really not meant to accommodate two people. Congrats! You are now Living Small.

There are innumerable ways you could make the most of this: Modular, multi-use furniture is one big way (especially when it doubles as storage); another is to trick out your new tiny abode with home tech.

“‘Home tech? how’s that going to help?’” you say. Well, we’ll tell you. While there’s no shortage of smart home gadgetry out there to help with problems you don’t have (we’re looking at you, smart fridges), there are also a few ways to use smart home products to get the most out of your space. Here are a few products we think will help ease you into the tiny living lifestyle.

Smart plugs are your friend

For even the most home tech averse among us, the allure of the smart plug is hard to deny. Sticking any of these Wi-Fi-enabled plugs into your existing outlets turns the outlet into a smart one that can be controlled with your mobile device via an app associated with the smart plug.

Our historic home-loving columnist is a recent convert—and who wouldn’t be, when on a hot day you can turn your air conditioner on from your phone on the way home from work? You can also, of course, use smart plugs for just about anything—from lamps to fans to just about anything else you plug into an outlet. For those of us who live in compact places, this means you can work with what you’ve got: no need to buy new, smarter things for your tiny space.

There are lots of options on the market and, unlike other things in the home tech world, they come at a reasonable price. Belkin and TP-Link each sell popular options you can find on Amazon.

Sony’s Life Space UX short throw projector and LED bulb speaker

Sony’s ultra-short-throw projector can turn a surface a mere 22 inches away into a screen for watching your favorite shows and movies.

Entertaining can be a challenge in a home of any size, but Sony has recently released a couple of products that could make that easier for the space starved.

The company’s Life Space UX series includes an ultra-short-throw projector (at a spendy $789), which turns any flat surface into a screen. Life Space UX also includes a lightbulb (at just shy of $240) that is both a color-changing illumination source and a Bluetooth speaker. The latter sounds gimmicky, but this editor has seen it in action (at both its unveiling at MoMA Design Store in New York and in a friend’s apartment). It’s actually quite nice, with solid sound quality. If you’re truly starved for space, combining an essential function with a non-essential—but delightful and quality-of-life improving—one is pretty smart.

Consider buying a smart home hub

Google Home.
 Courtesy of Google

The Amazon Echo has done a lot to popularize the idea of the home tech hub, a gadget that acts as command central for your Smart Things devices and responds to voice prompts.

Not long after the Echo debuted, gobbling up marketshare, Google entered the fray with the Google Home—and it was soon followed by the Apple HomePod, which purports to have better audio quality when compared to its competitors.

A smart home hub of any kind is going to help you. With voice commands you can toggle smart lights on and off, and listen to music and the latest news. It will serve up weather information, and more, in a rather compact unit that won’t take up a ton of counter space. For a guide to the what’s what of home tech hubs, you can read more here.

Another Country launches furniture designed to make offices feel more like home

Image result for Another Country launches furniture designed to make offices feel more like home

Image result for Another Country launches furniture designed to make offices feel more like homeImage result for Another Country launches furniture designed to make offices feel more like home

The range features wooden chairs and stools, a modular shelving system, and a work desk with integrated accessories. The pieces are aimed at the creative industries but have been designed to be adaptable for a range of environments.

“We frequently customise furniture to meet our clients’ needs, so it was logical with our Work series to offer more flexibility as standard,” Another Country design director Catherine Aitken told Dezeen. “We looked to design a system that could be adapted for a number of different types and sizes of workplace.”

Work Series by Another Country

Another Country created the collection to introduce a warmer and more domestic atmosphere to the workplace, while still offering the flexibility that many offices need. The desk can be ordered in a range of sizes, and joined together to make larger workstations or separated for individual tables.

There are also several heights, for those who prefer to work standing up. The desk’s cable channel doubles as a home for its accompanying accessories, which include a pencil pot, planter and screen to give workers privacy.

Work Series by Another Country

The Work Series shelves can be adapted depending on what they’re being used for, and can be either placed side by side or at intervals for displaying plants or other objects. Each shelf is bookended by a brass loop.

“Our Work Series utilises a warm palette of materials and detailing not necessarily associated with office furniture,” added Aitken.

“It can be quite cold and clinical, and traditionally work environments have been intentionally different to domestic environments, with different materials, finishes and styling; however, this thinking is now being challenged.”

Work Series by Another Country

“The work place is rapidly changing and we feel benefits from a softer approach,” she continued. “Bringing in warmer materials and furniture that nods towards a domestic environment can be conducive to work.”

“Crucially workplace furniture needs to function well, but it can also be furniture that you develop a personal relationship with, furniture that is tactile.”


Work Series by Another Country

Sears is adding Alexa support to its Kenmore smart home appliances

Amazon’s Alexa assistant is now able to control an even wider range of home appliances. Smart appliances from Sears and its Kenmore brand are joining the list of hardware that can be used through voice commands to Amazon’s Echo lineup of speakers and other Alexa-enabled devices. GE and Whirlpool have already integrated similar support across their respective products, and now “the full line of Kenmore smart appliances” — air conditioners, refrigerators, and more — can be controlled with a new Alexa skill, Kenmore Smart.

Owners of connected Kenmore products can say commands like “Alexa, tell Kenmore Smart to set my air conditioner to 70 degrees” to make adjustments without having to walk over and do it the old fashioned way: with buttons. Or with the remote that came with your air condition that always gets misplaced.

Amazon will also begin selling Sears’ Kenmore products directly, which is a significant bit of good news (and a new sales channel) for the struggling department store chain. The company has acknowledged “substantial doubt” about its future prospects, according toBloomberg, after years of losses brought on by its flailing attempts to compete with retail competition — including Amazon’s giant e-commerce presence.


Amazon’s latest assault wipes $12.5 billion off Home Depot, other appliance-seller stocks

Shares of Home Depot and Lowe’s were slammed Thursday, along with Whirlpool, after Amazon threatened to take on the appliance market in a much bigger way in a deal with Sears Holdings.

The market cap loss in Home Depot, Lowe’s, Whirlpool and Best Buy was about $12.5 billion by the end of the day, after falling to more than $13 billion. Amazon stock was up slightly, and Sears closed up about 10 percent.

But the early read from some analysts was that the sell-off has created a buying opportunity for home improvement retailers Home Depot and Lowe’s, which have proven themselves to be somewhat “Amazon-proof” and among the best performers in the sector. Best Buy, already battling Amazon in electronics, ended the day about 4 percent lower.

Sears, which has been losing share in appliance for years, saw its stock rally as much as 25 percent early Thursday, soon after it announced it would sell its Kenmore-branded appliances on Amazon.com. The products will be compatible with Amazon’s Alexa platform.

“The net takeout is it’s a potential negative for pricing and profitability for white box appliances,” said Bob Wetenhall at RBC. “I don’t think Alexa is the big deal here. … It’s more the fact that Amazon is going to sell Kenmore-branded appliances.”

“It’s probably less of a Whirlpool issue,” said Wetenhall, adding the price pressures would hit retailers. He said Whirlpool is the source for about half the appliances in the Kenmore brand, at one time a household standard and now a laggard. Wetenhall said it’s too early to know how the deal will affect the integration of appliances and online retailers, and there were few details offered.

“It’s hard to know,” said Wetenhall. “Does the guy come out to your house to install it? It’s a totally different thing.”

Analysts at Robert W. Baird said the selloff in Home Depot and Lowe’s was an overreaction. The nearly $7.5 billion market cap loss in Home Depot stock equals slightly more than the amount of its annual appliance sales. Lowe’s stock loss was a little more than 50 percent of its $7 billion in annual appliance sales.

Home Depot trucks sits parked in a parking lot at a Home Depot store in Daly City, California.

Home retailers take a hit after Amazon partners with Sears  19 Hours Ago | 03:26

The analysts said Home Depot and Lowe’s are by far the dominant retailers in the sector, and Amazon’s online sale of appliances has not harmed them so far. With the Sears deal, Amazon will now be selling a product line not available in Home Depot and Lowe’s stores.

Once a dominant force, Sears Holdings appliance sales account for about 15 percent of its total sales of $3.3 billion in fiscal 2016.

“Appliances have been a key driver of growth for both [Home Depot and Lowe’s] over the past few years … so we understand the concern the announcement creates. That said we view the [approximately] $12 billion market cap reduction in [Home Depot and Lowe’s] … to be an overreaction,” the Baird analysts wrote.

They said the two retailers have about half the $30 billion in annual sales in the appliance sector. They are also benefiting from a pocket of strength in home improvement sales, compared with the rest of the retail sector, which has been crushed by consumers shifting to online shopping and changing tastes.

Oppenheimer analysts said they see the deal as more of a lifeline for Kenmore than a threat to the home improvement retailers, which have made big inroads into appliance sales.

“We think a link up with [Amazon] should prove beneficial for the Kenmore brand. But, in our view, such a relationship is more likely to keep Kenmore alive, even as [Sears Holdings] continues to falter, than pump new life into the legacy brand,” wrote Oppenheimer analysts. “Over the past several years, [Home Depot] and [Lowe’s] put forth significant efforts to enhance their lineups of appliance products and advertise themselves as key sellers of the category to target consumers.”

Oppenheimer retail analyst Brian Nagel said in a phone interview that appliances are a difficult business and while Amazon gains a new foothold with the Sears deal, the logistics of the products are difficult in terms of installation and the need to ship quickly.

Over the years, Home Depot and Lowe’s, which sell an array of building and home improvement products, have taken a great deal of share from Sears and its Kenmore brands.

“Home Depot and Lowe’s are smart companies. They know what they’re doing,” he said. Nagel prefers Home Depot to Lowe’s. Home Depot stock is up 9 percent on the year, versus a 1 percent gain for Lowe’s.

Nagel said he’s recommending investors buy the stocks on weakness. “It’s frustrating for investors. News like this puts doubt in the minds of investors. You have these high multiples, and people are selling.”

Wetenhall said he sees the retailers more at risk because of the pricing element. Whirlpool also has its own Amazon deal, already announcing a smart Alexa product lineup. “We think it’s a negative, but it’s not a death blow to the head,” he said of Whirlpool. Whirlpool also makes Maytag products.

“Whenever Amazon gets into a category, you worry about pricing. Price matters, but it’s not a huge factor. There’s been a lot of innovation in appliances, and people are looking more at the capabilities of these products, rather than prices,” Nagel said.

The two home improvement companies have been able to withstand the assault from Amazon, which recently broadened its threat to the retail sector with its plans to buy grocer Whole Foods.

“I think there’s a nice moat around their businesses,” Nagel said. “Home Depot sells 50,000 products. There are likely products that sell online better than others. But Home Depot stores are known for great service.” He said the retailer has a strong goods stocking system and powerful private-label brands.

JPMorgan analysts have also said the home improvement companies are doing well defending themselves from Amazon. They have noted that 40 percent of Home Depot online orders are picked up in stores, and the professional market is 40 percent of Home Depot’s business and 30 percent of Lowe’s.

Appliances were 11 percent of Lowe’s total annual sales last year, and 8 percent of Home Depot’s fiscal 2016 sales.

Lowe’s stock was down 5.6 percent and Home Depot’s down more than 4 percent Thursday.

Market value loss for appliance sellers July 20


Opinion: What can smart home tech do for retirees?

The most complicated thing on earth isn’t high-technology, it’s family dynamics. A weekend with the in-laws, or a Thanksgiving dinner will provide all the evidence needed. And now that we’re living longer than ever before, the interests and opinions of more generations will compete for the same amount of airtime. The extended life expectancy also increases the need to coordinate long-term financial plans as families navigate mortgages, student loans and long-term care for four living generations. The good news is, there’s hope.

The high-tech craze known as the Internet of Things (IoT) promised the Jetsons lifestyle was only moments away. The reality was decidedly underwhelming. The IoT refers to any device connected to the internet. While some companies added internet connectivity to useful home appliances such as thermostats and door locks, others addressed the less useful combination of internet, such as egg trays and the Wi-Fi juicer.

Focus on needs, not on devices

There are some very useful IoT devices available that help families address the needs of multiple generations. The recommended approach to finding the right device is to identify the root causes of family stressors first, then look for a technology solution.

  • Wellness concerns: It’s difficult to balance a full-time job, an immediate family and manage care for a parent or grandparent. If there is a dark stairwell in the home, installing a motion activated light reduces the risk of a fall. A voice intercom such as the Nucleus, can be a good way to check-in with a family member without visiting their residence. Smart locks are an effective way to grant home access to caregivers or emergency responders.
  • Limited mobility: Simple tasks can become difficult burdens under mobility limitations. Consider a smart home automation hub such as Samsung’s SmartThings and/or a voice-controlled appliance such as Amazon’sAMZN, +0.13% Echo that can be set up to switch lights on or off, lock doors, set reminders and even water a garden.
  • Medications: Managing medications is a top concern of family caregivers. A connected pillbox can be a great way to gain insight into medication adherence without bothering the family member daily. These pillboxes can be simple, such as Tricella’s Pillbox, or fancy such as the HERO.
  • Monthly bills: Home energy consumption can be volatile and difficult to manage. Smart appliances such as Google’s GOOG, +1.26% Nest can pay for itself in energy savings by managing HVAC routines based on user activity.
A smart pill box manages medications and keeps toddlers out.

Some of these devices may be familiar, and great solutions to specific issues. But what if the need is broader than one or two specific concerns? What if, for example, mom’s goal is to live at home as long as possible, but her children worry that the home won’t provide the support she needs? The solution is to connect the individual devices to a platform that offers insights valuable to each member in the family.

When it comes to retirement, 60s are the new 50s
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts

While simple smart home devices can meet some goals for independent living, unless they work together they cannot address the situations that would otherwise undermine a family’s support of an older member’s decision to age-in-place. Take the motion activated light from above; its one function is to turn on the stairway light. When additional motion sensors are added in the home, the information from each sensor can be stitched together to make more meaningful insights, such as where the resident has been and how much time was spent in each room.

That’s a meaningful step toward unlocking the value promised from the IoT hype, but it’s not quite there. An analysis and alert service such as HoneyCo’s Internet of Caring Things (IoCT), completes the process. HoneyCo’s IoCT proactively alerts family members or professional caregivers of concerning activity, such as too much time at the bottom of that dark stairwell.


Residential care facilities were considered an unavoidable part of the transition from adulthood to elderhood. The broad sentiment was that nobody wanted to go, but we’d all end up there at some point, even if our kids forced us into it. Smart home technology is transforming this concept. The retirement communities of the future will be the homes we live in today. Care will be coordinated through the IoCT, driverless cars will shuttle members to social events, and we’ll reflect on how technology spared us from the anxieties of elderhood and allowed multiple generations to build meaningful relationships.

Zachary Watson is the Founder & CEO of HoneyCo Homes.




Toshiba home appliances returning to China

TOKYO — Toshiba-brand home appliances will hit Chinese store shelves after a hiatus of more than a year, following an acquisition by Midea Group, the world’s largest producer of these goods.

Toshiba had sold its brand of home appliances in China until 2015, when slumping sales forced a retreat from the market. With Midea’s purchase of an 80.1% stake last year in Toshiba Lifestyle Products & Services, the white goods business of Toshiba, these products will now make a comeback.

Toshiba still owns a 19.9% stake in Toshiba Lifestyle.

As a first step, Toshiba Lifestyle and Midea will release jointly developed microwave ovens this month. Production is handled by the Japanese company. Refrigerators and other products may follow.

Midea will position Toshiba appliances as top-of-the-line products among its offerings. The microwave ovens likely will cost the equivalent of around 160,000 yen ($1,412). Similar products sold under the Midea brand focus on basic functions and carry low prices.

Based in the southern province of Guangdong, Midea has more than 2,200 stores throughout China and also sells goods wholesale to about 5,000 other electronics outlets, including those owned by Suning Commerce Group. Toshiba appliances will be sold through these stores as well as e-commerce channels, including Midea’s own online portal and Alibaba Group Holding’s Tmall Global platform.

Midea posted sales of 159 billion yuan ($23.3 billion) in 2016. Toshiba Lifestyle, which moved under Midea’s umbrella that June, contributed 7.52 billion yuan in the second half.

Toshiba Lifestyle has been expanding operations abroad, entering the Cambodian and Myanmar markets just last month. It seeks to turn a profit this year.

Under a tie-up formed in 2015, Toshiba had planned to cooperate with Chinese appliance manufacturer Skyworth in sales and production of white goods. The two sides now appear likely to dissolve the partnership.


RIGHT AT HOME: Traditional wing chairs with modern twist

RIGHT AT HOME: Traditional wing chairs with modern twist

No matter how old you are, you might have grown up in a home with a wing chair.

This classic chair dates back a lot farther than any of us, according to Bronia Suszczenia, co-founder of the Yorkshire, England-based interior design firm Art from the Start. “The first wing chair appeared in the late 1600s, but it was not until after 1720 that its popularity became widespread,” she says.

Why the wings? A clue may be in the chair’s alternate name, fireside chair. The idea was that the wings protected you from drafts, while the roomy, upholstered seat was a cozy spot from which to enjoy a cheery blaze.

The wing chair’s enduring appeal is its comfortable, convivial nature, and its usefulness, says New York designer Charlotte Moss.

“It’s the quintessential easy chair. It invites curling up and kicking back,” she says. “And they’re wonderfully versatile. I like to use them at the heads of dining tables, or in a cozy corner with an ottoman, or two facing each other with a fireplace in between.”

Today’s designers are having some fun with this classic style, tweaking its curvy silhouette, going wild or woolly with upholstery, and updating the legs in different colors or materials.

Pottery Barn’s Hayes wing chair, for example, has a barrel-curved back and low-profile arms, so you can tuck your feet up. Leather hues include caramel, forest green, midnight and berry red. The smaller-scaled Manning chair, in a cream-hued fabric, sports chic contemporary button tufting; it’d be a nice choice for a master bedroom. (www.potterybarn.com )

Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams’ Emmet chair hybridizes a wing and club chair. In buttery, aniline leather, it’s a welcoming spot to settle. (www.mgbwhome.com )

At Rove Concepts, Danish modern designer Hans Wegner’s classic Wing chair is offered in leathers and cashmere, tweed and boucle wool. (www.roveconcepts.com )

An exaggerated wingback and arms characterize Wegner’s 1951 Papa chair. He named it for its distinctive sculptural arms, which resemble a big bear’s paws. France and Son offers it in fun midcentury modern hues like orange, teal blue and olive. (www.franceandson.com )

Arne Jacobsen’s iconic Egg chair for Fritz Hansen (available at Design Within Reach) is a biomorphic take on the wing chair; its fluid curves and swivel base have kept it a favorite of modernist aficionados for almost 60 years. (www.dwr.com )

Tom Dixon’s Wingback collection is the British designer’s update on the wing chair and its 18th century cousin, the balloon back. The chairs and sofas have a sexy swagger, in luscious Kvadrat fabric upholstery and ebony or blond oak legs. (www.tomdixon.net )

The angles of Italian midcentury design inspire West Elm’s new Marcelle wing chair, with dramatically scaled aniline leather wings and arms. The Hemming swivel chair nods to classic Danish design, with a low-slung and roomy seat, enveloping high back and wings. Two new colors: rich caramel-toned saddle, and an inky Aegean blue. (www.westelm.com )

Toronto firm Powell & Bonnell’s Chatsworth reading chair takes a different approach. The chair is armless, and sleek planes form the wings, giving the piece an urbane sophistication. (www.powellandbonnell.com )


GST impact: Prices of home appliances may go up by 1-2%

Consumer durables industry is expecting only a marginal price revision despite the category being placed under the highest tax slab of 28 per cent under GST, as players look forward to the festive season in the coming months.

The festive season accounts up to 35 per cent of the consumer durables sales.

“In the short-to mid-term, I see the fundamentals remaining the same. Though consumer durables industry is being taxed at 28 per cent, which is slightly more than what the previous tax structure, I don’t anticipate any major price increases in the coming months,” BSH Household Appliances MD Gunjan Srivastava told PTI.

Tax rate for the sector was around 25-27 per cent, which has been hiked to 28 per cent under GST.

“I expect the prices to remain constant at least in the initial period before people understand how much is the additional cost. But, that would take some time for people to accurately measure. We are also approaching the festival season, so the industry will like to moderate it,” he added.

Godrej Appliances business head Kamal Nandi expects prices to go up by 1-2 per cent which could impact demand in the short-run, but expects it to pick up during the festive season.

“Home appliances have become a necessity now with evolving consumer lifestyle and a lower tax slab would have made appliances more affordable in a low-penetrated market.

“With 28 per cent tax under the GST, we expect the consumer prices of home appliances to marginally go up by 1-2 per cent. This could have an impact on demand in the short-run,” he said.

“Normal monsoon and the resultant boost to the agricultural economy and hike in allowances to government employees will propel demand during the forthcoming festive season,” he added.

Panasonic India Chief Financial Officer Manish Gupta said they expect a revision in the prices of select category.

“We are expecting the primary sales to retailers from companies to pick up from the second week of July,” he said.