August 2019 issue is a must-have for high-end appliance shoppers.

Consumer Reports is a magazine most of us don’t read often enough. Sure, when we need a new TV or car, we scour the library for back issues, but this is hit and miss. Last weekend, sipping a cool drink outdoors at a local watering hole, I needed armor, so I bought and brought the latest Consumer Reports. So interesting was the August issue that my drink’s ice melted long before I’d finished reading.

For the first time, the magazine issued a report on appliance reliability by the manufacturer. Even more enticing is the inclusion of ultra-premium brands like Miele, Thermador, Sub-Zero, and Viking, which often get left out due to a lack of data compared with brands selling tons more units like GE or LG.

While not to be confused with the organization’s ratings on appliance usability and features, reliability is clearly as important when buying a car as a refrigerator. The surprising yet unsurprising thing was the general consensus by appliance makers that 10 years of life is good enough. Some ultra-premium players like Miele and Sub-Zero/Wolf claim 20 years of useful life while washer/dryer brand Speed Queen touts 25 years.

Of course, that’s not to say that consumers will have 10, 20, or 25 years of flawless service from their appliance. The organization reports that 40 percent of refrigerators will require some type of servicing within their first five years – ranges, the most reliable class of appliance will see 25 percent requiring service.

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From left to right, Alan Hoffmann of Hoffmann Homes, Chris Dauwe of Rosewood Custom Builders, Candy Evans, Todd Handwerk of Calais Custom Homes, and Matt Mitchell with James Andrews Custom Homes discuss disruption and innovation in homebuilding (photo courtesy Elissa Genova).

On the heels of a very popular panel discussion on disruption in the real estate world hosted by the Dallas Builders Association last month, CandysDirt found a way to continue that conversation thanks to our hosts at Sub-Zero, Wolf, and Cove Showroom in Dallas.

Panelists included Matt Mitchell with James Andrews Custom Homes, Chris Dauwe of Rosewood Custom Builders, Todd Handwerk of Calais Custom Homes, and Alan Hoffmann of Hoffmann Homes, all who brought their unique perspective to what has changed in homebuilding, how they’ve innovated, and what is coming down the pike.

Who told us about the home with the submarine in the garage and no kitchen? Who told us about the over the top outdoor kitchen they installed? Who said that building codes (which update every three years) are the ultimate disruptor in homebuilding because builders are forced to build stronger, more energy-efficient buildings constantly?

Did you miss the event and now you’re dying to know? We have the whole discussion on video! (more…)

 

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“I wanted to build a Spanish-classic-modern-style home that blended rustic wooden elements with sleek metal,” said  Juani Longhi. “From the moment I saw the property in Bluffview, I knew it was where I wanted to raise my family. This is truly my dream home.”

Longhi, who purchased the lot 15 years ago, spent six years planning and two years building this magnificent estate at 4512 Bluffview Boulevard. It was completed in 2013 and as is with life, opportunity knocks, you move across the country to dream new dreams, so Longhi’s  five-bedroom, five-bathroom dream home can now be your dream home.

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The spec house at 6115 Desco Dr. will look similar to this. Photo courtesy Shoot2Sell.

The spec house at 6115 Desco Dr. will look similar to this, also built by LRO Residential Development.

Spec homes are a sign of strong builder and bank confidence in a market, as they are created without any specific buyer in mind, just the belief that one will be interested once it is completed. The higher the price tag, the higher the stakes.

In our inventory-parched market, homebuilder Les Owens, President of LRO Residential Development, has that confidence in the Dallas market, even at multi-million-dollar levels. He’s starting two spec houses this month, one in Preston Hollow for $3.15 million, and another in Devonshire for $2.2 million.

Both houses are available for customization, but Owens is breaking ground now and says he will complete them in late summer/early fall this year.

As we reported earlier this month, luxury home sales in Dallas-Fort Worth skyrocketed in 2014—those with prices of $1 million and up grew 15 percent year-over-year, the second highest sales volume in Texas (bested only by Houston).

Luxury home sales in DFW represented 1.2 percent of the market, and top-performing luxury brands are seeing more multi million-dollar sales in areas that have strong resale value and high existing demand.

“Established neighborhoods and homes of significance in coveted areas such as Highland Park, Preston Hollow, Greenway Parks, and The Volk Estates are desperately pursued, and the quality of the design continues to be a driving factor,” said Caroline Summers, a Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s agent. Jump to read about the houses and see photos!

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4236 Lorraine kitchen

When it comes to designing a dream kitchen for an expert home cook, the cost can be frightening. Though it’s easy to get carried away in the pages of Architectural Digest and drool over pristine statuary marble countertops, you shouldn’t feel obligated to indulge in every high-end kitchen accessory and appliance. After all, it’s not the kitchen that makes the chef; it’s the chef that makes the kitchen.

Here’s a little guide on where to spend and where to save in your kitchen:

Spend: A good gas range.
What to look for: A range with 6 burners is ideal. Get a range with a convection oven (or double oven) below, that way you can go from stovetop to oven without walking two steps.
Here’s why: I don’t care what anyone says about electric stovetops, gas is the way to go. You can get an instant flame, rather than an electric cooktop which might take a few minutes to get heated. Plus, you never know when you’ll need a flame to blister eggplants for your famous babaganoush. Viking, Thermador, and La Cornue are at the top of my list.

Meadowcreek Kitchen

Save: Go with countertops you can afford.
Here’s why: Countertops are all about cosmetics; if you can’t afford marble or granite go with an alternative such as Formica laminate that still looks good and is easy to clean. Don’t worry about it being scratch resistant. No one uses their granite countertops to chop vegetables without a cutting board anyhow. Go for the more affordable route and get yourself a good cutting board.

Spend: A built-in refrigerator.
What to look for: Dual refrigeration with separate sealed systems to ensure your food tastes fresh. Ample space and shelving is also important. If you often buy bulky items at the grocery store, keep that in mind. A produce drawer — every chef needs one.
Here’s why: In addition to saving space in your kitchen, President of Capital Distributing Michael Davis adds, “Built in refrigerators offer a great high-end look and integrate into your cabinets.”  In a dream world, I’d have a Sub-Zero refrigerator. The brand promises the highest quality to ensure your food will stay preserved.

5549 Fallas kitchen 1

Save: Pass on the built-in fryer.
Here’s why: Unless you find yourself making fresh donuts or fries on a daily basis, save on the extra cost. A good chef can go the old-school route by frying in a pot.

Spend: A ventilation hood.
What to look for: A low fan sound level so that you can still hear your guests while you’re cooking. One that can easily fit over your range and that can vent to the outside, to prevent smoke and too much heat inside. Look for a vent with the Home Ventilating Institute label to ensure it’s a good quality and certified system.
Here’s why: Good ventilation is essential when it comes to cooking in the kitchen. The last thing you need is smoke permeating through the house, rather than the smell of your food. “A great ventilation hood or hood enclosure offers a great design expression and serves an important function of removing moisture, odors, and grease,” Davis explains.

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Save: Give up the microwave.
Here’s why: For starters, anything that can zap your food to the point that it’s steaming hot in 2-minutes cannot be good for your health. Nothing ever tastes the same if it has been reheated in a microwave.

Spend: A built-in combi steam oven.
What to look for: An oven that is large enough for your needs — think about what you’ll be steaming. You only need one combi oven, especially if you’ve got double convection under your range.
Here’s why: Use that money you would have used for a microwave and apply it to a combi oven — an oven and steamer, in one appliance. “They can produce a moist cooking environment which produces amazing results and is great for ‘refreshing’ leftovers,” Davis says. In my fantasy world, I’d invest in two Miele Combi-Steam Ovens.

Rachael AbramsRachael Abrams is a personal chef and freelance writer who is obsessed with home decor and practically mainlines Pinterest. Find out more about Rachael and her excellent taste by following her on Twitter.