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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mancaves Done Right

All I’ve been hearing about lately is how fall sports are really kicking into high gear over the next few weeks. College football is back tonight, NFL starts in a couple weeks, and NHL hockey will be close behind. Now that our main TV will be dominated by games every weekend until February, I’m starting to entertain the idea of a mancave (don’t tell my husband…). Mancaves seem to be everywhere these days. TV shows dedicated to them, men raving about them. My whole issue with a mancave was that it would look too out of place in my home. My entire decor has a certain flow and everything seems to fit. Well, where does a mancave fall into place? I don’t want a random room with sports memorabilia and movie posters hanging on the wall. People will think I have a reclusive teenage son that I never talk about. So I got to thinking, is there a way to make a mancave, dare I say, fashionable? All I want would be a few decorative elements that would appease me but would go unnoticed to the average man catching the game in the mancave. Maybe with a little decorative flair, one could overlook the NY Yankees banner that would be sure to adorn an entire wall.

Chic but manly enough for the mancave!
I figure if we were to go with this whole mancave idea, I could leave the ‘accessorizing’ up to my husband and I could pick out the big ticket items (see last week’s blog about my online shopping habit..). Maybe I’m biased but a TV lift cabinet is the perfect happy medium. TV lift cabinets have the wow factor and technology to be accepted into the mancave but also don’t look out of place in a finely decorated home. Plus when it’s not game time, you can lower your TV into the cabinet and not have it be the center of attention. Do you have a mancave in your home? What is the centerpiece of your mancave?

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Online Furniture Shopping - Not As Scary As You Might Think

I’ve always been one who enjoys the convenience of online shopping over dragging myself to the mall and fighting off the crowds – especially when I am looking for something specific. Now that I have a home that is in desperate need of furniture and d├ęcor, my preference for online shopping concerned me a bit. With not being able to see the furniture before I buy or having the immediate assistance from a salesperson, I thought the time had finally come to put online shopping behind me. So, I put on my best furniture shopping shoes and hit the pavement.  I bought all new living room furniture and a new bedroom set.  Not to say that I do not love what I bought BUT shortly after my venture into the brick and mortar world of furniture shopping, I went back to my online shopping roots. I wanted to see what was out there.

Like all of us, I have my own personal taste and therefore I often have an image in my head of exactly what I am looking for. I started browsing and before long, I came across some pieces that were just ME.  I started ordering. And ordering. And ordering some more. Pretty soon, most of the furniture I had purchased for my home was ordered online. “Well, you never had the chance to see it first”, you might say. True, but I was willing to take the risk. In my experience, everything I bought looked exactly like it did online because I did my due diligence.

For the larger purchases like a TV lift cabinet, I carefully read reviews. Other buyers give the best insight into quality, function and how true to the online image the product actually is. Buyer reviews were usually the make it or break it final word for me. Some items I loved had reviews that the color was different in real life or the soft bedding that looked so comfy online was rough to the touch. Always read reviews and you can’t go wrong.

“But what about not having the assistance of a salesperson?” I actually preferred the online shopping environment when it came to getting assistance for my questions. Most online shopping sites now have some sort of live chat, which allows you to go to go the salesperson, not the other way around – no pressure furniture shopping, who knew? Whenever I needed to call in to speak with someone directly, I always spoke with a live person.

I found the best thing about online shopping to be that the options are almost endless. Whenever I went into a furniture store, I felt constrained to what they had available on the floor. Like I said, I love the furniture I bought from the brick and mortar stores, but the pieces were bought out of necessity and were the best of few options. It is great that when you are shopping for a TV lift cabinet or TV console for example, you can just look it up online and have tons of options available to you.

I am definitely a convert to shopping for furniture online. I wanted to share my experience to help people who might be hesitant to take the plunge. If you are a dedicated online shopper like me, I’d love to know what your pros and cons are of shopping on the web. Is there something you feel that online retailers could do to improve your experience? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Product Focus of the Week – The Banyan Creek TV Lift Cabinet

Our Banyan Creek TV lift cabinet is a classic beauty.  This tradition cabinet is finished in a warm, inviting African mahogany stain.  With round edged doors and decorative trim panels, the Banyan Creek is exquisite.

The Banyan Creek has a heavy duty rack and pinion lift mechanism built inside that silently lowers and raises the television.  There is plenty of storage behind the front three cabinet doors of the Banyan Creek.  The center cabinet door also comes with interchangeable wood, glass, and speaker cloth panels to make the cabinet custom to your needs.

Our Infrared Relay System is also preinstalled within cabinet to operate AV equipment behind closed doors.  No longer do you have to have direct line of sight to operate your cable box.  The IR System is designed to relay commands from your cable remote down to flashing emitters inside cabinet that then bounce the commands to cable box.  There is no programming required to set this system up.  It is already built in, ready for you to use.  Simply plug and play!

Hulu Plus Finally Available on Apple TV

Do you have an Apple TV within your TV lift cabinet?   If so, you may be interested to learn that the Apple TV is now offering Hulu Plus as part of their available paid VOD streaming services.

It took Hulu Plus many years before finally making their services available on the Apple TV.  Why did it take so long to become available?  It stems down to two main reasons.

In order to offer Hulu Plus app onto the Apple TV, Apple insists new Hulu Plus subscribers register through Apple’s in-app purchasing and subscription renewal.  Apple therefore gets a percentage of the $7.99 monthly subscription fee and also gets ownership of new member’s billing information.  Having customer’s personal information is valuable intellectual property.  Hulu Plus was reluctant to lose their hold on customers’ information and see profit margins cut.  However, with rumors of the latest Apple smart TV underway, it became more important than ever to get Hulu Plus streamed on Apple devices.

The other reason why it took so long for Hulu Plus to be added as an app to the Apple TV is that Hulu needed the Apple TV able to support viable ads.   Most streaming apps offered on the Apple TV are ad-free until fairly recently.  Being ad-free would not work with Hulu Plus’ business model, where most of their revenue comes from selling ad space.  Hulu Plus wanted to wait until the Apple TV’s platform became mature enough to serve their viable ads. Fortunately, the Apple TV ad platform has matured enough to now support Hulu Plus.

While this partnership took a while to come together it looks to be a win-win situation for both companies.  Apple can now offer their customers stronger programming content thus increasing their Apple TV sales.  Hulu Plus now has the opportunity to reach more subscribers through Apple’s existing customer database.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What Cabinets Are Designed to Fit Speakers and Sound Bars?

Do you have speakers or a sound bar that you would like to fit within one of our TV lift cabinets?  If so, you may be wondering what cabinets would work best for your audio equipment. We have many large traditional and modern lift consoles that are designed with space specifically for speakers and sound bars.


Our Banyan Creek XL, Remington, Concord, and Soho TV lift cabinets are best suited to store a long sound bar.  The Concord has a cubby space towards the top of cabinet geared for the sound bar, whereas the other three cabinets have a pull out drawer with interchangeable wood and speaker cloths. The drawer front panel can be changed to speaker cloth for maximum sound quality.


If you have speakers, we have several more options available for you.  Most of our large cabinets are designed with at least one interchangeable wood panel drawer or cabinet door.  The wood panels can be removed and switched out with speaker cloth panel.  The list of cabinets that are designed with speaker cloth panels are Banyan Creek, Craftsman, Coastal Creation, Estates, Kensington, Nottingham, Restoration, Sycamore, and Willowcraft.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Prism Debuts on House Hunters International!

I am addicted to the HGTV network.  My favorite show is House Hunters International followed closely by Property Brothers and Sarah’s House.  The other day I was watching a House Hunters International episode that was filmed in Barbados.   The home hunter enters bedroom during home showing and BAM!  There is one of our TV lift cabinets.

Do you recognize the TV lift cabinet within this bedroom?  It is our very own Prism Espresso!  Can you imagine my surprise and delight of having one of our cabinets make it all the way to Barbados?  I was thrilled.  In honor of that episode, this week’s product focus of the week is the Prism Espresso.

The Prism Espresso is modernly designed with clean contemporary lines.  The bottom of this cabinet has a concealed drawer that features flip down panels for access on either side.  The drawer space can store very comfortably two electronic devices.  This cabinet features our built-in rack and pinion lift machine and infrared relay system.  The IR system allows TV lift owners to operate electronics such as cable box and DVD player without having direct line of sight.  This means that electronics can remain hidden in bottom drawer and still be controlled by remote control.  Simply plug and play!