Austin Smarter Spaces Tour : 1715 Giles, Unit C

The first house profiled from the Smarter Spaces Tour was the home at 4813 West Park. Be sure to check out that post for more pictures and inspiration on how you can make great use of the room available in a small space.

Next up though, we have 1715 Giles, Unit C.

1715 Giles, Unit C

  

This place was actually 1 of 4 townhome units in a small development. It had a long, narrow hallway with a small half bath on the left and door to the garage on the right when you first walked in before it opened up to the living area and kitchen. The architect, who was actually using the home as an office at that time, told us they had decorated the home on a budget, but it wasn’t obvious at all. We loved the items they had chosen, especially the lighting fixtures and burlap ottoman/seat that you can see in the picture above on the right. All of the pieces felt eclectic but like they went together at the same time, not an easy task to pull off.

The ceilings are surprisingly tall for a small space and feature skylights that really open up the space up with natural light. My favorite feature of this home though was the backyard. It has a patio that faces a small creek and wooded area that is very serene and beautiful.

Both bedrooms were upstairs and each had its own bathroom, but the bedroom on the back of the house also featured a small balcony that overlooked the patio and same creek.

We were able to get a few of our products in this house to show off, including the EdgeStar stainless steel kegerator, Kamado grill and MicroFridge red mini fridge (one of my favorite products).

See more photos of the home below.

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Saving Space with Multi-Function Cookers

Kalorik 3-in-1 Breakfast Maker

Who wants a cluttered kitchen? It seems everyone I talk to is complaining about the lack of counter and/or storage space that they have in their kitchen. There are so many different appliances out there and they are great until you realize you don’t have a place to put them in your kitchen. Many manufacturers have become aware of this struggle and have answered with the multi-function cooker.

Multi-function cookers come in many different varieties from the breakfast makers that include a coffee maker, griddle and toaster all-in-one to the toaster ovens with burners on top. Though they come in many different varieties, one thing holds true with all of them: They save space. What was once 2, 3 or even 4 separate appliances is now in a single appliance. Isn’t technology grand?

Check out our multi-function cookers:

Sunpentown 3-in-1 Breakfast Maker   Nostalgia Electrics Breakfast Toaster   Kalorik 3-in-1 Mini Toaster Oven with Coffee Maker and Griddle   Avanti Multi-Function Countertop Oven

 

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Austin Smarter Spaces Tour: Title Sponsor

Smarter Spaces Tour Banner

That’s right. CompactAppliance.com is the title sponsor of the first-ever Smarter Spaces Tour happening in Austin, TX on Saturday, April 14, 2012!

The Smarter Spaces Tour consists of 8-15 well-designed houses that use creative ways to maximize space in under 2,500 square feet. These are realistic homes, some even currently lived in, that will offer inspiration and ideas to others looking to downsize or redecorate their small home. We will be placing some of our compact products in the homes to show how our products seamlessly blend into small environments and make compact living easier.

If you are interested in attending the tour, you can purchase tickets in advance for $25 until Friday, April 13 at 8 pm CST. After that, tickets will go up to $30 and can be purchased at any of the properties on the tour when it starts at 11 am on the 14th.

We might also be giving away some tickets to the tour on our Facebook page as the event gets closer, so make sure to like our page to stay up to date!

 

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Best Appliances for a Boat

Life in a boat can be great, especially if you have the conveniences of home.  Here are some appliances that will help make your boating experience as comfortable as can be.

EdgeStar Portable Ice MakerPortable Ice Maker

While out boating, who doesn’t enjoy a nice tall glass of iced tea?  Well, you need ice for that, and a portable ice maker is a great way to give you the ice you want and need.  These units do not require a drain, and are relatively simple to use.  Just pour water in the reservoir, choose your ice size, and voila, ice appears in about 10 minutes (depending on model).

My favorite is the EdgeStar IP210SS.  This baby will make about 28 pounds of ice per day, holds about 2 pounds, and makes ice in as little as 6 minutes.  Plus, the commercial grade stainless steel means that it will not corrode in the salty sea air.  A quick tip though, if you use bottled water in your machine, you will want to add a tiny pinch of salt.  Most of these ice makers need some type of impurity in the water to make the ice.

Avanti Induction CooktopInduction Cooktop

You gotta eat, right?  I mean, you are out on the boat, you catch some fish, why not cook it up and serve it?  Fish, it’s what’s for dinner!  Anyway, an induction cooktop I think is a better choice than a regular hotplate or portable stove for a boat because they are generally safer and use less energy. An induction cooktop only heats the cooking vessel, so the actual cooking surface is cold to the touch, which helps prevent burns.

I am partial to the Avanti IHP1501.  It’s small and portable, has easy controls, and heats up to 440 degrees.  Best of all, it comes with a skillet, so no trying to hunt down an induction ready piece of cookware.  This unit comes with one.

EdgeStar 63 Qt Portable Fridge/FreezerPortable Fridge / Freezer

My coworker and I argued over this point, and since I’m writing this and she’s not, guess who won.  Basically, her point is that a mini fridge would be better.  I say a portable because it has both a 115V and a 12V option.  Plus, you will get more use out of it because it can go in the car with you and you can use it camping, hunting or fishing.

Now, these come in various sizes, but I chose to just go relatively down the middle with the EdgeStar FP630.  I am in love with this unit because it comes with a flash freeze option that will get it down to -8 degrees F in a matter of minutes.  And, it will hold the temperature for several hours if you unplug the unit.  However, you can set the temperature as high as 50 degrees, so you can use it as a refrigerator or a freezer.  This is also a favorite among fishermen (or women, whatever the case may be).

EdgeStar Portable Air ConditionerPortable Air Conditioner

Last summer, while I was vacationing in South Texas, I cruised around the Gulf of Mexico in a rather nice boat.  Not sure if you have ever been in South Texas in August, but it’s like being 3 blocks from the sun.  Enter the wonderful portable air conditioner.  Now, like all air conditioners, these units have to be vented in some way.  You can do it through a wall, ceiling, floor, window, whatever.  You just have to be certain to get the hot air coming off the compressor out of the room you are trying to cool.

My pick is the EdgeStar AP8000W.  This compact unit is powerful, will keep your cabin cool, and only uses 840Watts and 7.9Amps.  Plus, it will dehumidify up to 71 pints per day, and you don’t have to empty condensation from the collection tray.  Trust me, a comfortable cabin makes for a happy boater!

LG Washer Dryer ComboWasher Dryer Combo

Ok, so if you live in a houseboat, or are going to be on the water for an extended period of time, clean underwear, and well, clean clothes in general, are a necessity!  You have several options to help you with this.  A value option is the WonderWash and MiniSpin dryer combo, affectionately called The WonderSpin!  The WonderWash is a hand cranked clothes washer.  You basically put your clothes in, add water and detergent, spin it for about 5 minutes, drain the water into a sink, add more water for a rinse, drain, and you are done.  You then put your wet clothes into the MiniSpin.  This will spin dry your clothes for you to then hang them up.

Now, if you have the room, and the money, then you may want to consider a washer dryer combo.  These units will wash and dry all in the same drum, and most do not need venting because they use condensation drying.  Your best option on these, in my opinion, is the LG WM3455HW.  It has a 15 pound load capacity (2.7 cubic feet), and several washing and drying options.  Because of the condensation drying, most of these machines do not dry effectively.  However, the LG does a better job than most.  Also, you can get the optional portability kit that will allow you to store it in one place, then wheel it out when you need to and hook to a standard sink.  Finally, the great thing about this unit is that it plugs into a standard 115V outlet, so no special wiring is needed.

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Best Appliances for a Small Kitchen

They say that the kitchen is the heart of the home, but living in tight quarters can be challenging especially when it comes to having a well-stocked kitchen. You want to be able to cook and clean with ease, without your appliances taking up too much space. Here are my top five recommendations for small kitchen appliances:

 

Koldfront Countertop DishwasherCountertop Dishwasher

Unfortunately, a dishwasher is one of the first things to go in a small kitchen. But, who wants to spend their evening hand-washing all of your dirty dishes? A countertop dishwasher can be your saving grace. It fits easily on most countertops and hooks up to almost any faucet.

This particular Koldfront model, pictured on the left, holds up to 6 place settings and has a cutlery basket. It also conserves water and energy.

 

Compact Refrigerator

Luckily, appliance manufacturers have recognized the need for a refrigerator between full-size and mini. Apartment-sized refrigerators are just slightly smaller than regular fridges and most feature all of the same amenities: vegetable crispers, extra storage in the door and an auto-defrost freezer. The only thing you might have to sacrifice (besides a little space) is an ice maker in the freezer section.

This MicroFridge apartment refrigerator/freezer pictured is perfect for a small space. Not only does it fit in tight spaces, but it has great storage for everything you need, plus a 0 degree, auto-defrost freezer and a unique design.

 

EdgeStar Portable Ice MakerPortable Ice Maker

Often times, smaller, compact refrigerators do not come with ice makers. Save yourself the trouble and space of ice trays with a portable ice maker. These fit easily on a countertop and you just need to add water and plug it in to create a good amount of ice. It works well for everyday use or entertaining.

The EdgeStar stainless steel portable ice maker pictured can make ice in under 10 minutes and comes with a set of 10 ice bags for storing the ice in a freezer.

 

Broil King Range

Cooktop

If your kitchen space is too small for a stovetop oven, the next best thing is a portable cooktop. These cooktops heat food with ease and can be stored elsewhere when not in use, saving your countertop space. You can also choose from a wide variety of models ranging from double burners to induction heating.

Pictured to the left is the Broil King Professional Double Burner Range. It features durable construction, high-watt heating and non-skid feet so it doesn’t move while in use.

 

Sanyo MicrowaveConvection/Microwave Oven

A microwave is an essential appliance in any kitchen, but can be even more necessary in a compact kitchen space that doesn’t have room for an oven.

This Sanyo 3-in-1 microwave oven allows you to microwave, grill and bake all in one unit. The compact design fits easily in a small space and is easy to use and clean. It cooks a large selection of dishes and has a wide temperature range. This works well to cook all your favorite foods without taking up a lot of room.

 

Having a small kitchen does not need to be the end all be all to having a functional kitchen. With a few simple adjustments and products you will be cooking gourmet meals and cleaning like a pro in no time!

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