No Ice Ice Baby

Today marks day #25 without a refrigerator. You read that right, we’ve actually been without a fridge since we moved. The space in our kitchen (and the doorway in to our kitchen) is so uniquely sized that there was only 1 fridge carried by Best Buy or Home Depot that could work and that was pleasing enough to the eye that we wouldn’t hate staring at it 3 years from now.

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That teeny, tiny cooler has been our “fridge” for the last month.

So let me rewind – for those of you unfamiliar with the LA rental landscape, it’s a fairly common practice for most landlords to not provide certain appliances to future tenants. Jefe and I have been lucky thus far that our last 3 places all came fully equipped with stove/oven, dishwasher, fridge and washer/dryer (which is like the white whale of apartment hunting).

But our new place was just so right for us that we decided to bite the bullet and rent a place without a fridge. We never in a million years anticipated we’d have to go a month without one.

When we first signed the lease, we immediately headed to Best Buy (Jefe’s version of heaven) to find something. We decided that we didn’t just want something that was the right price and size, we wanted something we could keep for years to come (and potentially move with us in to any future home). We found one that we loved, and it happened to be on sale.

Two days later we’re letting the delivery men in the apartment. They pulled out their tape measures and proceeded to walk right back out the door. We very carefully measured our rather small fridge opening but we never in a million years thought the doorway to our kitchen would be even SMALLER. Well, lesson learned.

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Who has a doorway that’s smaller than 30″?!

So back we and the fridge went to Best Buy. We managed to find one that hypothetically will fit with a clearance of over 2 inches (minus the doors). Today is D-Day as Jefe anxiously waits at home for delivery while I’m working the 9-5.

Really looking forward to that grocery run after work tonight where I can finally pick up ice cream, cream for my coffee and tons of cheese. Unless, of course, it doesn’t fit again in which case I’m going to down that pint of ice cream before it melts to drown my fridge-less sorrows….

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All About the Bass

After editing multiple of Sledge’s posts and being mentioned numerous times in each post…its come time to contribute myself to Sledgehammer with Style. As Sledge has told you, we moved into our new place in July and have been slowly working on each room in between our jobs and trips east to see family and friends. As Sledge has been focused on finding solutions for the incredible lack of counter space in the kitchen as well as focusing on planning out a solution for turning our 2nd bedroom into an office space for both of us (ok maybe it’s a little more for me), I have been focused on finding an affordable home speaker solution.

We are an Apple house first and foremost so we rely heavily on iTunes for our music needs, though Pandora is also frequently used and I subscribe to the Beats Music subscription service. So whether Sledge and I are looking to listen to the latest from Mumford & Sons or a Beats-curated “Best of the 90s Hip-Hop” playlist, we were focused on finding a quality speaker solution. For our previous apartments, we relied on using a Jambox by Jawbone or the bluetooth functionality of our Samsung soundbar in the living room.

Mini Jambox

Mini Jambox

For the most part, these solutions worked great, but as we moved into our more spacious apartment, we found ourselves wanting a solution for the office, kitchen and living room. Initially we relied on a Mini Jambox for the 2nd bedroom; this worked but like most people, we keep most of our music on phones so when we get calls the music stops and the Mini Jambox would turn into an awkward “experience” of using a speaker phone we never intended to while trying to disconnect the phone to take the call with greater ease.

Mini Jambox vs Sonos Play:1

Mini Jambox versus Sonos Play:1 speakers

The Mini Jambox did offer a high level of ease/convenience albeit at the expense of an optimal sound experience. The speaker is small, portable, includes a rechargeable battery, offers decent sound, connects via bluetooth, retails for only $130 and is easily controlled by your phone/tablet (iOS or Android). That’s a tough value proposition to beat.

Over the Christmas holidays last year, my brother was raving about (and showing off) his new Sonos sound system that he purchased for their 3 bedroom place in New York. Trouble was, the full system in all its glory (e.g., soundbar, subwoofer, two additional speakers for the bedrooms, etc.) can run $1,500+ depending on how you personalize it.

The major upside with Sonos is that it offers a full home music solution that allows you to play the same music throughout your home as well as isolate music to individual rooms. In doing some more research, I discovered the very well reviewed Sonos Play:1 speaker, priced at $199. In a recent trip to Best Buy (I was contemplating getting another Mini Jambox for the bedroom), I noticed an open-box Sonos Play:1 speaker on sale for $178 in the home theater section.

Sonos Play:1 Open Box from Best Buy

Sonos Play:1 Open Box from Best Buy

Given the modest price differential (vs. a Mini Jambox) and Best Buy noting on the box that the speaker had “No Damage,” I decided to give Sonos a try.

Sonos, as of September, gives you two options to setup a wireless speaker system. Via your home wi-fi network or through setting up a separate dedicated Sonos wireless network. I initially setup the speaker in our 2nd bedroom (aka “the office”) and was able to easily connect it to our home wi-fi network. I thought the office would prove to be an adequate test for the Play:1 speaker as we previously used a Mini Jambox here for our music needs and, with it being a decent sized room, would require a superior music solution. Similar to other consumer/tech site reviews, Sledge and I were admittedly very impressed with the performance of the Play:1.

Sonos Play:1 speaker in 2nd Bedroom

Sonos Play:1 speaker in 2nd Bedroom

The speaker is small enough to easily sit on top of the Ikea Expedit shelving unit we have our 32” TV on and fill the room with music.

Since our initial Play:1, we have purchased two more Play:1 speakers, also open box from Best Buy. We placed a white one in the kitchen, which we use a lot in the mornings and while Sledge or I cook in the evenings.

Sonos Play:1 Kitchen

White Sonos Play:1 in Kitchen

We placed the second speaker in the living room on a bookshelf (which allows it to serve as a much needed bookend), to offer us a modified “full home solution.”

Play:1 in Living Room

 

Play:1 on Living Room Bookshelf

The Sonos Controller App for iOS and Android works perfectly to allow us to play music from various music services like Pandora, Songza, Beats Music, as well as our iTunes Music on our iPhones and iPads. We have also elected to change the speaker setup: we now use the dedicated Sonos wireless network through connecting the Play:1 in the office directly into our wireless router.

Play:1 Dedicated Network

Overall, we have been pleased and highly recommend the Sonos Play:1 speaker to anyone looking for a home solution that offers a superior audio experience to the Mini Jambox or similar bluetooth speakers. There are tradeoffs, as the Play:1 is meant to be stationary and needs to be plugged into a wall outlet versus having a rechargeable battery, but we have been very happy with the overall performance of the speakers. In addition, through buying “open box” speakers at Best Buy we were able to outfit our place with 3 Play:1 speakers for less than $550 all-in.